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Bonus Episode: Ask Me Anything — Your Listener Questions Answered

By Duolingo on Tue 23 Mar 2021

In this special episode, we answer your questions about the Duolingo French Podcast! Listen as host Ngofeen Mputubwele takes you behind the scenes of this one-of-a-kind podcast — with a little help from some friends.

How to Listen

Listen free on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.


Ngofeen Mputubwele: Just getting stuff set up… Mic is on... Okay, it’s good.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: Okay. Hey there! Bienvenue ! I’m Ngofeen, the host of the Duolingo French Podcast.

As you know, we usually bring you fascinating true stories, to help you improve your French listening, and gain new perspectives on the world. But today, we’re trying something a little different. It’s a special episode all about you: our listeners.

Listener - Andrés Bustamante: Bonjour. Comment ça va ? My name's Andrés Bustamante. I'm from El Paso, Texas.

Listener - Karen Safranski: Hello, my name is Karen Safranski and I am from Sacramento, California.

Listener - Gigar: Bonjour, j'espère que vous allez bien. Je m'appelle Gigar, et je viens de Hollande.

Listener - Amandeep Singh: I'm Amandeep Singh from India.

Listener - Isabella: Salut, je m'appelle Carmen Isabella. I’m from Germany.

Listener - Javier Contreras: Hello, guys. My name is Javier Contreras. I am from Colombia, South America.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: We asked you to send in your questions about the podcast, so we could take you behind the scenes. We love hearing about how the Duolingo French Podcast has become a part of your lives…and we love listening to you practicing your French.

Mac Odhiambo: Bonjour Ngofeen ! Je m’appelle Mac Odhiambo, je viens du Kenya. J'aime trop le podcast… Merci beaucoup ! Je suis très heureux.

Yad: Good morning, My name is Yad, I am from Italy. At the very moment I’m living in Australia since a couple of years. I’m working in construction and most of the time I’m by myself, so I just put on the stories and just let them go and listen to the French… I don’t know, it's really helping me out and I can definitely tell that my skills have improved. It's an amazing thing that you guys are doing. I hope you keep going with the stories. I just wish there were two per week instead of just one, eh?

Ngofeen Mputubwele: Haha, I love that! Two episodes per week, huh Yad? Well, to see if this is possible, let me ask Natacha Ruck, she is the managing editor of the Duolingo French Podcast, which means she oversees the storytelling process from start to finish.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: Salut Natacha ! Comment ça va ?

Natacha Ruck: Ça va, ça va. Salut, Ngofeen !

Ngofeen Mputubwele: So listeners, I think, want to know where we're from. So let's start with you, Natacha. Are you French? Where are you from in France?

Natacha Ruck: Je suis lilloise. Je viens du nord de la France.* We actually had a person from my home region, the cheese champion. She's from my region. I can't wait to go back to France and meet her.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: That's awesome. And maybe bring back some cheese…

Natacha Ruck: Definitely. Definitely. Definitely. My home region has some of the worst cheeses that you can get. They smell terrible. Le maroilles.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: The thing is the smelly cheeses are the ones that taste the best. It's just like how it goes.

Natacha Ruck: Exactly, exactly. And you would know because you actually make your own cheese.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: I make my own cheese. But this is a new phenomenon, very pandemic based. You know, everyone was doing sourdough. So I was like, “I'm going to up the fermentation and do cheese!” But I’m learning. Anyways. Where I'm from, I'm from the U.S. I feel like people know that I'm from the U.S. from my accent. It's pretty obvious. But my family's Congolese, so I grew up speaking French. And then I spent a lot of time… I've spent a lot of time in France, in my adult life. I have family there, et cetera, et cetera. So…

Natacha Ruck: Yeah. But I think that now that you're making your own cheese in your apartment in Brooklyn, I think that, you know, you're more French than anyone I know.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: I'll take it. This is my shout out to anyone who makes cheese — please keep this in the podcast — anyone who makes cheese and knows how to do it and wants to give me some tips, slide into the DMs. I am here.

