language-podcasts

The Top 25 Language Podcasts for Curious Multilingual Minds

Podcasts are power-packed informational tools, and they are especially helpful in learning a new language.

How do we know? Our team of experienced language learners also happens to have its share of podcast junkies.

Needless to say, we’ve tested out a whole bunch of language learning podcasts over the years—leading to this list that highlights the best of the best.

We’re here today to give you all the benefits of our very scientific, coffee-fueled, AirPod-facilitated research.

Contents

Podcasts for Language Learning Tips

The Fluent Show

language learning podcasts

Available on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify

Recommended Episodes:

This exciting podcast series is everything a language learner—and language lover—could ever want. They cover a huge range of topics of interest to anyone who can’t get enough languages in their life.

You’ll find tips, tricks and strategies for learning a new language at any stage of the process from newbie to nearly fluent. They’ve also done interviews with some famous internet polyglots, including Benny Lewis from Fluent in 3 Months.

They review all kinds of useful language tools, and they shake things up every once in a while with a quiz on linguistic trivia or a fun language-related topic.

This is a great place to start getting into language learning podcasts!

The Actual Fluency Podcast

language learning podcasts

Available on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify

Recommended Episodes:

Sounds like a good podcast for any language learner just from the title alone, right? This is a long-running podcast with over one hundred episodes—and counting! Most of the podcast episodes are simply titled with who the guest du jour (French for “of the day”) is, so you’ll have to listen to them all, without knowing the focal topic of each one, to extract all the juicy language learning ideas from them.

They explore far and wide with their guests, attending and covering international polyglot events—yes, those are a thing!—and discussing cool topics like the intersection of programming and language learning, studying entire sentences to become more fluent and setting goals for your study time. You’ll also see many recognizable names from the online world of polyglots on these podcasts, which is a nice plus.

Oh, and the background music is simple and relaxed, giving off an intellectual yet chill NPR vibe.

I Will Teach You a Language

language learning podcasts

Available on: Apple Podcasts, Spotify

Recommended Episodes:

Here’s a fantastic podcast from a big polyglot hero, Olly Richards himself. He’s nothing if not prolific, as there are over 170 podcasts currently available, each of which picks up a key niche area for language learning and digs deep into it.

Are you too busy to learn a language? Having trouble setting goals? Feel awkward Skyping with strangers for language exchanges? He’s got these topics under wraps, along with any other question you might want to ask a seasoned and successful language learner. He includes lots of his own personal experiences along the way, so most of the time it really just feels like you’re talking with a close buddy about their life.

If you enjoy Olly’s podcast, you may also be interested in his Grammar Hero or Conversations courses, which are designed to help you set up workable, step-by-step systems for learning your target language.

The Magnetic Memory Method Podcast

language learning podcasts

Available on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify

Recommended Episodes:

The Magnetic Memory Method, or MMM, is for anyone who wants to improve their memory and learn new things—and it just so happens to have incredible applications for language learners.

I mean, what language learner doesn’t want to exercise, strengthen and empower their memory? Memory is absolutely the key to learning a new language to fluency. If you can’t get your brain to latch onto new words, phrases and grammar patterns, you’re sunk.

Luckily, the MMM believes that nobody has a bad memory. They propose that, if you think you have a bad memory, you’ve bought into a prevalent lie. According to this method, anyone can have a strong memory if they “discover and nurture” their memory abilities. As someone who routinely forgets where they left their car keys, I was instantly sold when I saw this line.

Stop looking to apps to drill vocabulary into your brain. Stop instantly translating every word you don’t understand. Don’t hand your memory over to your smartphone or other gadgets. Build your memory until it’s a superpowered machine that never forgets.

The podcast is updated every week and is all about memory-building techniques which will be essential as you move forward with language lessons.

Podcasts for Specific Languages

Arabic in 60 Steps Podcast

language learning podcasts

Available on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify

Level: Beginner, Intermediate

Recommended Episodes:

This podcast covers a wide range of both the linguistic and cultural elements of Arabic. Its creator, Sam Martin Burr, also offers a larger course that provides more structure.

The Arabic in 60 Steps podcasts are also a very concise, digestible length, which can be extremely helpful for busy learners—and it also takes away any excuses for not practicing your Arabic!

