Want to improve your English, but don’t want to look at any more textbooks?
If so, I’ve got the answer you’ve been searching for – English podcasts.
Why Learn with English Podcasts?
English language podcasts are an excellent way to learn English quickly.
You can listen to them anytime anywhere – at your desk or while you’re on the move. What better way to pass the time during a long commute than by immersing yourself in an entertaining podcast?
With a little dedication, English language podcasts will help you quickly improve your listening skills and proficiency. One perk (benefit) is that podcasts often have transcripts (a written version of the audio). This means that you can listen and read at the same time, or look at a transcript if one part of a podcast confuses you.
At FluentU, we love this combination of reading, watching and listening. If you want more English listening practice before you try podcasts, check out the videos in FluentU’s library. We have hundreds of English language videos available right now, and every one has great subtitles to make learning easier.
When you’re ready to start listening to podcasts, I’ve selected some of the best podcasts on the net. Their styles and approaches are different, but all offer expert tuition and guidance:
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11 English Podcasts for English Learners and ESL Students
The English We Speak
Put down your textbook for a moment and learn from some of the most knowledgeable experts of the English language, the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation). This English language learning podcast series focuses on everyday phrases and slang. What you will hear is the kind of English spoken by real people all the time and will help you to speak more like a native speaker.
The podcasts are published weekly, and each one has a bite-sized duration of 3-4 minutes. Examples of common English expressions explored in the series are: “use your loaf”, “skeletons in the closet” and “take the mickey”.
The English is spoken at a slightly slower speed than normal. Every syllable is enunciated clearly. The typical format involves two presenters having a conversation with each other. Sound effects are frequently used to give the impression that the teachers are in different locations.
Podcasts in English
Variety is the spice of life and that’s exactly what these terrific podcasts give you – spoken English in an assortment of settings. Who said language learning can’t be fun and exciting?
Podcastsinenglish.com is a comprehensive English language learning podcast series with programs for beginners, intermediates and upper intermediates. There are also podcasts for those who need to use business English. The short lessons are conducted entirely in English and feature conversations between two English language speakers.
They cover a broad range of topics encompassing nearly every facet of life. Some of the subjects you may hear being discussed are the Winter Olympics, horse riding experiences and Facebook. The podcasts are short, challenging and supported by transcripts, worksheets and vocabulary tasks.
There’s something for everyone here, in a podcast series for all experience levels. You can choose from four levels of learning to match your needs – absolute beginner, beginner, intermediate and advanced. The podcasts are presented by hosts who also act out different scenes. Once a scene has been performed it is repeated at a much slower speed.
The next section of each podcast provides some culturally relevant information. This is followed by a focus on vocabulary and phrases, and definitions of some of the words the listener has just heard. The concluding section of each podcast covers grammar. These English language podcasts are conducted at a moderate pace.
You can sign up for free to see if it’s right for you!
Elementary Podcasts by the British Council
Three cheers for the UK’s British Council who have come up with a very helpful series of English language podcasts for the beginner and intermediate learner. Unusually for language learning podcasts these lessons are quite long, at about 25 minutes. You can, of course, listen in one sitting. But one of the joys of podcasts is you can pause when you want and pick up where you left off when there’s more time.
The hosts of each edition take the listener through a number of different scenarios. These are acted out in dialogue and are the kind of situations people experience every day. The podcasts also include broader discussions of some of the topics. The presentation is lively, upbeat and engaging, and the English is spoken at near normal speed. There is a lot of good accompanying material, some of which can be read beforehand to help the listener make the most of each lesson.
Hone your fine language skills to perfection by taking time out to listen to Splendid Speaking’s intriguing podcasts. They are designed for the advanced language learner who can speak reasonably good English. The podcasts offer a fascinating approach to learning the language. Each lesson features interviews and discussions with non-native English language speakers. The recordings also include expert feedback about their performances. Not only is this a very instructive way to learn, but it’s also fun to hear how other learners are coping with the language. You may be able to spot some of their mistakes!
Better at English
Better at English is an eclectic mix of English language podcasts featuring real conversations with native speakers. The topics range from the serious to the silly and light-hearted and are conducted at normal speed. Listening to real, natural-sounding conversations is a superlative supplement to classroom and textbook learning. Unlike anything else, this familiarizes the student with the pace of the language and some of its idioms and common expressions. Better English is suitable for the intermediate student and above, or for the beginner who really wants to challenge themselves. These English language podcasts are accompanied by transcripts and vocabulary notes.