19 Linguistics Podcasts For Language Learners (2022)
Linguistics podcasts have been one of my favorite ways to connect with my passions in my downtime.
I’ve been lucky enough to attend live sessions, befriend hosts, and learn more about linguistics (and language learning) than I ever could have in a traditional classroom.
Because of that, these podcasts are all shows I listen to personally and recommend to my own friends. (Aka, this not a most-popular or most-listened-to robot-generated list. These are the shows I recommend to my own friends.)
This list of of linguistics podcasts:
- feature diverse voices from around the world;
- study more than just the English language and monolingualism;
- have a mix of super-popular and newcomer shows;
- explore a variety of sub-themes, from syntax and punctuation to racism and pop culture;
- of special interest to people who want to learn languages.
Why Language Learners Should Listen to Linguistics Podcasts
When I first started learning Spanish (my first “foreign language” as an adult) I assumed I would simply need enough vocabulary and grammar to get through basic conversations.
I wasn’t expecting to end up living in Mexico.
And I certainly wasn’t expecting to have to deal with things like politeness rules; pop-culture references; conversational taboos; and eventually moving on to learn half-a-dozen other languages.
Linguistics podcasts became my saving grace.
The Fluent Show and Language Chats helped me formulate my own study flow as an independent language learner.
Lingthusiasm and Lexicon Valley helped me understand the basics of linguistics so I could go deeper with my studies.
Grammar Girl helped me improve my native language so I could help my friends study English, Impolyglot helped me improve my French, and Subtitle helped me not enjoy actually doing dishes while they chatted in the background.
So whether you’re a language learner who knows nothing about linguistics (like I was) or a PhD candidate, I hope these linguistics podcasts help you enjoy linguistics as much as they’ve helped me!
How To Read This LIst of Linguistics Podcasts
🇬🇧 🇫🇷 🇦🇺 Why the flags? Not only do they let you know where the hosts are from, but also let you know what languages you might expect!
🎙️🎙️🎙️ = Professional audio engineering
🎙️🎙️ ⬜ = Good quality with some feedback, buzz, or guests without pro mics
🎙️ ⬜ ⬜ = DIY audio quality, but content is worth it
🏆 Tried and true: over 2 years old and 100+ 5-star reviews
✨ New Comer: Less than 1 year or 12 episodes, but looks promising!
Follow the podcast: links to their most prominent social media platform so you can enjoy bonus content, community, or more linguistics fun!
Best Linguistics Podcasts for Language Learners
1. The Fluent Show
Host: Kerstin Cable 🇬🇧🇩🇪
Founded: Oct 2013 🏆
Tags: language learning
If you’ve ever wanted to be friends with a bunch of polyglots, the Fluent Show is for you. Kerstin invites language-lovers from around the world to hang out and chat language learning resources; give amazing advice; reflect on their own linguistics journeys; and have fun.
Join the show’s emaling list for access to a free library of language learning resources and bonus language learning content!
Hosts: Lauren Gawne 🇦🇺 Gretchen McCulloch 🇨🇦
Founded: 2017 🏆
Audio: 🎙️🎙️ ⬜
Tags: grammar, syntax, language structure, historic linguistics
Out of all of the linguistics podcasts on this list, this is the most linguistics-y. Hosts Lauren and Gretchen get enthusiastic about everything from definite articles to adjectives and even some super quirky topics like what we call our grandparents (abuela, mimi, opa, or something else?) and the first language spoken by humans.
Follow the show on Twitter for memes, updates, and loads of linguistics fun.
3. Speaking Tongues
Host: Elle Charisse 🇺🇸
Founded: Jan 2020
Audio: 🎙️🎙️ ⬜
Tags: travel, culture, language learning, personal stories
Hostess Elle interviews multilingual professionals, language teachers, and plenty of polyglot hobbyists about their personal language stories. Through these stories, she invites you to explore not only their individual histories but the cultures of the languages in their lives. (This is another newcomer on this list, so give it a listen and leave a review!)
Follow the show on Instagram for more community and fun.
4. Field Notes
Host: Martha Tsutsui Billins 🇺🇸
Founded: May 2019
Audio: 🎙️🎙️ ⬜
Tags: linguistics, academia, endangered languages
Field Notes aims to share the stories of linguists doing fieldwork to document, describe, and understand how languages (particularly under-described and under-documented languages) work!
This podcast’s motivation came out of host Martha Tsutsui Billins’s first time in the field, in Amami Oshima. As a Ph.D. student, Martha was looking for unedited stories from linguists who had undergone successful fieldwork, beyond the usual textbooks and manuals. How had other fieldworkers dealt with the unexpected challenges that come with fieldwork? What had they done when they’d forgotten the batteries? When their equipment backpack had fallen into the ocean? And what could I and other early-career linguists learn from these experiences?
