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13 Killer Language Podcasts That Teach You How to Learn a Language

You know the classic Apple slogan, “There’s an app for that”?

These days, it seems like there’s a podcast for that.

Want to know more about your favorite celebrity? Just subscribe to Armchair Expert by Dax Shepard.

Looking for true crime stories? Give Dr. Death or Serial a listen.

Trying to keep up with the news? Check out The Daily by The New York Times.

Are you trying to learn more about languages? Well, there’s a plethora of language podcast options out there.

What do you want to know about languages? Maybe you’re trying to become fluent in a foreign tongue. Perhaps you want to figure out how your brain learns a language. Or you might want to hear how other polyglots have accomplished their language-learning goals.

Whatever you’re looking for, there’s a language podcast for that.
 


 
Learn a foreign language with videos

Types of Language Podcasts

Language Podcasts That Teach You a Language

These podcasts are designed with language learners in mind. The podcast series on this list have separate channels for each language they teach, ranging from French and Spanish to Filipino and Thai.

Language-learning podcasts make for excellent listening material. You’ll hear native speakers talk so you can grow accustomed to their accents and dialects. But many podcasts aimed at learners provide supplementary learning resources, too, such as videos, transcripts or digital flashcards.

Depending on your study schedule, language podcasts can make for great primary learning materials or secondary materials to add a little flair to your routine.

Language Podcasts That Teach You About Languages

These language podcasts have multiple purposes. Many teach us about how the brain learns languages or about how languages work. Others cover study methods for learning any language, rather than one language in particular.

Some of these podcasts have a more specific focus. For example, later in this post, you’ll read about “Bilingual Avenue,” a podcast for parents trying to raise their kids bilingual.

Language podcasts about foreign languages appeal to a wide variety of language lovers. If you’re looking for study tips or want to learn about how to learn languages, how different languages are structured or the culture behind the language you’re studying, you’ll get a kick out of these podcasts.

13 Killer Language Podcasts That Teach You How to Learn a Language

Language Podcasts That Teach You a Language

Coffee Break Languages

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Coffee Break Languages is a series of podcasts by Radio Lingua. You can use the podcast to learn Chinese, French, German, Italian or Spanish.

Depending on which language you choose, Coffee Break Languages has podcasts for up to four levels of learners. For example, French students can listen to podcasts targeting beginning to advanced learners, while Chinese learners only have access to beginner material for now.

Podcasts are held in English, with example vocabulary and dialogue in your target language. This style could prove especially useful for lower-level learners who don’t feel quite ready to immerse themselves in an hour-long podcast in their target language.

Episodes are relatively short at under 30 minutes. You’ll hear explanations of grammar concepts in episodes such as “What’s the Difference Between Mieux and Meilleur?” and learn necessary vocabulary in episodes like “A Visit to the Pharmacy in Chinese.”

If you do a little sniffing around, you’ll see that Coffee Break Languages offers a ton of fun podcast episodes that are outside of the box. For instance, Italian students can listen to episodes of the channel’s original soap opera, “La Mia Estate” (“My Summer”). And who doesn’t love a little drama with their language learning?

You can listen to podcasts on Radio Lingua’s website for free. If you pay to upgrade to Premium, you’ll access supplemental learning materials like video lessons, bonus audio clips and lesson notes.

FluentU

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You may have heard about FluentU’s videos: FluentU takes real-world videos, like news interviews, movie trailers and music videos, and turns them into language-learning lessons.

But did you know that FluentU also offers numerous bite-sized audio clips for learners?

Yep! Under “Browse,” click on “Audio” to discover recorded dialogue by native speakers. Each page includes a transcript of the dialogue, and you can even download a PDF of the transcript if you want to study vocabulary while you’re away from your computer or phone, or just have no internet connection.

After listening to the audio, click on “Quiz” for interactive exercises to ensure you can understand, read and type the vocabulary from the audio clip.

FluentU provides audio for six levels across nine languages. One account grants you access to all nine languages, so it’s an especially useful program for anyone studying more than one language.

If you decide you like listening to FluentU’s dialogues, venture over to other parts of the website. You’ll find videos with annotated subtitles, digital flashcards, playlists and more. Access the full video and audio library for free with a FluentU trial and learn on your web browser, iOS device or Android device.

LanguagePod101

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LanguagePod101 is a series of podcasts by Innovative Language. The company offers podcasts for 34 languages, including SwahiliPod101, HungarianPod101, FinnishPod101 and ArabicPod101.

Each language program has hundreds of episodes, and popular languages like French, German and Chinese include well over 1,000.

