The world is full of pod people.
No, not aliens—podcast fans.
And if you’re looking to learn a language, at some point, you’re bound to become a pod person.
That’s because these audio resources are tremendously useful for language acquisition. After all, they’re easy to listen to and they’re packed full of wisdom.
Plus, podcasts are available to help you learn a variety of languages, so there’s probably one out there for you.
Here are 12 language learning podcasts to teach you the most popular languages!
How to Select a Podcast
For most of the more commonly-learned languages, you’ll have plenty of podcast options, so it’s important to choose the right one. Here are some important things to consider.
First of all, pay attention to the level of content. Podcasts may target beginning, intermediate or advanced students. Selecting a podcast that’s the right level for you will help ensure the podcast helps you grow without overwhelming you.
Next, you’ll want to consider what topics are covered. Some podcasts focus more on cultural lessons, while others delve more deeply into grammar rules. Look at the podcasts available to see whether the topics covered will help you meet your goals.
It’s also useful to consider how often new podcasts are posted. If you’re hoping for material that replenishes frequently, make sure new podcasts have posted in the last few weeks. If you’re just looking for a finite amount of audio lessons, though, it isn’t a problem if new podcasts haven’t been posted in a while.
When selecting a podcast, you also might want to consider the length of each podcast. Episode lengths vary from a couple of minutes each to about 30 minutes each, so it’s important to select a podcast that fits well into the time you have available. If you only have a couple of minutes each day, select a short podcast. However, if you have a long commute, longer podcasts can help fill it up with language learning.
Following, reading and listening to podcast reviews from previous language learners is also a great strategy to help you locate the best of the best when it comes to pod-resources.
The video below will introduce you to some of the top language learning podcasts and what they can do for your language learning goals! In fact, if you’re after even more native content breakdowns, study tips and stories, then jump onto YouTube and subscribe to the FluentU channel now!
Finally, try listening to some podcasts before going all in. You might find that you prefer certain podcast hosts to others. If so, listening to these podcasts will make learning easier and more enjoyable.
12 Language Learning Podcasts to Teach You the Most Popular Languages
Innovative Language has mastered the language learning podcast game. The “Pod101” line is huge in the world of language learning.
With hundreds of podcasts available, there’s enough material out there for a language learning binge.
Topics range from beginner-level material, like basic vocabulary, to more advanced content, like slang. For instance, beginning Chinese students might enjoy “Survival Phrases” or “Basic Bootcamp.” More advanced Chinese students will benefit from “Must Know Chinese Slang.”
Plus, the variety of language options is second to none. Innovative Language offers podcasts for an astounding 34 languages. The offerings include popular languages, like Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. However, Innovative Language also offers some less commonly offered options, like Czech, Romanian, Swahili and Vietnamese.
The Arabic PodClass
While the Arabic PodClass hasn’t had new episodes in quite some time, its perennial content is still useful for Arabic students.
Podcasts cover grammar and culture, with some listening activities thrown in for good measure. The Arabic PodClass’s podcasts may be too advanced for early beginner students, but they work well as supplemental learning material for anyone studying the language.
If you’re looking for a well-rounded, engaging podcast, you might want to check out Learn Chinese.
Learn Chinese’s podcasts each focus on a main theme, like buying food, colors and dating. It’s set up so that beginners can start from scratch with the podcast, but more advanced students can also benefit by selecting themes that they’re less familiar with.
Plus, Learn Chinese offers supplemental materials to round-out the podcast experience. Learn Chinese provides PDF transcripts of the podcasts, worksheets, extra dialogues and even videos. That’s a lot of learning material!
Learn Chinese podcasts are available on iTunes and Google Play.
Brought to you by the British Council, LearnEnglish Podcasts provide over 20 hours of learning divided over 60 podcasts.
The podcast features British English speakers to familiarize you with the standard “Queen’s English.”
Since these podcasts use a specialized app, they’re also exceptionally interactive. You can read along with the script of the audio and then answer questions to test your comprehension.
Topics range from general skills, like introducing yourself, to more advanced topics, like business English.
LearnEnglish Podcasts are available on iTunes and Google Play.
Learn French by Podcast
Learn French by Podcast offers nearly 200 thematic episodes.
Most podcasts by Learn French by Podcast focus on current events, and each podcast introduces key vocabulary words related to the theme. Listening to these French podcasts based around current events won’t only give you listening practice and teach you more vocabulary, it will also help prepare you to hold conversations about issues that are currently relevant.
