Loading...
Expert AdvicePodcast Episodes

Episode 237: How to learn a language at any age!

Boy and girl sharing a tablet

If you click on the links in this post and buy something, we may earn a small commission.

Hit “Subscribe” on the player to access the podcast through your favorite podcast app!

Do you want to learn a language, but think you’re too old? Are you looking for language apps for your kids? We talked with an expert at Duolingo, and she gave us some great tips for learning a new language, no matter what method you use!

Boy and girl sharing a tablet

CLICK HERE TO JUMP TO AN INTERACTIVE TRANSCRIPT OF THE EPISODE

Learning a second language is such a fun and useful thing! But what’s the best way to learn, and is it really easier to learn a language when you’re younger?

We had such a great conversation with Dr. Cindy Blanco, who works for Duolingo, the free language learning app that has dozens of languages for you to learn on your own schedule.

Not only did she give us tips for starting a new language and staying engaged, but she also went into the real reasons why kids tend to learn languages better, and how you can apply those things to your own learning!

Plus, Duolingo has a new app, Duolingo ABC, for helping kids with their literacy in English.

Dr. Cindy Blanco holding a sign that says "¡Puedes hacerlo!"
Dr. Cindy Blanco

More about Dr. Blanco:

Dr. Cindy Blanco is a learning scientist at Duolingo, where she works to improve teaching efficacy. She collaborates with machine learning engineers, software engineers, designers, and product managers to develop new ways to teach languages through technology. Dr. Blanco has worked on features for speaking, grammar, reading, and writing, including, for example, Stories and grammar Tips. She also conducts research with the largest data set ever amassed on how people learn languages.

Dr. Blanco earned her M.A. in Hispanic Linguistics (Spanish, Pennsylvania State University, 2008) and her M.A. and Ph.D. in language acquisition and bilingualism (Linguistics, University of Texas, 2016). She worked as a postdoctoral researcher in cognitive psychology at Northwestern University, and her research focused on the processing of first and second languages by infants, children, and adults.Dr. Blanco was born in New York and is from a Cuban and Italian family. She has always been interested in languages: she speaks English and Spanish, and she’s studied French, Catalan, Russian, Italian, and American Sign Language. Recently, she began studying Portuguese.

This Week’s Links

Intro (00:00:11)

Amy Oztan, Amy Ever After

Andrea Smith, technology guru extraordinaire

Rebecca Levey

Interview with Dr. Blanco (00:03:52)

Away on Netflix

Meet an Inspirational Syrian Teenager Who Trekked 20 Days in a Wheelchair Getting to Europe, by Mary Bruce — ABC News

And here’s an AMAZING follow-up to Nageen’s story. You have to watch to the end!!

 

Duolingo ABC literacy app

Duolingo Efficacy Study

Bytes of the Week (00:30:16)

History Storytime Podcast on Apple Podcasts

Alexander Hamilton – The History Behind the Hamilton Musical — History Storytime Podcast

Episode 179: The best podcasts for kids, teens, and adults — Parenting Bytes

12 Essential Home Office Accessories, by Andrea Smith — Techlicious

Logitech BRIO Ultra HD Pro Computer Webcam

PhoneSoap 3 UV Smartphone Sanitizer and Universal Charger

Anker 5-in-1 USB-C Hub 

Anker 7-in-1 USB-C Hub

SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive Luxe USB Type-C 1TB Flash Drive

50 States, 50 Cuisines: The Food Worth Traveling For in Each State — Conde Nast Traveller

Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi on Hulu

Subscribe!

Have you subscribed to our podcast? Never miss an episode! If you’re already a subscriber, we’d really appreciate a rating and review.

Are you following us on Facebook? It’s a great way to see what we’re reading (including articles that might show up in future episodes), ask us questions, and give us feedback.

Transcript

Please note that this is an automatic transcription, and has not gone through its correction process yet; apologies for any errors.

Episode 237: How to learn a language at any age! transcript powered by Sonix—easily convert your audio to text with Sonix.

Download the “Episode 237: How to learn a language at any age! audio file directly. This Episode 237: How to learn a language at any age! was automatically transcribed by Sonix (https://sonix.ai).

Episode 237: How to learn a language at any age! was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the latest audio-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors. Sonix is the best audio automated transcription service in 2020. Our automated transcription algorithms works with many of the popular audio file formats.

Rebecca:
Welcome to Parenting Bytes, this is Rebecca Levey, I’m here today with Amy Oztan of Amy Ever After.

Amy:
Hello.

Rebecca:
And Andrea Smith, our Technology Guru Extraordinaire,

Andrea:
Hello.

Rebecca:
I think I feel like I’m like Madonna now. I’m just I’m like Rebecca Levey. I have no other thing.

Amy:
I- it’s so funny because on our blog posts, I always like I would list all three of us as you entered and then link us to somewhere. And when I didn’t have anywhere to link you to, I was like, I can’t just leave her name off. So now you’re just on there, like linked to nowhere.

Rebecca:
I

Amy:
It’s

Rebecca:
Guess you

Amy:
A

Rebecca:
Could

Amy:
Placeholder.

Rebecca:
Link to my my LinkedIn,

Andrea:
It’s

Rebecca:
That’s

Amy:
Yeah.

Andrea:
An

Rebecca:
My.

Andrea:
Evolution, it’s an evolution of Rebecca.

Rebecca:
Right, exactly like what else can I destroy and take down that I built

Andrea:
I

Rebecca:
Over the last 10

Amy:
Oh,

Rebecca:
Years?

Andrea:
Know

Amy:
God.

Andrea:
You’re building up.

