Archive for the ‘Language’ Category

Title: vlogbrothers

Authors: John and Hank Green


This is not technically a podcast, it’s a vlog. But how on earth have I not seen it before? It is brilliant.

The project started in 2007. Two brothers: John and Hank Green decided to communicate for the entire year through this very vlog, foregoing all written communication. It evolved over time and kept on gaining viewers. The videos are funny, informational and sometimes even touching.

However, the most amazing thing is not the vlog itself (though it is really brilliant), but the community which sprung up around it. The Nerdfighters, led by John and Hank are involved in many great causes. Most notably the yearly Project for Awesome, when the nerd fighters take over YouTube for one day and the most popular videos are not about cats, but about charities that they support.

Another thing about nerdfighters? As John Green often explains, they are not made of bones and tissue and stuff like normal people, but they are made out of awesome.

The link above is the their YouTube channel, but I would suggest starting with this playlist.


Go, watch and come back to tell me what you think. Don’t Forget To Be Awesome!

by Izabela

P.S. And, not to mention they John used one of my favorite phrases of all time in his video from 9.02.11: parental unit. This is a private joke in our family when I tell something to one parental unit and then assume that both my parents know.


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Name: Wissenschaft | Deutsche Welle

Provider: DW.DE | Deutsche Welle

Another podcast in German (let’s pretend for a minute that the semester has not started yet). This summer I attended an intensive course in German and afterwards began searching for something interesting to listen to. This is what I’d found. It is, as the name suggests, a podcast about the new developments in science and technology. Normally I wouldn’t be able to listen to something as advanced as this – my German is not that good yet – but fortunately the scientific vocabulary is fairly international, so at least I get the technical stuff. As long as the reporter is speaking I can manage reasonably well. The trouble comes when he is interviewing an expert – then that person speaks fast and I really have trouble keeping up.

Nevertheless it is something in German and the subjects interests me so I can’t complain, can I? After all, it would be incredibly stupid of me if I did not work on the language after investing so much time and effort in it.

This is not the usual raving review I write and I do like this podcast. It’s just that it is (was) summer and this is a chore – two words that don’t go well together.

By Izabela

P.S. I promise the next post will be about English again.

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Achtung, Achtung!

Title: Slow German

Speaker: Annik Rubens

As you probably guessed from the title I’m going to make a little detour this time – that’s right I’m going to write about a podcast that is not in English, or even in Polish. This was my very first podcast in German. I felt so proud of myself. This is just what the name said: slow German. Basically they pick a subject and than talk about it v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y. I have to admit I only listened to one episode – the one about cars. It was not quite what I had in mind (I’m interested mostly in small, beautiful, ridiculously expensive sport cars like Aston Martins) but it was a start. If someone is not sure of their abilities in German this is a great place to start. Listening to this podcast gave me the courage to try something more advanced and I found a podcast I’m going to write in my next post.

The vocabulary is fairly easy, and really the main advantage of this podcast is that they speak very slowly. Usually when looking for podcasts in German I found either very basic ones (let’s say hello in German) or very advanced – clearly meant for Germans themselves. This is somewhere in the middle. I can recommend it to anyone who has learned German, but is not advanced enough for German radio or tv.

I know it’s summer – but please comment anyway?

by Izabela

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Title: MSt English Language

Provider: University of Oxford

Since taking History of the English Language is obligatory this year at my university I thought it would be good to find something interesting to listen to. Although the very first post I wrote on this blog is about Old English, I think the subject is really interesting and I wanted to find something more. And here it is. The podcast not only contains useful and interesting information, it also allows the listeners to see how linguists work.

For example, the one about old English was particularly insightful for me. I finally understood how people know how things were pronounced back then. I get grammar and spelling –  there are the manuscripts. But it was fascinating to find out how we know how people spoke in the Middle Ages. And no, I’m not going to elaborate – that would be a spoiler. Just go listen yourself, come back and comment.

