The Language Mastery Show

Interviews with the World’s Best Language Learners

The Language Mastery Show brings you interviews with the world’s best language learners. The show is hosted by John Fotheringham, a linguist and author obsessed with making language learning as fun, accessible, and effective as possible for listeners. Each episode includes a long-form interview with a linguist, language expert, polyglot, innovative educator, or top language blogger, with just enough silliness and puns to keep things interesting.

★★★★★

The real deal!

John is a true language aficionado. Knowledgeable, motivating, entertaining… he hunts out the best guests and does awesome interviews which are inspiring for aspiring language learners. Great stuff!

Olly Richards

I Will Teach You a Language

★★★★★

Great Language Learning Advice

John’s philosophy and approach are spot-on: You don’t need to be gifted, spend tons of money, or move to another country to learn a language. You just need to be dedicated and consistent.

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★★★★★

Wonderful Tool

I really love this podcast. I wish there were more resources like this. It is truly refreshing to hear people who know what they’re talking about and are not just trying to sell something. I was teaching a Russian class when I stumbled on to this and I had my students listen to selected episodes as homework. The host and all of his guests are realistic. They are not salesmen. They are not dogmatic. They enjoy languages and they are eager to be helpful to new language learners. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Show Notes

Interview with Donovan Nagel of The Mezzofanti Guild & Talk in Arabic

Donovan Nagel is an Applied Linguistics graduate hailing from rural Queensland, Australia (the amazing soundscape you hear in the background of our interview) and the man behind the language learning site and community, The Mezzofanti Guild, and the Arabic learning site, Talk in Arabic. Donovan named the site after one of his heroes, Cardinal Giuseppe Gasparo Mezzofanti (1774 – 1849), a hyperpolyglot who Donovan felt a strong connection to given their mutual background in theology, Greek, Hebrew, and Arabic, and the fact that they both focus on learning via contact with real people.

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Interview with Kevin Morehouse of “Language Hero”

Kevin Morehouse is the man behind LanguageHero.co, a site dedicated to helping language learners start their journey, find allies, and stay the course. Kevin is a certified Italian teacher and soon to be certified in Spanish as well. In our interview, Kevin and I discuss: 1) The advantages and disadvantages of learning a foreign language in the classroom, 2) The problem with waiting until one is “ready” to start speaking, 3) The fact that immersion is a choice, 4) The power of social accountability (e.g. making commitments to other people), 5) The problem with letting emotions drive when/if one studies, 6) The importance of focusing on process over end goals, 7) The many linguistic and social benefits of working with tutors, 8) The fact that extroversion is not required to learn a language well, 9) What “Language Hero” is and why he created it, 10) Why learning a language is no longer a resource problem, but rather a confidence problem, 11) That the difference between polyglots and failed learners is drive, not ability, 12) A typical day of language learning for Kevin, 13) Kevin’s favorite language learning tools and resources, and 14) The dangers of uncontrolled Internet use.

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Interview with Hyperpolyglot Richard Simcott of SpeakingFluently.com

Richard Simcott is an accomplished polyglot with impressive abilities in over 16 languages, a feat that led HarperCollins to call him “one of the most multilingual people from The United Kingdom.” Richard shares his language learning wisdom, tips, interviews, and super-sized doses of motivation on his popular YouTube channel and on his website, SpeakingFluently.com. In the interview, Richard and I discuss idiolects and dialects, the importance of making language ability a “need” instead of just a “want,” the fact that anyone can learn a language since everyone does, the key difference between casual language learners and accomplished polyglots, what languages Richard speaks and how he learned—and maintains—​them, the advantages of learning languages in university, Richard’s language learning routine, the pros and cons of continuing to refine a language vs. pursuing a “new pretty flower,” the fact that language learning is technically a form of “over learning,” and the power of phonetic patterns in languages.

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★★★★★

More please!

I just binge-listened to the whole backlist of episodes. Gosh, this is an absorbing show.

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