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Fun Fridays – Podcast Review Radio Lingua Network

Posted in Podcast Reviews on February 18th, 2011

If you follow me on Twitter, you will see that one of the descriptive terms I use for myself is “podcast addict.” They are an integral part of my exercise routine, daily commute and errand running. In no particular order, I’d like to review some of my favorites. To see all of my podcast reviews, click here.

Although my father’s first language is Spanish, I never made a serious attempt to learn it until junior high school. When school was over I have attempted to continue learning in various ways – mainly practicing with family members and occasionally listening to Spanish language music stations. I’m not fluent, I can get by in a restaurant or asking for basic directions, but my skills are more Sabado Gigante than Don Quixote. I had seen “Coffee Break Spanish,” one of the many podcasts put out by the Radio Lingua Network on iTunes and decided to give it a shot.

The initial lessons of Coffee Break Spanish start assuming you have no knowledge of the language, and over the course of 80 lessons get more advanced. Mark Pentleton presents the course with a student learner, Kara. They are Scottish, and while I think their accents are charming, others find it a distraction.

There is an intermediate course, “Show Time Spanish.” It has additional presenters and features a short soap opera about a teenage girl moving to Spain for the summer serialized into the episodes. This is the best of the Radio Lingua podcasts I have listened to, and it focuses on conversation, speaking and listening at native speeds.

In addition there is a third Spanish program, News Time Spanish where current events are discussed in Spanish. I’ll admit this one is a bit of a challenge for me, and I have to listen several times before I understand everything. It’s the only Spanish language podcast I have purchased the bonus materials for.

Radio Lingua also produces similar in depth podcasts for French, German and Italian. There are “one minute” podcasts for seventeen other languages. These are shorter and focus more on learning basic phrases than developing language skills. I have purchased the bonus materials for the One Minute Irish (Gaelic) course and enjoyed learning a few words in that language. I would recommend it for anyone wanting to dip their toe into a new language without too much commitment.

I really enjoy practicing my Spanish with these podcasts. Mark Pendelton, the instructor for both the Coffee Break and Show Time series is an excellent instructor and is very entertaining as well. His enthusiasm for languages is infectious and I find myself laughing in spite of his corny jokes and when he hams up a short song for the podcast to show off his singing voice. The other presenters I’ve heard are also wonderful. If you are thinking about learning or want to get back to your study of another language, you should check out the Radio Lingua Network.

One Response to “Fun Fridays – Podcast Review Radio Lingua Network”

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