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  • Judy Schulten

51. Find an app that works for you.

Hola, amigos del blog de mi madre! I'm Sara, one of Judy's two daughters and a guest blogger for today. I love audiobooks and podcasts—two of the most obvious ways to have fun with your bad Spanish (or bad French, as is the case pour moi). So I wanted to share one that has recently stolen my heart: the Duolingo podcast. I found it in Spotify, but it's available in the app store or online, too. Each episode is a true story about someone's life, told partly in English and partly in the language you've chosen. So you get the basic storyline in English, but then it switches to French (or whatever language you've chosen) for extra details told first-person by the protagonist—all with simple vocabulary at a pace an intermediate speaker can easily understand. It's like listening to one of the popular "Moth" true stories but in another language. It's truly merveilleux.

I know my enthusiasm may make me sound like an infomercial announcer, but I promise this is not "sponsored content" as the magazines say. I'm just so relieved to have found a language program that doesn't force me through endless repetitions of "Where is the bank?" or "I would like a coffee with sugar." Duolingo also has an online program that offers a fun test to place you at the correct level, then gives you games appropriate to your ability and heaps on the encouragement and praise when you complete them correctly (perhaps a little much praise, but since I'm too old to have been part of the "participation trophy" generation, I guess it's kind of nice). Give it a try, or find some other app or podcast you love for the next time you're commuting, walking, or at the gym. We all spend so much time with our headphones on, why not make it time spent learning as well as being entertained?

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