Rebecca:
I am building up. I am pivoting. No, I’m so happy. I don’t want listeners to get the wrong idea. I’m actually incredibly happy. But today on the show, I’m also happy about having Dr. Cindy Blanco on the show. She is a senior learning scientist at Duolingo, which is a language learning app for foreign languages. And now also they have a new product, Duolingo ABC, which is a literacy app for kids three to seven. And we’ve really never had this conversation about what it means to learn a foreign language, how you can introduce foreign language learning in your home. And boy, did this seem like the time because everyone’s kids are doing their blended or remote. There’s very few people who I think their kids are at school. And you know what? Even if they’re at school, this is not a normal year.

Amy:
Knomo.

Rebecca:
And actually, interestingly enough, one of my friends whose son is that a big state school, said the only class they were going to have in person was the foreign language class, socially distance without masks on because everyone has a face shield, because the teachers feel like they need to see

Amy:
Oh, yeah.

Rebecca:
The kids speaking and annunciating and that it’s important for the kids to see them annunciating, like how, you know, in a lot of foreign languages, you’re moving your tongue totally differently. You’re moving your lips differently. So I thought that was really interesting because I had never thought of that before.

Amy:
Well, I mean, every time I go to, like, a restaurant to get takeout or go to the store, it’s just, you know, in New York, there’s so many people who are speaking English as a second language and there are a lot of heavy accents. And having the masks on and not being able to see lips makes everything so much harder.

Andrea:
Oh,

Rebecca:
It

Andrea:
Yeah.

Rebecca:
Is so much harder and I mean, I know there’s this is all totally off topic, but I know there’s a big movement in, like the deaf community and hearing impaired community because so many people are lip readers and rely on lip reading. And so it’s really you don’t really kind of think about those larger ramifications of just understanding each other. But regardless of all that in the safety of your own home,

Amy:
Yes.

Rebecca:
You know, speak, speak as you may. So we have Dr. Cindy Blanco on when we get back. And we will have this discussion about, you know, how to learn a foreign language, why it’s great to learn foreign language, and then also how to boost your little kids in your home, how to boost their literacy during this time and maybe even accelerate it, but certainly help them enrich reading and writing and sounds right in your own home. And it doesn’t have to be screentime. It’s it’s really a lot of it’s some of it’s visual, but it’s also very audio. So it’s a it’s a good thing to incorporate into your remote learning routine or your pod. And we will be right back with Dr. Cindy Blanco.

Rebecca:
We are back with Dr. Cindy Blanco senior learning scientist at Duolingo, where she develops new ways to teach languages through technology. Hi, Cindy.

Cindy:
Hi, thanks so much for having me. I’m really excited.

Rebecca:
We’re really excited to have you on. You know, we’ve never done a whole show about teaching kids foreign language, sort of what the importance is of learning a foreign language. And I think with the pandemic now segueing into pandemic slash really remote learning for most people,

Cindy:
Yes.

Rebecca:
I think parents are looking at how to enrich what their kids are doing, maybe not just survive it.

Cindy:
Anker.

Rebecca:
And language is one of those things that schools don’t do great to begin with and that parents may be looking for just introducing their kids to something new and interesting and fun. And so we were so happy to have you on to talk about, you know, how to do this and and why why it’s important for kids to be learning. Other languages are very least exposed to other languages.

Cindy:
Yeah, absolutely. Kids have some advantages when learning lots of kinds of information, but especially with with language learning. And so it’s a really great idea to introduce kids to other languages early, probably earlier than many schools in the US typically introduce kids to foreign languages. And so there’s like, you know, real concrete learning outcomes. But it can also be really fun. You know, there’s lots of ways that kids can interact with languages that’s highly motivating and that you can really personalize. So I’m excited to talk a little bit more about that.

Rebecca:
When, you know, a parent thinks about teaching their kid a foreign language a lot of times, and I’m not talking about households that are naturally bilingual or multilingual, but really like a household where you all speak one language. And in this case, I to say for most of our listeners, that’s probably English. How would you even decide what language your kid, you know, you’d want them to learn? Or how are you going to go about figuring out what your kid would be maybe more open to?

Cindy:
Yeah, that’s a great question, and there’s no right there’s no one single answer to that. Lots of families will have a cultural or family reason, maybe grandparents or great grandparents came to the US speaking another language. And some kids might be really interested in that as a way to connect with other parts of their family. But there could be other really good reasons about whether your child is interested in certain kinds of music or movies or even online video gaming communities. But I think it is a really good point to find something that is motivating to your child that will help them build a habit and stick with it. And so that could be, you know, that they, I don’t know, are really interested in pop and then Korean. Even if it’s your family doesn’t have a history with Korean, that could be a good enough reason to really get them engaged and stick with it. And that’s really the goal of learning. Learning another language is to find ways for them to to make it personal.

Rebecca:
I think sticking with it is the hardest part, and I do say that as someone who I’m not, I’m going to confess right now, every Black Friday or Cyber Monday, I buy a language class. I just do like they’re

Cindy:
Oh.

Rebecca:
On super sale. And I’m like, yes, because at one point in my life, I was proficient in Spanish. I was pretty decent in French, like, you know, I had it. I could still read it pretty well. When I travel.

Cindy:
Uh.

Rebecca:
I can I can get around well, but like, I cannot speak and I have zero confidence in speaking. And so every

Cindy:
Yeah,

Rebecca:
Year I’m like, yeah, I’m going to buy that 3Doodler class for twenty nine

Cindy:
Uh.

Rebecca:
Dollars and I’m going to do it and I never do it. And I get the little thing that it expired every year. I can’t even tell you how. I mean what is how do you even start that you’re really going to do this.

