According to the United States Census Bureau, more than 41 million Americans are fluent Spanish speakers at home. Spanish is the second most popular language in the country after English, and over 6 million learners actively study it in schools and universities.
The total number of Spanish speakers across America has crossed 50 million, which is more than in any other country except Mexico. So it isn’t a surprise that many new ways of learning the language have surfaced with the popularization of online classes. One of the closest ways you can get to classroom lectures is through Spanish podcasts.
How to Learn with Spanish Podcasts
Spanish podcasts are emerging as one of the most popular methods of learning the Spanish language. Among the many long-form methods of content delivery, podcasts rank among the most favored, covering a wide range of language content, as well as various other topics. According to Edison Research, over 75% of people living in the United States know what podcasts are, and about 50% of all households are fans.
Listen to Short, Practical Lessons
Budding learners of the Spanish language can start by listening to a podcast with brief, enjoyable lessons that listeners can immediately apply to everyday conversations. There is nothing more encouraging to novice learners than to listen to Spanish and become conversant in at least a few topics with native speakers or their fellow Spanish enthusiasts.
Listen to News in Slow Spanish
Tuning in to a podcast that features news in Spanish slowed down to a newbie’s speaking speed highlights many key differences in how the Spanish language is written and spoken. When you start listening to Spanish news programs, you will learn to use words in their proper contexts with correct, precise enunciation. However, speaking great Spanish involves a lot of improvisation, and many news programs feature interviews and documentary footage, which could be utilized by more advanced learners.
Tourist Survival Podcasts
In reality television programs like “The Amazing Race,” we’ve seen many contenders thumb through a guidebook on a foreign country’s language only to trip through pronunciation to comic effect. A great Spanish podcast for beginners can teach you all the basic phrases you need to make it through Mexico, El Salvador, and many other Spanish-speaking countries without hassle. The most popular podcast in this category is SurvivalPhrases.
Free Podcasts to Listen to in Spanish
Many podcasts that teach the Spanish language require a subscription fee to start your journey. However, some nonprofit organizations offer free podcasts to help learners get started. Podcasts like Audiria are aimed at people who are learning Spanish as a language, heritage, and cultural identity, and every episode features as much cultural education as academic education.
Top Podcasts for Learning Spanish
The best Spanish podcasts for beginners are fun, entertaining, and easy to listen to for learners from all age groups. The podcasts can cover a large number of topics, such as learning how to make sales in Spanish or how to impress potential partners for people dating native speakers. Podcasts are the best and most convenient way to learn Spanish passively in the middle of a busy day.
SpanishPod101 is a podcast that takes a convenient, step-by-step approach with its fun-sized lessons and study materials that are great for people learning Spanish in their extra time. Every lesson is designed to be short and not too hard to swallow, with a concise structure that draws its target audience from people who are just starting to advanced students.
For Spanish learners who don’t know where to start or who often find themselves zoning out halfway through many podcasts, SpanishPod101 is a great place to begin. You can create an account for free, and some of the early lessons can be accessed without a paid subscription. These features, together with the quality of the lessons, make this Spanish podcast one of the best for beginners.
The podcast’s subscription fee is as low as $4 per month for unlimited lessons, compared to many well-known services like Rosetta Stone, which charges as much as $399!
SpanishPod101 is one of those podcasts that will cost less the longer you subscribe. The topics are very well-organized, too, with each learning level corresponding to a season, which is a set of 25 lessons that can run longer or shorter depending on the topics’ complexity. Different learning paths are available for Spanish learners who are looking to use the language in specific contexts.
For example, one learning path is called “Speaking Perfect Spanish at a Restaurant” and ensures you will never mumble through Spanish when on a coffee break in Mexico. A unique learning path is called “Traveling Around: Iberian Spanish,” and it is useful if you’re planning a trip to southwestern Europe. These learning paths provide a great way for new learners who are looking for an accessible Spanish podcast to try out the language.
