Are you hungry for a great new way to learn language?
How about a tasty learning tool you can snack on anytime?
I’ve got something to make your mouth water: language podcasts!
That’s right. Podcasts will satisfy your craving for bite-sized but filling content in your target language. Expect your listening, pronunciation and vocabulary skills to take on a whole new flavor!
Let’s check out where to find the best podcasts for your language and level, plus some great recommendations from the chef.
How to Add Podcasts to Your Language Program
There are tons of podcasts out there, right? So how do you know which ones to add to your program?
At least in the beginning, most learners will go for the first type—language education podcasts. It’s a great way to get your foundational skills in top shape.
As you become more confident, try to incorporate some authentic podcasts in your target language. Even if you don’t understand all the words, you’ll get a feel for the cadence and nuances of the language as used by native speakers.
Podcasts are great for both passive and active listening.
For passive listening, turn on podcasts in the background while you’re on your commute or getting ready for bed. It’s a low-effort way to absorb the sounds of the language. For active listening, concentrate your full attention on the podcast and take notes. You can also compile a list of the new vocabulary you hear and then try to use those words in your outside language practice.
Podcasts are like snacks. They’re a brief but welcome part of any day—and there are lots of moments where they would fit right in. Devote a percentage of your daily or weekly language study time specifically to podcast listening.
Delicious Language Podcasts for Learners to Devour
Below, we’ll give you a smorgasbord of options to find great podcasts in your target language. Then we’ll point you to some specific podcast series in several languages.
Where to Find Podcasts in Your Target Language
I’ve got great news! It’s super simple to locate addictive language podcasts! Let’s see what’s on the table.
TuneIn makes it possible to locate a wide range of podcasts in many languages. It’s also a source for foreign language radio broadcasts—which is just a little “extra!”
There are tons of different types of podcasts and the list varies depending on the language. Music, talk, sports, spirituality, news and culture are hot topics. Just click “By Language” in the lefthand search bar and select your language. You’ll see all the genres and podcasts that are available.
Not everything is available in every language, but there’s at least some content for dozens of languages, including several lesser-known ones.
There’s even a whole category especially for language learning podcasts! You’ll find educational podcasts for Spanish, Urdu, German, Japanese and more.
FluentU is a unique option that brings you the best of both worlds: authentic audio in your target language, but supercharged with language learning tools.
You’ll get real-world content such as inspiring talks, interviews, news reports and more. Each audio and video clip comes with interactive captions—just click any unfamiliar word for an instant definition, visual learning aid and native pronunciation. There are also flashcards and exercises tailor-made for each clip, so you can review and remember the words when you’re done watching.
Best of all, you don’t have to search around for content in your target language. FluentU has several programs teaching Chinese, Spanish, Russian, French and more, with content from the beginner to advanced levels. You can even branch out to media that you wouldn’t find in a standard podcast, like movie trailers, music videos, hilarious YouTube clips and more.
With the FluentU mobile app, you can download audio clips to take anywhere.
You can explore the full library in your target language for free with a FluentU trial.
Many language learners are familiar with Stitcher. They provide news, entertainment and other audio content from across the globe with their app. Chances are that if you’re studying a language, you may’ve already listened to Stitcher once or twice.
Head to the International page to find authentic podcasts in your target language. Stitcher conveniently categorizes the podcasts by both language and genre, so it’s easy to find, say, Spanish comedy podcasts or French sports podcasts.
To get a taste of culture, consider listening to podcasts about contemporary social issues, politics or the arts. It’s a great way to bring more than language into your program. Podcasts on relevant topics show us just what’s going on in other parts of the world.
Remember to note idioms and gritty language that might show up on this sometimes casual resource.
For language learner podcasts, head to the Languages category under Stitcher’s Education page.
Of course you can always do your own searches from the Stitcher home page. They have over 65,000 podcasts available! Honestly, I spent a while using this app and being perfectly content to hear native speakers delivering news in Spanish or Italian. But when I learned there are language education podcasts to work with as well, a whole new level to my learning opened up.
iTunes is a like a language-lover’s buffet—filled with lots of different choices that all look pretty good! There are so many options it can be overwhelming but don’t despair, we’ll get to the juicy parts!
If you’ve never used iTunes before, click the link above to download and install the program. Then just head to the Store and click on Podcasts.
To access podcasts from another country, change your country by looking at the bottom of the page for the little flag icon. Click on it, choose the flag of a country where your target language is spoken and you’re in!
