Karen’s Mashups-Show 16-Foreign Language Instruction

On this show, we’re spotlighting podcasts and other digital audio resources for learning a foreign language.

What better way to learn a new language than to listen to it spoken? There are podcasts on everything from basic beginning vocabulary and beginning grammar to advanced conversational speech. Many of these podcasts include print resources as well. Some charge for additional services like lesson guides, pronunciation practice programs, and even interactive sessions with tutors.


Some of the groups we’ve included on this show are even using innovative new technologies like Skype and Twitter for language learning. This has me thinking about all kinds of new ideas for teaching a variety of subject areas.

Foreign language classes are also producing their own podcasts. These include teacher-produced and student-produced podcasts. This is a good way to provide reinforcement and practice in an easy-to-use format.

Another good way to keep up your language skills is to listen to one of the many podcasts of news shows or other content produced in a foreign language.

Included in this show are:

Coffee Break Spanish

This podcast has a large library of shows available for learning Spanish. Most are about 20 minutes long. The podcasts here are free. A premium membership can be purchased to receive enhanced podcasts, lesson guides, and bonus materials. There are also podcasts for Coffee Break French, My Daily Phrase German, and My Daily Phrase Italian. This group also offers a cool service that uses Twitter to reinforce language learning.


This innovative group offers many series such as the newbie series, survival phrases, a culture series, and various levels including beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Some of the content is free of charge, while premium content is available as a paid subscription. The full program includes not only podcast lessons, but PDF transcripts, an opportunity to practice your own pronunciation, vocabulary review, assessments, flashcards, and interaction with an instructor.

The French Ecole French for Beginners’ Podcast

The French Ecole is a group founded to teach French to children, and they now have a podcast for both children and adults. Each show includes a PDF vocabulary sheet. One of interesting option this group offers is Skype-based language lessons. For an additional charge, you can take advantage of these 45-minute one-on-one sessions with a live tutor.

Mandarin Chinese with Serge Melnyk

Each of these lessons covers a different kind of practical situation, such as being at the post office or going to the hospital. Each podcast begins with a situational dialog, which is followed by the introduction of new vocabulary and the situational dialog translated. As with many other language podcasts, transcripts and additional resources are available for purchase.

Swahili lesson from the Foreign Service Institute

These are a series of digitized language instruction courses originally developed by the United States government. A wide variety of languages are offered, including lesson common offerings such Amharic, Chinyanja, Hausa, Igbo, Twi, and Yoruba, as well as most of the more mainstream languages. All of these courses are in the public domain, which opens up some interesting possibilities for remixing into derivative courses or podcasts.

Transition sound – Massive phase sweep by sandyrb

Since December will be a busy month for everyone, we’ll just be doing one show, but it will be a FUN one so make sure to tune in.

icon for podpress  Foreign Language Instruction [9:51m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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