There are a few podcasts that are essential for learning English. The English We Speak is a podcast that provides quick (3-minute!) episodes and discusses slang and meanings of everyday speech. Splendid Speaking is for advanced learners and discusses the perils of learning English. If you are looking for a mixture of everything from science to news, Voice of America can help you learn English by using an array of topical subjects.
If you are looking to learn about the patterns of human behavior, there are a few podcasts that focus on human psychology, sociology and anthropology. As an English student, I am sure randomness is frustrating at times since we are constantly looking for rules and order to learning the language. One of the most recent episodes of Invisibilia called “The Pattern Problem” focuses on the social dilemma of searching for patterns when sometimes there seems to be too much randomness. Looking for patterns can be detrimental as in the cases of the racial profiling accounts in the episode from Hidden Brain titled “The Mind of the Village.” Sometimes the randomness can be thought of as blind luck (or maybe even something more) as this is the case in one of the favorite episodes of Radiolab, “A Very Lucky Wind”. Of course, TedTalks are always a solid choice and they have a few episodes especially dedicated to the study of language. Start with Mia Nacamulli’s talk on “The Benefits of a bilingual brain.”
Are you traveling soon or just like to travel? Podcasts, like Stuff You Missed in History Class or Betty in the Sky with a Suitcase, can provide anecdotal stories about history and travel. If you ever wanted to know a brief history of English, check out Stuff You Missed in History Class’s “The Great Vowel Shift: A Brief History in English. In Betty in the Sky with a Suitcase, Betty is a flight attendant who relays stories of her travels and interviews other about their travels all in the context of the aviation industry. A little more personal are the stories told on The Moth podcast.
Sometimes you just need a way to relax with a good story. The podcast, Tales, is a perfect way to do this since it retells ancient fairytales that you probably know in their original version. Their retelling of Beauty and the Beast is frightening and entertaining. If you would rather listen to true stories, Snap Judgement is a good choice for you. The most recent episodes, Un-forgiven and Breakfast of Champions, tell stories of the choices we make and how they shape our lives. Lore, is a mixture of both myth and reality by exploring the dark or horrifying tales we call know and looking at the origins. The most recent episode, Carried Away, explores the idea of the curse.