Natacha Ruck: Okay, I'll try to find you someone. Okay, what do you have for me?

Ngofeen Mputubwele: So let's get this AMA, let's get this “Ask Me Anything” started. The first question I picked: How about doing two episodes per week, Natacha?

Natacha Ruck: Are you trying to kill me?

Ngofeen Mputubwele: No one, no. We just want more audio!

Natacha Ruck: Maybe we'll get there at some point. I'm just so proud of the story we put out every week. But it's like they take so much time and effort. Like, it takes four months to produce each story. And there are a lot of people involved. Like there's a team of producers and editors and language experts who work on every single story. So from the time it takes to pitch a story, conduct the first interviews, write and edit the script, and then have them simplified by linguists; then record the tracks with the protagonists and with you, edit the voice and the sound design. It takes months and months of time.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: Fair enough. Fair enough. Sorry, Yad.

Natacha Ruck: So let me play you my favorite listener message.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: Uh-oh. Here we go.

Isabella: Salut, je m’appelle Carmen Isabella. I'm from Germany and I'm 19 years old. J'adore le Duolingo French Podcast. And I think that the host, Mr. Mputubwele is doing a great job presenting it. Ils sont très sympas. Au revoir.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: That’s, yeah… It’s so… I feel like I know intellectually that people are listening all over the globe because that's what a podcast is. But it's so crazy to hear the different places. That's awesome. And ages.

Natacha Ruck: I can vouch, you know, Ngofeen est très sympa.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: Thank you. Thank you.

Natacha Ruck: There's a lot of laughter that gets to be edited out of the tapes.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: Yeah. You gotta, you know. You gotta laugh some. Well, Natacha, a lot of listeners were very curious about one thing.

Mohammed: Bonjour Duolingo. C’est Mohammed. Je suis un homme libanais qui a habité en France pendant deux ans. Alors du coup, j'avais une question que je voulais vous poser. C'est : comment est-ce que vous trouvez les conteurs des histoires et comment est-ce que vous choisissez les histoires ? Merci beaucoup.

Natacha Ruck: Thank you for practicing your French in that question, Mohammed! So this is two questions: How do we find our storytellers? And how do we pick the stories?

I can answer the first one. To find the stories, we look for them everywhere…non stop. We have a few producers, some in the USA, some in France, and they hunt for stories… They read the press, they go on Twitter, on Instagram… Sometimes you’re at a party or a Zoom meeting and you meet someone interesting, and then you pounce on them. Or sometimes, someone emails you. Those are my favorite, because I know they come from people who’ve listened to the podcast and are game to tell their stories. And also, it’s much less work for us.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: Thanks Natacha!

Natacha Ruck: My pleasure, always a pleasure.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: Yeah, for sure. Now, to answer the second question, how we pick the stories, I asked Laura Macomber — our supervising producer at Duolingo.

Laura Macomber: Hey, Ngofeen. There are a bunch of things we keep in mind when choosing which stories to turn into actual episodes of the podcast. The first consideration is simply whether or not a story is going to be accessible to intermediate French learners. We try to keep our episodes rooted in the kind of everyday vocab and experiences that French learners are more familiar with, which means we can't really do anything that's too technical or that requires our listeners to have in-depth knowledge of something super, culturally specific. We still tell really exciting and unexpected stories, but if you listen to any season of the podcast, you'll see that our storytellers are going through things that many of us go through. They're moving to new cities. They're changing jobs. They're exploring their identities. They're uncovering scandalous family secrets…

So the first question we always ask when we look at a story pitch is: Will a French learner understand what's happening here? And then the second question we ask is: Is this story exciting and engaging? The more twists and turns a story has, the longer people are likely to stick around and listen. And the longer people listen, the more they're improving their French.

