How to Find the Right Foreign Language Podcast (and How to Use it to Maximize Your Learning)

    



    With Podcasts growing in popularity and becoming one of the most common ways to learn new things delve into interesting topics, and even receive news, it's no surprise that many language learners have thought about using them as a way to get better at their target language. There are even podcasts specifically for language instruction, offered in different dialects from around the world. 

    But are they all worthwhile? Should you choose a language instruction podcast or find something geared toward native speakers? If the latter is better, how do you find a good podcast? What can you search for?  How do you find one with easy-to-digest content that will still challenge you at your current level?

    I hope to answer some of your questions in this post! If you have something to add, don't be afraid to post a comment at the bottom of the page, we are all trying to get better at our target language(s) and everyone has a slightly different way of learning, your feedback could help someone else!

    First, you need to use a good podcast search engine. There are a couple websites that allow you to search and discover podcasts much easier than say, Apple podcasts or Spotify, two apps that are mainly designed for streaming. 

    Use A Search Engine Specifically Designed for Discovering New Podcasts

  • listennotes.com
ListenNotes.com is a website that calls themselves "The Best Podcast Search Engine" and offers different ways to search for new podcasts. 

  1. Type in a podcast you already love and search for similar shows
  2. Use the discovery tab to browse by location, category, and subcategory

    In this example, I used the Discovery tab, set the country to the Netherlands to find Dutch podcasts, and then browsed the top rated podcasts in all categories. You can also then filter by subcategory to see top rated news, science, spirituality, and fiction podcasts.

    Know of any other search engines? Comment at the end and I can update the post.

    Once you've gotten to the page of possibly interesting podcasts in your target language, how do you know which ones to try?

    Things to Look for in a Foreign Language Podcast

  • Involves a hobby or interest of yours 
  • Hosted by people you can understand, with good audio quality
  • 30 minutes or less
  • Easy to follow
    It's okay to listen to audio that doesn't challenge you. Often, when we are listening to podcasts, it isn't the most active listening. We may be doing something tedious, like walking the dog or doing the dishes, and want to squeeze in a little entertainment. So depending on your proficiency level, maybe go for the Kids & Family section and try to find something in there that interests you. It's also possible that you'll find something in science or news that's geared toward 12 or 14 year old kids, and that might be a sweet spot if you're learning.

    It's key to choose something that interests you because as adults, the more emotional connections we make in our target language, the easier it is to learn. This is because of neurons in your brain and how they work. The more times you come in contact with a word or phrase in a different setting (when you're paying attention and trying to understand the material), the bigger the web of connected neurons is, and the more your firm your knowledge is.

    Remember that your target language may be spoken in a few different countries, so if that's the case for you, you should set your region to those different places and see what you can find.

    The most important thing is that you understand most of what you hear, or else you won't get much lasting benefit from listening. When it becomes way too easy for you, you can find something more challenging, but until then, you should understand most of what is going on.

     Know someone who could benefit from reading this post? Share the love - send it to them!
    

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