Why a Spanish podcast?
For English speakers learning a foreign language on Duolingo, Spanish is ranked the highest with over 100 million learners on the platform. Duolingo Stories which is another experimental project, launched in Spanish before being rolled out in Portuguese.
Over the last few years, podcasts have been growing in popularity and with several other language podcasts out there, this seemed like a natural step that Duolingo needed to take.
I particularly enjoy podcasts because I am able to listen to them on my commute, improve my listening skills (if I’m listening to a language podcast), paint a picture in my head of what is being said and spend less time staring at a screen.
What is the main difference?
In comparison to other language podcasts that I have listened to, I have found this podcast to be refreshing for the one simple reason which is:
“These are not language lessons; they’re life lessons through language.” – Duolingo
The podcast has been designed for intermediate language learners. Each episode consists of an introductory narration in English to set the scene which is then followed by a story in Spanish. Every now and then there is some more narration in English. This is good because the narration is not used to translate things verbatim, instead it is used to build upon what was just said in Spanish and keep the rhythm of the story moving.
The stories told in each episode are about real people, by real people and because of this, they feel more powerful. It becomes easy to empathise and create an emotional connection to the people within these stories because we have either been through a similar experience ourselves or know of people who have. Remember:
“…they’re life lessons through language.” – Duolingo
With each episode there is a supporting transcript which is available online. I’d recommend listening to the episode first and then going back and following along with the transcript.
At the end of the transcript, there is a link to Tinycards, which is another app that has been developed by Duolingo. This is helpful because they have included vocabulary from the first episode which means that you can practice it. The other thing I like about Tinycards is that you can create your own set of flashcards, so if anything hasn’t been included from an episode, you can include these in your own.
To wrap up
So far the stories in each episode have been interesting and engaging. It is another useful way to develop listening and reading skills and pick up some new vocabulary. I can’t see why they wouldn’t create other language podcasts in future.
Duolingo is a fantastic platform that has been designed to bring free language learning to the masses. I’m very much looking forward to the next episodes.