Another thing we always keep in mind is the fact that the French speaking world is a very, very diverse place. And I don't just mean culturally, I mean geographically, too. French is the official language of 29 countries and people of all different identities and backgrounds and faiths speak this language. You know, our promise to listeners is that we tell them true stories from the French speaking world and we mean the whole French speaking world. So while we obviously love the stories we produce that take place in the French countryside or in Paris, it's just as important to us to take our listeners to Canada and Senegal and Martinique and Haiti and Switzerland… You get the point. Anyway, I hope that answers Mohammed's question. À tout à l'heure !

Ngofeen Mputubwele: Thanks Laura! Of course, selecting stories is just the beginning. Then we have to produce them — which takes a lot of coordination in the best of times. So you can imagine the question on everyone’s mind back in March 2020, as the whole world scrambled to adjust to the pandemic…

Listener - Tafazu: Hi there. My name is Tafazu [last name]. I'm 22 and I'm from Zimbabwe. I want to thank you guys so much for this podcast because it has really helped me with my French listening. I've learned a lot of new words and it has helped with my schoolwork. Can I find out: How do you guys do these episodes? Especially right now with the COVID-19 restrictions and all? Like, is it face to face in a studio? Or does the person telling these stories send in a recording or something? Thank you.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: Thank you Tafazu! To tell you how we figured out how to keep recording our podcast during the pandemic, I’m calling Lorena Galliot. She’s based in Brooklyn and she produced stories like “Comment je m’appelle ? (What’s my name)” and more recently “La joie du cancan (The Joy of Cancan).” She interviewed each storyteller, wrote the scripts, and she also handled some of the recordings.

Hey Lorena!

Lorena Galliot: Hey, Ngofeen, how are you?

Ngofeen Mputubwele: I'm good. So one of our listeners has a question for you. Can you tell us how our recording process changed with COVID-19?

Lorena Galliot: Oh, yeah. It changed a lot. It changed completely. Before COVID, what we did was we recorded in studios. So we would book a studio. The protagonist would go there, record with a professional sound engineer. We care immensely about the sound, so that was really our priority. And after COVID, we couldn't. We couldn't do that anymore.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: So then what were the changes that we made after, you know, once COVID hit?

Lorena Galliot: Well, we had to figure it out. And everyone was at home, so the question was: Well, how could people record at home? And thankfully, in the age of smartphones, most of them have recorders, or there are free apps that actually are great recording apps. And we thought: “Well, let's try to use that!” And then it became this game of trial and error where we were coaching our protagonists on how to try to set up the best possible recording conditions they could in their homes. And, you know, I'm sure you know, but they were in a setup maybe similar to how I am now: in my bedroom, under a blanket with the phone propped up as close as possible to my mouth. A lot of them used paper towel rolls. Right now, I'm using a yoga block. It's really whatever you have. We told them that they could drape blankets over them to mute the sound around them. And what was really incredible is that the protagonists we work with are just so wonderful, so willing to tell their story, to share their story, that they really went along with it and that they really did amazing jobs.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: Yeah, and I had a similar thing here where at home I turned part of my bedroom into a studio. I have like a little set up here with my microphone and I have an old curtain that I'm using to try to dampen the sound a little bit beneath the mic. So, yeah, I feel like initially there was a little bit of “How do we do this?”

Lorena Galliot: Yeah…

Ngofeen Mputubwele: But now, it's just, you know…the rhythm. We just do it.

Lorena Galliot: Yeah. So there was this really incredible like we-can-do-it attitude on the team, just people figuring out and making it happen so that we could get our stories to our listeners. Oh, wait. I think my cat is asking for either food or attention. This happens a lot. I'm sorry, Ngofeen.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: I love that there's a cat.

Lorena Galliot: Yeah. I mean, this is the reality of home recording. This is what tends to happen.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: Yes, totally. In my case, it's a dog, but I… Yes.

Lorena Galliot: What's your dog's name?