Cindy:
Yeah, so to comfort you a little bit, I think that happens even to the best of us, even for as much as I know, like the learning science behind language learning, that’s really tempting. And so I think a better strategy that works for the grownups and the kids is to set really short term language goals that instead of thinking like I’m going to achieve the French that I had at some earlier point think instead that, you know, three weeks from now I want to be able to say this, you know, sentence about myself or to understand the you know, the lyrics in this song I’ve been listening to. You know, if you can set much shorter and much more concrete goals, it allows you to, like, pass the finish line more frequently, which feels really good. But it’s a way to, like, self-assessed to constantly check in and see how well you’re doing that, you know, if you and your child are really interested in pop, you know, maybe you start with three weeks from now. Let’s check in and look at the lyrics of the song that you love. How many of them you know, how many of the words do you understand? And then, you know, another three weeks. Well, how many more? And maybe you graduate to getting a lot of the words. And, you know, if you were really musically inclined kid, maybe they start writing their own lyrics. But if you do these more frequent, more short term and really personal language goals, there’s a better chance of you sticking with it. It’s more rewarding. And you can you you see your progress much more easily.

Amy:
I also feel like with languages, there’s such a great opportunity to reward yourself with themes that tie into your language, like whether it’s a little gift from that place or

Cindy:
Hmm,

Amy:
A food or something like that, that’s the kind of thing that would keep me motivated.

Cindy:
Yes, yes. So there’s so much opportunity to personalize, and so I think something that might happen more easily for people learning languages than for learning other, you know, other subjects is that, you know, language is something that we do this, you know, in the rest of our lives. We use the languages we know to connect with people, to achieve other goals, to, like you’re saying, to cook. We look up recipes or we watch things on Netflix. And so in the rest of our lives, we’re using language to do things. And so you can do that with new languages, too, with languages that you’re studying, you know, try looking up recipes, maybe even in English. You know, I’ve started studying Portuguese earlier this year. And, you know, maybe you start by looking up Brazilian recipes in English just because you’re interested to learn something about the culture and the people and see if you can graduate to, you know, looking up the recipes in the language that you’re studying. But you’re absolutely right that there’s there’s ways to connect languages to what you’re already doing, to the things you already care about.

Andrea:
I find it so fascinating and maybe you can talk about this a little bit, how you know, when you’re a child, when you’re a kid, your brain is just wired to accept that language. You know, like if if your parents are bilingual and they talk to you in two different languages, you just that’s just a visceral reaction. You say certain words in one language and certain in another. And it’s so easy for kids to learn language. But when you become older, it almost feels like your brain is wired differently. And

Cindy:
Mm.

Andrea:
And it’s not as easy to learn the language. It really becomes a task or a chore.

Cindy:
Yes, so that’s definitely true, although it’s not true in the ways I think that we always think it is. So kids are certainly right. Their brains just aren’t more plastic and a lot of ways. But they also have the advantage of being totally immersed in the language or languages that they’re hearing with people who engage with them in this really personal way about the language. And they have an opportunity to interact right from the beginning in the language that they’re that they’re hearing the languages that they’re learning. And so kids kind of have it easy in the sense that they get this really immersive experience constantly with people who care about them understanding and repeat things and accommodate and rephrase things. And so actually, one of the biggest challenges for adults is getting that kind of input that with that kind of input, we actually see often pretty similar learning outcomes that you can get to pretty similar proficiency levels even as an adult. It’s just so hard because we’re also doing things like working and taking care of kids and, you know, going grocery shopping and, you know, doing bills and all these things that we rarely have the time or the exposure, the input to interact in a really personal way with the languages. But if we do, we definitely see much better outcomes.

Amy:
Oh, that’s so encouraging because I really do feel like I just got a lot dumber as I got older and

Cindy:
No,

Amy:
It just got so much

Cindy:
No,

Amy:
Harder.

Cindy:
You

Amy:
So,

Cindy:
Just

Amy:
Like,

Cindy:
Got busier.

Amy:
Thank you for that.

Cindy:
Yeah, you’re taking care of yourself.

Rebecca:
I mean, I also wonder if and obviously kids, they learn, you know, obviously all those things are true about the repetition and what they’re doing. But I also wonder if there’s just a lack of insecurity and self-consciousness when you’re a kid, like kids will see things incorrectly all

Cindy:
Yes,

Rebecca:
The time, right?

Cindy:
Yeah.

Rebecca:
That’s what I run. And I, you know, whatever they say and you say, OK, you ran. But as an adult, I even when I took language in college, like I actually found that was the hardest part. Was this fear of sounding, you know, stupid basically, or just incorrect. Whereas when you’re really learning a language is a little kid like you don’t care. You’re just saying, how are you? I mean, hopefully, hopefully people don’t make you feel bad. But, you know, it’s I saw it with my daughters, too. One takes German and one takes Spanish and they they’re reading was really fluent. They

Cindy:
And.

Rebecca:
Couldn’t speak at all because they were terrified to

Cindy:
Yeah,

Rebecca:
Speak,

Amy:
Knomo.

Rebecca:
Just terrified.

Cindy:
Yeah, so in education fields, just sometimes hear this called monitoring that little kids, and that’s not even fair. All kinds of kids do a lot less self-monitoring of their production, of their correctness that they’re much more focused on, like the communicative value of what they’re saying is what I’m saying, getting the job done. And OK, so it’s not a brand. But you knew what I said, Mom, didn’t you? Right. So they’re much more worried about content and that that kind of core communication value. And you’re exactly right that as we get older, we do a lot more of this monitoring, that we’re worried, we’re self-conscious. And part of that is because we are so good at the language that we already speak. And so it feels really hard to be in, like you said, in a Spanish class, at a college level. And suddenly you don’t sound as eloquent or smart and you’re kind of fumbling in. Are you communicating whatever that core value is you’re trying to communicate? And so that is really hard to overcome. This self-monitoring. Yeah.

Rebecca:
So do you find that something like an app can sort of help with that because you’re I mean, you’re just sort of talking to an app,

Cindy:
Yeah,

Rebecca:
You know?