Melnyks Chinese

language learning podcasts

Available on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify

Level: Beginner, Intermediate

Recommended Episodes:

If you’re looking for a well-rounded, engaging podcast, you might want to check out Melnyks Chinese.

Melnyks Chinese’s podcasts each focus on one main theme, like buying food, colors and dating. It’s set up so that beginners can start from scratch with the podcast, but more advanced students can also benefit by selecting themes that they’re less familiar with.

Plus, Melnyks Chinese offers supplemental materials to round out the podcast experience. Melnyks Chinese provides PDF transcripts of the podcasts, worksheets, extra dialogues and even videos. That’s a lot of learning material!

LearnEnglish Podcasts

language learning podcasts

Available on: iOS App Store, Google Play

Recommended Episodes:

Brought to you by the British Council, LearnEnglish Podcasts provide over 20 hours of learning divided over 60 podcasts.

The podcast features British English speakers to familiarize you with the standard “Queen’s English.”

Since these podcasts use a specialized app, they’re also exceptionally interactive. You can read along with the script of the audio and then answer questions to test your comprehension.

Topics range from general skills, like introducing yourself, to more advanced topics, like business English.

Learn French by Podcast

language learning podcasts

Available on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify

Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Recommended Episodes:

Learn French by Podcast offers nearly 200 thematic episodes.

Most podcasts by Learn French by Podcast focus on current events, and each podcast introduces key vocabulary words related to the theme. Listening to these French podcasts based on current events won’t only give you listening practice and teach you more vocabulary—it will also help prepare you to hold conversations about issues that are currently relevant.

Plus, if you need a little extra help, you can also download PDF guides to the episodes. There’s even a test for each podcast to help you see how much you’ve learned.

These podcasts were designed by teachers and lessons range from beginning through advanced levels.

German GrammarPod

language learning podcasts

Available on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts

Level: Intermediate, Advanced

Recommended Episodes:

Struggling with one or more German grammar rules? German GrammarPod is the podcast for you!

German GrammarPod focuses exclusively on grammar, allowing you to get into the nit-picky details of cases and verb tenses in an approachable format. It aims to give you “maximum effect for minimum effort”—every language learner’s dream come true!

Topics include verb tenses (including present, past, future, conditional, perfect and pluperfect), word order, cases (including dative, genitive, nominative and accusative) and more.

30 Minute Italian

language learning podcasts

Available on: Apple Podcasts, Spotify

Level: Beginner, Intermediate

Recommended Episodes:

30 Minute Italian aims to ramp up your Italian skills in podcasts that, like your favorite delivery pizza, take 30 minutes or less.

Topics include vocabulary, phrases, local culture and more. The podcast even claims to offer “sexy grammar.” Can’t all grammar be called that?

Additionally, podcasts are often offered as numbered lists, making them easy to follow and addictive. With titles like “12 Phrases for Making Friends While Traveling in Italy,” it’ll be hard to stop at just one 30-minute lesson per day. Luckily, with 100 lessons, you don’t have to.

The Tofugu Podcast

language learning podcasts

Available on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify

Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Recommended Episodes: 

If you’re looking for a fun way to learn Japanese, The Tofugu Podcast undoubtedly should be on your radar.

Tofugu is a website dedicated to the Japanese language and culture. The company also makes learning tools. One particularly awesome service is The Tofugu Podcast.

Topics include vocabulary, grammar and culture. So whether you need to understand transitive and intransitive verbs or are looking to become a Japanese TV star, The Tofugu Podcast has an episode perfect for you.

Talk to Me in Korean

language learning podcasts

Available on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts

Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Recommended Episodes:

Talk to Me in Korean is an all-around Korean learning powerhouse with video and textbooks. Its podcasts, though, will really grab hold of you like your favorite K-pop song.

Talk to Me in Korean covers vocabulary, culture and current events. There’s even a series of one-minute lessons perfect for learners with very little time to spare.

Brazilian PodClass

language learning podcasts

Available on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts

Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Recommended Episode:

With 575 podcasts under its belt, Brazilian PodClass is like a machete that will help you hack your way through the jungle of learning Portuguese.

The podcast is appropriate for all levels of Portuguese student and covers vocabulary, popular expressions, grammar, pronunciation, conversation, culture and current events.

The podcast’s website also provides transcripts of each podcast. Premium members can also access learning guides.

