Our 3 Favorite Language Learning Podcasts: Actual Fluency, Creative Language Learning, Lingthusiasm

The Lexplorers Podcast has been on hiatus for a few months while we focus on our other projects, including making progress on the Couch to Korean Challenge and writing up our backlog of Lexplorers book reviews and Korean resource reviews.   While we have not had the time to create more episodes of our own podcast, we have enjoyed exploring other language learning podcasts.   Today we will talk about the three podcasts that we have been listening to a lot: Actual Fluency, Creative Language Learning, and Lingthusiasm.



Actual Fluency

The Actual Fluency podcast has the primary goal “to help and support learners of all ages who want to learn a foreign language, no matter how busy they may be.”   The podcast creator and host, Kris Broholm, writes on the site: “I created Actual Fluency to journal my adventures and to show everyone that learning languages as an adult is not impossible.”  In a few short years, he has produced over 100 episodes, primarily interviews with leaders in the language learning community and discussions of the various annual Polyglot events.   In addition, he posts regularly on the Actual Fluency blog about his own language learning experience, as well as resource reviews and event previews/reviews.  Actual Fluency is a language learning tour de force, a cornucopia of interesting conversation and helpful information.  It is by far our favorite language learning podcast.   We are coming to it late and still have many hours of earlier episodes to catch up on, but that gives us many hours of listening to look forward to.

Our favorite Actual Fluency episode so far: Simon Ager: Omniglot and Learning minority languages. We have been fans of Omniglot for a long time, and it was fun to hear the story behind the site and the creator of the site.


Creative Language Learning

The Creative Language Learning podcast offers an interesting mix of “language learning interviews, chat, tips, and news.”  The co-hosts of the podcast describe themselves as “obsessed with language learning” and as people who “learn languages every day in our lives.”  In addition to the podcast, they each write prolifically in their own blogs: Kerstin at Fluent Language and Lindsay at Lindsay does Languages.   They have to date completed 65 episodes, most around one hour in length.  Most Creative Language Learning podcast episodes remind us of dinner with the Lexplorers team: they cover a range of topics within a single conversation, from details of the hosts’ progress in their own language learning, to travel plans, to book and resource reviews, to interviews, to random and interesting language quirks.   We probably enjoy this podcast so much because it feels like Kerstin and Lindsay are sitting across the table from us having exactly the kind of conversation we have so frequently ourselves.

Our favorite Creative Language Learning episode so far: But WHY!!!! Are You Learning A Language? where they discuss the languages they are currently learning for fun (Welsh and Korean) and how to talk to people who just can’t understand why you would want to learn a language just for fun.



The Lingthusiam Podcast is more about linguistics in general than language learning in particular (“A podcast that’s enthusiastic about linguistics! Transform your boring commute or chores into a lively, nerdy conversation!”).  But since the Lexplorers are firm believers in the importance of linguistics in language learning, Lingthusiasm is right up our alley.  (Not to mention the fact that “Lingthusiasm” is exactly the kind of name that the Lexplorers considered back when we were deciding on a name.  As we wrote at the time: “Since we enjoy wordplay and puns, we started trying to create new words from ling, while being careful to avoid uses of ling that might be misconstrued (the Latin lingua ‎can also mean “tongue”).   We came up with candidates like linguadventures, lingovertures, lingomaniacs, and even linguacamole, all vetoed as being awkward.”)

The Lingthusiasm Podcast is hosted, logically enough, by two linguists, who are both knowledgeable and entertaining.  Both hosts write about linguistics topics on their own excellent blogs: Gretchen McCulloch on All Things Linguistic and Lauren Gawne on Superlinguo.   Lingthusiasm episodes are about a half hour long and each one focuses on an interesting and timely language topic, such as the Word of the Year vote, the portrayal of the linguist main character in the movie Arrival, and Kory Stamper’s book about lexicography, Word by Word (a frontrunner for Lexplorer Book of the Year that we reviewed earlier this year).  Lingthusiasm has been around for a little less than one year, and they release one podcast episode per month, which made it easy for us to binge listen the whole darned catalog last week.  Now we need to wait impatiently for new episodes to appear.

Our favorite Lingthusiasm episode so far:  Learning Languages Linguistically where they discuss the question every linguist hates “How many languages do you speak?”



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