Learn a language with podcasts
At multilingua.info we believe you should use all the resources at your disposal to learn a new language. One great new resource - our favorite of the moment, in fact - is the podcast. Even better, most of these are free. (If you really like one, though, you should donate or subscribe to their extra content to make sure this resources stays available - just like buying your language books through multilingua.info!)
There are a variety of podcasts out there, and some are better than others. What makes a great podcast?
- It's short. Pimsleur's 1/2 hour lessons are great, but if you're on a rough schedule, 2 ten-minute podcasts are even better.
- It's talk. Single- and double-rep vocab programs are the same, whether on the net or on cassette. Shows with chatty hosts keep you engaged.
- It's smart - but not too smart. You listen to these things to learn. Too fast to keep up and too slow to stay awake are not options for your valuable time.
Looking at the criteria below, here are our top picks for selected languages. If there's a great podcast we're missing, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org (subj: great podcast for x language).
ChinesePod.com. Ken Carrol and Jenny Zhu spend five to fifteen minutes a lesson making real Mandarin fun.
Serge Melnyk's Mandarin. A lot less zip that ChinesePod, but a respectable presentation by a real person, not a disembodied language cassette voice. Worth a listen if you find ChinesePod too perky.
JapanesePod101. Peter and Natsuko aren't Ken and Jenny (of ChinesePod), but they're a lot better than the review they got in Slate. Worth listening.
Learn Japanese. This looked promising, but the first episode I downloaded was half an hour. If you want extended lessons, have a look.
SpanishArriba. This is a touch language teacherish, but if you want to learn from the beginning in ten-minute blocks, give it a try.
LearnItalianPod. They talk soooo slowly at the beginning. But the content is useful.
Deutsch-Warum Nicht? Not a bad program, with some innovative stuff in terms of presentation. But Deutsche Welle's website is so awful I'm linking the podcast.net entry.
That's a start on programs we think are worth a try. For more on language learning podcasts, check out this post at AspiringPolyglot.blogspot.com.
Spanish, French and Italian
multilingua branded merchandise!