Language

Top Free Podcasts for Language Learners

M.C.November 26, 20195-min read

Podcasts have the great ability to engage one’s mind and immerse oneself in any topic, wherever you may be. They are also a great way to maximize time and enjoyment spent plodding through everyday tasks.

As you can tell, we are major podcast enthusiasts here at Tandem HQ. We have discovered that the world of linguistic podcasts is vast and varied, and there are a plethora of podcasts out there for you language-lovers. Whether you are a beginner in Korean, advanced in German or just feeling inspired to learn a new language, we’ve got you covered with THE go-to list of free language learning podcasts!

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Wait, one thing first…

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Can Podcasts Really Help You Learn a Language?

It is debated whether or not language podcasts are effective language learning resources. It’s true that podcasts shouldn’t necessarily be used as your sole language learning tool, however, in conjunction with language lessons, for example, they are quite powerful at reinforcing your language skills. Here’s why:

Skills training: Podcasts hone your listening, oral and communication skills in general. Some podcasts even offer transcripts or learning material, which also sharpens your reading and retention skills.

Vocabulary building: Podcasts introduce you to new vocabulary and within the context of topics that especially interests you.

Active or passive listening: Whether it’s passive listening on your daily commute, or active listening while you’re in some seriously focused study time, podcasts are great for both!

Stimulation: You can simultaneously learn practically any topic under the sun while also improving your language learning skills. This method of language learning is more engaging and stimulating, and will, therefore, enhance your motivation to learn or improve on a language.

Accessibility: There are many platforms that offer a vast array of free podcasts— Spotify, Stitcher, Google/ Apple podcast app, Podbean or simply on websites, to name a few.

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How to Select the Right Podcast Series for You

1. Check the language level of the content

Podcasts may target beginners, intermediate or advanced language learners. Selecting a podcast that’s at the right level for you will ensure that the podcast challenges you without leaving you feeling overwhelmed.

2. Look at the topics covered in the podcast

Some podcasts focus more on cultural aspects, while others delve deeply into grammar rules. Have a think about what you are looking for in a podcast and what you would like to learn.

3. How long do you want to commit to listening to a podcast?

The length of episodes varies from a couple of minutes to sometimes an hour each, so it’s important to select a podcast that fits well into the time you have available.

4. Consider native podcasts

A great language learning strategy for advanced listeners is to consider native podcasts that don’t necessarily cover language-related content at all.

5. Try out before committing

There’s no harm in trying out different podcast series to find one that suits you. You might find that you have more of a connection to a certain podcast host over another.

Podcasts Series for Multiple Languages

Language Transfer

Level: Beginner

Languages: French, German, Spanish, Italian, Swahili, Greek, Turkish, Arabic

A really lovely podcast that focuses on the logic of languages. You will learn languages in a very different way than you are used to after listening to the Language Transfer podcast. Trust us on this one.

Radio Lingua: Coffee Break

Level: Beginner, Intermediate

Languages: German, Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese

This is probably one of the longest-running language learning podcasts. It is a very popular language learning podcast and comes recommended by language learners.

News in Slow

Level: Intermediate

Languages: Spanish (Spain/ Latino), French, Italian, German

This podcast covers a varying range of topics and also provides great resources which makes this podcast come highly recommended! earphones-music-learning

Podcasts for Learning German

Deutsche Welle

Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

If you had to limit yourself to just one podcast, this should be it. DW covers all sorts of content ranging from interviews, news stories, sports news, economics and fitness tips— practically anything and from native speakers!

Nachrichtenleicht

Level: Beginner, Intermediate

This podcast discusses news, sports, politics, and culture in simple German. They include a dictionary in every episode so you can become familiar with or recap important vocabularly used within the episode.

Easy German

Level: Beginner, Intermediate

The Easy German Podcast discusses topics from Germany and around the world while explaining words and expressions. They also have a super helpful YouTube channel which you can find linked here. We definitely recommend checking them out.

Bayerische Rundfunk

Level: Advanced

Similar to Deutsche Welle, BR covers all sorts of very interesting content, tailored more towards advanced German listeners.

Podcasts for Learning Spanish

1001 Reasons To Learn Spanish

Level: Intermediate

Learn Spanish with Juan. Each episode is conducted entirely in Spanish, at a pace that is not too slow and not too fast, with grammar and vocabulary chosen for your level.

Español Automático

Level: Intermediate, Advanced

This podcast is brought to by Karo Martinez who is a Spanish teacher, blogger, and passionate language learner. She shares language learning anecdotes, discusses real-world topics, and her personal and professional development materials.

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Podcasts for Learning Italian

30 Minute Italian

Level: Beginner, Intermediate

The 30 Minute Italian podcast covers expressions, grammar, and culture through the host Cher’s personal travel stories.

Italiano Automatico

Level: Intermediate

This podcast is available on Spotify, Podbean, and iTunes. Alberto covers a good mix of topics from grammar to culture.

Radio Deejay

Level: Advanced

Radio DeeJay is an Italian radio station. Their podcast is highly entertaining and gives you an insight into the Italian language and culture.

Podcasts for Learning English

Learn English

Level: Beginner

This English podcast is by the British Council. The vocabulary is simple and you’ll find a lot of free support materials. We advise you to download the transcript of an episode first and read it as you listen to the podcast.

Actual Fluency

Level: Intermediate, Advanced

This podcast features great guests and is not only for English learners. It doesn’t focus on grammar and vocabulary but rather it’s about getting you motivated to learn the language. Any language-lover will appreciate this one.

The BBC: The English We Speak

Level: Intermediate, Advanced

This podcast is even of interest to native English speakers. It is a weekly podcast focusing on a relatively new term of vocabulary or slang in the English language in each episode. Recent examples include “ghosting”, “big data”, and “buzzkill”.

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Podcasts for Learning Japanese

Learn Japanese Pod

Level: Beginner, Intermediate

This is a great podcast if you are just starting out with Japanese as it covers pronunciation and listening skills, and Japanese grammar, and vocabulary.

NHK Main News Podcast

Level: Intermediate, Advanced

NHK is Japan's national broadcasting organization. This is a great podcast to get up-to-date Japanese news, while simultaneously building on your vocabulary and comprehension of the language.

Podcasts for Learning Korean

Let’s Learn Korean

Level: Beginner

Designed by Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) World, a South Korean TV Channel. Each episode includes an overview of essential sentences and vocabulary while providing accompanying transcripts. If English isn’t your native language, they provide the podcasts in ten different languages, including French, Indonesian, Russian, and German!

SpongeMind Podcast

Level: Intermediate, advanced

This one is a fantastic resource for you Korean language learners. They release two versions of the same episode– one in Korean and one in English. Genius!

Podcasts for Learning Russian

Speaking Russian

Level: Beginner

If you’ve just started learning Russian as a foreign language, this is for you. This podcast releases short weekly episodes covering the basics of the language.

Slow Russian

Level: Intermediate

This podcast does exactly what it says. The Russian language is finally spoken slow enough to understand it! Daria, the podcast’s host and Russian teacher covers many cultural topics. Her website and YouTube channel also provides really useful content and resources.

Radio Mayek

Level: Advanced

As Radio Mayek is a Russian radio broadcasting company, their content is vast and varied, making it a treasure trove for Russian language learners.