Learn Chinese anywhere

Using fun content you love

(And without the hassle of moving to China, enduring expensive classes, or slogging through boring textbooks.)

If you’re learning Mandarin Chinese on your own and you’re looking to reach fluency and speak confidently with real native speakers, then you probably already know that immersion (being surrounded by the language all the time) is the best way to do that.

You probably already know that practicing speaking with real native speakers is the key to getting better at speaking.

You’ve probably also heard that Mandarin is the single most spoken language on the planet, with 920 million native speakers (more than native speakers of Spanish and English combined!) and growing.

But here’s what you might not know…

Chinese unlocks countless doors

If you teach yourself Mandarin Chinese, you unlock a world of advantages and possibilities. As Frank Smith said, “One language sets you in a corridor for life.
Two languages open every door along the way.” Here are just a few of the many doors Mandarin will unlock for you…

Earn a higher salary + increase job prospects

The demand for bilingual workers in the modern workplace is growing, opening up new job prospects and higher salaries for those who are willing to learn a second language.

Keep your brain working its best!

Science shows that learning a second language improves your memory, reduces the risk of dementia, and even increases the size of your brain!

Make travel easier + more fun

Most people never go beyond a surface-level understanding of a country and its people. If you want to really experience the place like a local, you’ve gotta go beyond the price-gouging tourist traps. Speaking Mandarin will help make new friends you wouldn’t have otherwise who will make your time in the country way more fun, and can show you the hidden gems of the city that only the locals know about.

Make new friends + Connect with others

Speaking Mandarin can help you make friends with people you never would have met before, and can help you deepen the connection between you and your Mandarin-speaking loved ones and their families.

Where do you start?

Even though the reasons to pursue fluency in Mandarin may be obvious, the path to doing it successfully is anything but…

So where in the heck should you start?

The sheer number of resources available on the internet today is completely overwhelming for any self-directed learner. As a result, you’re probably feeling at least somewhat clueless and confused as to how and where to approach your study.

Learning a new language is hard enough. Add on top of that feeling completely bewildered as to which of these methods is the best!

Here’s why most Mandarin learners abandon their journey:

Without using the right methods, most Mandarin learners feel out of their depth, bored with the materials, and frustrated that they aren’t making any progress.

They might study for months or even years and still not be able to order a coffee.

They might just think to themselves:

  • “I guess I’m not good at languages.”
  • “I’m probably too old to learn Mandarin.”
  • “Mandarin’s too hard of a language. Maybe I’ll try something else.”

5 Reasons Most Learners Fail


Putting off speaking

Most people don’t practice speaking enough out of fear and making mistakes. They busy themselves with progressing through language apps or watching YouTube videos. But practicing speaking is the key to―you guessed it―being able to speak.


Not having a strong enough WHY

The path to fluency isn’t necessarily complicated, but it DOES takes consistent practice, day after day. You need to get crystal-clear clarity on your reason for learning Mandarin, or your WHY, that keeps you going on the days where you feel bored or unmotivated.

Not enough time on task

Some people just spend an hour a week on learning a language, then wonder why they aren’t making progress. To reach fluency, you need hours and hours of input (listening, reading) and output (writing, speaking), and to do that consistently over time. That might sound impossible in your busy schedule, but there are ways to use the hidden moments in your day. Then you have to keep putting in the effort, day after day. Think of your learning in terms of number of hours, not weeks, months, or years.

Not practicing skills directly

Practicing “directly” means practicing the skill you want to be able to do. If you want to get good at speaking, you have to practice speaking. If you want to get better at comprehension, you have to practice listening. Most people get stuck in studying ABOUT the language rather than actually practicing the language. Many apps or classes will give you indirect skills (filling in a blank, multiple choice, putting words in order), but those skills don’t directly help you with fluency.


Using boring materials

Fun gets done, so you need to select methods that YOU will enjoy. It’s natural for language learners to sometimes feel bored and not want to keep going. This is why it’s extra important to use materials that are fun for you to use. 


Analysis Paralysis

On the other hand, many language learners feel overwhelm when considering all the materials they could use, and as a consequence, they never actually get started. Finding just a handful of tools you love to use, and sticking with those consistently, is the antidote.

