Post by guest blogger Jamie McGhee: Jamie McGhee is a novelist, playwright and aspiring polyglot currently making her way through East Africa with a backpack.
You take the train to work every day. You go on long drives to visit relatives. You walk your dog. You hike. Why not multitask?
One thing that you can do to improve your language learning is to listen to podcasts about - well, you guessed it - learning languages. Different people learn in different ways, and you might find that podcasts can give you some really good tips on how to learn even better. In addition, they can help keep you motivated to continue with your own language learning.
We’ve curated a list of popular podcasts that you can listen to in order to give your learning a boost.
Podcasts about language learning in general
“A podcast about loving, living and learning languages.”
Kerstin and Lindsey, who write for the popular language websites Fluent Language and Lindsey Does Language, create a weekly show for aspiring polyglots. And they know what they’re talking about--they have learned over 15 languages between them.
Every week, they release an hour-long episode on a different topic. They cover everything from general language learning tips (such as, “What’s the real difference between A2 and B1?”) to interviews with successful polyglots and conglangers (David Peterson, creator of the languages of Game of Thrones, makes an appearance).
“A podcast for language learners who want to be inspired, informed and entertained on a regular basis.”
Kris Broholn gathers language experts and enthusiasts across all disciplines, from entertainment to academia.
Every week to every two weeks, Kris brings out a guest to discuss the ways that language-learning intersects with facets of everyday life. Guests have talked about everything from heritage language learning and how to reclaim the speechways of your ancestors, to feminist issues facing women within certain language-learning communities. Episodes range from 30 minutes to an hour and a half.
“You’ll get ongoing motivation on your language learning journey and tips to become a better learner.”
Author and teacher Olly Richards speaks 8 languages--and he wants to help you learn another one, whether this is your second language or your tenth.
Finding yourself losing motivation after a few months with your target language? Finally plateauing after years of progress? Just starting a new language and feeling daunted by the task? I Will Teach You a Language prides itself on providing encouraging, practical motivation to both support you through your language-learning setbacks, and help you celebrate your successes.
4. News in Slow
“Language learning through current events.”
Linguistica 360 creates this bite-sized show every week, although you can subscribe in order to receive longer programs.
Every week, two hosts recap international news at an intermediate level, making this a smart choice for beginner learners hoping to tune their ears, or for advanced learners hoping to maintain the basics. Programs are available in German, French, Italian and both Latin American and Castilian Spanish.
5. Easy German
From the creators of the educational YouTube series of the same name, the Easy German podcast interviews native speakers from all over Deutschland to talk about topics ranging from the fall of the Berlin Wall to tipping customs in Berlin. Episodes include transcripts and vocabulary lists.
Deutsche Welle produces a variety of podcasts across a range of levels, including an upper-level audio lifestyle magazine called Euromaxx, and an entry-level audio web soap called Jo Jo sucht das Glück.
Take your German to an advanced level with this linguistics-focused podcast that emphasizes the nuances and peculiarities of German grammar.
Aimed at intermediate and upper-level learners, this podcast deep dives into idioms and colloquial expressions you can use on the actual streets of France, not just in a French class.
Three times per week, take a glimpse into the life of a woman who lives in Paris. She speaks slowly and clearly, so you will learn about French customs while training your ear.
10. Discover Spanish
The 15-minute episodes are aimed at beginning speakers and break down realistic dialogue into easy-to-understand elements. Although it has not been updated recently, the archives are worth replaying.
This 30-minute podcast is great for high intermediate and advanced learners. It is hosted by both a Spanish teacher and a self-described gringo; they cover topics ranging from the best Latin American foods, to reproductive rights.
Native speakers link up to chat at an intermediate level about various everyday topics, with a focus on slang and informal expressions.
13. Russian Podcast
The title says it all. This podcast includes 200 episodes, ranging from beginner to advanced. Each podcast comes with a PDF.
14. Очень по-русски
Aimed at upper intermediate and advanced learners, this podcast tackles a different topic each episode. A transcript with English translations is also available with each episode.
15. Mandarin Bean
Learn more about daily life in China and Chinese culture with lessons that range from HSK 1 to 6.
Each episode tackles a heavy topic, with most episodes featuring debates about political turmoil, social issues and current events.
17. Language Transfer, The Thinking Method (Egyptian)
This podcast approaches languages by helping you to think like a native speaker from the very beginning. The host focuses more on understanding than on rote memorization. The Arabic course focuses on Egyptian Arabic, but courses are also available in Swahili, Greek and more.
18. AR-L (Modern Standard)
Topics cover world news, and translations are provided for each episode. They speak slowly, although the vocabulary is sometimes advanced.
19. Todo Mundo Pod
This podcast focuses on the grammar and slang of Brazilian Portuguese. Each episode clocks in at around 10 minutes.
This Seoul-based podcast releases a wide variety of radio programs that are presented in a laid-back format. Many episodes are aimed at millennials, so you’ll find the tone conversational and inviting.
No matter what you want to learn, you have plenty to choose from. Today, consider taking the time to download a few episodes for your target language (or languages!).
And if you have some favorites who did not make this list, tell us about them in the comments below!