Learn languages when you want, where you want, and how you want through Anywhere Immersion™
Get instant access to my Quick Start Guide, a 10-step approach to learning any language, anywhere. You'll also get useful 1-pagers for Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, and Russian, plus weekly language learning tips, tools, and resources to help you along your 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.
Meet the Author
I'm John Fotheringham, a linguist, teacher, and author. 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. I've been learning and teaching languages for over two decades, and created Language Mastery to highlight the most fun and effective methods, materials, and mindsets. Everyone learns differently, so I've packaged my language learning tips, tools, and resources into four different formats:
- The Language Mastery Blog for those who want to read free articles about language learning.
- The Language Mastery Show (my free podcast) for those who want to listen to interviews with the world's best language learners.
- The Language Mastery Insider (my free newsletter) for those who want weekly language learning tips right in their inbox.
- My step-by-step language guides for those want to learn languages anywhere in the world using my Anywhere Immersion™ approach.
See the About page for more about the site, my philosophies, 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.
The Language Mastery Show
20+ free podcast episodes including interviews with linguists, polyglots, innovative educators, and the world’s top language bloggers.
The Language Mastery Insider
8 free PDF guides including my Quick Start Guide and 1-pagers for Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, and Russian.
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 happen to live.
A selection of my favorite articles from the Language Mastery Blog
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.
We have been conditioned by well-intentioned mothers to believe that television will “destroy our brains.” This might well be true if one spends their time watching “reality” TV shows that don’t actually reflect reality, the sensationalist 24-hour news cycle, and tasteless drivel that neither entertains nor educates. But if you watch television in Japanese, this otherwise time-wasting and brain-wasting activity can become a constructive form of language learning that even mommy should be able to get behind! Video is also one of the best ways to create a fun, effective, foreign language immersion environment no matter where in the world you happen to live. Here now are my top ten favorite tools for using online video to learn Japanese.
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.