If you can avoid these mistakes, you will reach fluency. The key to all of this is creating a fun, immersive environment―from home―that will actually get you to fluency. And with your permission, that’s what I’d love to show you how to create…


Master Mandarin

How to Learn Mandarin Chinese Anywhere in the World

I’ve taken everything I’ve learned teaching myself how to speak both Mandarin Chinese and Japanese fluently (plus over 20 years of experience teaching thousands of adults how to learn languages the fun way) and distilled the lessons into a comprehensive, detailed guide to empower you to do the same.

Master Mandarin isn’t a grammar textbook or a formal Mandarin course. It’s a navigation system for independent learners that shows you how to learn and exactly what resources to use.

You will learn strategies for effective language-learning.

I’ll take you by the hand and walk you through all the best methods and materials you can choose for yourself.

And most importantly, you’ll learn how to create an immersion environment in your own home that accelerates your fluency and is totally tailored to YOU:

  • Your schedule.
  • Your interests.
  • Your preferences.
  • Your learning style.
  • Your likes and dislikes.

And THAT will be your teacher.

The end result: Reaping the rewards of being able to speak, listen, read, and write in Mandarin for the rest of your life.

Master Mandarin is the only book of its kind that:

  • Helps you conquer your fear and focus on the specific speaking habits and tools that will actually move you towards fluency
  • Helps you uncover your WHY so that you’ll stick with it in the long run
  • Teaches you how to learn and use the hidden moments in a day to get enough input
  • Helps you practice skills directly by giving you resources for speaking, listening, reading, and writing
  • Focuses on the specific tools you need, fun and tailored to your personality, all in one place

So if you’re finally ready to get fluent in Mandarin without the overwhelm, here’s how I’ll help you get there.

My method is called Anywhere Immersion.

What’s “Anywhere Immersion”?

Once upon a time, you had to two choices if you wanted to get fluent in Chinese: 1) take expensive classes, or 2) move abroad. Today, anyone with an internet connection and a little creativity can learn the language anywhere in the world. Master Mandarin shows you how. While Chinese classes and living in Taiwan or China can be great, they no longer have to be a barrier to entry for language learners. Moreover, Anywhere Immersion has many advantages over traditional classroom and textbook-based learning:

It's More Fun

The Anywhere Immersion approach allows you to choose fun, engaging materials and activities that you love.

It's More Efficient

Your custom immersion environment allows you to make use of tiny “hidden moments” throughout the day.

It's Less Expensive

Language classes and textbooks are boring and expensive. Choose fun―and often free!―modern resources instead.

It's More Natural

Humans have learned languages through immersion for hundreds of thousands of years. It’s how our brains are wired.

It's More Convenient

Anywhere Immersion allows you to learn anytime, anywhere. You don’t need to travel to a class or move abroad.

It's Personalized

Anywhere Immersion allows you to tailor the learning process to your unique interests, needs, and learning style.

“The only book I’ve ever seen that covers absolutely everything from start to finish in terms of must-knows.”

Benny Lewis

Author, Fluent in 3 Months

What’s in the Guide?

Master Mandarin shows you how to learn Chinese whenever and wherever you want. You can choose your own methods and materials and learn in the way you like.


Part 1: Start Here

Here, you’ll learn how to get the most out of the book, get answers to common learner questions, shift your mindset for success, and uncover your WHY for learning Mandarin.


Part 2: Climb Mandarin Mountain

You’ll get a roadmap to Mandarin fluency and learn the phases that lie ahead (and how to get through the traps!) as you improve the four skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

Part 3: Master Your Day

Now that you know the roadmap, you’ll create an ideal learning schedule for yourself, learn proven strategies to keep yourself on track, and learn the right way to measure your progress. 

Part 4: Master Your Mind

You’ll learn how to win the inner battle of learning a language by changing how you think. You’ll also get proven strategies to face your fears, keep your motivation high, and develop diamond-tough discipline.

Part 5: Learn How to Learn

Learning how to learn is life’s most important skill. You’ll accelerate your progress by learning how to create an immersion environment of fun activities at home, plus proven methods for developing skill and improving memory.


Part 6: Conquer Characters

You’ll learn why and how to learn characters in a fun, effective, non-intimidating way that works WITH your brain (not against it), plus practical strategies to remember and recognize characters effortlessly.


Part 7: Choose Your Weapons

You’ll select your “weapons,” the tools and resources that are right for YOU to learn the way you like. I’ll give you my top recommendations for dictionaries, podcasts, music, TV shows, movies, and video games, comics, books, and much more. 

