GET PODCASTING this summer…

AND ALL YEAR ROUND

Listening to English-speaking podcasts is a great way to increase your English level. Playing back parts that you don’t understand and writing down words you don’t recognize will help you expand your vocabulary.

Which podcasts should I listen to?

We are spolit for choice, and luckily there’s something for eveyone and every level. You could being with either the The Learn English Podcast from the British Council or 6-minute English from the BBC. But, look at all the options below and chose something you like and for your level.

At the beginner level, in general, you’ll find that the programs are focused on basic language skills like “Let’s learn English,” “Everyday grammar” and “Words and their stories”.

If you are at an intermediate level, Podcasts cover a wider variety of topics, including health and lifestyle, science, technology, culture, and news, which can be particularly helpful for chatting to friends in English. All podcasts come with a transcript to help you follow along. 

Once you get to the Advanced level it’s time to start listening to more authentic material made for native speakers, such as the BBC and American news. Remember that you can listen to a huge number of radio stations from the UK on the App British Radios, and it’s free!

How do you learn English with a podcast?

All language learning experts and polyglots agree that massive INPUT is essential to increase not only your listening skills but also your vocabulary, grammar, accent, and even speaking!!!!

The more you watch, read and listen, the better your English will get. But, remember to make it a habit. Check out my other Blogs about making learning a habit and creating routines.

Extra tips for Learning on the GO!

  • Take notes of new vocabulary you find interesting. NOT everything.
  • Make sure you create a specific timeslot every day. Make it a habit.
  • For a few minutes repeat what they are saying in real time if you can: this is called SHADOWING.
  • If you can, play and stop and repeat to practice your accent.
  • Learning on the GO means listening to English while you are doing other activities
  • If you don’t understand everything, you can use the subsititles or slow the speech down.

Learn English Podcast from the British Council

The Learn English Podcast is excellent for beginners. It is aimed at  English language learners from A1 to B1 levels and episodes revolve around discussion and cover common everyday situations. Every episode comes with a transcript and a support pack with exercises to test your understanding. There’s even a free app!

Where to listen

Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts

British Council website

6-Minute English from the BBC

Are you short on time? 6-Minute English fits into even the busiest schedules. No excuses! 6-minute English is a news podcast produced every week and is aimed at intermediate speakers. Each episode comes with a list of vocabulary, a thought-provoking question, and a transcript so you can follow along in case you miss some words or phrases. 

The English here is spoken at a slightly slower speed than usual, making it much easier to understand. In addition, there are hundreds of episodes going back to 2014. Try listening to one six-minute episode per day, and your vocabulary will grow in no time.

Where to listen

Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts

BBC website

The English We Speak

The English We Speak is produced every week by the BBC. This series is even shorter than 6-Minute English, with episodes only 3 minutes long. Each episode focuses on a different English idiom or expression used in the UK, such as “play a blinder,” “take the biscuit” or “to cut a long story short.”

This podcast is especially interesting if you in the UK or moving there, or just want to gain more natural English. , this program is highly recommended. The vocabulary is a bit more complex

Where to listen

Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts

BBC website

Global News by the BBC

One final mention for one of the BBC’s many English podcasts. Why not start listening to the news in English? It’s a great way to get more English language exposure into your daily routine. 

New episodes of the BBC’s Global News are published twice a day and report on issues that affect the whole planet. As you might have guessed, this show is beneficial if you would like to learn British English. 

Where to listen

Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts

BBC website

BUSINESS ENGLISH PODCASTS

Down to Business English is a podcast for people who use English as a Second or Foreign Language (ESL/EFL) in their work environment and are trying to improve their overall language skills.

In each episode, hosts Dez Morgan, Samantha Vega, and Skip Montreux discuss business news making headlines around the world. Through their discussions, they introduce professional vocabulary and phrases, review useful grammar structures, and identify cultural differences that may impact doing business in an international work environment.

Where to listen:

https://downtobusinessenglish.com/category/free-podcast/

SPECIFICALLY AMERICAN PODCASTS

Voice of America: Learning English

If you want to learn American English, then Voice of America: Learning English might be a better choice for you. It’s a clear website that offers different podcasts for beginner, intermediate, and advanced ESL learners.

Where to listen

Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts

Voice of America website

All Ears English

All Ears English is another great option if you already have an intermediate level of English and want a little more entertainment. All Ears is in American English and is presented by two ESL teachers, Lindsay from Boston and Michelle from New York City.

In very short episodes, they discuss American culture, and explain confusing English expressions in a friendly and fun way. Their motto is “connection not perfection” so expect a focus on everyday English as it is spoken in the real world!

Also, they produce the show with the IELTS in mind, so anyone about to sit the exam will find it especially useful.

Where to listen

Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts

All Ears English website

Espresso English

The Espresso English podcast is made for beginners and intermediate-level learners. It is presented by Shayna who is the teacher at Espresso English and everything from vocabulary to grammar to pronunciation is covered in the 350+ episodes.