Cindy:
Yeah, there’s a lot of really interesting work, right, that when you are when you think you’re talking to a machine, that you behave differently. And that can be I think it can be a lot better for your learning that you’re you’re feeling you kind of take away those social monitoring costs that there are classmates for you to feel judged by, even if they’re not doing it right. So much of this is internal that right. That you can feel more comfortable because you’re eliminating some of those sometimes intimidating factors. What I would also add is to not take the easy way out maybe and this is certainly true on an app like Duolingo that you can turn off some of those speaking settings. Right. But you shouldn’t you know that you don’t you wouldn’t want to get in the habit of of not having to do that producing, even though it feels so different from reading or writing, even though you feel less confident that from the very beginning, make sure you are doing that, producing, whether it’s talking to an app, talking to the technology that you’re using, or now you know what, we are all locked down at home. Why not walk around saying, you know, you’re at home, you could be narrating things to yourself, you could be practicing things out loud. We’re no longer on, you know, public busses and walking down busy streets. No one’s going to look at you if you’re, you know, practicing French in the in the kitchen. So so I would take advantage of those opportunities to.

Amy:
Even if you are outside, I found that wearing a mask, I can sing along with my headphones and nobody really knows the Khan like I’m not saying out loud, like I’m just mouthing it, but nobody can see. So, yeah, walk down the street practicing Italian

Cindy:
Yes, yeah,

Andrea:
Yeah,

Amy:
Behind

Cindy:
Yeah,

Andrea:
Especially

Cindy:
Yeah.

Amy:
Your mask.

Andrea:
If you’ve got headphones on and you’re listening to it, people think you’re just talking on the phone.

Cindy:
Right, yeah. Oh, that is a really good point.

Andrea:
Yeah,

Cindy:
I support all of this.

Andrea:
Yeah.

Rebecca:
I’m also wondering it’s funny, I just finished a Netflix show away, which is about the astronauts going to Mars and a big one whole episode is about how the Chinese astronaut learned English and it was all through karaoke.

Amy:
Her.

Rebecca:
And so and that’s kind of how our English became so, so, so good because she became you know, she learned idioms like the whole thing. And I was kind of wondering, like, is that true? Could you really? Because you always see TV shows were like they learned through TV. They all of a sudden they

Cindy:
Aha.

Rebecca:
Watch TV for a week and suddenly they could speak the language, you know.

Amy:
Oh, that girl at the border went viral months ago because she spoke almost perfect English and she said that she had learned it all through watching soap operas.

Rebecca:
Right. Like that seems hard to me.

Cindy:
Yeah,

Rebecca:
Don’t know.

Cindy:
I don’t want to discount or disprove any one of these isolated stories because I don’t so I have not seen a way I don’t know about the viral girl at the border. I would also be surprised if that was really the only way they were learning. I think you’re absolutely right that something like music or movies really gives you a lot of insight into the culture and these phrases and slang and things that you might not find in a more academic style language course. But there’s often often these kinds of people are also really, really motivated. And so they might not realize all the other things that they’re doing to support their learning. My my dad will often say my dad is his first language is Spanish. And when he came to the US, he’ll often say that he learned English through cartoons and they think he really believes this. I think this gave him a lot of insight into the culture and all these things that we said, phrases and slang and idioms. But he was also immersed in an English language environment and going to English speaking schools and

Amy:
Knomo.

Cindy:
Kids monitor

Rebecca:
Uh.

Cindy:
So much less, and kids are really motivated to fit in socially. And so that helps their language learning. So so I have no doubt that like karaoke and songs and movies, that all really helps. But often those super motivated learners who are seeking those things out have done or are doing other things to to help their learning as well.

Amy:
You have a thing that you SAT in an immersion class doesn’t go viral, so

Cindy:
Right, yeah,

Amy:
Nobody writes a screenplay about it.

Cindy:
No, I don’t know, there’s an I would tune in for that.

Rebecca:
That is so so I have to ask a little bit of Duolingo, I mean, my

Cindy:
Yeah.

Rebecca:
My daughter’s tried. I don’t know if they tried to lie. They definitely had different apps that they were trying out to, particularly at the end of their senior year, because everything went remote and they still

Cindy:
Yeah.

Rebecca:
Had these crazy AP exams, like it

Cindy:
Mm

Rebecca:
Was just

Cindy:
Hmm.

Rebecca:
Silly.

Cindy:
Mm hmm.

Rebecca:
And so it became like, OK, well, let’s give this a shot. How what is the thinking behind something like Duolingo? You know, how is it different than what your traditional learning foreign language class would be?

Cindy:
Yeah, so here we’re really committed to combining what we know from learning science, so from backgrounds like mine, language and teaching experts and uniting that with technology and with innovation. And so that does a couple of things for us. One is that it makes really high quality language teaching available to more people, people who are outside classrooms or outside universities, different age groups or different geographical locations. And so this served us really well when we all locked down that we needed technology to kind of step in and do what we couldn’t be doing in classroom settings. So this is a combination of learning. Science and technology gets us this accessibility component that we really care about. But there’s also a lot of things that technology can do for us that is a lot harder for in-person learning. And so I think to when I taught college Spanish classes, I might be in a class with twenty, twenty five thirty students. And it’s really hard to give individualized personal feedback to each of those 30 students. And so one thing that technology affords us is the ability to teach the technology, to use machine learning, to give really individualized feedback, to see what you’re struggling with. What are your mistakes, what do you need more practice with? Which parts of the course can we see that you’re doing well on and maybe we can move you through more quickly. And so I think technology allows us to do this adaptation and personalizing to give each student what they need in a way that is really tough for teachers who are, you know, in a classroom with sometimes dozens of students.

Rebecca:
That makes a lot of sense. I mean, I think, well, anything personalized is going to be better, but language in particular seems

Cindy:
Mm hmm.

Rebecca:
Really hard to cover in 40 minutes, you know,

Cindy:
Yeah, sure.

Rebecca:
Three

Cindy:
Mm hmm.

