Since its invention in the early 2000’s, podcasting has matured into a pop-culture sensation. Millions of listeners tune into their favourite podcasts each week to hear episodes on everything from world news to history and true crime, but a growing number of people are tuning in to learn a language.
Podcasts are an easy way to inject language practice into your daily routine. Listen on your morning commute, during exercise or while you clean the house. If you miss anything, you can simply rewind or repeat the episode.
For English learners, podcasts will introduce you to the various accents and dialects spoken around the globe. They showcase real conversations and sentence structures in a relaxed setting – the perfect complement to formal language classes.
How do I listen to a podcast?
When you find a podcast you like, click ‘subscribe’ to make sure you don’t miss an episode.
The podcasts mentioned in this article are available free across all major podcasting platforms.
10 best podcasts to improve your English
Espresso English is a great place to kick off your language journey, or dig into the nuts-and-bolts of English. If you can’t tell an adjective from an adverb, or you have trouble picking the correct tense to use in a sentence, this podcast will guide you in the right direction. Each episode offers advice on tricky English topics and commonly asked questions.
When you’re ready to take your skills to the next level, the Espresso English website has more than 10 courses to further your learning, whether you want to focus on grammar, vocabulary or listening.
Continuing the hot drink theme, Coffee Break English is a podcast delivered in 15-minute episodes, designed to accompany your morning tea break.
Each week, hosts Mark and Josie welcome someone from an English-speaking country to talk about an aspect of their life or culture. The second half of the show is focused on the language and themes used by the speaker. It’s a great way to hear a concept in action and then learn about the mechanics behind it.
The podcast is in slow English and it's suitable for beginners with a basic grasp of the language.
The All Ears English Podcast is one of the most well-known podcasts for intermediate English learners. Since 2014, co-hosts and ESL teachers, Lindsay and Michelle, have been encouraging their listeners to focus on ‘connection, not perfection,’ when it comes to speaking English.
Their enormous catalogue of episodes covers everything from learning American slang to succeeding at a job interview in English. There’s even an entire series dedicated to IELTS preparation.
If you’re focusing on British English, look no further than Luke’s English Podcast – an award-winning show by teacher and comedian, Luke Thompson. The long-standing podcast uses a lighthearted teaching approach to engage listeners and there’s plenty of dry, British humour in each episode.
You’ll find full episode transcripts on the Luke’s English Podcast website.
One of the best ways to master a language is to seek out content designed for young native speakers. Stories Podcast perfectly fits this brief. Each episode features a slow, simple and easy-to-follow story, whether it be an ancient myth, reimagined fairy tale or an original narrative.
The purpose of the show is to engage, rather than teach, making it ideal for language-learners who find they pick up words and grammar from memorable stories far easier than through traditional lessons.
Get your daily dose of news in English via the SEND7 podcast. Published Monday to Friday, SEND7 – also known as Simple English News Daily – delivers short, seven-minute episodes in intermediate English. Listening to slow news is a fantastic way to practice your listening skills, as you’re likely to have some knowledge of the events being discussed.
Transcripts accompany each episode, so you can read along as you listen or test your comprehension afterwards.
Unsure whether to focus on British or American English? English Across the Pond has the best of both worlds. Co-hosted by Dan, a northern Englishman and Jennifer, from the west coast of America, the podcast covers everything from vocab to idioms, culture and history. If you want to take your learning to the next level, English Across the Pond offers study plans and transcripts to members.
No list of English podcasts is complete without an entry from the BBC. 6 Minute English is a long-running weekly program that describes itself as a guide to English for everyday situations and its huge back catalogue includes episodes on comfort food, politics, cryptocurrency and everything in between.
Before you listen to an episode, have a look on the BBC website for the matching web page. Each one contains a list of key vocab from each episode, along with a transcript.
The Aussie English Podcast caters specifically for new arrivals to Australia and those planning to emigrate, but all intermediate-advanced learners are welcome to tune in. In each episode, host Pete Smissen covers Australian history, news, slang translations and cultural tidbits for those navigating their new life down under.
10. The Daily
Ready to move onto something more advanced? Try The Daily – a podcast by The New York Times. Frequently ranked in the top 10 global podcast charts, The Daily deep-dives into one news story from around the world every weekday.
Episodes run for just 20 minutes and are powered by award-winning New York Times journalism.
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