Learning a new language is always a noble but challenging endeavor, and listening skills can be a stumbling block for many non-native speakers, considering the wide range of accents in the English language used around the world. But don't worry - we know how to help.
When it comes to improving your listening skills, it is hard to imagine a better way than getting in the habit of listening to podcasts. First of all, they are available on-demand, mostly free, and accessible from any mobile device, so it will be easier to allocate time to learn English this way.
Secondly, podcasts for learning English are not only educational and informative, but they can also be highly engaging and fun! The main rule to follow here is to choose an English language podcast, not podcasts in your native language - it might be difficult at the beginning, but you'll get used to it soon enough.
In order to perfectly understand the different accents of native English speakers and expand your everyday English vocabulary, you need to find an English learning podcast that meets your personal and educational needs. We're going to help you do just that - below, explore the best English podcasts available online!
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ESLPod — English as a Second Language Podcast
ESLPod is perhaps the best podcast for learning American English. It's most suitable for intermediate students and advanced English learners. There are already more than 1,800 Daily English episodes - each of them devoted to a different theme.
These overviews by topics are the most valuable. Each episode consists of about a 20-minute report on the subject with further analysis and a detailed explanation of the words used in conversation.
Moreover, the dialog is read twice: the first time - slowly, the second time - at normal speed. For those who want to prepare for the ESL test or just significantly expand their vocabulary, this podcast is just extremely useful. And the first issues are also pretty suitable for beginning English learners.
In addition to thematic episodes, there is also another edition of ESLPod - ESL Cafe, also known as Cultural English. Here you can listen to discussions on various issues of American culture while the presenter highlights different aspects of language learning.
You can stream audio lessons on all mobile devices and also download them to listen offline if you have any iOS device. In addition, you can get a monthly subscription that will provide you with access to listening material and texts, such as an episode transcript or an additional learning guide.
LearnEnglish Podcast — British Council
LearnEnglish is a very entertaining podcast - a full-fledged show with several presenters and interactive elements. Here you can find various topics covered, listen to explanations of grammar rules, and take a test on the British Council website to check your skills once you've finished listening.
If you want to master British English - you should start with this podcast. Textual transcripts are attached to each episode and are absolutely free of charge, and the quality of recordings is excellent.
There is also a mobile application, where you can even follow the text as you listen so as not to miss anything, making it an excellent option for beginning and intermediate learners.
Luke’s English Podcast
This podcast is not for beginners, but for advanced learners who already understand spoken English and are familiar with the classic British accent. Host Luke Thompson has been working as an English teacher for more than 15 years.
There is a lot of humor and chatter and many valuable things, including new vocabulary, British slang, and grammar explanations.
Sometimes Luke releases an episode based on a script, and other times, episodes are absolute improvisations - after all, this way helps you learn to talk like native speakers. In addition to the episode itself, Thompson creates small English grammar blocks with phrasal verbs.
Another advantage of Luke's English Podcast is that each episode lasts from one to two hours. You can turn it on in the background while doing your household chores without worrying that the recording will suddenly end.
Espresso English Podcast
Espresso English Podcast is a series of small practical lessons aimed at practicing written and spoken English. The host, Shayan Oliviera, presents the material in a coffee-talk format, allowing you to quickly learn various idioms, phrasal verbs, interesting expressions, and American slang.
Also, some episodes Shayan devoted to analyzing the most common errors non-native English speakers make in writing and colloquial speech.
On average, an episode lasts 5-10 minutes - while this may seem too short, it actually is enough to dive into the topic, provide you with a bunch of practical examples and helpful vocabulary notes, and give you entertaining examples.
On the podcast web page, you can also find a link to the author's blog. She provides quality support material, including many useful articles, video lessons, an ebook, and other learning tools for non-native speakers.
The English We Speak
These brief English lessons come from the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) - one of the most well-respected British institutions. The English We Speak is a unique format for learning slang and everyday expressions used by locals.
During 3-4 minute long sessions, presenters explain the meaning of a new word in the process. Additionally, they speak slightly slower than the average native English speaker during a normal conversation, allowing you to understand the meaning of a word or expression accurately.
This way, you can gradually improve your listening skills and learn to build the simplest dialogues for daily use.
6 Minute English Podcast
6 Minute English Podcast is performed as a dialogue between two presenters. Basically, they choose a trending topic or an important social problem, such as overconsumption, and discuss it for six minutes. The podcast’s content allows the listener not only to expand the vocabulary but also to learn how to apply specific slang expressions in practice.
Although the audio recordings are short, they are dynamic. The presenters carry out the discussion sharing the most popular and controversial opinions on the subject of a debate, providing statistics, facts, quotes to back up their arguments.
Voice of America — Learning English
As the name implies, the resource is dedicated to the study of American English. There are several categories here: lessons (level 1 and 2), materials for teachers, cultural aspects, thematic episodes (science, history, etc.), grammar rules, vocabulary tasks, and many more varied materials for ESL learners.
Apart from listening to podcasts, you can also watch video materials - each podcast has a video and a transcript, accompanied by an audio recording available for download. With such a variety, you'll never get bored listening to Voice of America. You can learn more expressions and idioms used in American English and how they differ from British English.
Voice Of America is an extensive free online resource for learning and improving English language skills. Therefore, make sure to include it in your list of self-study resources.
The Bottom Line
One of the best things about podcasts for learning English is that they always provide information about the English level you need to be able to listen to them comfortably. So, whether you're one of the advanced students or an intermediate level learner, you will indeed find something suitable.
All the podcasts mentioned above are available on several online streaming platforms, including YouTube, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and their official websites, so you can choose the most convenient way for you to listen.
Once you get in the habit of listening to audio recordings in English, don't hesitate to explore other options and start listening to podcasts from different niches, such as ones related to your hobbies or interests. This way, you will learn more about things you're fond of while continuing to learn English.
If you are interested in a versatile approach to improving your listening skills, download our Langster app. Apart from interesting stories with audio from native speakers, you will also find grammar explanations and instant translations. Have fun!