Learning English with Free Audio Lessons (ESL)

These days, Open Cul­ture has been attract­ing an inter­na­tion­al audi­ence. To give you a lit­tle­sam­ple, 43% of our read­ers come from out­side the US, and they come chiefly from Tai­wan (lots from Tai­wan late­ly), Ger­many, Chi­na, Japan, France, Spain, India, Mex­i­co and Brazil. But if you count them all up over the past week, we have had vis­i­tors from 105 coun­tries over­all. Very grat­i­fy­ing.

Giv­en this, it seems worth high­light­ing some pod­casts that can help you improve your Eng­lish. (We’re assum­ing that you already know some Eng­lish, or you would­n’t be here in the first place.)

The most obvi­ous pod­cast to start with is the apt­ly titled Eng­lish as a Sec­ond Lan­guage Pod­cast (iTunesFeedWeb Site). Put togeth­er by two for­mer pro­fes­sors, this very rich and deep col­lec­tion teach­es stu­dents prop­er pro­nun­ci­a­tion, idioms and slang, and it gen­er­al­ly gets high marks. These guys seem to have a good cor­ner on the mar­ket, and they’re worth your time.

Now, there are oth­er, more focused ways to learn Eng­lish. If you’re a native Span­ish speak­er, you may want to give some atten­tion to Eng­lish for Span­ish Speak­ers, which is oth­er­wise called, Por Fin Aprende Ingles (iTunesFeedWeb Site).

Or if you’re main­ly look­ing to improve your Eng­lish for busi­ness pur­pos­es, you can check out Busi­ness Eng­lish Pod (iTunesFeedWeb Site), which will teach you to func­tion effec­tive­ly in an Amer­i­can busi­ness envi­ron­ment. Anoth­er option is ESL Busi­ness News (iTunesFeedWeb Site), a week­ly pod­cast that presents inter­na­tion­al busi­ness news in clear, slow­ly spo­ken Eng­lish. As you lis­ten to the pod­cast, you can also read a tran­script at the same time.

Final­ly, if you’re look­ing for some­thing less for­mal and a lit­tle more quirky, you can also always spend a lit­tle time lis­ten­ing to The Bob and Rob Show: Week­ly Eng­lish Lessons from a Yan­kee and a Brit (iTunesFeedWeb Site). This uncon­ven­tion­al show often uses humor to teach gram­mar and idioms to inter­me­di­ate-to-advanced stu­dents, and you’ll get a feel for both Amer­i­can and Eng­lish accents.

To learn more lan­guages, click to see our col­lec­tion: How to Learn Lan­guages for Free: Span­ish, Eng­lish, Chi­nese & 37 Oth­er Lan­guages,


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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.