As linguists in this day and age, we’re so lucky to have endless amounts of online resources, such as films, apps, audiobooks and so much more, that allow us to enhance our language skills. In the last few years, podcasts have emerged on the scene and become one of the most effective and enjoyable ways to learn a language. Listening to in-depth conversations in a foreign language will help you grasp new vocabulary, revamp your comprehension and also teach you to be more open-minded about different cultures. Without a doubt, digging into a juicy podcast will give you the complete language learning experience. In this article, we’re going to share with you some of our favourite foreign podcasts that will not only keep you entertained while you’re having to stay at home, but more importantly really make a difference to your language.
The Konnichiwa Podcast (Japanese)
Sometimes listening to a podcast completely in the target language can be a little overwhelming. Fear not however, as this is not the case with The Konnichiwa Podcast. While the weekly podcast is predominantly in Japanese as presenters My and Yurie discuss a wide range of pertinent topics, co-host Dan jumps in every now and again to give some useful language pointers and translations into English. This interesting blend is perfect for more advanced learners, who want to find out more about Japanese culture and upgrade their language with a helping hand from Dan.
Slow German Podcast (German)
We all know that studying a language isn’t solely about memorising long lists of vocabulary, doing tedious grammar exercises or reading boring texts, but it’s also just as important to understand the culture and history behind the language. This is why Slow German is one of the best podcasts out there for German students, as you’ll learn a great deal about Germany, from its rich past to delicious cuisine, as well as seriously enhance your language skills at the same time. The presenter, journalist Annik Rubens, speaks very clearly and slowly (hence the name of the podcast), so each episode is very thought-provoking and suitable for students of all abilities.
Hora dos Portugueses (Portuguese)
If you’re interested in finding out more about the Portuguese way of life, then the Hora dos Portugueses podcast is the one for you. Every week, the hosts chat with Portuguese-expats from across the world and ask them about their experiences of living abroad. By giving their honest impressions of life overseas, opening up about cultural barriers and also sharing funny personal stories, this eye-opening podcast will really make you understand what makes their culture so special and you’ll become more open-minded as a result. Better still, listening to their stories will bring your language skills to the next level and this will really pay off in the classroom.
Bear Talk (Mandarin)
Winner of the ‘Best Social and Cultural Podcast of the Year’ by iTunes in 2013, Bear Talk podcast is a must-listen for all advanced Mandarin learners. The loveable Bear Liu talks through his day to day life, gives some interesting book reviews and has compelling discussions on technology, so his podcast has a little bit of everything for everyone. Along with some great book recommendations and interesting debates, Bear Talk is a fantastic way to improve your Mandarin comprehension outside of the classroom and you’ll notice the difference it makes straight away.
Parliamo Di Cose (Italian)
If you’re new to podcasts and want something a little lighter, then Parliamo Di Cose will be right up your street. The premise of the podcast is that the host, Jacopo D’Alesio, debates about peculiar topics, which could be on anything from why getting a car is such a waste of time to wild alien conspiracy theories. Jacopo will undoubtedly make you laugh out loud, and you’ll learn a random thing or two in the process. Tuning into his short podcasts every now and again will definitely improve your Italian and put a smile on your face.
Listening to these top podcasts will broaden your horizons, make you more culturally aware and, most importantly, develop your language skills. They are the perfect way to put in that extra practice outside of the classroom with very minimal effort, and you’re guaranteed to see results in a short period of time, so make sure to check out these 5 podcasts!
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