7 of the Best Spanish Podcasts to Get You Back in the Groove
Thinking about developing your Spanish language skills but haven’t got the time? Perhaps work or studying mean that you can’t spare those extra few hours to compile vocabulary lists, read and practise speaking.
Fear not, for help is here in the shape of podcasts! Podcasts are an excellent means to top-up knowledge of what you’re learning, have previously learnt or just maintain your current level. Whether you’re commuting to work alongside the crowds on the metro, stuck in traffic jams in your car during your daily commute or at the gym, podcasts can be anywhere you are. The advantages are that you can always rewind that last part you didn’t quite understand, you won’t be required to carry heaps of books and most importantly, they’re free.
Most podcasts are usually released on a weekly-basis and when it comes to developing a real ‘ear’ for the language or gaining insight into the exact pronunciation of some of those difficult words, podcasts are a key linguistic tool. The best thing about podcasts is that there is something for everyone from beginner to advanced. From Spain in the Iberian Peninsula to across the whole of Latin America, podcasts will let you stay informed about all things to do with languages, as well as gaining more insight into Hispanic culture. What are we waiting for? Let’s dig in!
1. Notes in Spanish
The idea is to provide a guide for listeners from the basics of the language beyond books and provide a real-world context for the language being taught. For any beginner starting out, the challenges can be daunting. The benefit of this podcast is that it clarifies key vocab and grammar, which will help you to improve.
2. Light Speed Spanish
A good way to grasp the basics with everything from accents, vocabulary, phrases and context needed for anyone just starting out. The podcast is hosted by a couple, Gordan from England and Cynthia from Spain. They offer podcasts for all levels as well as clarification on the subjunctive and a vocabulary builder. Their beginner’s guide is a good place to start though.
3. Doorway to Mexico
This podcast offers very interesting situational-based episodes. Usually, there is somebody explaining what’s being said, and then that’s translated back into English which helps to provide more context and understanding. There is certainly an extensive range of vocabulary from airports, to slang, street food, coffee shops, navigating the local markets, dating and relationships, and even getting pulled over by the cops!
4. Spanish Obsessed
A podcast which offers a range of different levels. In this intermediate podcast, Rob from England and Liz from Colombia only speak Spanish, which provides a natural way to follow any conversation. Overall the couple discuss phrases, pronunciation, vocab and grammar which help to make it an engaging listen as they make their way through different topics.
5. Radio Ambulante
A native level Spanish-language podcast from US-radio station, NPR. This comes highly recommended. Usually the US-mainstream media has tended not to focus on Hispanic stories, but now this series recounts many untold stories from across Latin America and the US. There are usually a couple of narrators to make sure there is a clear and well-told story line to follow. In 2014 the podcast won a ‘Gabriel García Márquez Prize for Innovation in Journalism’ in terms of its excellent contribution to the industry.
A weekly podcast from Spain’s national radio (RNE), the two narrators take the listener on a journey exploring new continents, countries and cities. If you’re looking to book your next holiday but can’t decide, then it’s worth a listen. The podcast provides all of the socio-historical contexts to the places it visits on a virtual journey of sound, music and different voices.
7. Buenos Días América
The series is produced in Washington, D.C.. it originally started broadcasting back in 1940 and is the Spanish equivalent of Voice of America. It’s a little different to the US-equivalent focusing on Latin America, so ideal for anyone with a passion for the continent. It’s a daily podcast, lasting 30 minutes. Like many news podcasts, it follows the development of breaking news throughout the week.
The beauty of learning a foreign-language is that one’s learning never ceases. There are always more idioms, vocal artefacts and social dialects to pick up. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced student, there are always ways to improve. Whether you have a spare 20 minutes or an hour en route to work, these podcasts will certainly help you to improve your language, interspersing culture and some grammar along the way. As Gandhi once said “be the change you want to see in the world”, so why not get on Itunes and start perfecting your Spanish with your first podcast?