Ngofeen Mputubwele: My dog's name. So she is a rescue and her name in Texas was Camille. But this is the Duolingo French Podcast, and so her name is Camille [French pronunciation] now.

Lorena Galliot: Camille! Camille is a beautiful name. All right. So I'm sure you might hear…mine is Maya and she really wants me to go. So I guess, I guess I've got to head out.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: All right. Well, thank you so much for joining. Bye, Lorena. And bye Lorena's cat!

Lorena Galliot: Yeah. Thanks so much, Ngofeen. Bye-bye!

Ngofeen Mputubwele: We got quite a few emails and one is from Annie Zhang in Canada:

“Heyo! I've been a fan of your French podcasts, and I think they're great! [Thank you, Annie] I'm wondering what's something about podcasting that seems easy but is quite difficult?”

Ah, this is a good one. One of the surprising things about the Duolingo French Podcast is the kind of intense level of expertise that goes into crafting sentences that are clear and accessible for French learners. You actually have to be pretty precise so that it works for learners of the language. Here’s Lisa Bromberg, one of our learning experts at Duolingo.

Lisa Bromberg: Thanks for your question, Annie! One of our biggest challenges is: How to retain each storyteller’s unique and personal voice, while also simplifying their language so that all of you can easily understand their story. To do this, we have a few tricks up our sleeve. First, we put each script through a simplification process. We start with people’s stories exactly as they tell them, then go through sentence by sentence, and adapt their language to use only intermediate-level words and phrases. Sometimes, there are words and phrases we just can’t simplify — in which case, Ngofeen will tell you what the word means in English, before you hear the new word in French. Finally, we coach storytellers to speak slowly and enunciate, because it takes language learners a little longer to process new information. In the end, our goal is for you to get some practice hearing what you’ve learned, pick up a few new words along the way, and of course connect with stories and experiences from the Francophone world.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: Thank you Lisa! That’s what it takes to get the language right. But there are other sounds that we need to get right, too. To answer the next question I’m going to call one of our sound designers, Samia Bouzid. Samia’s based in Philadelphia, and she edited and scored stories like the “La chasseuse de la particule (The Particle Hunter)” and “Défier un dictateur (Defying a Dictator).”

Hey, Samia!

Samia Bouzid: Hi, Ngofeen!

Ngofeen Mputubwele: Yo! So we’re doing a behind the scenes episode, letting people in on the secrets of the show. So I wanted to see if you could answer a question from one of our listeners.

Samia Bouzid: Sure. Let's hear it.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: Great, here it goes.

Samuel Bond: Hi, this is Samuel Bond from Luxembourg in Europe. I’m just curious: How do you guys choose what sound and background noise to put in your podcast? Thanks!

Samia Bouzid: Yeah, so what you refer to as background noise is what we call soundscaping, and I'm really happy to hear you asking about it, Samuel, because in season five, this was something that we paid special attention to. We really wanted you as listeners to come to all of the places where our protagonists' stories took place and really feel like you were there with them.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: Were there any, Samia, were there any of the episodes in season five where, you know, you felt kind of… The ones that when you listen back to the soundscaping, you're kind of like, "Yes! I succeeded!" Or like any of them that stand out?

Samia Bouzid: Well, one of the ones that was the most fun for me was the Santons episode, the Christmas story. And so that one was…that one required a little bit of imagination. The scene that I have in mind right now is at the very beginning where the protagonist was sitting listening to the Christmas story as told on a vinyl record. And she was remembering…she was remembering this moment in her childhood, but she was also recalling this story. And it was all very magical in her memory. And so I wanted to…

Ngofeen Mputubwele: Right.

Samia Bouzid: …recreate that experience, but also recreate the story and bring that alive in the way that it kind of felt to her when she was a kid.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: What did you do to try to get that?

Samia Bouzid: Yeah, well, so the first step was just to try to recreate the recording, like as it would have sounded to her sitting in that room. So we treated it a little bit to make it sound like vinyl.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: Mm. Mmm-hmm.