Rebecca:
Times a week. So if a parent lets go back and I know you guys launched a product for littler kids, Duolingo ABC for ages three to seven. And since we know that sort of the younger kids are when they start, the the better they pick it up.

Cindy:
Uh.

Rebecca:
Even though you’ve assured us that we can still do this as adults, you

Andrea:
Just

Rebecca:
Know.

Andrea:
Not as easily.

Rebecca:
Exactly.

Cindy:
Right, sure,

Rebecca:
And maybe we need the three to seven year old version, too. But,

Cindy:
Her.

Rebecca:
You know, what is it that’s that’s different about aiming this foreign language technology at a younger cohort?

Cindy:
Yeah, so so we have these two apps, we have the adult language learning app that a lot of people are familiar with, and we have this new app, Duolingo ABC, which is teaching literacy skills to kids in their first language. And so the goals of the two apps are pretty different. That first one for for the adults is to teach a new language. We offer 39 different languages. And so there we’re assuming that you can already read and write pretty well in the language you already speak. So in our case, English. And so we would teach you French, but kind of rely on English to explain things to you. Now, the new app, the literacy app, is really different because this is teaching, reading and writing skills in English to English speaking kids. And so this if you can think back to like phonics classes or sight words to learning to match these, you know, honestly, these squiggly little letters that we have with the sounds they represent, that is what we’re doing in the new app. And so these are I would say that they’re related in the sense that our mission is still to to develop the best education in the world and make it universally available. And we know that one of the impediments that people have all over the world and including here in the US is literate. Literacy skills research has shown that students with really low reading levels are more likely to get poor grades, have behavioral problems, be held back in school or even drop out of school entirely. And so literacy is like this key that unlocks access to science, information and math education and the Internet and communication, news and politics and all of the ways that we interact with with written language, even in our first language. And there’s a lot we can do to make that more equitable as well.

Rebecca:
No, I love that, I love that also, they’re like little lessons, like they could be five minutes. Yeah, I mean that seems like a really nice way for parents to be able to fit in and also that you can do multiple profiles. So like if you have you know, if you’re in a pod, if you made a pod

Cindy:
Yeah.

Rebecca:
And also that you allow parents to skip ahead, I think, you know, part of that is that’s what’s happening now with remote learning. It’s not it’s not home schooling, which we’ve talked about on this show,

Cindy:
Uh.

Rebecca:
That there’s a difference. You are following a prescribed curriculum now. You’re not designing it yourself. So this I think parents really need stuff to supplement where they might

Cindy:
Sure.

Rebecca:
Feel like their kids are bored and whatever it is, you know.

Cindy:
Yeah, and I think that’s a great point that, you know, we built this course, the Duolingo ABC course, to assume no prior reading knowledge that, you know, we built this for a child who doesn’t know any letters yet. And so we take you from start to finish that. It goes up to seven, will be releasing second grade lessons at the end of this academic year. And so you as a parent or a teacher or any caregiver can tailor that, that if you are starting with a three year old who really doesn’t know anything, you can start right at the beginning of the course. But you can also kind of place out depending on what you might have already been doing with your child previously or this summer or in compliment with with a class.

Rebecca:
All right, so parents need to learn a new language,

Cindy:
Yes.

Rebecca:
You need to get your kids literate. This is the project now for covid fall

Andrea:
Covid

Rebecca:
And winter,

Andrea:
Project.

Rebecca:
Right?

Cindy:
That’s right. You have all these tools right in your hand.

Andrea:
You know, especially because I’ve heard so many kids who study languages, you know, all through high school and then college, and when they go do a semester abroad or they live with a host family that’s only speaking that language and they become immersed in it is when it really, really sets in. And so since

Cindy:
Yeah,

Andrea:
We’re not traveling,

Cindy:
Yeah.

Andrea:
It would be great for now, the whole family to learn the new language

Rebecca:
All right.

Andrea:
And maybe everybody

Cindy:
Yeah,

Andrea:
Should start talking at.

Cindy:
That’s right, you get all these conversational partners at home. Absolutely. Something else that that that comment reminds me of is that do so in addition to everything else that has been moved online, Duolingo used to host these in person language events that now, of course, are all virtual. And so this is groups of language learners all over the world, including native speakers who guide the these you know, these exchanges, these interactions in the target language. And so if you’re someone who’s studying Spanish or you and your pod, you and your whole family, who you’ve recruited to study Spanish with, you can join one of these events to practice speaking, to practice, listening. A lot of them have like a guided activity. Maybe it’s a drawing class or a yoga class in Spanish, a cooking class in Spanish. And so I think that’s another really fun way to connect with people, connect with people who are also language learners, to also see some of these native speakers to teach you to do a thing. Right. I’m always really I never want people to think of language learning as like studying flashcards in a corner and like a quiet room. Right. Again, language is this thing you do. And so why not incorporate those elements where we’re all having Zoom hangouts and Skype visits and seeing each other on the computer? You can be doing, you know, this language socializing on the computer as well.

Rebecca:
Oh, I love that. Plus, it gets you off of your regular Zoom rotation of the same

Cindy:
Yeah,

Rebecca:
People.

Cindy:
Yeah, yeah, right, it’s new and because I mean, this is again, I think I hope something that we take away from from this lockdown, from the pandemic is all of the advantages that technology affords us. And one of them is that we can connect really easily with people who are really far away. And that’s true of family and friends, but it’s also true of these new people. And so how great that I can sit down and have an actual conversation with a native Spanish speaker from Colombia who’s going to teach me how to make, you know, a dish that’s important in their culture, that that’s something I can do while I’m in my kitchen in Pittsburgh.

Rebecca:
I love that. Well, thank you so much for joining us today, Cindy. This was so, I don’t know, interesting and and reassuring that we could learn a language like

Cindy:
Yeah,

Rebecca:
I’m like ready

Cindy:
Yeah,

Rebecca:
For

Cindy:
You

Rebecca:
My

Cindy:
Can.

