It’s a well-known fact that learning new languages opens doors for both business people and passionate travelers. From traditional textbooks to learning apps, now there are so many ways in which you can improve your language skills and achieve your professional or personal goals.
Listening to podcasts has become a very popular way to improve fluency and acquire new vocabulary. One of the best things about audio lessons is that they allow you to learn on the go, whether you’re working out, commuting, or even on your lunch breaks. No matter what your target language is or what your specific objectives are, podcasts provide a flexible and innovative way to learn for people of every age.
Below, you will find some of the best podcasts to learn languages.
1. Innovative Language Pod101
Innovative language is a comprehensive language-learning website established in 2005, and it was one of the first platforms to adopt the podcast format as a learning device. It provides libraries of brief, entertaining lessons in almost 50 languages which you can get for free on iTunes and other streaming platforms.
These lessons focus on informal, everyday language, as used by native speakers in real contexts. It’s a refreshing approach for those who are tired of outdated materials that favor grammatical accuracy at the expense of fluency and communication.
Though language students are often afraid to make mistakes in front of native speakers, what usually gives them away are not their mistakes but their level of formality. With Innovative Language, you will learn how to use the language you already know in a way that sounds more natural and relaxed.
For example, English students could learn some alternatives to the traditional “How are you?”, which might sound stiff in most contexts. Instead, they would practice greetings such as “What’s up?” and “How’s it going?”
2. News in Slow
The reason why many adults don’t learn languages is that they have very busy professional lives. Understandably, many of them prefer to listen to the news while commuting to work rather than listening to a language-learning podcast. What they don’t know is that they don’t need to choose.
The News in Slow series, available in English, German, Spanish, Italian, and French, provides the best solution for busy adults who want to learn a language but also need to know what’s going on in the world. This podcast features clips from news broadcasts from different countries that users can pause, replay, and slow down. Alongside these excerpts, the series includes transcripts that highlight relevant lexical items and grammatical forms.
With News in Slow, you can get up to date with the latest world news while you sharpen your language skills. This means, for example, that you will be able to join in your co-workers’ conversation about Lady Gaga’s performance at Biden’s inauguration ceremony without disregarding your learning time. You can get started with a free 7-day trial and then move on to a paid plan for $22.90 per month.
Every traveler’s worst nightmare is to find themselves in an awkward situation with a native speaker, desperately looking for the right thing to say in an old phrasebook, and humiliating themselves in the process. Survival Phrases is the ideal resource for people who are passionate about traveling and getting to know different cultures but are afraid of not being able to communicate in a new language.
This podcast produced by Innovative Language will teach you the essentials of almost 30 languages, including Arabic, Hindi, Chinese, Russian, and Greek. The great thing about this website is that the lessons are divided into levels, so no matter how much previous knowledge you have, you will find everything you need to have the best travel experience.
From shopping to asking directions in the street, SurvivalPhrases has you covered. For example, if you travel to Spain, you might want how to learn a few phrases such as: “¿Dónde hay un bar de tapas por aquí’?” And given how much beer Spanish people drink, you will also need to ask dónde está el baño.
Before you choose your next destination, visit SurvivalPhrases.com, and make sure you know how to say a thing or two before you travel! We promise you’ll sleep much better the night before your trip.
4. LearnEnglish Podcasts
Developed by the British Council, this series provides more than 20 hours of exclusive content divided into 60 podcasts. This is an excellent resource for students of English who want to improve their pronunciation, as it features British English speakers whose RP accent is as good as the Queen’s.
As this podcast uses a specialized app, it has interactive features that make it a true learning tool for English learners of all levels. With this app, you will be able to read along with the transcript of the podcast and then solve a quiz to test your listening skills.
What is more, you can choose your lessons from a range of topics which include Introductions, the Weather, and even more advanced ones like Business English. Download the app now and impress your classmates or coworkers with your best Stephen Fry/Dame Judi Dench impersonation.
Can you learn a language by exclusively listening to podcasts?
Audio lessons are helpful resources that will help you to improve your vocabulary and pronunciation, but they won’t take you very far if that is your only contact with the language. Rather, you should see podcasts as learning companions. Whether you are studying languages with a private tutor or in an academy, podcasts are helpful resources to strengthen your skills outside the classroom. However, if you really want to achieve fluency, get personalized feedback, and understand all the nuances involved in language use, the best thing you can do is take a course with a native teacher.
On our website, you will find online courses in almost every language. Reach out to us now and we’ll come up with a tailor-made lesson plan designed to fit your needs. Also, if you want to know how good your language skills are at the moment, take a few minutes, take a free level test, and get your results immediately!