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, author, teacher, and entrepreneur. 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
We’ve all been there. We find ourselves standing in the language section of Barnes and Noble staring lustfully at the colorful rows of shiny new books, thinking naïvely to ourselves, “This is the missing resource. If I just buy this book, I can finally make some real progress!” It’s a perfectly natural instinct, and I admit that I have succumbed to it myself an embarrassing number of times. I’ve excitedly purchased language learning books that ended up sitting on my shelf unopened. I’ve joined online membership sites, bought apps, or made in-app purchases, only to rarely (if ever) open the sites or apps. It saddens me to think of how many trips I could now take using the money I have wasted on language learning tools and resources I never ended up using. You would think I would have learned my lesson by now, but the frustrating truth is that I will likely do the same thing again. Why do so many of us fall into this trap again and again?
Is it ideal to learn Japanese in Japan and Mandarin in China or Taiwan? Yes. Is it a mandatory condition? Absolutely not. Let me be clear: living in Japan and Taiwan for a number of years was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, and I go back to visit as often as possible. But while living in a Japanese or Mandarin speaking country can certainly provide learners of these languages many advantages, it’s critical to understand that it’s not a requirement for success. In today’s world, “I can’t learn Japanese or Mandarin because I live in rural Kansas” is an excuse, not a reality. With Internet access, a little creativity, and a lot of hard work, you really can learn any language, anywhere.
Film is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in a foreign language from afar, giving you valuable cultural and linguistic insights from the comfort of your couch. Below you will find my top ten favorite Japanese movies of all time, divided into three categories: 1) “Samurai & Fighting Flicks” for those who enjoy epic hero tales and aren’t squeamish of violence, 2) “Windows Into Japanese Culture” for those want to see different facets of life in modern Japan (some good, some sad), and 3) “Lighthearted & Humorous Films” for days when you need a good laugh. Limiting my list to ten movies was no easy task as Japan is home to prolific filmmakers and some of the best directors in the world.