Innovative Language features nine levels for language learners, so it’s a strong option regardless of where you are on your language-learning journey.

Podcast episodes feature dialogue between the hosts, so you’ll be able to listen to different people speak the language. Podcasts also come with supplemental learning material, such as vocabulary learning tools, spaced repetition flashcards, lesson notes and lesson discussions.

These resources break down the dialogue in the podcast and make sure you fully understand each line. LanguagePod101 turns podcasts into complete, thorough language lessons. It’s great to use as a primary language-learning resource.

SBS Radio

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Are you looking for podcasts that are entirely in your target language? Then check out SBS Radio! The online radio offers news podcasts in your target language, making it perfect for upper-intermediate and advanced students.

SBS Radio is an Australian company, so even if you’re listening in, say, German or Japanese, many of the episodes address Australian events and issues. (That makes this podcast especially interesting for Australian language learners!) There are occasional episodes about news pertaining to the culture of the target language, as well.

This podcast is great for boosting your listening skills. Many episodes feature interviews, so you’ll be able to hear people with various accents speak at different speeds.

SBS Radio offers podcasts in 68 languages, including more obscure options like Amharic, Macedonian, Persian, Estonian and Urdu.

Let’s say you’re studying German with SBS Radio. You’ll listen to episodes such as “Swiss Study Says Global Warming Is Our Fault,” “Australia: Could You Live on $40 a Day?,” and “Lantern Parade in Brisbane.” The website usually posts at least one new, super-short episode per day, so it’s easy to fit an episode into your daily study routine.

Duolingo Podcasts

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“What? Duolingo has a podcast!?”

I know, that was my reaction, too.

Currently, Duolingo only offers language podcasts for French and Spanish learners. But what they’ve put together for these languages is pretty impressive.

Each episode tells the story of a noteworthy person from a Francophone or Hispanophone country. You’ll learn about an inventor in Guatemala, a teacher in Colombia, a famous baker in Paris and a surfer in La Réunion who survived a shark attack.

Let’s say you’re listening to an episode on the Spanish podcast. Two people will tell the story, one English speaker and one Spanish speaker. They’ll take turns telling sections of the story—you may hear a couple of sentences in English, then the next couple of sentences in Spanish. There’s a transcript at the bottom of each page so you can follow along.

Duolingo’s language podcast is probably best-suited for upper-beginner or lower-intermediate students. Episodes are relatively short, usually between 20 and 30 minutes. You’ll receive plenty of guidance in English, which will give you context for the upcoming sentences in your target language.

News in Slow

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Learning a language by listening to the news is invaluable. You’ll hear native accents, learn about the culture and keep up with current events.

The News in Slow podcast seeks to make learning with the news even more useful. You’ll hear the news presented slowly enough for language learners to understand. Each episode lasts a few minutes and includes flashcards, quizzes, guides for pronunciation and grammar and more.

You can access podcasts for five languages: Spanish (Spain), Spanish (Latin America), French, Italian and German. Depending on which language you choose, you’ll be able to access episodes targeted toward different learning levels.

Wondering what type of news you’ll be listening to? Check out a French clip about Jared Kushner or a Spanish episode about insects to get a sense.

Language Podcasts That Teach You About Languages

The Fluent Show

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This podcast teaches listeners how to become fluent in a language. It’s hosted by Kerstin Cable along with Lindsay Williams, who you may know from her website Lindsay Does Languages.

A lot of listeners are drawn to this podcasts because Kerstin and Lindsay are so passionate. Between the two of them, they speak 15 languages, and they want to share their love for languages with others.

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They provide numerous helpful how-to episodes, such as “How to Learn a Language You Hated in School” and “How to Play with a Language You Love.”

The duo also covers fun facts about languages in episodes like “What Are the Easiest Languages in the World?” and “Fluent by Feeling: How Intuition Helps You Learn Languages.”

Episode lengths range from under 30 minutes to over an hour. If you’re searching for a podcast with a variety of topics and a ton of fun, give The Fluent Show a listen!

Language Stories

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Lindsay Williams from Lindsay Does Languages is back with another podcast, this time with her husband, Ashley.

In Language Stories, Lindsay and Ashley travel around the world together and interview people they meet along the way. They talk with people about the country’s culture, the language(s) they speak and more. They’re currently in Asia, so if you’re learning an Asian language or are interested in Asian culture, you should get a lot out of this podcast.

Episodes are around 30 minutes long, making them easy to listen to when you have a little spare time.

Wondering where to start? Check out “Kristang: A Tale of Two Cities” to learn about the culture behind a language you may have never even heard of before. Or listen to “Learning Vietnamese” to learn how to start studying this popular language.

