Podcasts are becoming popular once again. A podcast is a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device. It is typically available as a series. New episodes are received by subscribers automatically. There are new language learning podcasts appearing all the time, so it can be difficult to know where to start and which podcasts are the best.
With podcasts, you can listen passively on the train or bus, while exercising or taking a walk, or while relaxing or before going to sleep in bed! You can also listen actively – sitting at a desk and focusing on the podcast only.
A benefit of podcasts is that within the Apple Podcast app, it’s very easy to slow down or speed up audio. You can also rewind and play again, of course! Some podcasts also provide transcripts so you can carefully check what you are listening/have listened to.
Below is a list of popular podcasts, in alphabetical order, that have been going for a long time and that might be useful to you. What you like and what is useful to you, however, will depend on your level and personal preferences. You can explore iTunes or Player.fm to find more. (Don’t forget to check out my post on Youtube channels for learning English as well!)
This is one of several podcasts for learning English from the BBC. It airs every Tuesday and comprises short clips. Each week guests come on to present a foundational area of grammar, along with applicable examples—all within 6 short minutes. I’m not a fan of learning English through grammar, but this may be appealing to some!
This podcast uses real-world, casual conversations as a starting point to language discussions. Example topics are: “4 Topics to Use on a First Date in English,” “Learn How to Meet Someone in English in a Confident and Easy Way,” and “How to Naturally Interrupt Someone in English.”
This podcast is hosted by a group of Canadian English teachers who speak slower than normal (easy to hear, but sometimes not so natural). The teachers talk about a variety of topics (not just English learning), so listening to this podcast can be a good way for beginners to learn new vocabulary.
Host AJ, the host of this podcast, is a popular teacher who also has a Youtube channel. His series is not my style, but his podcast is easy to understand and surely interesting for some.
This podcast is hosted by an American – Jennifer, and an Englishman – Dan. If you listen to this podcast, you’ll get to learn American and British English at the same time. This is a great way to improve your English listening ability and distinguish between these two main accents. The 30-minute episodes are targeted at intermediate-advanced learners.
This intermediate level podcast is perfect for students looking to expand their vocabulary. It’s one of my favorites! In each episode, a few new vocabulary words are introduced and repeated in different ways so students can get a full understanding of the words. Conversations are read out in slow and natural speeds. There is a huge database of podcasts available here – over 1800 episodes! I believe they air three times a week, so listeners can pick up words quickly and start integrating them into their conversations.
This podcast offers quick (5 minutes) episodes covering beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. Host Michael often compares commonly confused words and phrases in English.
This podcast centers on the listening aspect of learning a new language. It is less conversational. In each episode, the series host speaks about a particular subject, giving students the option of following along through a transcript that they provide. Students are then able to test their knowledge through grammar and vocabulary quizzes.
There is a large range of topics on the one-hour, intermediate-advanced episodes of this podcast. Luke’s English Podcast is a great choice if you’re looking to learn British English.
This podcast is aimed at more advanced English learners who want to further improve their speaking skills. The guests on the program are often non-native speakers of English. Each episode gives helpful feedback on guest presentations. Podcast listeners can try to figure out how the guests could communicate better, too.
But, hey, maybe you don’t care about US or UK English and you want to learn Aussie English instead! If you’re learning English to speak with those down under, then Pete’s podcast is what you want. The podcasts is for intermediate to advanced learners and lasts 10-15 minutes per episode.
If you are tired of conjugations and strict definitions of “proper” English, then this podcast might be interesting for you. The BBC series focuses on slang words and phrases spoken by real people. This will get you used to the jargon of native speakers. The lessons are short – 3-4 minutes. Like always, just make sure you practice them regularly or you will forget!
Kevin’s podcast of 20-minute, intermediate-advanced episodes combines English learning with productivity tips and TED Talks. The podcast is a great way to multi-task your English learning with useful and inspiring content.