Productive podcasts for language learners

This week we'll be looking at some of the best - and lesser known - podcasts available for those wanting to improve their language skills.

Brighten Youth Education Centre

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

This week we'll be looking at some of the best - and lesser known - podcasts available for those wanting to improve their language skills.

Podcast are only one element of successful language study, but they are brilliant for brushing up your skills at odd moments of the day when more focused or structured study isn't possible - for example, at the gym, when out for a walk or during your morning commute. Even better, the majority of our picks here are completely free.

For those of you with an interest in general learning styles that can be applied to any language, try Kerstin Hammes' Creative Language Learning Podcast, which offers three innovative language learning tips at the end of each episode along with all the latest news.

Or there's Deutsche Welle, which also has a website packed with resources for German learners of all levels. The Actual Fluency Podcast with Chris Broholm follows a similar format to the Creative Language Learning Podcast, and features weekly guests discussing various linguistic tops.

For those of you wanting to pick up almost any language, try the 101 Series from Innovative Language, which comes in a huge range of languages and is a great starting point.

News in Slow comes in French, Italian or Spanish and is great for learners of all levels as using news as a topic keeps your vocabulary up to date and makes your language skills more natural when interacting with native speakers.

For those of you who want to focus on French, try Talk in French with Frederic Bibard. Aside from language skills this site is a great source of information on French culture and contemporary expressions, and each lesson can be followed on Bibard's indispensable website.

Cher Hale's 30 Minute Italian is perfect for those interested in that language. Along with great information on culture, vocabulary and grammar, Hale throws in the occasional motivational episode to keep you going.

Although it's not quite right for absolute beginners, George Trombley's Yes Japan contains bite-size nuggets of information in video form available from the accompanying website.

Or you could become Spanish Obsessed with Rob and Liz. While this particular podcast is aimed at more advanced learners who want to keep up with natural Spanish conversation, Rob and Liz also produce podcasts for learners of all levels.

And for any of our fans who don't happen to be local, try Slow Chinese (itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/man-su- zhong-wen-slow-chinese/ id321733935?mt=2) although unfortunately only a Putonghua version is available at present.

So give some of these a go, improve your skill set, and spend your downtime doing something productive and amusing.

If you have any questions about our column, or the issues raised within it, please e-mail them to us: enquiry@englishlearning.edu.hk