Speaking Russian

language learning podcasts

Available on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify

Level: Beginner

Recommended Episodes:

Speaking Russian aims to teach you the basics of the Russian language.

Each podcast focuses on a theme and introduces vocabulary based on that theme. These themes cover common topics like phone conversations, family and weather.

Plus, the podcast’s website also has additional material for each podcast. This includes audio of key words and phrases as well as written vocabulary lists to help you study.

No Hay Tos Podcast

language learning podcasts

Available on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify

Level: Intermediate

Recommended Episodes:

No Hay Tos Podcast focuses on Mexican Spanish and helps students get comfortable with conversational Spanish.

If you’re a patron of the podcast (through Patreon), you’ll get access to extras like transcripts and bonus videos. Podcasts cover a broad range of themes, especially ones relating to Mexican culture. You can even book a Spanish lesson with one of the hosts.

Podcasts with Multiple Language Offerings

News in Slow

language learning podcasts

Available on: iOS App Store, Google Play

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

Level: Beginner (all languages), Intermediate (all languages), Advanced (excludes German)

Now here’s a completely different type of podcast. The title should give you a hint as to what it does. Offered to learners of Spanish, French, German and Italian, this podcast series takes brief clips of real news broadcasts in the target language and slows them down for you. If you’re learning Spanish, you can choose between Latin American and European Spanish, which is an awesome bonus.

You can download the podcasts for free along with printable transcripts. When used online, the transcripts highlight important words and phrases, indicating that you can hover your mouse over them (or tap them on a touchscreen) for an instant English translation.

On the sidebar of their podcast sites, you’ll notice that they keep handy catalogs of expressions and grammar that have been featured in their podcasts, so that’s worth exploring as well. With a paid subscription, you’ll have access to even more useful learning features!

Radio Lingua Podcasts

language learning podcasts

Available on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify

Languages: 

  • Coffee Break Languages: French, Italian, Chinese, German, Spanish, English, Swedish
  • One Minute Languages: Introductions to over 30 languages

Level: Depends on the language

You can put on podcasts while driving, working, showering, doing errands or working out. But the difference with Radio Lingua podcasts is that it has made this its primary mission: To create the perfect podcast for on-the-go language learners.

They’re expecting you to be out and about, listening to this podcast whenever you have a spare moment! The two most popular programs they offer are podcasts called Coffee Break Languages and One Minute Languages. Both of these live up to their names, giving you super-fast language lessons you can fit into a coffee break at work, or even in one spare minute of time during your day. There’s a specific series for many different languages, so whether you’re learning Dutch, Arabic or French, these are worth checking out.

Podcasts are free to listen to, but language courses under The Coffee Break Academy come with a small fee.

Innovative Language

language learning podcasts

Available on: iOS App Store, Google Play

Languages: Options include Spanishpod101, Frenchpod101, Germanpod101, Chineseclass101, Russianpod101

Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

From Afrikaans to Vietnamese, Innovative Language has you covered with one of the best free podcast series for language learners on the web.

It’s constantly updated, with new lessons coming out for you every week, and the material is worthwhile for language learners at every level, from absolute beginners all the way up to advanced learners nearing fluency.

There’s a good chance you’ve already encountered this podcast series on the internet. The podcasts are broken down into separate sites for each language and are titled with “101,” for example, Portuguesepod101.

All of these fun podcasts are written and presented by professional language teachers, and it’s one of the most prolific and consistent language sites in the game.

Although they have a paid version of the service, thousands of professionally produced audios and videos are given absolutely free.

SurvivalPhrases.com

language learning podcasts

Available on: Innovative Language App

Languages: 34 in total; including Arabic, Chinese, Filipino, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Swahili, Swedish

Level: Beginner

This podcast series is actually owned by Innovative Language as well, but it’s quite distinct and merits its own brief shout-out here. This is ideal for newbies or travelers who need to quickly build their conversational skills.

If you’re heading off to a foreign country tomorrow and don’t know a single word in the language, this should be your online destination for learning podcasts. Download them for the flight, and you’ll be able to talk about basic, essential things quite quickly. Being a podcast for survival language, you’ll be focused on anything and everything conversational.

