Learn Languages the Fun Way

Welcome to Language Mastery, a blog, podcast, newsletter & language guide series that help you learn languages the fun way

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Meet the Author

Who am I and why did I start Language Mastery?

Nice to meet you! 初めまして!幸會幸會!Enchanté de faire votre connaissance. ¡Mucho gusto!

I'm John Fotheringham, the silly goose who created Language Mastery. I’m a linguist, author, teacher, and entrepreneur. In addition to languages and applied linguistics, I am passionate about world travel, nutrition, ancestral health, improv, martial arts, mountain biking, hiking, art, design, and history. I grew up near Seattle, but have spent much of my adult life living, learning, and working abroad, especially in Japan, Bangladesh, China, and Taiwan.

Over the past two decades of learning and teaching languages, I have experimented with a wide range of learning methods, materials, and mindsets in an effort to figure out what works, and what doesn't. I now share everything I've learned—and everything I continue to learn—on the Language Mastery Blog, on the Language Mastery Show (my free podcast), in the Language Mastery Insider (my free newsletter), and in my series of language guides that show you how to learn a language anywhere in the world using my Self-Guided Immersion™ approach.

See the About page for more about the site, my Self-Guided Immersion™ approach, and my language learning journey.

 

My Language Learning Philosophy

Anyone can learn a foreign language with the right attitude, methods, and materials.

 

The DON'Ts

  • You DON'T need to be "gifted" at languages. Most adult learners fail because they spend all their time learning about the language instead of actually spending enough time practicing in the language.
  • You DON'T need to spend thousands of dollars on foreign language classes or hundreds of dollars on overpriced products like Rosetta Stone. But a little investment in the right tools and materials can go a long way.
  • You DON'T need to force yourself through boring textbooks, grammars, and declension tables. Fun, modern, relevant materials are readily available online.
  • You DON'T need to move abroad. Creative use of technology allows you to create a fun, effective immersion environment no matter where you live.

The DOs

  • You DO need to figure out what methods fit your learning style, schedule, and personality. There is no one-size-fits-all way to learn a language. You have to experiment until you find what works for you.
  • You DO need to pick materials, topics, and activities that are inherently enjoyable and fit your unique personal interests. When you do, motivation and retention increase dramatically. As the blogger Khatzumoto puts it succinctly, "Fun gets done."
  • You DO need to maximize your exposure to the target language everyday through input (listening and reading) and active output (speaking and writing). If you put in the time on a consistent basis, your brain will do the rest.

 

Begin Your Language Learning Journey

Read the blog, listen to the podcast, subscribe to the newsletter, or check out my step-by-step guides

 

The Language Mastery Blog

100+ free language learning articles that include tips, tools, tech, product reviews, and more to help you learn languages in a fun, effective, adult-friendly way.

My Step-by-Step Language Guides

Detailed how-to manuals and resource guides that show you how to create fun, engaging, immersive environments no matter where in the world you happens to live.

The Language Mastery Insider

9 free PDF guides including my Quick Start Guide and 1-pagers for Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, and Russian.

The Language Mastery Show

20+ free podcast episodes including interviews with linguists, polyglots, innovative educators, and the world’s top language bloggers.

 

Featured Articles

A selection of my favorite articles from the Language Mastery Blog

 

How to Create a “Self-Guided Immersion” Language Environment No Matter Where in the World You Live

Once upon a time, you had to two choices if you wanted to get fluent in a language: ① Take language classes, or ② Move abroad. I did both and had a (mostly) great time doing so. But while I think classes can be great for those who can afford the time and tuition and that living abroad can be a profoundly transformative experience, neither undertakings are a requirement for learning a language. Today, anyone with an internet connection, a little creativity, and sufficient discipline can reach a high level of fluency anywhere in the world if they design the proper environment. Read the article to see exactly how.

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The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Language Learners

Most of you are probably familiar with Stephen R. Covey’s best-selling book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change”. I’ve listened to the audiobook a number of times and return to it whenever I am feeling overwhelmed, adrift, or caught up in “the thick of thin things”. Many of the 7 habits actually apply quite well to language learning (especially when it comes to prioritizing and making time for study), but I’d like to tweak them a bit to make them more specific to what it takes to become a highly successful language learner.

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Why Most People Fail in Language Learning & How You Can Succeed

If an adult fails to learn a foreign language (and most do), most of us assume the learner did’t study hard enough or simply isn’t good at languages. The real problem is not usually a lack of talent or effort but using the wrong methods, choosing the wrong materials, and having self-defeating beliefs. Read on to see how to choose effective methods, fun materials, and empowering attitudes.

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