Coffee Break Spanish
The Coffee Break Spanish podcast is one of the many productions of Radio Lingua that help people speak a variety of languages. It’s designed to fit into your schedule no matter how busy you are, because the lessons go on for the length of a coffee break. The early lessons will help you learn how to expand your Spanish vocabulary and then use the new words you’ve learned in daily conversation.
Coffee Break Spanish podcasts last for approximately 20 minutes, and many podcasts are free on iTunes. More advanced lessons can be purchased from the Coffee Break Academy along with curriculum, transcripts, notes in Spanish, and many other assets. After your first two courses, you can move up and learn how to translate Spanish into English through various activities.
The podcast costs $104 per course, but you can acquire all four “seasons” or courses for $335, which will save you about $80. Some of the early lessons can be listened to when you sign up for a free trial, and some early levels of the many special courses can be accessed so you can see which will pique your interest. Every course is structured to follow the European Framework of Reference for Languages, which requires you to listen to four courses with 40 lessons each before you move up a level.
Season one of the podcast teaches you basic Spanish phrases and words. The words include food, pronouns, numbers, and other categories. In season two, you learn Spanish equivalents of English verb tenses, which will equip you to speak the language in daily conversation.
You’ll learn how to talk about things that happened in the past, are happening right now, and will happen in the future. Season three and four ingrain learners with the culture and heritage behind the language. All of these angles combine to make Coffee Break one of the best Spanish podcasts available.
News In Slow Spanish
You can learn Spanish in two ways: by learning how it’s written or by learning how it’s spoken. News In Slow Spanish is a podcast that can teach you both. The podcast features engaging, comprehensive, and fun content that not only will help you learn Spanish but also will keep you abreast of current events.
The podcast is perfect for learners of all levels, with a huge catalog of grammar and expression lessons delivered in a thoughtful, innovative way. A subscription costs $22.90 per month and will help listeners become advanced learners.
Duolingo Spanish Podcast
The Duolingo Spanish Podcast is made by one of the most ubiquitous services in the world for learning a second language. It stands out among other Spanish podcasts because of its high production values, great storytelling structure, and quality narration.
The podcast features an English narrator who tells stories of people from South and Central America. The script is perfect for learners who already understand the indefinite, perfect, and imperfect tenses of the Spanish language. It’s also well-suited for teenagers who want to take notes in Spanish because the stories feature no violence or other harsh material that’s prevalent in many American shows and music today.
Radio Ambulante is a journalistic podcast that tells little-known stories from many places in the world where people speak Spanish. With over 150 well-produced episodes and 6 million downloads in 2019, it stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the best Spanish podcasts that people can use to learn the language and expand their horizons a little more.
Españolistos is a Spanish podcast created by Colombian Spanish language teacher Andrea, and Nate, a gringo. Every week brings a new episode that is 99% written and spoken in Spanish with an American twist. The podcast covers a wide range of interesting topics like the best places to visit in Argentina or the best movies to watch when you’re learning Spanish.
Notes in Spanish
The Notes in Spanish podcast is mostly directed toward intermediate to advanced speakers. Made by Ben and Marina, who speaks Spanish at a native level, the podcast was made to discuss topics like immigration and the educational system. It is one of the most conscious podcasts for learning Spanish.
El Washington Post
El Washington Post is a podcast that is produced by The Washington Post and debuted in 2019. It’s hosted by Juan Carlos Iragorri, an Emmy Award-winning journalist, and Jorge Espinosa. Together, they cover emerging stories from around the world, and learning Spanish while listening to the duo is a constructive way to build your repertoire of Spanish words and global knowledge.
Unlimited Spanish is a podcast that traces its roots to the popular 1960s language course called “FSI Basic Spanish.” It offers four learning levels that revolve around stories complete with transcripts and exercises that are sure to help you along the way.
Overall, all these choices will make you a better speaker as long as you stay consistent in working through your weak spots. Spanish is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, so you’ll be getting some practice nearly everywhere you travel.