Samia Bouzid: Yeah. And then that was when I started thinking about what was actually going on in the story. It was this Christmas village. And so I pulled some sound effects from sound libraries to create the sound of villagers and some of the southern wind, le mistral. And I also found some sound effects — I think there was an ox in there and a donkey and some of the animals that were around. So I layered all of these on top of each other to try to create the story that she was listening to. And so that one was really fun for me because it required a little bit of imagination. And I couldn't really know exactly what it sounded like because this was an internal experience for her. But that was fun to sound design.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: Yeah. And that's something that I've learned too, the more I've done sound design, is that it's like painting. I feel like it's like… I don't know anything about painting, but yeah, I think it's like, it's similar to what I imagine painting to be, where you're not just using one color to try to get it. I think it's a similar thing with the sound design to kind of get a full sound or a full like imagined representation of that place.

Samia Bouzid: Yeah, exactly! I mean, especially because we're not actually able to go to these places most of the time. So we can't just plop a recorder down and record what that place sounds like. So most of the time we're having to create the place with sound. And that can be kind of tricky, especially for me. I haven't been to many of these places. So the first thing I usually do when I start on a new episode is before I put in any sounds, I'll go on YouTube and just look at travel vlogs and try to get a sense of what the place sounds like. But sometimes if it's a place that's not really well traveled or people haven't made videos about it, I'll go on Google Maps and use Street View to just walk around, especially if it's like a specific neighborhood. I'll go walk around the neighborhood or walk around the park and get an idea what I think it should sound like before I put in the sounds. Sometimes we get really lucky and there will be a scene in, I don't know, an airport and we actually have audio from that airport or something like that. But most of the time we're just trying to recreate it and make it sound as authentic as we can with sound effects from libraries.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: Well, Samia, thank you for answering the question and for all your sound design.

Samia Bouzid: Sure. Thanks for having me!

Ngofeen Mputubwele: Bye.

Samia Bouzid: Bye.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: Alright. So we've gotten a good sample of our team, but our listener Bill in Atlanta had a question for our most important team members: our protagonists! We’re always amazed by the people who share their stories with us and Bill had a question about a story from our first season, “Partir du paradis (Leaving Paradise).”

Protagonist - Elodie Lauret: Bonjour, c'est Élodie. Je ne suis pas disponible pour le moment, mais vous pouvez me laisser un message après le bip.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: Bonjour Élodie ! We got a question for you from one of our listeners. Here’s the question:

Élodie Lauret, what has happened to her education project to teach the school kids in La Réunion about their history and culture? Thanks Élodie!

Ngofeen Mputubwele: Élodie lives in La Réunion, it’s a French island in the Indian Ocean, so it’s not so easy to talk in person… But here’s the message she left me back:

Protagonist - Elodie Lauret: Hi Ngofeen. Have I been able to share the story of La Réunion with kids? Well, yes. I shared my story in Duolingo French two years ago. And since then I have joined a theater company. We go in different neighborhoods and put on free plays for children. We share tales from the island with pirates, witches, and sea creatures. The company's name is “La p'tite scène qui bouge”, which means “the traveling little stage.” Although now I've got my driver's license and I do writing workshops in school and online. And I have launched my own podcast named “Laboratoire d'écriture”, “Writing Lab”. And I love when listeners from the Duolingo Podcast come and listen to it. À la prochaine !

Ngofeen Mputubwele: Thank you Élodie! Listeners were also curious to learn more about Damien Landesmann, our protagonist in the episode “Le nom caché (The Hidden Name).” This was a very popular episode about a man who uncovers a family secret from World War II. 12-year-old Roshni Dontelli sent us an email wanting to know if there are many people with stories like Damien’s.