Troublesome Terps

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Whether you’re a professional interpreter (or ‘terp), an aspiring interpreter or a language lover who’s fascinated by how interpretation works, Troublesome Terps will keep you entertained.

The podcast is a roundtable discussion, featuring the three hosts and professionals in the interpreting world.

Good episodes for a first listen include “Why Bother with Interpreting Research?” and “Mental Health for Interpreters.” My personal favorite is “Trumpslation with Franz Kubaczyk,” in which the hosts interview the man responsible for translating President Trump’s, um… unique speeches for German audiences.

Troublesome Terps will introduce you to big interpreters in the field, ask questions that are popping up in the industry and provide you with interpretation tips and resources. Episodes hover around an hour in length, or roughly the length of one episode of “Dark” on Netflix.

Bilingual Avenue

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This podcast is targeted toward parents trying to raise bilingual children. You’ll find everything from tips to incorporate both languages into your child’s life to learning activities to study methods.

Bilingual Avenue also airs sporadic episodes that focus on teaching your child a specific language.

Episodes are usually pretty short at under 20 minutes, although occasional episodes do run longer. Check out “Increasing Exposure for Bilingual Children,” “Is My Bilingual Child Confused?” and “My Best Games for Bilingual Kids!”

Not raising a bilingual child? You can still find ways to benefit from Bilingual Avenue.

If you teach a language in a classroom setting, this podcast will be invaluable. You can learn about activities for your students and tips for immersing them in the language.

If you’re in the beginning stages of learning a second language yourself, give this language podcast a listen. Host Marianna Du Bosq offers parents tips for teaching their kids a new language, but you can easily apply those tips to teaching yourself a new language.

I Will Teach You a Language

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I Will Teach You a Language is a fantastic supplemental resource for language students. Each episode is only 10-15 minutes. The host, Olly Richards, does his best to publish two new episodes per week. These aspects make it easy to fit a couple of listening sessions into your weekly language study routine.

Olly does publish occasional episodes about specific languages, such as “Can I Learn Italian in 4 Weeks?” and “How Can I Learn to Read Chinese?”

However, for the most part, IWTYAL covers language-learning topics that can be applied to any language. And unlike some of the other language podcasts that teach us about languages, this podcast is specifically geared toward learners.

The next time you’re looking for a short activity to break up your language study routine, check out “Is It Useful to Learn Songs?”, “How Can I Work on My Pronunciation?” or “How Do I Decide What to Study Every Day?”

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Olly’s podcast will have you thinking about why you’re studying a language, how you should study and what you want to learn.

If you enjoy Olly’s content, you’ll be happy to know that you can continue your studies with him through his Grammar Hero or Conversations courses, which are designed to help you set up workable, step-by-step systems for learning your target language.

Mango Languages

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Have you ever heard of the language learning software Mango Languages? Well, the company also airs a super useful language podcast.

Mango Languages actually doesn’t release new episodes anymore but the episodes they published in the past are definitely worth checking out.

In each episode, the host interviews a well-known polyglot or language professional for 30 minutes to an hour.

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For instance, you can listen to an interview with Alex Rawlings, Britain’s most multilingual student of 2012. He talks about the polyglot workshops he hosts and what direction he thinks language learning will take in the future.

Or check out the interview with Tim Doner, a linguistics student at Harvard. He shares how he balances life, work and studying languages and how he sets goals to learn more effectively.

By listening to interviews with some of the biggest names in the polyglot community, you can learn how they’ve achieved their goals and gather their tips to use in your own learning.

Multilinguish

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Maybe you aren’t necessarily interested in how to become fluent by this time next year, the best study methods or language conferences. In fact, maybe languages are more of a casual interest than anything else.

If that’s the case, the new Multilinguish podcast by Babbel may be your perfect podcast match. Listen to fun episodes like “The Sexiest Accents” and “The Best Travel Advice You’ve Never Heard,” or finally answer the divisive, age-old question, “Is a Hot Dog a Sandwich?”

Episodes are for the “language curious” and typically last between 30 minutes and an hour. This length and the relaxed nature of the episodes make Multilinguish the perfect podcast to listen to on your commute to and from work, while you jog on the treadmill or while you wait for your plane to board.

 

So, what do you want to learn?

How to speak Latin American Spanish? Details about life in Vietnam? Fun facts about the world’s languages?

There’s a language podcast for that.


Laura Grace Tarpley is a freelance writer based in Nashville. She writes about language learning, travel and personal finance. Follow her on Twitter @lgtarpley.

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