And I would appreciate some suggestions on what subject should I find podcasts next. I mean there are only so many thing you can listen to about the language, especially with exams in those very subjects coming up. I need some fun. Pretty please?

by Izabela

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Title: Listen to English – Learn English Podcast

Author: Peter Carter

Today I’d like to recommend a brilliant podcast I use for teaching. As the title of this post says this series is the essence of Britishness. So far my favourite episode is titled A nice cup of tea. I won’t even add anything – the title speaks for itself.

As for the technical stuff , the speech is slow, but at the same time the subjects are interesting. The episodes vary in difficulty, so they are suitable for students on different levels. The only thing that bothers me is the music added to the episodes. But that is just my opinion – usually I’m all for using different tools for learning, but I must admit I didn’t like any of the songs included in the podcasts. But maybe that’s just me – I have a weird taste in music.

I must admit I do listen to a lot of podcasts, but it took me a while to find one I could recommend as a learning tool for intermediate students. I mean the first one that comes to mind is always Stuff You Should Know, but it is too difficult for beginners.

This series is entertaining, quite easy and the episodes are short. Plus there is the enormous help of transcripts and exercises on the website.

As always, go listen and come back to comment. And if you have anything to recommend, please let me know – I really need something new to write about.

by Izabela

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A sweet tooth, eh…?

Title: Biscuits – A Serious Business

Speaker: Simon Parkes

Provider: BBC 4

Anyone who has ever met me knows that I have a weakness when it comes to culinary exploration. Whenever I have a chance, I don’t hesitate to taste a new dish, however bizarre it may seem. I share a little silly belief that it is via food you can discover world the best. A new taste is a new experience, another discovery that describes a place or even a nation. And that’s exactly the reason why I stubbornly go through every cookbook I can find. That’s not all, though, I really go to the great lengths, trying to collect more and more knowledge simply about… food. How is it made? Where was it made? Why was it made?

These questions brought me to Food Programme, BBC podcast series. It represents everything we expect from such podcast experts as BBC – great stories, witty facts, superb rhythm, and, of course, great accent of the speakers. It also has a soundtrack that makes sure we won’t feel like we’re stuck on a boring lecture and lets us experience everything we are told about. There are 117 episodes so far and they vary in the topics – thanks to that everyone can find something they’ll enjoy. British cuisine? Sure, let’s take a look. Japanese food? No problem. You can even listen to podcasts exclusively about beer – and it is extremely interesting as well.

Today I thought that I would present you just one of them – as an appetizer. Since our old pal Ned was right once again, winter has come and made us all crave for a sugary treat – why shouldn’t we spoil ourselves from time to time, eh? I’ve chosen a theme that might be suitable for a cold, gloomy evening with a cup of tea. Please, have a biscuit or two and hear what I’ve got to share today. And trust me, you’re gonna need a treat, the podcast you’re about to listen is as scrumptious as a cookie fresh out of the oven. This is a must-listen material for anyone who has ever wondered what exactly are we devouring while chomping down on a biscuit that goes so well with our tea. What kind of biscuits are there? How did the British nation come to love them so much? Who is the leader of the biscuit production in Great Britain? Listen to find out – I was instantly enchanted. You will be too.

by Aleksandra

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Title: The English We Speak
Provider: BBC

What does “knickers in a twist” mean? What would happen if somebody “painted the town red?” And what a “hullabaloo” is? If you’re curious, you should click on the title above. I have stumbled upon this series by accident, and I find it really worth listening to. It can be very useful, especially for those of us who want to enrich their vocabulary, improve their way of speaking, and enjoy the sound of a wonderful British accent. 🙂 It can be also very helpful when you try to teach somebody English – it can diversify your classes.
The authors assure that their extracts can help us to make our English sound more natural. There is over a hundred of podcasts, and each of them provides the listeners with a short programme about a piece of slang or a particular everyday English phrase. It is that kind of English we won’t have ability to learn at school, and at the same time it is presented in a very simple language. I would like to underline that it is really short, too – the duration of every podcast is about 3 minutes. What is more, the series is updated every week so you can learn systematically.  Nothing’s easier! Just stay tuned and keep listening! I hope you would like it! 😉

by Alicja

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