New year, new Spanish podcasts?

Posted on 02/01/2014


If your Spanish learning needs a new lease of life, a podcast might be just the thing. Podcasts are easy to fit into your existing routine – whether you listen to them while cleaning the house or walking to the bus stop – and are the perfect example of a SMART goal: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. “I will listen to this twenty-minute broadcast once a week while walking to my yoga class” is much more measurable (much more, in fact, all of the SMART things) than “I will get better at learning Spanish in 2014, I will I will I will, no I really mean it this time!”.

At the upper beginner to lower intermediate levels, you might want to try the Mary Glasgow Spanish Plus podcast. It’s only a minute and a half long, but I’d recommend listening to it several times, not least because sometimes a brain needs that minute and a half just to “tune in” to the foreign language. You’ll find you will understand more and more on each listen.

mary glasgow

At around the same level, or slightly above it, the various Radio Lingua offerings come in handy. Coffee Break Spanish is the one I recommend most often, and afterwards you can move on to Show Time SpanishQ & A Spanish is a good one, too. It’s in (American) English and goes over trickier grammar points, for around the lower intermediate break spanish

If you’re looking for a way to keep your upper intermediate to advanced Spanish from going rusty, or seeking to progress with it, you’ll find more podcasts than you can shake a stick at in the RTVE (Radio y Televisión Española) section of the the iTunes store. It might be worth starting out with Hablando en Plata (“to speak in silver”, or, as we would put it much less poetically, “to be blunt”). That one is around three minutes long and discusses various items of vocabulary. Sadly, it looks like it is now longer being updated, but there are twenty episodes: ideal for a daily podcast in January, while your New Year’s Resolutions are still fresh.

Another one of theirs that is of particular interest to learners of Spanish is Un idioma sin fronterasProduced in collaboration with the Instituto Cervantes, it covers language-related topics, like literary news, and also offers advice on better expressing yourself using Spanish. The length of those episodes varies widely from around fifteen minutes to almost an hour.idioma sin

If you have a particular interest in, say, jazz music, sport, or travel, they have specialised podcasts on those subjects, too, so it’s worth taking a few minutes to find a podcast that will really grab you – because you will be more likely to stick at listening to it. Clicking on the image above will take you to the RTVE website, where to the right you can click on various keywords to find podcasts on a particular theme.

Do you have a favourite podcast for learning Spanish? I’d love to hear about it if you do.


— for more hints and tips on language learning, buy Conquering Babel: A Practical Guide to Learning a Language here in the US and here in the UK.

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