Many people are now turning to podcasts to learn or improve their English. Podcasts are like radio or TV programs that people download from the Internet and listen when they want to on their computers or MP3 players. Once people subscribe to a podcast series, new episodes are automatically downloaded to their computers. Podcasts are portable and convenient. Here are a few that you might consider listening to:
Business English Pod is intended for advanced learners who want to learn appropriate phrases for business situations such as taking leave and negotiating. Each eposode includes example dialogs by speakers with different accents. The host discusses the behavior and the language used by the speakers in the dialog. He tells you why a phrase was used appropriately in each situation and suggests other phrases that could be used. Most episodes are less than 10 minutes long.
Englishfeed focuses on grammar. In each episode, the host Kenneth Beare explains a grammar point such as reported speech or conditionals. His explanations and examples are clear and extensive. Most episodes are less than 10 minutes long.
ESL Podcast is one of three podcasts produced by two researchers at the Center for Educational Development in California. The episodes include a story from everyday life followed by the host’s explanation of the vocabulary and expressions used in the story. Most episodes are between 20 and 30 minutes long. The other associated podcasts are TOEFL Pod and English through Stories.
- The Bob and Rob Show is hosted by two teachers of English living in Japan. The format is like a radio talk show. As they chat and discuss current events, the hosts explain the words and expressions that they use. The shows are about 20 minutes long.
Gary is a full-time college lecturer and an occasional DJ. I introduced him to podcasts sometime in February of this year. Since then, he has been listening to them religiously every single day. He started listening to podcasts for learning English such as:
However, he has been exploring the "podcastsphere" on his own and now listens to podcasts meant for native speakers. He searches for podcasts in the iTunes music store and subscribes to the ones that he finds interesting. After some picking and choosing, he has decided on these:
He likes the fact that the podcast episodes are downloaded automatically to his computer everyday and that he can listen to them whenever he wants to. He is not sure how listening to podcasts has affected his listening skills in English but feels that he can get the gist of a story quickly without getting stuck on words he doesn't understand. New words used to overwhelm him and he would feel frustrated and tune out.
I’ve recorded the stories as MP3 files for people who prefer listening to the stories rather than reading them. You can click on the link at the beginning of each story to listen to it or subscribe to a podcast of the “How I Learned English” stories by entering http://howilearnedenglish.wordpress.com/?feed=rss2 into a podcatcher such as iTunes or Juice. The second way downloads new stories as they become available and allows you to listen to the stories on your computer or MP3 player at your convenience.
audio recording of story coming soon
||Kate is currently in the field of information technology. She worked hard on her pronunciation with audio tapes during her commutes to work and recommends listening to podcasts.
“I started to learn English in middle school. At that time, I mainly learned grammar and reading. I didn’t have a chance to talk with any native English speaker until my late twenties. So when I came to the US, my pronunciation was bad. People sometimes couldn’t understand me. What helped me most to improve this aspect were listening to audio tapes that teach English pronunciation for non-native speakers and practicing with them. I borrowed some audio cassettes such as American Accent Training—A guide to speaking and pronouncing American English for everyone who speaks English as a Second Language by Ann Cook and English Pronunciation Program by Paulette Dale from a local library, and listened to them while walking to work and back home. I used to live in a place within about 30 min. walking distance from work. Each working day I would practice following the cassettes for an hour. The audio tapes taught how to pronounce English correctly and explained what mistakes a non-native speaker might make and why. A year later, my spoken English was improved a great deal. Nowadays, with the iPod or any mp3 player and many free English learning podcasts on the Internet, this kind of practice is readily available. I subscribe and listen to English Feed, Listen to English-Learn English and ESLPod. I feel that many podcasts that teach English are helpful to improving English pronunciation. As everybody knows, practice makes perfect. Although I am far from perfect, I can always say my English continues to improve as long as I keep practicing.”
Web resources that can help you with pronunciation: