https://www.duolingo.com/DerGoldmann

Let's change the Yiddish flag back to the previous design!

DerGoldmann
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It is really nice to see how spiffy the Welsh and Paraguayan flags look on their new respective pages. However, some of you may not have noticed that the Yiddish flag sprite was redesigned. It is now a black chai (חי) on a white background.

I recall one of the Yiddish contributors commenting somewhere that they wanted Duolingo to design a new flag because they believed the menorah flag represented the Jewish religion more than the Yiddish language. I understand the contributors would have a big say in the matter, but I feel their effort to push for a redesign was misplaced.

In my opinion, Judaism and Yiddish are in many ways inseparable. Why shy away from the menorah, which has been used for centuries to represent the European Jewry? Of course, this is not to discount non-religious Yiddish speakers (my ancestors among them), rather to recognize that at times we do use religious symbols to represent languages. See the Turkish flag (star and crescent) for Turkish, the Israeli flag (star of David) for Hebrew, and the Swedish, Danish and Norwegian flags (nordic cross) for their respective languages. I think one of the nicest things about the previous design was the symmetry it had with the Hebrew flag. Take a gander below! Isn't that purty?

Personally, I strongly dislike the new redesign. It doesn't feel like a flag at all, perhaps more of a logo or a Boyscout's badge. I know the "חי" is a Jewish symbol, but in and of itself it hardly screams flag! The Yiddish contributors and Duolingo graphic designers should keep the basic principles of flag design in mind. The fourth principal is that a good flag should have no lettering or seals. The Hebrew letters "חי" violate that basic principle. In addition, while surely used in Yiddish, "חי" is a Hebrew word, meaning living! See Good Flag, Bad Flag by the North American Vexillological Association (NAVA). Roman Mars also has some choice words for the bad flags of the world.

Of course, the flag situation for Yiddish is difficult. There is no predominately Yiddish speaking nation, and hence no obvious national flag. Naturally, the Duolingo graphic designers would have to choose or fashion a flag that feels worthy to fly alongside the others. The menorah flag seems to have some experience in the wild and the original design was found on wikicommons. I personally like the previous design a lot and I hope Duolingo considers bringing it back. Please share you opinions on the matter and maybe, just maybe, give a word of support for the black and bold menorah flag!

3 years ago

36 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/earthkissed
earthkissed
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i prefer the menorah, but if they put the bars above and below the chai i would think it would look more like a flag.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DerGoldmann
DerGoldmann
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The black bars would be a step in the right direction. But, on a side by side comparison I think the menorah flag would still look better.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/greg.mort
greg.mort
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Menorah flag is much more appealing to me as an outsider. Bring it back please!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SteveLando
SteveLando
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The Menorah flag is often used concerning Yiddish, so that's the natural thing to use.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/theymaxx
theymaxx
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I was wondering the same thing. as a secular Jew interested in Yiddish, the Menorah makes the most sense. it was the symbol of the Yiddish-speaking Jewish culture all throughout their territories in Eastern Europe.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew-Macdonald

Doesn't matter anyways, the Yiddish contributors are no longer active and left the course 3 months ago ):

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DerGoldmann
DerGoldmann
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The lack of progress is disconcerting. However, we don't know what they are up to. They may be planning or making progress behind the scenes. Anyhow, the Polish example gives us hope, it was stagnant for an eon or so but is close to beta now.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew-Macdonald

True. But what concerns me most is that it appears that the staff seems to not give a crap that the contributors are no longer there. The Yiddish, Romanian, and Hungarian courses are falling apart and the staff appears to have done nothing, absolutely nothing. Maybe they have done something, but if they have they haven't told us, way to bond with almost everybody that does Duolingo. And how long have we been waiting for them to buy the text to speech for the Russian team? Too long. It really ticks me off.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DerGoldmann
DerGoldmann
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There is no doubt Duolingo could be better at communicating to both its users and its contributors. But I try to remember we are using a free service and that these contributors are sacrificing their personal time to help provide us with a great product. I can be patient, because if I really care about learning a language I will use other resources to prep myself before the tree finally makes its debut!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vytah
vytah
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There is some regrouping happening behind the scenes of the Hungarian course right now. Also, it appears that they have been slowly working the whole time, just not being talkative.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SpracheShinobi

Great point! I was going to say, "Perhaps the course contributor should worry less about the design of the flag, and more about the design of the course."

