79 episodes

The Language Mastery Show brings you conversations with the world's best language learners. Get an inside look at how polyglots, linguists, and everyday people master languages the smart way, and how YOU can, too. I'm your host, John Fotheringham, a linguist, teacher, and the author of Master Japanese and Master Mandarin. For more language learning tips, tools, and immersion resources, visit LanguageMastery.com.

The Language Mastery Show John Fotheringham

    • Education
    • 4.7 • 56 Ratings

The Language Mastery Show brings you conversations with the world's best language learners. Get an inside look at how polyglots, linguists, and everyday people master languages the smart way, and how YOU can, too. I'm your host, John Fotheringham, a linguist, teacher, and the author of Master Japanese and Master Mandarin. For more language learning tips, tools, and immersion resources, visit LanguageMastery.com.

    David Stirling on the Life-Changing Rewards of Immersion & His Experience Teaching English in Thailand

    David Stirling on the Life-Changing Rewards of Immersion & His Experience Teaching English in Thailand

    David Stirling is a Thailand-based English teacher from the UK and the founder of ⁠Go-Interview.com⁠, which helps English learners build the language skills they need to get their dream job.

    In the interview, we discuss:


    How David fell in love with Thailand
    Why he got into English teaching
    The different types of teaching jobs available in Thailand
    How to break through the "intermediate plateau"
    The pros and cons of group classes and online one-on-one tutoring
    The importance of choosing a narrow niche in online teaching & business
    Why David chose business English and interviewing as his niche
    The power of having sufficiently high stakes in language learning
    David's best tips for learning Thai
    The importance of mastering sounds first
    Why you need to get corrected early and often

    📝 For show notes, visit ⁠⁠LanguageMastery.com/blog/post/david-stirling. 

    📧 Get expert language immersion tips in your inbox each week! 

    Join my FREE weekly newsletter to get the tips and tools you need to get fluent anywhere in the world. 

    👉🏼 ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠LanguageMastery.com/newsletter⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠

    • 59 min
    Author & Digital Nomad Daniel Rusteen on How He Learned Spanish After Two Failed Attempts

    Author & Digital Nomad Daniel Rusteen on How He Learned Spanish After Two Failed Attempts

    Daniel Rusteen is an author, full-time traveler, digital nomad, short-term rental expert, and former Airbnb employee. He is best known for his books Optimize Your BnB and Profitable Properties, but he has also written a book on learning languages: Zilch to Conversational.

    In our conversation, Danny shares why he failed to learn a foreign language his first two attempts, the methods he used to finally reach conversational fluency in Spanish, how to choose the right language teacher, why and how to use Anki spaced repetition flashcards, why you should learn the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet), and why you should go from "sounds to sentences" in your target language.

    📝 For show notes, visit ⁠LanguageMastery.com/blog/post/daniel-rusteen. 

    📧 Get expert language immersion tips in your inbox each week! 

    Join my FREE weekly newsletter to get the tips and tools you need to get fluent anywhere in the world. 

    👉🏼 ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠LanguageMastery.com/newsletter⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠

    • 43 min
    Former Airborne Cryptologic Linguist Ian Fritz on What He Learned at the Defense Language Institute & Spying on the Taliban

    Former Airborne Cryptologic Linguist Ian Fritz on What He Learned at the Defense Language Institute & Spying on the Taliban

    Ian Fritz is the author of What the Taliban Told Me, a nuanced look at what it was like to undertake intensive language training at The Defense Language Institute (DLI) in not one, but two languages (Dari and Pashto), serve as an "Airborne Cryptologic Linguist" (ACL) in the United States Air Force (USAF), and spy on the Taliban from low-flying gunships.

    During his two tours in Afghanistan, he eavesdropped on the Taliban for hundreds of hours, shared intelligence with various Special Forces units on the ground, and—according to official records—totaled 123 "insurgents EKIA" ("enemies killed in action").

    But the more conversations he heard below, the more conflicted he became about his job, the war, the killing, and even his desire to continue living. His increasing linguistic fluency and cultural familiarity had humanized the enemy. It created a "moral injury" that Ian feared would never heal...

    In the interview, we talk about Ian's experience learning languages at DLI, his experience as an Airborne Cryptologic Linguist, what he would do differently if he started a new language from scratch, and his best tips for beginner and intermediate language learners.

    📝 For show notes, visit LanguageMastery.com/blog/post/ian-fritz.

    📧 Get expert language immersion tips in your inbox each week! 

    Join my FREE weekly newsletter to get the tips and tools you need to get fluent anywhere in the world. 

    👉🏼 ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠LanguageMastery.com/newsletter⁠⁠⁠⁠

    • 57 min
    Language Coach Stéphane Angeles on How to Use the "Barbie Method" & Improve All 4 Language Skills

    Language Coach Stéphane Angeles on How to Use the "Barbie Method" & Improve All 4 Language Skills

    Coach Stéphane Angeles is a language coach who helps expats speak better Spanish through expert habit formation strategies, accountability, and one-on-one guidance via Zoom and audio check-ins.

