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I speak 20 languages

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iTunes Podcast Search is Wonky

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been putting together a podcast with the contributions of a bunch of people at The Linguist. It’s fun, easy, and now that Apple’s iTunes supports podcasts, it’s easy for average people to subscribe, too.

But there’s something funky about Apple’s podcast search.

For example, if you search for “learn english” in the iTunes podcast directory, 7 podcasts come up …

But only 4 of the 7 are even remotely about learning English. One’s about idioms, one is simplified news for English learners, one is on phonetics … and one is my podcast on learning English. Two of the results are on learning Spanish, of all things.

But check out the relevance ratings. The learning Spanish podcasts are the most highly relevant podcasts, according to iTunes, even though the search was for “learning English!”

This is too strange. The description that I painstakingly put together for my podcasts clearly states that they are about learning English … language that is conspicuously absent – for very good reason – from the learning Spanish podcasts.

Very odd. What’s going on here?

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