Rebecca:
Cyber Monday sale now again this year.

Cindy:
Great, well, then I’m going to check in with you in three weeks and see how you’re

Rebecca:
Check

Cindy:
Doing on your,

Rebecca:
In with

Cindy:
You

Rebecca:
Me.

Cindy:
Know, the

Rebecca:
I’m

Cindy:
New music that you’re listening to.

Rebecca:
Right. I’m determined

Cindy:
Yes.

Rebecca:
To learn Italian.

Cindy:
Ok.

Rebecca:
So thank you so much. And we will have links to all the things we talked about, you know, all these aspects, all the Duolingo programs and and everything. And, you know, thank you again. And be safe and you’ll have to check in when you learn Portuguese and

Cindy:
Yes,

Rebecca:
Tell us how it went.

Cindy:
Obrigado. Yeah, thanks

Rebecca:
Oh, my

Cindy:
To

Rebecca:
God. See

Cindy:
All.

Rebecca:
Already. All right.

Cindy:
All right, yeah, thank

Andrea:
Adios.

Cindy:
You so much. This was really a lot of fun. Adios, Bongiorno. As a loyal.

Rebecca:
We’ll be right back with our Bytes of the Week.

Rebecca:
We are back with our Bytes of the Week. Amy, what do you have?

Amy:
I have a fun one, it’s another podcast, and it is really made for children, but I’ve been listening to it for months now or however long whenever I discovered it when Hamilton came out on Disney. Plus because this podcast did a Hamilton episode in conjunction with that. And then I just went back and started listening to old ones. But it’s called History Storytime, and it’s two little girls in England and their dad and their little they’re like, I don’t know, four and seven or five and eight somewhere around there. And they’ve got these adorable little British voices. And then their dad has a great radio voice and they just do these really interesting, entertaining history episodes and like it it ranges, you know, like they don’t seem to do history in any order or any theme like they’ve done Hamilton, the slave trade, smallpox vaccine, the space race, like, you know, they just jump around to whatever they find interesting. And it’s really well done. I learn something every time. And, yeah, it’s it’s great for I think all ages, but it’s it’s probably aimed at kids like around, you know, seven, eight, nine, 10 in there. And I also want to mention that we did an episode a while back, really popular episode with our favorite podcasts.

Rebecca:
Yeah.

Amy:
So and I didn’t know about this one then. So maybe I’ll go back and update that or just do like a new article with our favorite podcast. So,

Rebecca:
Or maybe we need to do a new episode,

Amy:
Yeah, we really do, because I you know, that’s

Rebecca:
Especially

Amy:
Not the only

Rebecca:
With

Amy:
One

Rebecca:
So

Amy:
That.

Rebecca:
Many kids at home, right?

Amy:
Yes, yes. With kids like looking for things to listen to. So history, storytime, you can find it, you know, everywhere you listen to podcasts or on History Storytime Podcast.

Rebecca:
Awesome. All right, Andrea, what do you

Andrea:
Sounds

Rebecca:
Have?

Andrea:
Good, sounds good. So last week I or the last two weeks, actually, I’ve been researching products for an article that I did for Texas where I write it’s called 12 Essential Home Office Accessories. And it’s basically I thought there were 13. Well, it says 12.

Rebecca:
Well, that wouldn’t be lucky, maybe

Andrea:
I

Rebecca:
They dropped

Andrea:
Don’t

Rebecca:
The 13.

Andrea:
Know, maybe we combine two of them. But I really you know, I have a home office. You know, I’ve been working from home for the longest time, but people are setting up these makeshift offices. And I’m not talking about ergonomics, but just like, what do you need? How can you make it easier? How can you make it so that it comes somewhat close to what you have in your real office? If you’re used to working in a real office and even for kids who are doing remote learning, you know, everyone’s got a little Chromebook or a laptop now, and we all need power and we all need Wi-Fi. So I did a round up of gadgets all the way from a Wi-Fi booster to a cellular booster to webcams. I was saying that I’ve been using the webcam built into my Lenovo laptop, which I love beyond reason. But the webcam is not quite up to to par. And Logitech was kind enough to send me their BREEA webcam and I started using it. And it literally has changed everything. I mean, it’s just it the lighting is so much better. The focus is so much better. They’re hard to get right now. But you can keep checking online for them because so many people are getting them back like keyboards and a mouse that doesn’t make any noise, a silent mouse. So if two or

Amy:
Knomo.

Andrea:
Three kids are in the same room clicking, you don’t hear the clickety click, click, click. And then the other thing that’s really changed what I do, I have to say as the Technology Guru Extraordinaire, I did have one box and Thriftbooks propping up my laptop. I mean, that’s pathetic,

Rebecca:
Wait,

Andrea:
Right?

Rebecca:
I have two books right

Andrea:
Yeah.

Rebecca:
Now propping up my laptop, and my daughter has a beautiful stand for hers

Andrea:
Yeah.

Rebecca:
And I literally have two books underneath my

Amy:
I

Rebecca:
Laptop

Amy:
Use

Rebecca:
Right now.

Amy:
Cookbook’s.

Andrea:
Well, I mean, the books didn’t do it, so I wound up getting a, you know, a box from one of my tech gadgets just to make it high enough. And

Rebecca:
Well, Lisa

Andrea:
So

Rebecca:
Was a tech gadget both.

Andrea:
So now I have a stand and it’s beautiful and it’s got space because you know how my cat likes to flop onto my keyboard and undo everything and restart my computer and change the orientation. And when he comes now, I just take my keyboard, my wireless keyboard, and I just really quickly shove it in, like underneath the stand where it’s hidden away and certainly can’t flop on it. But anyway, there’s tons of great ideas there, Phonesoap, which will, you know, clean ninety nine point ninety nine percent of the yuck on your phone, all kinds of good stuff. So we will link to it.

