Welcome to Language Mastery!
A Blog, Podcast, Newsletter & Language Guide Series Dedicated to Helping You Learn Languages the Fun Way
Magazines, Podcasts, Blogs, and Sites Featuring Language Mastery
Meet the Author
Who Am I & 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.
- 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.
- 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.
A selection of my favorite articles from the Language Mastery Blog
We’ve all been there. We find ourselves standing in the language section of Barnes and Noble staring lustfully at the colorful rows of shiny new books, thinking naïvely to ourselves, “This is the missing resource. If I just buy this book, I can finally make some real progress!” It’s a perfectly natural instinct, and I admit that I have succumbed to it myself an embarrassing number of times. I’ve excitedly purchased language learning books that ended up sitting on my shelf unopened. I’ve joined online membership sites, bought apps, or made in-app purchases, only to rarely (if ever) open the sites or apps. It saddens me to think of how many trips I could now take using the money I have wasted on language learning tools and resources I never ended up using. You would think I would have learned my lesson by now, but the frustrating truth is that I will likely do the same thing again. Why do so many of us fall into this trap again and again?read more
It is interesting to read claims on the web that the traditional grammar-based language teaching model is “under attack,” when nearly everyone still subscribes to this archaic approach. The vast majority of language classrooms, whether in high schools, universities, or private language schools, still spend most class hours teaching and testing explicit information such as grammar rules and lexical items out of context. I read on a blog a few years back that: “Anything students need to know has to be taught, not caught.” This soundbite seems logical, but it underpins the major misconception widely on display in traditional language classrooms and programs: the notion that languages can be taught. The truth is that languages can only be “acquired,” not taught.read more
Is it ideal to learn Japanese in Japan and Mandarin in China or Taiwan? Yes. Is it a mandatory condition? Absolutely not. Let me be clear: living in Japan and Taiwan for a number of years was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, and I go back to visit as often as possible. But while living in a Japanese or Mandarin speaking country can certainly provide learners of these languages many advantages, it’s critical to understand that it’s not a requirement for success. In today’s world, “I can’t learn Japanese or Mandarin because I live in rural Kansas” is an excuse, not a reality. With Internet access, a little creativity, and a lot of hard work, you really can learn any language, anywhere.read more