Here’s my final collection of links: The ten best language instruction podcasts.
With the free courses, the YouTube channels, and now these podcasts, you have mountains of material to go through–and you don’t have to pay a penny. You literally have no excuse not to get going on learning a language.I love podcasts for three reasons:
- They’re verbal. If you’ve read my book Language Master Key, then you’ll know how important I think the verbal component of language is. With podcasts, you’ll hear proper pronunciation, you’ll improve your listening comprehension, and you’ll get all the benefits that come with that.
- They’re portable. You can download a podcast to your mp3 player and listen to it anywhere. Right now, my old Honda Civic has a CD player, so I burn podcasts to a disc and play it during my commute.
- They’re free. Part of the deal with podcasting is that they have to be offered at no cost. Some companies might charge for additional services, such as accompanying notes or transcripts. But the actual podcasts will always be free.
So here are my ten personal favorites.
HINT: For ease, I’ve linked to the actual websites. Sometimes these websites are difficult to navigate, though. (If I had to guess, I would say it’s to encourage people to sign up for subscriptions.) It may be easier to search for the name of the podcast in iTunes.
1. Radio Lingua – Radio lingua offers high-quality, comprehensive, professionally produced podcasts in French, Spanish, and German. They also offer shorter “one-minute” podcasts in twenty different languages.
The lessons break things down really well and are appropriate for rank beginners. Intermediate students will get benefits from some of the podcasts as well.
2. Language Pod 101 – This site offers language instruction in 31 different languages. Each podcast has a unique name tied to its language–for example, ArabicPod 101, Bulgarian Pod 101, Cantonese Class 101, etc. The sheer number of languages represented and volume of lessons are amazing.
3. Notes in Spanish – Ben from England and Maria from Spain have beginning-, intermediate-, and advanced-level Castilian Spanish conversations about a variety of topics. Don’t let Ben’s non-native status fool you. He speaks Spanish like a pro, and on the rare occasion when he slips up (possibly on purpose) Maria corrects him. This podcast significantly improved my Spanish comprehension and acquisition, and I hope that other students check it out.
4. Melnyks Chinese – Well-produced, easy-to-follow lessons. The website is also easy to navigate. Recommended for Mandarin students.
5. Better at English – I’m a native English speaker, but I listened to a couple of these podcasts while researching this article. Really good stuff. I recommend it.
6. Slow German – I came to this podcast with a certain amount of skepticism, because I don’t really like the “slow” approach to hearing foreign language texts. I think listening to a natural speaking speed is better in the long run. But Annik at Slow German won me over. She speaks at a moderate speed, so that she still sounds natural, and her choice of texts and vocabulary is spot on. She also has a great speaking voice. I’m using this right now to build my German vocabulary, in fact.
7. Brazilian Pod Class – There are a couple good options for people learning Portuguese, but I chose to highlight this one because the website contains both the audio and the transcript.
8. Viloria Pinoy Class – This is like sitting in on a Tagalog class, but from the comfort of your desk. In the samples I listened to, the content was explained clearly and succinctly. Manuel, the host, is a great teacher. When I begin studying Tagalog, I’m definitely going to use this as a resource.
9. Lingq – Lingq offers podcasts in several languages, which are designed to be studied using Lingq’s software. Even if you don’t use the software, though, the podcasts are great standalone material for intermediate to advanced learners. They’re a little difficult to find, but a Google search or an iTunes search returns them.
10. Survival Phrases – These podcasts cover very, very basic words and phrases for tourists. I think they’d be great for students who are brand new to the language as well. They’re available in 26 different languages, so there’s a good chance the one you want is covered.
Bonus 11: I also want to mention Kerstin and Lindsay’s Creative Language Learning Podcast, since they were nice enough to have me on as a guest. A great resource for people who want to get the most out of their language learning, and who treat language learning as a lifelong lifestyle, not just a temporary project.
Any I missed? Let me and others know in the comments.