Rebecca:
Oh, that sounds awesome. I actually need to check that out now, because I was going to say to you, having like a bunch of hair products on your desk isn’t OK or

Andrea:
The.

Rebecca:
Bowls of random jewelry, like that’s that’s my I should take a picture of my set up for this

Andrea:
Oh, my God,

Rebecca:
Section

Andrea:
You should

Rebecca:
Of bytes.

Andrea:
We should all take a picture.

Rebecca:
Yeah, you would just I mean, it’s my vanity that is now my desk and it’s something’s got to give and.

Andrea:
Oh, my

Amy:
Andrea,

Andrea:
God.

Amy:
I think that article is going to cost me some money.

Andrea:
Oh,

Rebecca:
Totally.

Andrea:
Well, you know, the other thing is people were saying, like they’re kids, OK, so now they’ve got the wireless mouse, they’ve got a webcam, they’ve got like, you know, they want to have a backup device, a hard drive back up, which actually I didn’t include in this that should have been in it. And so then what you need is a USB port extender, right. Because your laptop may only have one or two USB port. So then you have to get one of those things where you plug in one USB and you get four more so you can add all these peripherals. So

Rebecca:
Yeah.

Andrea:
Yeah, it might cost you some money.

Rebecca:
My daughters have a beautiful Anker little extender doc that

Amy:
Knomo.

Rebecca:
Matches like the MacBook Pro perfectly,

Andrea:
Oh.

Rebecca:
Like everything matches and it had everything it had because they have a USB key, which is just, I mean, such a pain. So it gave them regular USB, another USB key, an HDMI,

Andrea:
Mm hmm.

Rebecca:
Sd card, like it was everything they needed to then be hooked into, you know, the monitor because there were so

Andrea:
Right,

Rebecca:
Many things.

Andrea:
That’s what you need. I actually

Rebecca:
You

Andrea:
Have one

Rebecca:
Have

Andrea:
In

Rebecca:
To have

Andrea:
Here

Rebecca:
It.

Andrea:
I wrote about the Anker one is fabulous and I and I put a couple of them in here, too, at different price points.

Amy:
Andrea, you know, you should include in this in your little podcast update for the backup, do you remember when we worked with Western Digital in January in the before

Andrea:
Oh,

Amy:
Times

Andrea:
That little one.

Amy:
That did they send you on? They sent me one.

Andrea:
The little one, terabyte

Amy:
The

Andrea:
One,

Amy:
Yeah, the teeny tiny one terabyte

Andrea:
Oh, yeah,

Amy:
Drive.

Andrea:
That’s right, I should have put that in.

Amy:
Oh, my God, it is so tiny

Andrea:
It’s

Amy:
And

Andrea:
The size of a flash drive.

Amy:
It’s it’s like but like a tiny flash drive,

Rebecca:
See,

Amy:
Like, it’s

Rebecca:
Those scare

Amy:
Like.

Rebecca:
Me. I know it sounds weird, but I feel like I have a bunch of them floating around. I’m not kidding. And I’m always like, what’s on this? Like, I. I don’t know. I’m such a fan of the cloud. All those little things flying around

Andrea:
No,

Rebecca:
Scare me.

Andrea:
This

Amy:
No,

Andrea:
One that

Amy:
Because

Andrea:
One was amazing.

Amy:
I’m a fan of the cloud, too, I actually back up everything in two different clouds because I’m paranoid.

Andrea:
Of course

Amy:
But if you

Rebecca:
Of

Andrea:
You

Amy:
Need

Andrea:
Do.

Rebecca:
Course

Amy:
To.

Rebecca:
You do.

Amy:
Of course they do. But if you need to transfer or like just have a physical backup like this thing, it’s not cheap.

Rebecca:
Yeah,

Amy:
So you’re not going to throw it in a drawer, like you’re

Rebecca:
Right.

Amy:
Going to know where it is, but it holds a terabyte. And I was showing it to my son the other day and I was telling him the story of when my husband and I got a computer right before I feel like it was like 1998, 99, and our computer hard drive had a gigabyte

Rebecca:
Oh, yeah.

Amy:
Of storage. And

Rebecca:
And

Amy:
We

Rebecca:
That

Amy:
Were

Rebecca:
Was

Amy:
Like

Rebecca:
Awesome.

Amy:
We were like, we’re never going to fill this up. Like there’s no way to fill up a gigabyte of storage in a

Andrea:
Yeah,

Amy:
Computer. This

Andrea:
We

Amy:
Is

Rebecca:
Wait,

Amy:
Crazy.

Andrea:
Did that

Rebecca:
Wasn’t

Andrea:
With two

Rebecca:
That

Andrea:
Gigabytes.

Rebecca:
Wasn’t that Bill Gates famous quote about the Commodore 64 that

Amy:
Was

Rebecca:
No one

Amy:
It?

Rebecca:
Ever needed? Yeah, more than 64

Amy:
Oh,

Rebecca:
Kilobytes

Amy:
My God.

Rebecca:
Or whatever words like who’s going to need more than that? That was like the famous quote. I don’t know if it actually, you know, I don’t know if it’s one of the things that’s been attributed to him, not, you know, incorrectly. But that was like the famous quote about the Commodore 64.

Amy:
Oh, my God.

Rebecca:
So now I’m really dating myself. All right. So now that we’ve sold a bunch of stuff to people for for no gain for

Amy:
Including

Rebecca:
Ourselves

Amy:
Me.

Rebecca:
Instead of including ourselves, this podcast costing us a lot of money. My bite this week is for everyone maybe thinking about starting to take road trips. Maybe you have been taking road trips. You know, people really don’t want to fly Cond Nast Traveller, which is a magazine that I’ve been trying to cancel for four years. And no matter how many times I do, it keeps coming.

Amy:
Me, too, and I never started it.