Martha started the podcast while working on her Ph.D. to increase her own knowledge, as well as share interesting stories with others.
Follow Martha on Twitter and Instagram as @lingfieldnotes.
Host: Dina Stanković 🇷🇸/🇦🇹
Founded: December 2020
Audio: 🎙️⬜ ⬜
Tags: Slavic languages
6. Lexicon Valley
Host: John McWhorter 🇺🇸
Founded: January 2016 🏆
Tags: current events, pop culture, the English language
Drawing inspiration from current events and pop culture, legendary linguistic John McWorter dissects hot-topics in linguistics. From blackcents to gender and swearing to mansplaining, listening to him takes on the questions of today with fantastic linguistic science.
Follow John McWhorter on Twitter for politics, linguistics, and culture.
7. Grammar Girl
Host: Mignon Fogarty 🇺🇸
Founded: July 2006 🏆
Audio: 🎙️🎙️ ⬜
Tags: the English language, historic linguistics, grammar writing
If you speak or study English, Grammar Girl dives into everything you might want to use the language for. Self-publishing a novel? Talking to your boss in an email? The cultural role of fanfiction? Tips for NaNoWriMo? She’s got your back. (Plus she’ll answer all of your fun grammar questions, like the origin of words or how to use punctuation.)
Follow Mignon on Twitter for linguistics, news, and plenty of interesting takes.
Hosts: Patrick Cox and Kavita Pillay 🇺🇸
Founded: November 2018 🏆
Tags: sociology, globalism, cognitive linguistics
This podcast by the Linguistics Society of America has the distinct feel of a radio show, combining narrative with interviews and plenty of soundscaping. The hosts explore seemly unrelated topics (hurricanes and New Orleans; covid19; Mormanism; and the diamond market…. as some examples) through linguistics.
Follow the show on Twitter for news, politics, and culture through the lens of linguistics.
Host: Lionel Junior 🇫🇷
Founded: Sept 2018
Frequency: Seasons (4 and counting)
Tags: the French language; language learning
This is the first of two linguistics podcasts presented in French. Hosted by a French teacher who himself has an extremely high level in several languages, he chats about various theories and advice in the language learning process.
Follow Lionel on YouTube for bonus material about languages and language learning.
10. Parler comme jamais
Host: Laélia Véron 🇫🇷
Founded: Sep 2019
Audio: 🎙️🎙️ ⬜
Tags: the French language, sociology, communication
This is the second linguistics podcast on this list that is presented in French. Like many of its English counterparts, it explores contemporary issues like politics, racism, or globalism through linguistics. (This is a must-listen for intermediate and advanced French students.)
Follow the podcast on Twitter for linguistics, history, and some much-needed decolonialization.
Host: Dr. Sadie Ryan 🇬🇧
Founded: January 2020
Tags: linguistics, accents, migration
Dr. Sadie Ryan started making Accentricity while she was doing a Ph.D. in linguistics at the University of Glasgow. She wanted to use podcasting to explore the connections between who we are and how we speak, and to bridge the gap between academic knowledge about language and people’s everyday linguistic experiences.
Since then the podcast has gained international recognition and over 31,000 listeners per month across 93 countries. It has been used as a teaching resource in schools, universities, and language classrooms in the UK, Ireland, the USA, Canada, Poland, Germany, Japan, South Korea, and Australia. It was featured by The Bello Collective in their worldwide list of the 100 best podcasts of 2019. In May 2020, it was shortlisted for Best New Podcast at the British Podcast Awards, and in July 2020 it won Steady’s Independent Media Academy Award.
12. Language Chats
Hosts: Penny and Bec 🇦🇺
Founded: April 2019
Audio: 🎙️🎙️ ⬜
Tags: language learning
Language Chats is one of the linguistics podcasts which makes you feel like you’re hanging out with friends over coffee. Join with two independent language learners and their friends as they discuss language learning tips, dabbling, pronunciation, and using tools like Netflix.
13. The Future is Bilingual
Host(s): Heather Koziol 🇺🇸
Founded: Nov 2019
Audio: 🎙️🎙️ ⬜
Tags: language learning, language acquisition
In her podcast, Heather invites listeners into her home for a real-life look at what raising trilingual children is like. Follow her family as she talks about raising children in Polish 🇵🇱 (her husband’s native language), preparing her children to start school in French 🇫🇷, and connecting with the English 🇺🇸 🇨🇦 speaking world outside their front door.
Follow Heather on Instagram for updates and behind the scenes in family life.