You’ll find podcasts on a variety of topics—all in your target language. What’s not to love?
Start with one and work your way through all those that catch your interest—kind of like working your way down the buffet table, if you know what I mean!
The LanguagePod101 program is designed to take language learners from beginning to advanced using a series of podcasts. It’s available in 34 languages!
The podcast lessons focus on introducing essential communication skills in a fun, natural format. Dialogues are set up using native speakers so you’ll hear proper pronunciation. Most dialogues include cultural information on entertaining, informative issues that bring the learning potential even higher!
There are some great supplemental learning features with this resource. Use the line-by-line transcript feature to read and listen to the dialogue at your own pace. You’ll also get PDF lesson notes, vocabulary flashcards and more.
Check out the podcasts for:
PlayerFM has a page strictly for podcasts for language learners! Honestly, I browse the site and feel like I’m looking at a dessert cart in a fancy restaurant. I want to taste everything.
With podcasts on endless subjects in a dozen languages it’s no wonder I’m feeling the sugar rush. The awesome part of it all is that there’s so much to choose from—such a variety of topics—that nearly every language-learning issue is addressed in this one spot.
If you’re struggling with grammar or just need pronunciation practice, choose a podcast and get to work. If getting down to learning is an issue, there are even podcasts to help motivate learners.
It’s possible to set up subscriptions based on your favorite topics so if you’re still feeling overwhelmed by all the excellent content, let PlayerFM do the choosing! They’ll provide personalized recommendations and all you’ve got to do is sit back, listen and learn!
Do you have Alexa, Amazon’s cloud-based virtual assistant, in the house? If you do, you probably already know she’s a total know-it-all (in a non-annoying sort of way!), but did you realize she’s also got the skinny on bringing you some fabulous language podcasts?
It’s true! There’s an app called AnyPod that enables Alexa to play podcasts.
Once you add AnyPod to Alexa’s skills, just say, “Alexa, open AnyPod.” After she greets you, tell her what podcast you’d like to hear and she does the rest!
There are thousands of podcasts to choose from so search until you find one in your target language that sounds interesting. If you want to check out what’s available before getting AnyPod, search for your target language on this page.
Hint: if you want to hear something a second (or even a third) time, just ask Alexa to rewind. It’s a great way to practice pronunciation, take notes on the topic or just jot down new vocabulary words.
Tasting Menu! Great Language Education Podcasts to Try
To whet your appetite, here are some tasty language learning podcasts for several major languages you might be interested in.
This Italian learner podcast is for those who enjoy small, concise, entertaining bites of information. Their topics cover almost everything, from speed dating to holidays.
It’s very enjoyable, especially in the gym. When everyone else is scowling, I often find myself smiling!
Russian Made Easy is a series of podcasts that teaches the language from a beginning level. They provide a transcript of every podcast episode, so if you miss a word or want to review, all the material is readily accessible.
Learn French by Podcast is filled with dynamic content and is worthwhile for any French learner. There are beginner, intermediate and advanced episodes—and the topics cover everything from table manners to politics.
This podcast is a must for Spanish lovers. There are tons of episodes available for every level.
Many are topic-specific and the topics are sorted according to learning level, which makes scanning them and choosing what to hear effortless.
Japanese Bilingual News features two hosts—friends—who basically just chat. You’ll hear unscripted conversations where one of them speaks in English and the other speaks in Japanese. They have guest interviews, talk about current news and various topics—almost whatever comes to mind is open for discussion with this pair!
This entertaining Korean learner podcast includes everything from jokes to information on securing employment. The content is relevant and timely, and perfect for Korean learners!
Popup Chinese beginner-level podcasts are for those who aren’t easily offended. They’re very useful especially for getting the basics down. Just be aware they aren’t all G-rated and some content is a bit “gritty.”
The Slow German podcast series presents German culture and history in a straightforward manner. Fairytales are also part of their lineup. Some podcasts are for absolute beginners while many are intermediate level.
The All Ears English Podcast features speakers from the U.S. cities of Boston and New York. It offers a glimpse into American culture for intermediate to advanced learners. They provide exposure to idioms, expressions and give advice on making “small talk.”
Podcasts definitely spice up a language learning program. And remember, all sorts of language listening—even the fun stuff, like podcasts!—adds to your skillset.
They’re like potato chips. Try one and get hooked. Then devour a bunch for fun, fast and entertaining language learning.
Your skills will increase with each episode—but I promise, your waistline is safe!
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