Podcasts Are a Great Way to Improve Your Foreign Language Skills

There are a lot of new tools on the internet to help you keep up with a second language. You can learn new vocabulary, keep your ears in tune, and perhaps even start to learn a new language from scratch!

Podcasts are one of these tools. Podcasts are audio recordings that are available over the internet. You can either download them in mp3 format and then listen to them from your computer or iPod, or you can listen to them “live”, streaming right from the net.

I’ve been working on improving my French. One new French podcast I’ve found is called Learn French by Podcast. The podcast is “moderated” in English, but a native French speaker talks for a minute or so in French. Then, what was said is often clarified in English. Then it’s repeated in French.

This works well for me as I understand most of what they say, but there might be a word or two I don’t remember. It gives me a chance to recall it myself and sometimes it’s clarified later in the program. They also have a PDF document you can download that goes along with the podcast.

Devon, who works at Knock Knock English, has a podcast that’s geared for Japanese children who are learning English. In the podcasts, Devon speaks in English, and his co-worker Ayako, speaks in Japanese. My guess is that these podcasts would also work well for an English person who’s learning Japanese, as almost everything seems to be said in both languages.

Last, but not least, my husband, Jason Pomerantz of Fiddle and Burn, recently finished recording a podcast of the classic children’s novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. This is a great tool if you’re trying to learn English. You can download the book at Project Gutenberg and read along while you listen to the story. It’s broken down by chapter, so you don’t have to listen to the whole book all at once!

It’s a great book in its own right, so even if your first language is English, you’ll probably enjoy hearing it.

Feel free to recommend any podcasts you like in the comments below.

Happy listening!


This article was posted on Friday, June 30th, 2006 at 8:48 pm and is filed under Countries & Cultures, English, France, French, Japan, Japanese, Language Sites, Languages, Podcast, Podcasts, Recommendations, The Wizard of Oz, United Kingdom, USA, Words & Phrases. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

7 Responses to “Podcasts Are a Great Way to Improve Your Foreign Language Skills”

  1. Mainly Says:

    This is a language program (Musical Brain Trainer) that I found from Audible and it is incredible! It really works using music to help you remember the language. I can’t get over how much of it I retained in just a few listens. I fell asleep playing it on my iPod last night. I saw that it is availabe on iTunes as well.

  2. Lisa Says:

    Thanks for writing.

    I checked out the site and just wanted everyone to know that it’s something you have to purchase. All of the ones in my post are free.


  3. Devon Says:

    Thanks for the mention Lisa! Slate had a pretty good article/podcast reviewing foreign language podcasts a little while back: http://www.slate.com/id/2139939/fr/rss/.

  4. Lisa Says:

    Thanks Devon!

    I checked out the Slate article. Here are some of the podcasts for learning languages that they recommend…

    Chinesepod (for learning Mandarin)
    Spanish Phrase of the Day (one phrase only)
    A Spoonful of Russian

  5. Lisa Says:

    I just found three more podcasts for learning French.

    One is called Learn French in Boston. At this site you can listen to some French poetry with analyses of the poems and a little about the poets in French. I’d imagine you need to be at least at an intermediate level to understand it.

    The second site for learning French is called The French Pod Class. This site starts with the very beginning learning of French (make sure to start at #1 for this). It gets more advanced as you listen to more podcasts. It’s moderated in English. What I like about this one is that he plays interesting French music in the middle of the podcasts.

    The third French learning podcast is called The French Ecole. That one is more or less for beginners.

  6. Lisa Says:

    There’s a podcast for learning Italian called Inside Italian. You have to pay $1 if you want to see the written transcript of the podcast. The podcast itself is free and it’s moderated in English.

  7. Vincent Says:

    A podcast 100% french for learn french by podcast. The podcast is moderate in basic french. (level : beginner and intermediate)

    beginner start with that :




    The URL is



Leave a Reply