On the radio

d-globo-con-los-auriculares-de-graficos-vectoriales_53-14372A great way for language learners to increase their exposure to a foreign language is to listen to the radio.  With the convenience of internet radio* and podcasting, it’s easy to find a program available in almost any language.  In many cases, you can both listen live, and download audio files to listen to whenever you want to.

Multilingualbooks.com has collected a list of stations in over forty languages, from Indonesian to Slovenian, and is a great place to start looking for the perfect radio station.  Some stations are purely news, some play different genres of music, and some are regional stations which can teach you a little bit more about local culture in foreign countries.

VoA (Voice of America) maintains their news homepage in 45 languages, and has always aimed their content at an international audience.  For English learners, they have a regular newscast in what they call Special English. In their words:

It has a core vocabulary of 1500 words. Most are simple words that describe objects, actions or emotions. Some words are more difficult. They are used for reporting world events and describing discoveries in medicine and science.

Special English writers use short, simple sentences that contain only one idea. They use active voice. They do not use idioms.

Special English broadcasters read at a slower pace, about two-thirds the speed of standard English. This helps people learning English hear each word clearly. It also helps people who are fluent English speakers understand complex subjects.

As well as keeping learners up-to-date on world news, VoA provides scripts to match the audio, so learners can read along, or look up any words they are unsure of.  On their Special English page, they have lots of other resources for learners as well.

Get listening!


*You will need a media player to listen to radio broadcasts online, and they usually recommend RealPlayer, Windows Media Player, or an MP3 player like Winamp.

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