    In the interview, we discuss:


    Why you should use a walkie talkie app to practice listening and speaking.
    Why you should practice writing daily (and how it can help you speak better).
    How to use the strategies of "Time," "Place," and "Target."
    The critical importance of mindset and psychology in language learning.
    Why TV shows are such an ideal language learning tool.
    Why children's books and TV shows are NOT ideal for adult learners.
    How to get repetition without boredom.
    The most common mistakes language learners make.
    Why you don't need to memorize grammar rules to speak a language well.
    Why you need to practice ALL 4 skills: listening, speaking, reading & writing.
    Why the language itself is not the hard part of learning a language.
    Why you should avoid the "comparison trap" with polyglots on YouTube.
    Why you shouldn't believe everything you think.
    Why there is no such thing as a "perfect" language resource or method.
    How to use the "Barbie Method" to practice multiple languages.

    To learn more about Steph and her Spanish coaching, check out her Spanish Speaking Academy.

    For show notes and links to resources mentioned, visit LanguageMastery.com/blog/post/coach-steph.

    📧 Get expert language immersion tips in your inbox each week! 

    Join my FREE weekly newsletter to get the tips and tools you need to get fluent anywhere in the world. 

    👉🏼 ⁠⁠⁠⁠LanguageMastery.com/newsletter⁠⁠⁠

    • 49 min
    LightSpeed Spanish Founders Gordon Smith & Cynthia Durán on Banishing Fear & Mastering Spanish Accents

    LightSpeed Spanish Founders Gordon Smith & Cynthia Durán on Banishing Fear & Mastering Spanish Accents

    Gordon Smith and Cynthia Durán are the dynamic duo behind LightSpeed Spanish, where they teach people Spanish through courses, books, and online lessons.

    In this conversation, we discuss:


    How Gordon fell in love with Spanish, how Cynthia fell in love with English, and how they fell in love with each
    How to choose which Spanish accent to learn and tips for mastering Spanish pronunciation
    The most common mistakes that English speakers make when learning the Spanish language
    How to overcome the fear of making mistakes and get more speaking practice anywhere in the world
    Their favorite Spanish language learning resources, including TV shows, Netflix series, etc.

    📧 Get expert language immersion tips in your inbox each week! 

    Join my FREE weekly newsletter to get the tips and tools you need to get fluent anywhere in the world. 

    👉🏼 ⁠⁠⁠LanguageMastery.com/newsletter⁠⁠

    • 59 min
    Coach Elena Mutonono on How to Build a Sustainable, Profitable & Rewarding Online Language Teaching Business

    Coach Elena Mutonono on How to Build a Sustainable, Profitable & Rewarding Online Language Teaching Business

    Elena Mutonono is a business coach, author, and former English teacher who helps overwhelmed online language teachers work less but make more while better serving students along the way.

    In her words:

    "I help overwhelmed and exhausted online language teachers change their teaching format so they can work less and make more. As a former ESL teacher myself, I know your struggles, fears and anxieties."

    In this conversation, we discuss:


    How Elena first fell in love with languages growing up in Ukraine.
    Why she stopped doing 1-on-1 classes.
    The most common mistakes language teachers make.
    How to create a profitable, sustainable, and rewarding teaching business.

    To learn more about Elena's coaching, books, Smart Teacher's Library community, and annual Online Teacher Summit, visit her website at ElenaMutonono.com.

    📧 Get expert language immersion tips in your inbox each week!

    Join my FREE weekly newsletter to get the tips and tools you need to get fluent anywhere in the world.

    👉🏼 ⁠⁠LanguageMastery.com/newsletter⁠

    • 45 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
56 Ratings

56 Ratings

Bre's Mac ,

Great show!

One of my favorite podcasts. Pretty sure I’ve listened to every episode now. Only comment is that I really really enjoy long-form content, and the short-form content doesn’t really match up and usually ends up getting ignored. Other than that 5/5!!!!!

Roberto264834 ,

A Must For Anyone Interested in Languages

The host seems very passionate about language learning, but tends to ramble sometimes. If you feel it coming on, you know where the fast forward button is, though. Very enjoyable nonetheless.

In Two Minds ,

Very good show.

Having listened to at least half of the episodes, I firmly believe John is performing a very valuable service here for the language acquisition community. But there is room for improvement. I wish his main goal was to extract as many great stories and insights from his guests as possible. (Jared at the You Can Learn Chinese Podcast is an absolute master at this.) John frequently interjects with his thoughts, ideas and stories in an effort to generate respect from his guest and build rapport. It’s a worthy secondary goal, but comes at the cost of frustrating long-term listeners who’ve heard it all before. John is clearly a really good guy with all of the impressive language credentials you’d wish from a host. A shorter, more tightly edited show with a greater emphasis on the guest, will propel this superior show to greatness.

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