14. Se Ve Se Escucha
Se Ve Se Escucha (Seen and Heard) is a podcast by the Center for Participatory Change about language justice and what it means to be an interpreter, an organizer and bilingual in the US South. Language justice is about interpretation and translation, but it’s also about building meaningful relationships to organize and transform our communities. The podcast focuses on the language justice of cultural organizing, self-determination, racial justice and honoring languages in all the ways they are spoken. Join Ada and special guests from the US and global South, as they discuss what it means to be seen and heard.
15. Because Language (FKA: Talk the Talk)
Host(s): Daniel Midgley 🇦🇺, Ben Ainslie 🇦🇺, and Hedvig Skirgård 🇸🇪🇦🇺
Founded: June 2020
Follow the podcast on Instagram for updates and behind the scenes.
Because Language is the linguistics podcast with the largest cast of characters. The 3 hosts invite on plenty of guests to explore things like language games, bilingualism, linguistic society scandals, and prejudice.
The podcast was originally started in 2017 under the name “Talk the Talk”, but rebranded in 2020. If you can’t find it on your preferred podcast streaming site, search the former name.
Conlangery is a wonderfully geeky exploration of the world of constructed languages. Whether we’re talking the ultra-famous Klingon and Dothraki or a secret language invented between friends, learn all about how conlangs are constructed and used. (Plus: understanding language structure can better help you on your own language learning journey!)
And even though this show is full of nerdery, don’t underestimate the heavy intellectual punch it packs. Host George Corley has his PhD in Linguistics from the University of Wisconsin and is the former Vice President of the Language Creation Society.
Follow George on his personal Twitter for tons more nerdery.
Archived Linguistics Podcasts
The following podcasts are archived, meaning either (1) they’re a seasonal show that has gone through more than a year break between episodes or (2) they were regularly updated but then went unexpectedly silent over 6 months ago.
Still, they’re all worth checking out (otherwise I wouldn’t have added them to this list!)
1. Exhaling Words
Host: Erin Morgan 🇺🇸
Founded: January 2021
Archived Episodes: 22
Audio: 🎙️🎙️ ⬜
Tags: linguistics, Central Asia, Arabic studies, language learning
Exhaling Words is hosted by a polyglot and linguist who shares not only her experiences as a language learner, but helps listeners explore the grammar, culture, and life of lesser-studied languages.
The name comes from the Arabic idiom “one swallows air and out come words”: a fitting metaphor for this enthusiastic, one-woman podcast.
Follow Erin on Instagram for plenty of study inspiration, linguistics fun, and amazing cultural insights.
2. Language Stories
Hosts: Lindsay & Ashley Williams 🇬🇧
Founded: Nov 2017
Archived Episodes: 2 Seasons (with a 3rd season pending)
Audio: 🎙️🎙️ ⬜
Tags: cultures, languages, travel, language learning
Married couple Lindsay and Ashley Williams embark on a global journey to bring you the stories of dozens of unique and amazing languages. Through the speakers’ own stories (as well as the couple’s adventures), you’ll not only get to know the languages but the people who speak them.
Season 3 is currently on pause because of the current public health crisis but is slated to come out when travel is possible again. (And a little bird told me will feature the many languages native to the British Isles.)
Follow Lindsay on Instagram for endlessly fun content: from studygram to blogposts to lives and everything in between.
3. The Black Langauge Podcast
Host: Anansa Benbow 🇺🇸🇵🇷
Founded: July 2020
Archived Episodes: 5
Audio: 🎙️🎙️ ⬜
Tags: the English language, Black culture
Like many quarantine podcasts, the Black Language Podcast only lasted a few episodes before going silent. However, the few episodes they have (on topics like “defunding the grammar police”, how to tell a fire story, and dismantling the idea that AAE is “internet speak”) are worth listening to.
Follow the podcast on Twitter for updates.
BONUS: How To Use Language Learning Podcasts to Improve your Skills
Now, in the beginning of this post I mentioned that these linguistics podcasts specifically helped me with language learning.
Here are my top tips for using podcasts to help you learn a language.
- Explore the things you find more difficult. Find scheduling in time to learn languages hard? The Fluent Show and Language Chats have episodes about that! Is talking about racism uncomfortable? Check out episodes on Lexicon Valley and Black Langauge podcast to help you learn how.
- Find podcasts in your target language. There are podcasts in virtually every major language available online. I’ve listed two French linguistics podcasts here, but why not check out Catalan history shows, Spanish business podcasts, or German news channels?
- Use linguistics problems as journaling prompts. If you want to improve speaking or writing in a language, journaling is my secret weapon. After you listen to any podcast in any language, reflect on what you just learned by writing in your target language. It’s not only a great way to remember what you just heard but help you find your own voice in the language.
Do you know of any other linguistics podcasts that we should mention on this list?
I’ll be updating it in the future, so let me know if there’s anything else I should check out and consider adding!