One of the fantastic features of this podcast is the fact that there are so many episodes and they cover many common problems  The shows features American English and they only last 5-10 minutes.

Where to listen

Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts

Espresso English website

Advanced English podcasts aimed at Native Speakers

If you want to take your English to a really proficiency / near-native level, then you need to start listening to authentic material for native speakers. Here are a few suggestions for podcasts in this category.

The Joe Rogan Experience

The Joe Rogan Experience is one of the biggest podcasts globally, and in 2020, the show signed an exclusive deal with Spotify worth a reported $100 million. His podcasts with interviews are aimed at native speakers, and has a huge range of tòpics in over 1,660 episodes with subjects ranging from comedy and science to politics and sports.

You can also watch and listen to his show on YouTube.

Where to listen

Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts

Youtube

Spotify

This American Life

This American Life is a great choice for English learners who want an insight into the culture of the USA. It is a mixture of journalism and storytelling, focusing on real-life tales from citizens of all regions of the country. The stories are varied and original. One episode was taped for 24 hours in an all-night restaurant; another interviewed students at a high school which experienced a mass shooting. It has won a host of awards and is consistently rated among the most popular in the US. 

Where to listen

Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts

This American Life Website

THE LEARNABILITY SHOW by IAN GIBBS

A great show to listen to for teachers, trainers and learners. You can find out how to learn in general while improving your English. A win win! 45 minutes per episode.

Where to listen:

SPOTIFY

https://open.spotify.com/show/7DHnKutoRi6ixnJvylHcoA

Overheard at National Geographic

National Geographic is a very popular American magazine (and TV channel) famous for incredible stories and photography related to science and the environment. 

Overheard is about the discussions Nat Geo employees have had while taking breaks. Expect crazy stories from explorers, photographers, and scientists from around the world. 

Episodes last around twenty minutes, It’s perfect if you want to be amazed at the strangeness of our planet. 

Where to listen

Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts

Youtube

National Geographic website

NO SUCH THING AS FISH

When learning any new language, some people say that jokes and humour are the hardest thing to understand. Yep, it’s not easy.

 But try this British podcast where Each week Dan, James, Anna and Andy discuss their favourite facts unearthed in the past seven days. ​

New episode every Friday from 2pm

website:

Where to listen

Apple Podcasts

https://www.nosuchthingasafish.com/

TO SUM UP

I hope this has inspired you to add more English to your life. Even if you take classes, they are never enough to get you quickly to the next level. There is no substitute for exposure to a language, so get exposing yourself TODAY!!

Let me know in the comments which podcasts you listen to.

Language Learning Strategies: MUSIC

It’s no secret that listening to a language that you are learning is an incredibly good way of increasing not only your comprehension, but also your vocabulary knowledge.

If you can unite enjoyment with what you’re listening to, then your motivation is going to increase and you’re more likely to repeat the activity.

Let’s look at all the advantages of adding music to your language learning toolkit.

  1. As I mentioned before, listening to music is something that you do for pleasure and therefore it’ll be easier to do and more motivating. Compare this to listening to the news to help you learn a language.
  2. It’s very likely that if you’re learning English, you’re listening to a lot of English music already. So, it’s going to be easier to continue doing so.  
  3. According to the Economist Interactive (29/01/22), of the 50 most-streamed tracks on Spotify over the past five years, 47 were in English. Most radio stations in Spain play music in English, and YouTube has practically every popular song ever written. What this means is that you’ll never be short of material.
  4. You can always read aloud articles and stories, but most people love singing songs. With lyrics and karaoke versions of songs readily available on YouTube, you have never had a better opportunity to sing along to your favourites, and at the same time get a real feel for the words, melody and rhythm of the language.
  5. Portability. Just like podcasts, you can carry around millions of songs, especially if you have a subscription to Spotify, and therefore, you can integrate music into other activities from driving to jogging.

Music seems to tick all the boxes when it comes to language learning and if you are serious about improving quickly, you need to incorporate it into your life.

How do I learn with music?

Here are a couple of tips.

1.Pick a song you like but are not familiar with yet.

2. Listen to it without the lyrics a few times to see if you understand it all.

3. Now check the lyrics and look up any words you don’t know.

4. Listen to the song with the lyrics and notice the way the words link together as well as the rhythm and melody.

5. Now listen again without the lyrics. Do you understand the whole song now?

6. Time to sing. The best option is to memorise the lyrics and sing the song with the singers and later without them. If not, you always have the karaoke version.

7. If you really love singing and are good at it, why not join a choir? In Barcelona and other large cities there are English choir groups, and you may have the opportunity to meet English speakers. Win-Win!

If you want to know more about Personal Language Learning Strategies or improve your English pronunciation, feel free to contact me.