Jouie la podcast – learn language quicker

French – the language of love.

Actually, when the sexiest phrase that comes can come out of someone’s mouth is “j’ai un chien appelé Pongo” – maybe not so much. The beauty of travelling the world is that you can intentionally and unintentionally further your language skills so much quicker than back in the Motherland.

If just passing through, you may learn how to order a steak and then swear at your friends. If you stay a little longer, you might hold a basic conversation, or ask for directions to a museum. I’ve been yearning to go that step further.

Being the travel novice that I was, I decided that France was too close and French Africa was too daunting. That left the choice of Quebec, Canada. The problem was, being relatively handy at the language before I arrived, I wasn’t being challenged in day-to-day life. I could already order food, or thank a waiter, or query a ticket vendor (my French-Canadian friends would all speak English, to my frustration).

My saviour was the podcast. Downloading at least three new podcasts a day, I could walk from home to work, learning more conversational snippets in double-quick time. Podcasts tend to be more informal than the textbook, and offer that insight into conversational life that is invariably missing from the school curricula.

It isn’t just French, podcasts are out there for all major languages, and a lot of the less spoken forms. Michael Erard used Chinesepod to learn the language of the fastest growing superpower, and said:

“Compared to sitting in a classroom or language lab, learning a foreign tongue from a podcast doesn’t feel much like work. In the case of Chinesepod, a free daily podcast from Shanghai with lessons in Mandarin Chinese, language study is actually fun.”

And it is fun. Sitting at a desk, repeating verb after verb after verb, isn’t fun. Learning some friendly conversation, then using your newfound skills on your native friends, is incredibly satisfying. Immersion is great, but podcasts can add an extra dimension to your learning, and help you become a more complete vagabonder.

Posted by | Comments (2)  | August 31, 2008
Category: General, Languages and Culture

2 Responses to “Jouie la podcast – learn language quicker”

  1. Lee Says:

    Podcasts could be more helpful because it is more real or actual than textbooks. You may practice your skills more often so that you’ll learn and improve more.

  2. Carlos Says:

    I think a very good complement to this kind of sites is to practise with a real teacher like in Linkua, live language tutoring. Classes are done via videoconference