Rebecca:
I never started either. And it makes me crazy. But I’m going to I’m going to give them a little love here because I feel like, you know, it’s all it’s always aspirational Cond Nast Traveller. It’s always ridiculous, but it’s especially ridiculous. Now, however, they did an article this week called Fifty States 50 cuisine’s the food worth traveling for in every state. And it is not at all what you expect.

Amy:
Knomo.

Rebecca:
There is not a lobster to be had in Maine. There is not fried chicken to be had in Tennessee like it is the really the ethnic food of whatever. The biggest immigrant group really is not state. And it is amazing. It’s just things you would have no idea. Like Alabama is Greek cuisine.

Amy:
Huh?

Rebecca:
Like what? There’s a lot of native cuisine in the Southeast.

Amy:
Do you remember what New York was?

Rebecca:
New York is hold on, I think I’d get to it, I was going to say it’s like so many things you would never, ever think of. Like my daughter is in Nashville right now and it’s Kurdish food in Nashville, like they describe there’s like the biggest Kurdish community outside of Iraq.

Amy:
I feel like I read an article about that.

Rebecca:
So it reminds me of Podmore,

Amy:
Luxury.

Rebecca:
The Taste the Nation. Yeah. Show that I hit. You know, that was my fight a few,

Amy:
Yeah.

Rebecca:
Maybe a few months ago. It’s kind of like that where you’re like, you’ve got to be kidding. Like New York is Guyanese cuisine

Amy:
Oh,

Rebecca:
From

Amy:
Wow.

Rebecca:
Guyana. And Uno also, like, obviously shout out to Jackson Heights with

Amy:
Ok,

Rebecca:
Colombian

Amy:
The Indian

Rebecca:
Cuisine.

Amy:
Oh,

Rebecca:
No,

Amy:
Colombian.

Rebecca:
Colombian. Yeah.

Andrea:
Oh, wow.

Rebecca:
Which is amazing there. But like, it’s just it’s one of those things where you’re like, really this is so interesting. And then they describe kind of the best restaurants that have that in New Jersey. It’s. Ghanaian cuisine from Ghana,

Amy:
Wow.

Rebecca:
Right

Andrea:
I

Rebecca:
From Senegal.

Andrea:
Have never seen a restaurant that had that kind of food here.

Rebecca:
Isn’t that amazing?

Andrea:
Yeah.

Rebecca:
It said a version of the diversity visa program, which enabled came to benefit West African countries like Nigeria, the Ivory Coast, Senegal and Ghana. And they started coming up and they settled in north and central New Jersey, in Newark and Union, which is led to a big rush of restaurants and.

Andrea:
That’s so weird because Newark is known for the Portuguese restaurants.

Rebecca:
I know it’s really interesting, so the restaurant, they say, Andrea, I’ll tell you, it’s a Sankar cuisine in Somerset.

Andrea:
I’m going to go look it up,

Rebecca:
I know,

Andrea:
This

Rebecca:
And it

Andrea:
May

Rebecca:
Sounds

Andrea:
Cost me money.

Rebecca:
Amazing. They also said that New Jersey is home to the largest Peruvian enclave in the United States in Patterson. I know. I’m like this is like I’m like I who knew? So

Amy:
Good for

Rebecca:
I’m

Amy:
Them for not

Rebecca:
Sure

Amy:
Going

Rebecca:
All

Amy:
Obvious.

Rebecca:
The people who eat all the food there knew. But it is really, really cool. It’s so it’s a very unkind, nasty, you know, kind of article. So I was kind of surprised at that too. But although maybe they’re all trying harder. But anyway, we will link to the article. And it’s you know, maybe it’s just discovered something new about where you live now that you like. Like, I didn’t like Andrea, just like we just so it’s very cool. And it just reminds you of all I don’t know, it’s my favorite thing about America is just how incredibly varied the food is ethnically. It’s certainly my favorite thing about New York, because everybody comes here from everywhere else. So that’s one of the big benefits is also getting all this amazing food. So that is our show for today. You can find links to everything we talked about at Parenting Bytes dot com on Facebook, dot com slash Parenting Bytes. You can find links to the show page. Please leave us comments. Let us know. Shows you’d like to hear ideas. You have let us know how you’re doing during this pandemic.

Amy:
Or podcast for kids that you want to add to my list.

Rebecca:
Yeah, please, any suggestions Facebook’s the place to leave as those comments message us, if you’d like it to be private, doesn’t have to be public on the Facebook page and until next week, please rate review, subscribe and share wherever you are listening to us now to next week. Happy parenting.

Amy:
Hi.

Andrea:
By.

Cindy:
Hey, this is our Parenting Bytes disclaimer, everything we talk about on the show is our own opinion, any products we recommend, it’s our own personal recommendation for entertainment purposes only. If you buy something through our affiliate links or you just happened to buy or see or read or watch something that we recommended, it’s at your own risk.

Automatically convert your audio files to text with Sonix. Sonix is the best online, automated transcription service.

Sonix uses cutting-edge artificial intelligence to convert your Episode 237: How to learn a language at any age! files to text.

Create and share better audio content with Sonix. Sonix converts audio to text in minutes, not hours. Automated transcription is getting more accurate with each passing day. Automated transcription is much more accurate if you upload high quality audio. Here’s how to capture high quality audio. Create better transcripts with online automated transcription. Here are five reasons you should transcribe your podcast with Sonix. Better audio means a higher transcript accuracy rate. Do you have a lot of background noise in your audio files? Here’s how you can remove background audio noise for free.

Sonix uses cutting-edge artificial intelligence to convert your Episode 237: How to learn a language at any age! files to text.

Sonix is the best online audio transcription software in 2020—it’s fast, easy, and affordable.

If you are looking for a great way to convert your audio to text, try Sonix today.

Dr. Cindy Blanco holding a sign that says Puedes hacerlo