The language-learning app, Duolingo has decided to add NPR style podcasts to their arsenal of tools to get people speaking. The company, which is typically known for gamifying language in their app, has launched Duolingo Spanish Podcast, aimed at English speakers who are seeking to learn Spanish. The first podcast is available here https://podcast.duolingo.com/ and is about reporter Rodrigo Soberanes meeting his childhood soccer hero. Soberanes is a seasoned journalist, and his and host Martina Castro’s banter is not only easy to understand for intermediate Spanish speakers, but is also interesting and engaging.
Future podcasts will be available every Thursday on iTunes, Google Play Music, Spotify, and Stitcher. What makes this podcast decidedly different is the storytelling format. Many language-learning podcasts, while still helpful, follow a traditional classroom format. This format can be repetitive, and a little boring for listeners. The Duolingo podcasts instead follow a format that has been popularized by prize-winning programming like This American Life. The storytelling format leads listeners to forget they are learning and just enjoy listening to the story. There are portions that are in English to lead listeners along if they start to lose the thread of the story.