Podcasts is one of my favourite resources for learning languages. You can use them any time, any place, and you can do something else while you listen. For language learning they are especially useful when they come with a transcript. This is because there are two main areas to focus on when you want to get from an intermediate to an advanced level: vocabulary and listening comprehension.
Why these two specifically? It’s obvious when you think about it. If you are past the beginner stage, you already know enough grammar to understand most texts as long as you know the words. That means you mostly have to learn new words to understand any text. Thousands of new words. To understand when someone talks to you, you need one skill more – understanding the style of spoken language (which is different to written) and doing it in real time. This requires lots and lots of listening to natural language, but not any natural language, you need comprehensible input, you need to understand what’s being said.
This is exactly the idea of the Simple Swedish Podcast, and now I will explain how you can use it to efficiently improve your Swedish comprehension!
First of all, you could obviously just use it casually to have a bit more comprehensible Swedish input in your daily life. However, since this podcast does come with transcripts, there is a great opportunity to really boost your learning, both when it comes to listening comprehension and vocab acquisition. Here’s the method that I use myself:
- First, just listen. Try to focus and understand as much as possible. Maybe listen twice, since you’ll understand more the second time for sure.
- Then, read the transcript. Translate words you don’t know, until you can read and understand all or most of it. Pick 5-10 of the most useful words, and save them somewhere to practice later, and make sure to use the full phrase.
- Now, listen again. You will understand much more this time. Try to hear the words that you didn’t pick up the first time and understand how they are used. If you can’t understand some part, pause and rewind. Maybe check the transcript. Do this until you understand 80-95% (depending on your level).
If you want, you can put the episode in a playlist for listening later. It’s useful since you now understand it much better, and you can listen to it more casually.
As for saving words for practicing later, you can use whatever method you prefer. I personally like to use Anki. Here’s a video on how I use it. Just don’t overuse it. The best way to acquire vocabulary at this stage is with lots and lots of (comprehensible) input!
To get all the full PDF transcripts, you can support me on Patreon for only $5 per month. The PDF:s also include explanations and translations of words and expressions used in the episodes as well as practice questions.
Just know that the texts are transcripts of natural spoken language. This means that they contain filler words, informal spellings and sentence structures, even some mistakes. Exactly as it is in any spoken language!
I hope you found some useful information in this article. Feel free to let me know in the comments how you use podcasts, or other resources, for learning languages!