LingQ

language learning podcasts

Available on: iOS App Store, Google Play, Spotify

Languages: 19 courses with many more still in beta; Including uncommon offerings like Belarusian, Ukrainian, and Greek

Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

LingQ is a web-based language-learning system founded by YouTube polyglot sensation, Steve Kaufmann. There’s a community aspect to the interface that rewards you for helping your peers. LingQ also has a massive database of lessons which are composed of text documents accompanied by audio—similar to podcasts, so it’s a great way to learn languages for podcast lovers.

In addition, they offer a unique podcast series for each individual language that their site teaches. The podcasts just sound like casual, natural conversations between native speakers of the language, which will attune your ear to the sound and rhythm of the language.

Of course, these come with features like interactive transcripts and downloads to help you along—but you’ll need to have a LingQ account to access all of these.

With a Premium plan and points on this site, you’ll have access to all their podcast features, apps, vocabulary tools, one-on-one English conversations, group conversations, writing corrections and a huge variety of learning activities and quizzes.

Learn Out Loud

language learning podcasts

Available on: Website

Languages: Impossible to number

Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

The Learn Out Loud website is about all things education. It’s not just about languages, but it has plenty to offer on the subject. While they don’t produce a language podcast of their own, they serve as a sort of online warehouse for other podcasts. Browse their huge podcast directory to see what’s available for the language you’re currently learning.

You’ll spot some of the podcasts on their list in their directory, as it’s a repository for all kinds of odds and ends. They collect and direct to you any free podcast that they’ve found for offer on the net, so you’ll have to do a little exploring and a little sifting to find what you’re looking for.

The “Other Languages” category is a treasure chest for people learning less popular languages that have limited learning material out there.

Podcasts About Languages in General

The World in Words

language learning podcasts

Available on: Website

Recommended Episodes:

Produced by Public Radio International, The World in Words is less for language learners, and more for anyone who’s intrigued by languages and cultures around the world. The importance of languages for cultures and societies is stressed throughout their topical stories.

They do seem to have a strong political bias at times, so if this is bothersome to you, you can navigate around the more politically-charged stories and click on the more laid-back audio segments—the topics are teasingly descriptive, so it should be a simple matter of finding what strikes your interest!

Talk the Talk

language learning podcasts

Available on: Website, Spotify

Recommended Episodes: 

Forget walking the walk for now, here’s where you’ll focus on talking the talk. The hosts of this podcast aim to figure out what makes languages—and the people who speak them—tick. Their homepage is a bit scattered (we’ll chalk it up to them being mad scientists) but you can view a full list of their past episodes right here.

Count on these guys to ask the important questions that all linguistics nerds are dying to know, such as “Are Emoji Words?” When they’re not quibbling over these types of fascinating semantics, they also discuss learning methods, the benefits of multilingualism and the quirks of specific languages, for instance, “Is Aussie Slang Dying Out?” and “Irish.”

A Way with Words

language learning podcasts

Available on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify

Recommended Episodes:

Last night I was debating with friends whether or not sauce and cheese are technically “toppings” on a pizza, or if they’re simply the standard components of a pizza that you put toppings on. This is a debate that this humorous, intellectual podcast would probably love to sink its teeth into. After all, only a couple of weeks ago this podcast was hosting a debate over whether or not a hot dog is considered a sandwich.

All in all, this podcast is like a cross between a dictionary and a ridiculous-yet-intense debate that you have with friends for fun. You’ll get a chance to analyze (and perhaps over-analyze) the ins and outs of words and their usage, in English and beyond.

Slate Presents Lexicon Valley Podcast

language learning podcasts

Available on: Apple Podcasts, Spotify (as Spectacular Vernacular)

Recommended Episodes:

Compared to the other language podcasts above, this podcast is like their edgy little brother. They explore all the oddities, patterns and inconsistencies of the English language, even going so far as to explore the languages it’s deeply connected to, like French, German and others.

When did English speakers start using “sleep” as a metaphor for sex and death, and why? Why do some Americans pronounce “washed” as “warshed?” Why did English ditch the word “thou” and start exclusively using “you”?

This podcast seriously earns an A+ for creative, outside-the-box thinking and topics that make you go, “woah, I never thought of that” or “I’ve never heard of that before!”

Why Should Language Learners Listen to Podcasts?

Not all of us learn the same way—we all have different styles

  • Some find writing and reading new words to be most effective.
  • Visual learners find pictures do the job best. 
  • Extraverted learners enjoy learning through conversations.
  • Some like jumping into the deep end and going abroad to learn.