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Pratyush.
Pratyush.
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Don't be down for no progress. I think it's okay. First progress for Yiddish was done after 3 months when they were added. It was just 0% for three months. So, I really hope they will come back with progress.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Luko.
Luko.
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I completely agree with you!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mitchell_MT
Mitchell_MT
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Random question: How did you find the pictures for the flags and the Yiddish owl?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DerGoldmann
DerGoldmann
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I found the flags on the course page. You just need to use developer tools to inspect the page, and it will reveal all the pictures under resources. The older version of the flag sprites are still on the incubator page. It seems the Incubator is usually last to get the updated flags

I found the picture of the Yiddish and Hebrew flags together on the Duolingo Facebook page several months ago.

I made the Yiddish owl in a photo editor using elements from the German trophy and the flag sprites file. New trophies only appear in the resource page on beta release day.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DerGoldmann
DerGoldmann
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Update: they added the updated sprite file to the incubator page, the redesigned Yiddish "flag" is still not associated with the Yiddish course, yet...

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PolyglotCiro
PolyglotCiro
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I know a fair way to decide what flag they will use. Let's do what Ancient Greeks created: Democracy
We should make a post to let users vote for the flag they want.
How could we exactly do it? It's very simple, after telling what the post is about, write to comments, the first one will have the original Yiddish flag, and the other one will have the חי flag on it.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mkuhn1
mkuhn1
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Here's what the Forward has to say about a flag for Yiddish: http://forward.com/opinion/national/310057/what-flag-should-yiddish-fly/

Another question is whether the Yiddish course is going to reflect the literary language spoken up to the first half of the 20th Century (represented by the http://yiddish.forward.com), or the Yiddish spoken today in Hasidic communities.

Eventually Duolingo is going to have to deal with languages with no obvious flag. There are many subnational and supernational languages (e.g. many languages spoken in India) and Duolingo might have to move away from flags in some cases.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LeviPolasak
LeviPolasak
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Hopefully Chassidish Yiddish. I speak Chassidish Yiddish fluently and would LOVE to see my kind being promoted, rather than the typical literature Litvish Yiddish

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kumatangz
Kumatangz
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I SUPPORT THE BLACK AND BOLD MENORAH FLAG FOR THE YIDDISH COURSE!!!!!!!!!!!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/greg.mort
greg.mort
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Amen!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlanTelloM
AlanTelloM
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I totally agree. Hmm!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kumatangz
Kumatangz
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THE GOLD OWL FOR THE YIDDISH COURSE LOOKS AMAZING!!!!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DerGoldmann
DerGoldmann
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It does indeed! In all its glory~

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/underwood.jones
underwood.jones
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I agree wholeheartedly, both for aesthetic reasons and for ideological reasons. The origins and history of the language are part of it's culture and it seems wrong to divorce the two. I don't see how a menorah flag would deter anyone from learning the language anyway!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/--Charlotte--
--Charlotte--
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According to my very Jewish mother:

"Just put a bowl of chicken soup on the flag with OY GEVALT underneath it."

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lizsue
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Show her http://forward.com/opinion/national/310057/what-flag-should-yiddish-fly/#comment-2092151024 where Chaim Lauer suggests "How about a bowl of chicken soup on a golden background?" :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/StrapsOption
StrapsOption
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I totally agree.

Beautifully made Yiddish golden owl, by the way.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sprout2015

Why not both?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DerGoldmann
DerGoldmann
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There needs to be one unified design for everywhere where the flag would show up. The future Yiddish flag will show up on the Yiddish course page, the incubator page, and the contribute to a course page. You will also see the same Yiddish flag next to your name on forums posts, on level ups in the activity stream, on your profile page and draped on the golden owl at the end of the tree.

That is why it is so important to get it right or else we will be stuck with a sub-par flag for the rest of our language learning ㅠㅠ

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lizsue
lizsue
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http://forward.com/opinion/national/310057/what-flag-should-yiddish-fly/ has more on the issue.

Sebastian Schulman (Director of Translation Initiatives at the Yiddish Book Center) includes problems with the black and white flag, specific references to Duolingo, and a recommended alternative symbol. The comments section of the page includes thoughtful discussion too. :)

https://aiaconnect.wordpress.com/2015/08/03/what-flag-and-what-alphabet-for-a-flagless-multi-alphabet-language/ has some more yet.

Alysa Salzberg includes more about Duolingo and flag issues, including commentary about Schulman's commentary and comparisons to Esperanto's flag issues. :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Michael_Lapid

agree!!!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/GerebChibokta

Shocking that such terrible vexillology has been allowed to permeate this site

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nicholas108826

I agree. I son't even know if I am in the right account or what.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/santiagoro15705

hola a todos

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/la_granda_orcino

Saluton, DerGoldmann! Mi estas "Masan Sarang", mi ŝanĝis mian originan nomon je Esperanta kaŝnomo, granda orcino estas la besto kiu mi plej ŝatas. Estas plezure paroli kun lingvemulo! Adiaŭ!

2 months ago
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