Learn Languages the Fun Way
Welcome to Language Mastery, a blog, podcast, newsletter & language guide series that help you learn languages the fun way
Jumpstart Your Language Learning Journey!
Start learning any language, anywhere today with my free Quick Start Guide. You'll also get weekly language learning tips, tools, and resources to help you along your language learning journey.
Magazines, Podcasts, Blogs, and Sites Featuring Language Mastery
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.
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.
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
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.read more
To do lists seem like a good idea in theory, but they have a major disadvantage: there are infinite potential to do items. Instead, Tim Ferriss, best-selling author of The 4-Hour Workweek (and a speaker of 6 languages), recommends “not to do lists” instead since they define a limited number of unhelpful behaviors to avoid. This idea applies perfectly to language learning, where most learners waste a lot of time on ineffective methods and bad materials. Read on to see my list of NOT to do items for successful language learners.read more
Want to learn Japanese but don’t think you have enough time? Even the busiest person has chunks of time hidden in their day that can be applied toward Japanese study. Renowned polyglot Barry M. Farber calls these chunks “hidden moments”: tiny scraps of otherwise unproductive time you can apply to language learning. Though each individual hidden moment might be minuscule and seemingly insignificant on its own, over the course of a day, week, or month, they can add up to a meaningful amount of language study that you might otherwise never get around to. So where can you find your hidden moments? It will ultimately depend on your age, job, schedule, lifestyle, marital status, etc., but read on for some suggested places to look.read more