Where can you find fresh, engaging reading material that’s not too hard?
The solution: Magazines for language learners.
These magazines all have interesting but easy articles, and they come up with fresh materials regularly.
Plus, they’re made exactly for beginning and intermediate learners.
- What’s Unique About Magazines for Language Learners
- 8 Language Learning Magazines That All Learners Should Flip Through
What’s Unique About Magazines for Language Learners
- They’re accessible for beginners and low-intermediate level learners.
- They focus on cultural information that would be obvious to a native speaker, and therefore would not be included in a native-level magazine. For example, there might be articles about how specific holidays are celebrated in places that speak your target language. When you learn a language it’s also important to pick up on things like the most important holidays or what the school or healthcare system is like.
- Many magazines for language learners include audio recordings that can be incredibly useful for practicing listening as well as reading.
- Being magazines, these resources are updated frequently. Some are updated daily or weekly, others every two months, but the commonality is that there will be new material at a regular interval. That means you don’t have to worry about finding new resources, which makes them a huge time saver.
Language learning magazines are also a fabulous way to learn cultural basics because they explain these directly. To supplement magazines, you can immerse more in the culture through entertaining media in your target language.
Check out non-magazine texts like books and newspapers. Listen to music and podcasts. Watch native content on foreign channels, YouTube, or on the language learning programs. The videos at FluentU all have subtitles that unpack what words and expressions mean, including cultural nuances.
Whether it’s a magazine, movie clip, or app, you’ll know it’s the right resource if it gets you even more interested and excited about the language. The good news is there’s a ton of fascinating material out there waiting to be discovered by you!
8 Language Learning Magazines That All Learners Should Flip Through
Magazines from Think Language (French, Spanish and Italian)
The online magazines from Think Language are published once a month. They focus on the target culture, and all include an audio component.
For example, a recent issue of Think Spanish included articles about music traditions in Spain, the Patagonian train and the history and tradition of tobacco products in Latin America.
The magazines are called audio magazines, mostly because they all have both text and audio, so you can listen along with the text. There’s also a grammar-focused feature at the end of the magazine.
The Think Language magazines are only available online and not, for example, as an app through the iPad’s newsstand. They cost $99 for a 12-month subscription.
Bien-dire (Say It Right) is one of the oldest magazines on this list because although there’s an online component, Bien-dire is a traditional print magazine produced by one of France’s large publishing houses.
There’s a magazine for beginning/intermediate learners and another one for more advanced learners. The magazine is accompanied by an audio CD—yes, just because it’s a printed magazine doesn’t mean there’s no audio! However, the audio CDs do cost extra. The online component is meant to be a complement to the printed magazine, and there’s no way to get the full magazine experience without the hard copy.
Bien-dire is updated every two months. It certainly is the best option if you want the experience of having a new magazine arrive in your mailbox!
It costs 47 euros for a year-long subscription for just the magazine, and 99 euros with the audio CDs.
VeinteMundos (Twenty Worlds) is an online magazine produced by the language learning company Lingua Editions.
There’s some confusion about what it means to be an “online” magazine. In the case of Think Language, their magazines are published very much like a traditional magazine, but they’re accessible through an online reader. VeinteMundos is more like what most people think of by “online magazine”—it has constantly-updated articles that you read on a web page.
The articles have a multimedia component, and are focused on culture as opposed to grammar. Recent articles include one about how climate change is affecting Latin America, and a travel piece about a trip through the Amazon. Every article has audio, grammar spotlights, reading comprehension exercises and pull-out vocabulary including not just words but also popular expressions.
Finally, if you’re reading this article for English practice (or if you know someone who’s learning English), Lingua Editions also makes a similar online magazine for English learners, TeaTime-Mag.
And the best part is that they’re free!
Deutsch perfekt (Perfect German), a magazine for German learners, is produced by a publishing company in Germany that also produces language magazines for Germans to learn French and Spanish.
The product is similar to Bien-Dire. It’s a printed magazine that’s mailed to your home. You can opt, in addition to the magazine, to get an exercise book as well. If getting a printed magazine isn’t your thing, there’s also an option to receive the magazine as a downloaded PDF file every month. Every article comes with audio, and the focus is on Germany, Switzerland and Austria—not just Germany.
A 12-month subscription costs 85.20 euros.
Hiragana Times is produced in Japan for Japanese learners. The company that publishes it doesn’t produce any other magazines, although it does run a business that helps students of Japanese find language schools in Japan.
You can get either a digital or print subscription to Hiragana Times, and it’s probably not surprising that the digital version is much less expensive, especially if you want audio (which is extra for print magazine subscribers) and you don’t live in Japan (the fees are higher for subscribers outside of Japan).
Recent articles include a feature about the changing Japanese ideals for female beauty, and another about pilgrimages by anime fans to the sacred spots of anime.
There are different subscription options and costs, but for someone outside of Japan, a 12-month digital subscription costs 6,000 yen whereas a 12-month print-only (no audio) subscription costs 10,000 yen.
An easy way to try out Hiragana Times is through White Rabbit Japan, an online store that’s a great place for learners to find Japanese reading material in general. Currently, you can buy a single issue for $7.75.
Another print magazine for language learners, Tutto Italiano (Everything Italian) is for those learning Italian. It’s published six times per year, and is available either with or without an audio CD. There’s no online component to Tutto Italiano—it’s all in the print magazine!
Like the other magazines on this list, Tutto Italiano is focused on culture. The articles are graded according to difficulty, and have glossaries for vocabulary and expressions.
A year-long subscription costs 99 pounds, but a two-year subscription only costs 70 pounds more.
Uchites / Russian Life
Russian Life is an English-language magazine about Russian culture, written for non-Russians, of course.
While the primary magazine is in English and doesn’t have a language learning component, Uchites (Study) is a language-learning supplement that goes with the magazine. Uchites doesn’t actually come with the (print) magazine, but instead is posted online at the same time the magazine is mailed to subscribers.
There are occasional audio features, but for the most part both the magazine and the language learning supplement are largely text.
A subscription to Russian Life costs $39, but the Uchites supplement is free.
Lastly, Language Magazine is a magazine, in English, about language learning in general, along with other interesting topics with an international focus.
With just a click, most of the articles can be displayed in up to 8 different languages. There are many articles by language teachers, and you can sort the articles by target language. There are also articles about language schools and some cultural articles as well.
This is a good place to read about language learning, without stressing about having to do much learning yourself. Plus, it’s free!
Don’t see the language you’re learning on this list? That doesn’t mean there isn’t a magazine for learners of that language, but you might have to do a little searching.