Learning languages with podcasts

Last Tuesday we discussed the topic of how to learn a new language, and which means to use. Today I would like to tell you about my personal favourite means to study a foreign language, which is to say „podcasts“.

The list of the languages I have studied – or attempted to study – in the last ten years or so is endless: French, Russian, German, Modern Greek, Polish, Croatian, just to mention some of them. Unfortunately I found out that human brain has no sufficient space and power to contain all the languages I was curious about and so I decided to pick up just three: Mandarin, German and French. At the moment, I am still actively learning only the first two and – as I mentioned above – the means I use the most is podcasts.
The reason why I find them very useful is that they perfectly suit our hectic contemporary lifestyle; you can listen to them when you travel to work or school, when you do the dishes, go to the supermarket, when you have to wait hours in a doctor´s waiting room, etc., thus killing two birds with one stone.

However, it is not easy at all to find a good podcast, and even when you find a good one it is not always granted that it will be good „for“ you.
First thing you should consider when you start looking for a podcast is your language level. At the very beginning of your language adventure you should look for podcasts in which people speak in your language (or a language you already know) about the language you want to learn. On the contrary, more advanced learners may find it boring and should thus look for something different, like podcasts in which people speak only the language they want to learn: speaking „it“ and not „about it“.

For example, at the very beginning of my liaison with French, I used to listen to the Frenchpod.com´s beginner/intermediate podcasts because I really liked the way they were structured and in addition to that the speakers also have very nice voices. The same with Mandarin: at the very beginning I listened to the Chinesepod.com´s beginner episodes, then I moved to the intermediate, and now I am using the advanced ones.
As for German, at the beginning I could not find a suitable podcast, but now I really like the Slow German ones, which I think are very useful for intermediate learners.

In conclusion, I hope my few words about podcasts can help you find some inspiration for your ascent to the Babel Tower. If you have more tips or opinions about this topic, you are welcome to share them in the comments!

[Italiano]

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