Protagonist - Damien Landesmann: Bonjour. I am Damien Landesmann. Roshni, there are actually plenty of people around the globe that are changing names, especially in the Jewish community like mine, many families that have been through the…well, the Second World War, have had to change names for obvious reasons. They had to hide and hide the fact that they were Jewish. So this is what happened to my grandfather. I have actually a couple of other friends that have the same story, from Italy, from wherever around the globe. But beyond also the Jewish community, there are plenty of people that want to go back to their original names. They're not afraid or ashamed anymore. And while they are happy to be integrated in their new country, they’re also very proud of their origins and heritage. I hope this answers your question, Roshni. Thank you!

Ngofeen Mputubwele: Thank you Damien! Now, I was super intrigued by one of the emails we received, from Sarah Pick, in Maryland. Sarah wrote to tell us about a study group she’s a part of that’s obsessed with the Duolingo French Podcast. So we called Sarah to find out more about how she listens to our stories.

Study group participant: Bonjour !

Ngofeen Mputubwele: Bonjour !

Study group participant: We love your narration and your intros.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: Thank you. Thanks!

Study group participant: I think — you probably don't know — we feel very close to you. Every Friday, we hear your voice. You're kind of a friend already.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: Yeah. It's, it's so cool to like… I work in radio and I know that people are listening, but then you actually hear the people listening, like where they're from and what they're doing. It's like, “Oh, that's cool! This is a real thing, not just me in my bedroom!”

Study group participant: Right. Ngofeen, you have a beautiful voice and also the way that you speak English, it's so clear and so much fun to follow as if a friend is telling you the story.

Study group participant: I was wondering if you were ever in theater because you're very dramatic.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: Yeah. So it's funny. I ended up changing majors in college, but I went into college for opera and then I've kept…I've sung, I sing opera. So I like kept singing through undergrad. I sang with an opera company when I finished. So, yeah. Theater via the opera.

Study group participant: Well now I'm really impressed.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: I wanted to know everything about them, how their group was formed and then I asked each of them to introduce themselves…and what their favorite episode was and why:

Study group participant: We met everybody in French class and formed study groups to enhance our French. After the start of the pandemic, we switched our study groups to Zoom, of course. And that's when Sarah suggested that we use the Duolingo Podcast to enhance our studies. We now meet Friday afternoons on Zoom. We take turns reading and translating the podcasts and we all feel that it's a fun thing to do rather than just studying grammar or doing our homework. It's really a reward for us.

Study group participant - Sarah: You know, this is our treat on Friday afternoons.

Study group participant: Sarah why don’t you go ahead and start?

Study group participant - Sarah: Great. I am director of marketing at a science research institute. So I had to pick number ten “The Particle Hunter”, as my favorite because Rajaâ El Moursli, I just loved her story because of her convincing her father to study in France and also convincing her country to get involved with the Higgs boson. But there was a level of reading this that I realized: “I'm reading about particle physics in French!” And you made it accessible to us. And I was so hooked. I told everybody about it and one thing led to another. And then we, since that day in April, we've been reading one a week.

Study group participant - Vella: Yeah. My name is Vella and I'm a retired HIV nurse from Johns Hopkins Hospital. So I really loved episode 26, “The Joy of Cancan.” Because as an older woman, it gave me good advice for women my age just to still keep on moving mentally and physically.

Study group participant - Mary Jo: Okay. My name is Mary Jo Tydlacka and I am a visual artist. And number 16, “Karate Dreams,” the story of Valérie Desroches. I love that story. She just kept going, going, going, and also, you know, if people didn't accept her or teachers didn't accept her, she wasn't going to let that stop her. And I, I so admire her for that. And I thought it was a wonderful story.

Study group participant - Firouzeh: Hi, everyone. My name is Firouzeh, I'm originally from Iran. I grew up with two languages, Kurdish and Persian. And then at school we learned Arabic and English, and then at university I learned French. Like my friends, mes amies mentioned, it was really difficult to choose an episode because I was able to connect with all of them. However, I decided to select Valérie Hirschfield's story. It was a very inspiring story. It was a story of loss, resilience, and success.