About the Author

Hi, I’m John Fotheringham, a linguist, teacher, and the author of Master Mandarin. I taught myself both Japanese and Mandarin, and now teach others to do the same―no matter where in the world you are. I’ve been learning and teaching languages for over two decades, including studying Linguistics at Western Washington University, teaching adults in the U.S., Japan, and Taiwan, presenting at multinational companies, working as a translator and interpreter for the Japanese government, and now blogging, podcasting, and publishing books on independent language learning. I have dedicated my life to empowering language learners, making language acquisition more fun and effective, and helping others avoid some of the mistakes I made along the way.

I have been featured in a number of magazines, podcasts, blogs, and sites including Experience Life Magazine, Business Insider, Fluent in 3 Months, I Will Teach You a Language, All Japanese All the Time, GaijinPot, Actual Fluency, and more.

The Master Mandarin Digital Package

Here’s what you’re getting when you buy Master Mandarin today:


Master Mandarin Book

The digital ebook version of Master Mandarin in PDF format, which can be read on nearly any device.


Worksheets & Cheat Sheets

7 print-ready worksheets and cheat sheets for quick, easy reference and writing out your personalized strategy.

Lifetime Updates

Automatically get the latest version of the book when I update it with the newest and best resources.

3 Digital Book Formats

You’ll get Master Mandarin in 3 formats, so you can read it on nearly any device: your phone, computer, iPad, Kindle, or most other ebook readers.



PDF Book

You get a beautifully formatted PDF version, which can be read on nearly any device or operating system.

Kindle Book

You also get the book in Kindle format (AZW3), which you can read on your Kindle device or in any of the free Kindle apps on iOS, Android, macOS, etc.

EPUB/iBooks Version

Lastly, you get the book in EPUB format, which you can read in the iBooks app on iOS, macOS, and any of the numerous EPUB readers available.

7 Print-Ready Cheat Sheets & Worksheets

In addition to the three book formats, you get these 7 print-ready quick reference worksheets and cheat sheets as part of your digital package.



Goals & Systems

A 5-page worksheet to craft actionable goals and a personalized daily and weekly study schedule for yourself and hang up in your house.


Sounds of Mandarin Chinese

A 3-page cheatsheet for how to make each sound and tone in Mandarin (and their approximate English equivalent).

500 Most Common Words

The 500 most common words in Mandarin, plus their meanings and pronunciation, empowering you to understand much of the language you will see and hear day to day!


Chinese Radicals

A 6-page cheatsheet with all 214 standard radicals with frame number, radical, English meaning, pronunciation, and number of strokes.


Remembering Simplified Hanzi

A 51-page reference list of simplified characters from the Remembering the Hanzi book with the frame number, character, and English keyword.

Remembering Traditional Hanzi

A 51-page reference list of traditional characters from the Remembering the Hanzi book with the frame number, character, and English keyword.

Deconstruction Dozen

The translations for Tim Ferriss’ famous 12 core sentences that reveal the essential patterns frequently used in Mandarin (“The apple is red”, “It is John’s apple”, “I give John the apple”, etc.)

$235 value for $39!

When you add it all up, that’s a total value of $235.

But when you get the Master Mandarin Digital Package, you’ll get access to everything for just $39.

+ PDF book: $29 Value

+ EPUB Book: $29 Value

+ Kindle book: $29 Value

+ 7 Worksheets & Cheatsheets: $49 Value

+ Lifetime Updates: $99 Value

Total Value: $235

What the Most Successful Language Learners Ask

Will this work for me if I’m not good at learning languages?

Lots of people think they aren’t good at languages, but actually they’re just using the wrong methods. Instead of studying ABOUT the language by reading a textbook on grammar or taking a class at your local college, when you create an immersion environment for yourself, your brain does the heavy lifting and picks it up over time FOR you. (Exactly like how you learned your first language!)

I know I’m supposed to practice speaking with native speakers, but it’s so scary. It’s the one part of learning I neglect most. How can I speak more confidently?

You’re right; it totally is scary. And this is where most people get hung up and quit. So many people struggle with being afraid of speaking, and let it keep them from fluency, that I’ve dedicated a whole section of this book to overcoming fear and unhelpful thought patterns that hold us back. These are proven methods that have helped other people learn to speak freely and with confidence, and they will help you, too!

I feel overwhelmed with all the resources out there. I have so many already. Why should I buy this one too?