Plus, if you need a little extra help, you can also download PDF guides to the episodes. There’s even a test for each podcast to help you see how much you’ve learned.
These podcasts were designed by teachers and lessons range from beginning through advanced levels.
Learn French by Podcast is available on iTunes.
Struggling with one or more German grammar rules? German GrammarPod is the podcast for you!
German GrammarPod focuses exclusively on grammar, allowing you to get into the nit-picky details of cases and verb tenses in an approachable format. It aims to give you “maximum effect for minimum effort”—every language learner’s dream come true!
Topics include verb tenses (including present, past, future, conditional, perfect and pluperfect), word order, cases (including dative, genitive, nominative and accusative) and more.
German GrammarPod is available on iTunes.
30 Minute Italian
30 Minute Italian aims to ramp up your Italian skills in podcasts that, like your favorite delivery pizza, take 30 minutes or less.
Topics include vocabulary, phrases, local culture and more. The podcast even claims to offer “sexy grammar.” Can’t all grammar be called that?
Additionally, podcasts are often offered as numbered lists, making them easy to follow and addictive. With titles like “12 Phrases for Making Friends While Traveling in Italy,” it’ll be hard to stop at just one 30-minute lesson per day. Luckily, with 100 lessons, you don’t have to.
30 Minute Italian is available on iTunes.
The Tofugu Podcast
If you’re looking for a fun way to learn Japanese, The Tofugu Podcast undoubtedly should be on your radar.
Tofugu is a website dedicated to Japanese language and culture. The company also makes learning tools. One particularly awesome service is The Tofugu Podcast.
Topics include vocabulary, grammar and culture. So whether you need to understand transitive and intransitive verbs or are looking to become a Japanese TV star, The Tofugu Podcast has an episode perfect for you.
The Tofugu Podcast is available on iTunes and Google Play.
Talk to Me in Korean
Talk to Me in Korean is an all-around Korean learning powerhouse with video and textbooks. Its podcasts, though, will really grab hold of you like your favorite K-pop song.
Talk to Me in Korean covers vocabulary, culture and current events. There’s even a series of one-minute lessons perfect for learners with very little time to spare.
Talk to Me in Korean is available on iTunes.
With 575 podcasts under its belt, Brazilian PodClass is like a machete that will help you hack your way through the jungle of learning Portuguese.
The podcast is appropriate for all levels of Portuguese student and covers vocabulary, popular expressions, grammar, pronunciation, conversation, culture and current events.
The podcast’s website also provides transcripts of each podcast. Premium members can also access learning guides.
Brazilian PodClass is available on iTunes.
Speaking Russian aims to teach you the basics of the Russian language.
Each podcast focuses on a theme and introduces vocabulary based around that theme. These themes cover common topics like phone conversations, family and weather.
Plus, the podcast’s website also has additional material for each podcast. This includes audio of key words and phrases as well as written vocabulary lists to help you study.
Speaking Russian is available on iTunes.
Speak Spanish with Maria Fernandez
Speak Spanish with Maria Fernandez focuses on Castilian Spanish and provides well-rounded offerings for beginning and intermediate Spanish students.
Podcasts include pronunciation information, vocabulary, dialogues and more. Podcasts aim to help you start speaking Spanish immediately and understand native speakers (even when they speak quickly). There are also plenty of drills to help you improve your pronunciation, improve your verb usage and learn and remember common words.
You can also purchase additional podcasts, PDF lessons and video lessons through the podcast website. Audio podcasts are usually 10 minutes each, though there are also a few that are longer and a few that are shorter.
Speak Spanish with Maria Fernandez is available on iTunes.
With these 12 great language learning podcasts, you’ll want to be a pod person!
And One More Thing...
If you dig the idea of learning on your own time from the comfort of your smart device with real-life authentic language content, you'll love using FluentU.
With FluentU, you'll learn real languages—as they're spoken by native speakers. FluentU has a wide variety of videos as you can see here:
FluentU has interactive captions that let you tap on any word to see an image, definition, audio and useful examples. Now native language content is within reach with interactive transcripts.
Didn't catch something? Go back and listen again. Missed a word? Hover your mouse over the subtitles to instantly view definitions.
You can learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU's "learn mode." Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
And FluentU always keeps track of vocabulary that you’re learning. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You get a truly personalized experience.
Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store.
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