Study group participant - Wan-Cheng: My name is Wan-Cheng Chao, I'm an international radio broadcaster and a reporter for Voice of America, and I originally come from Taiwan and my husband says I'm obsessed to learn French. Okay, so that's a good compliment. And just like most of my friends, we love almost everyone. But my favorite one is episode 35 and the title is called “La Voix de la France (The Voice of France).” And the story really, really is amazing to me because it echoes of my professional life.

Study group participant - Janice: My name is Janice and I am a substitute teacher in Howard County Public Schools. And I do get to teach French, which is such a wonderful experience, especially with podcasts, because I plan to take the podcast to my class and allow the students to read some of these wonderful, inspiring stories. It was really hard to pick, but number eight really spoke to me. I know with Hong Dagognet, she was actually kidnapped and she thought that she was abandoned, but she really wasn't. And she was able to find that out. I especially think that her mother was so wonderful to try to keep trying to find her. And actually, when she did find her, they did make such a connection. And it was so inspiring to me. It was very emotional. And I will never forget that story. Thank you so much for interviewing that person and writing it.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: Thank you for listening!

Study group participant - Carol: And I'll introduce myself. My name is Carol Lepeau. I'm formerly a financial analyst for a major defense contractor here in Maryland. I'm a big sports fan, so I love the stories about the athletes and how they were able to succeed. Number 18, “Surfing in Senegal” and also the runner from Bamako, we just read that. So that's our group, as you can see. But we really enjoy our Fridays with our podcasts.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: That's awesome, that’s great. Cool! Well, thank you for listening.

Study group participant: Thank you! And everybody have a nice day and be safe.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: It was so much fun hearing how the Duolingo French Podcast brought you all together, so a huge thank you to Vella, Carol, Janice, Mary Jo, Wan-Cheng, Firouzeh, and Sarah.

And to y'all who wrote to us, texted us, and called in your questions, and listen to the Duolingo French Podcast: merci !

We’ve reached the end of this special episode. You can keep sending us messages via voicemail, or WhatsApp. The number again is +1-703-953-93-69. Or send an email to Don’t forget to mention your name and where you’re calling or writing from.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: I hope now you also feel more connected to one another — and to us — as you practice your French. Here are a few more people who work hard to bring you this podcast:

Martina Castro: Bonjour ! I’m Martina Castro and I live in Los Angeles, California.

Román Frontini: Hello! I’m Román Frontini from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Camille Lindbom: I am Camille Lindbom from Brooklyn, New York.

Martine Chaussard: Hello, I'm Martine Chaussard. I'm originally from Montreal, Canada, and I live in Atlanta, Georgia.

Laurent Apffel: Hi. My name is Laurent Apffel. I was born and raised in Paris, France, also partly in the United States. And I currently live in Santiago de Chile.

Adélie Pojzman-Pontay: My name is Adélie Pojzman-Pontay and I live in Paris and in Nice in the south of France.

Stéphanie Martins: Bonjour ! I am Stéphanie Martins. I am from Amiens, France, but I am currently living in Florida.

Jérémy Belgarde: I'm Jérémy Belgarde from Lyon, France.

María Abascal: I’m María José Abascal from Guatemala.

Kevin Kunitake: Hi, I'm Kevin Kunitake from Los Angeles and living in New York City.

Lucía Hurtado: I'm Lucía Hurtado from Guatemala.

Emily Chiu: I'm Emily Chiu, in New York.

Gonzalo Castro: Hi! My name is Gonzalo and I’m from Virginia.

Ngofeen Mputubwele: And I’m your host Ngofeen Mputubwele. Merci, et à la prochaine !


This episode was produced by Duolingo and Adonde Media.

Managing Editor: Natacha Ruck
Producer: Camille Lindbom
Mix & Sound Design: Román Frontini
Mastering Engineer: Laurent Apffel