Nick Godwin is a British polyglot, English language coach, and course creator living in Tokyo, Japan. He specializes in helping advanced English learners break through plateaus and helping beginning Japanese learners to communicate through by focusing on practical skills that matter. In addition to running the English language learning site ByLingua, he also helped develop the popular story-based course Japanese Uncovered, and recently launched a blog that blends his love of language, learning, and intentional living called Minimalinguist.

Topics Discussed

In our conversation, we discuss:

  • Why psychology, mindset, and attitude form the foundation of successful language learning.
  • Why language learning isn’t “one thing” and why it’s critical to choose methods and materials that match your personal goals.
  • Why classroom learning rarely translates into real-life fluency or practical command of a language.
  • How Nick got into languages and ended up learning Japanese and moving to Japan.
  • Why there is no finish line in language learning and the importance of creating milestones and mini-missions.
  • The danger of making test scores one’s primary goal in language learning and of conflating language scores with language ability.
  • Why you can’t “skip the suck” (you have to be bad at Japanese before you can get good at it).
  • The importance of direct practice and using languages in-context.
  • Why living abroad is not enough (immersion helps, but it doesn’t lead to automatic fluency).
  • Nick’s language learning habits, routines, and preferred materials.
  • Nick’s approach to learning to kanji.
  • Common mistakes language learners make (especially in Japanese).
  • How to find a good balance between undercorrection and overcorrection in language learning.

Concepts, People & Resources Mentioned

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