Good news: there’s just as much variety in podcast types as there is in learner types.

  • Some podcasts simulate a structured classroom environment—lots of vocabulary and grammar with response prompts along the way.
  • Others show you the mechanics of learning itself, which can be applied to learning languages or anything else.
  • Still more are geared for the language nerds that we are (no shame in it!), comparing and contrasting the relationships between language, culture, and history.

If you’re somebody who doesn’t like to learn through extensive reading, try watching this video for podcast recommendations in a different format.

Regardless of which type of podcast you run with, there are some unique benefits that they all have for language learners, due to their convenient format.

To improve your pronunciation

By listening to languages, I’ve found that my pronunciation of words has improved immensely! I don’t know about you, but I’ve always felt embarrassed when trying to properly convey a foreign sentence or word to a friend, only to realize I was saying it all wrong. That’s one of the gains I’ve found when immersing yourself in podcasts—you start to pick up all the correct sounds.

Listening to podcasts will familiarize you with the native way of pronouncing vocabulary, and over time—with plenty of extensive listening—this will become second nature to you.

To get started, try using audio resources designed for language learners. These will train you to quickly recognize the sounds you’ll hear in podcasts—which is essential for avoiding overwhelm.

FluentU, for example, has original audio courses for beginners that teach the basics of what you need to know first in your new language, along with slow yet crisply clear native pronunciation. This can help you build up your understanding of the more rapid-fire speech in many podcasts.

Once you’ve gone through all the audios, you could try picking out something from the video library. Close your eyes and try to focus on the audio, and then take a glance at the interactive captioning when you don’t understand a word.

After a video ends, you can take a review quiz. These use speaking, multiple-choice, and fill-in-the-blank prompts. You can also use the search bar to instantly look up unfamiliar words, and see a definition and multimedia context from FluentU’s video dictionary. 

FluentU is available on iOS, Android and through the web.

To multitask

Podcasts go where you go, and they’re hand-free while still being interactive. You can listen without sacrificing any other activities. Go ahead, keep working on that project, driving around town or generally getting stuff done.

The simple fact that you can learn and listen around the clock is a great asset. No longer do you have to wait until you sit down in a physical French class—podcasts cater to the busy family person, the employee who always works overtime and the 20-something student who’s sprinting between classrooms, libraries and the dining hall.

Listening while you work, on a coffee break or while you work out, you’re actually able to immerse yourself. Who would have thought you could get so much done at once? Podcasts provide a way for the language to come to you, to suit your lifestyle.

To promote continued learning

The beauty of learning another language is that it transports you. When you pick up another language it engages your brain and requires you to listen, think and process.

What better way to spend free time than continuously learning? If you aren’t in school anymore, picking up another language is a great way to keep your brain alert, active and engaged. Continued learning enhances your mood, gives you confidence in yourself and provides many health benefits to your mind as you age.

To gain cultural knowledge

With language comes culture. These podcasts rarely stop at just vocabulary and grammar. Even if they do stick to those traditional language topics, you’ll learn about cultures and societies just by the way they speak to one another. Are there different conjugations for speaking to different people? How does someone address their mother or father? What kind of imagery is used in the idioms, and why are those images meaningful to a certain culture?

That said, you’ll often be taught about the countries and cultures that speak your target language. It’s not uncommon for the hosts and guests of language podcasts to dive deep into discussions of culture.

How to Select a Podcast

For most of the more commonly-learned languages, you’ll have plenty of podcast options, so it’s important to choose the right one. Here are some important things to consider.

  • Find a podcast geared toward your language learning level. This will ensure the material is helpful without being overwhelming.
  • Consider what the podcast is about. Make sure it’s something that you will enjoy and really learn from.
  • Check how often new episodes are posted. If the channel hasn’t been updated frequently, you’ll have to plan ahead to find a new one to get your podcast fix.
  • See how long each podcast is. If it’s way too long to fit into your schedule or too short to meet your needs, you should look for a podcast that’s a better fit.
  • Read podcast reviews to locate the best of the best.
  • Trying listening to an episode and seeing whether you like the format, material, hosts, you name it.

So, take a click and have a listen.

 

I hope these language podcasts inspire and challenge you in your language learning. Continue to enhance your memory, boost your comprehension and deepen your cultural immersion as you learn more languages and proceed to become more and more fluent than you ever thought possible.

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