In today’s world, most of us are already swimming in books, apps, and audio programs. Instead of thinking of Master Mandarin as an addition to your resource pile, think of this as a tool to help you use your resources better. With Master Mandarin, you’ll be able to pare down to only the essentials―those that will actually help you improve your speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

Don’t I need to move to China if I’m going to learn through immersion?

While moving to a Mandarin-speaking place would of course be ideal, with the internet, it’s possible to create an immersive environment right where you are right now, and surround yourself with the sights and sounds of Mandarin everywhere you go! I teach you exactly how to do this in Master Mandarin. You can listen to Mandarin podcasts, talk with native speakers in another country, watch YouTube videos, listen to music in Mandarin while you’re tidying up around the house, and even change your phone and computer’s display to Mandarin! (And don’t worry, I’ll teach ya how to turn it back, too―just in case. 😉)

Shouldn’t I be doing a course or grammar textbook that teaches me Chinese?

Most people think that they need to use “traditional” methods to learn a language like working through a textbook or taking a course taught by a teacher. The problem is that these methods are not only expensive, time-consuming, and boring, they aren’t effective. (Don’t believe me? Consider how much you remember from your high school Spanish class.) With Anywhere Immersion, your teacher is the immersive environment you create for yourself. Your textbook is Netflix. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your materials have to be boring to be effective. There is so much out there for you to discover―get ready for you to find some of your new favorite songs, movies, and people!

I’ve heard Chinese is one of the hardest languages in the world and takes decades to learn. Are you sure this is going to work for me?

Lots of people like to say that Chinese is the hardest language, but really, it’s just very different from English. But it will become more and more familiar as you expose yourself to the language! Sure, it has totally new characters you have to learn (which can be intimidating for new learners), and new sounds, but it is totally doable. People with less smarts and fewer resources than you have taught themselves Mandarin, and you can, too! With enough time and consistency, you’ll be able to begin speaking confidently in a matter of months, not years.

How will I get access to the book, worksheets, and interviews once I buy them?

When you buy the Master Mandarin Digital Package, you’ll be able to instantly download all the materials right to your computer or smartphone. I’ll also send you an email with a link you can click to download the materials in case you click away or want to refer to it later. Since it’s all digital materials, you could go from checkout to reading Master Mandarin literally in the next minute. No need to wait for the mailman to deliver you a package. (Hooray!)

Can you remind me of everything I’m getting when I buy Master Mandarin?

You’ll get the book Master Mandarin (it’s a big one: 800+ pages!) in three different formats: PDF, Kindle, and EPUB. You’ll also get 7 different reference cheatsheets and worksheets. Lastly, every time I update Master Mandarin with the latest and greatest tools and resources, I’ll send you an email with a link to download the latest version, for free. No need to buy it all over again!

I have another question that’s not on this list!

I’ll gladly answer it for you! Shoot me an email through the contact form on my website and I will get back to you ASAP.

Master Mandarin is perfect for you if…

You’re just getting started with Mandarin and you want to make sure you are using the right methods that will launch you to fluency and make the best use of your limited time by using the materials, not searching for them.

You’ve been learning Mandarin on your own for months (or years), but you aren’t yet fluent or haven’t made as much progress as you’d like.

You already know you need to create an immersion environment from home, and you’re looking to build and refine your list of resources to help you speak, listen, read, and write in Mandarin.

You’re willing to put in the multiple hours it takes each week to reach fluency as long as you know that your time is going towards the activities that are going to give you the MOST payoff for your effort.

You’re already spending five or more hours a week actively learning Mandarin, by practicing learning characters, listening to music in Mandarin, watching videos, using language-learning apps, or speaking with a tutor.

You care about using your time wisely and having fun while you do it. You want to use the best and most up-to-date tools that are efficient, effective, and fun to use in 2020, rather than spending time searching for those tools. (And, you want to avoid wasting your time with outdated, boring, ineffective methods that just involve memorization of characters over and over!)

You’re aware of all the doors speaking Mandarin fluently will open for you, whether commanding higher pay at your job or opening new career paths, having more fun when you travel, making your upcoming move to a Mandarin-speaking country so much easier, connecting more deeply with a loved one or their family, sharpening your brain, and making new friends you wouldn’t have otherwise.

You’re excited to try the Anywhere Immersion method. Even if you’ve used methods that didn’t work in the past, like a one-hour-a-week class or reading ABOUT the language with a textbook, you’re excited knowing that tomorrow, you could start supercharging your fluency by working with your brain, not against it!

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