Weekly Incubator Update: Tracking Progress from November 1st to November 8th

Russian is here
Congratulations to the Russian team and the Duolingo team!

The Russian course has started with a bang, so much so that a few Duolingoer's have expressed (see below) that they now have a reduced interest in the WIU :)

Unfortunately, even though I really wanted to start immediately, I will be unable to start learning this amazing language in the near future. Too many things going on. Alas!

An active incubator
The Duolingo Incubator has been super active with news in the past few weeks! A lot of excellent updates from various course teams! I am experimenting with a new award that goes to the the best update - Star Update Award!

Thought for the week
RU learning?

PHASE 1 Progress: Total 29 courses

Russian for English - 99% | 99% | 100% | BETA

Polish for English - 93% | 96% | 98% | 99% (+1)

German for Turkish - 95% | 97% | 97% | 98% (+1)

Catalan for Spanish - 85% | 90% | 95% | 94% (-1)

Spanish for Russian - 87% | 90% | 91% | 92% (+1)

English for Thai  - 91% | 91% | 90% | 90% (+0)

Vietnamese for English - 67% | 74% | 83% | 88% (+5)

Hungarian for English - 80% | 80% | 80% | 80% (+0) ^

Spanish for Chinese - 63% | 71% | 76% | 79% (+3)

German for Italian - 73% | 73% | 74% | 75% (+1)

Hebrew for English - 64% | 65% | 68% | 70% (+2)

Spanish for Italian - 65% | 65% | 67% | 67% (+0)

Swedish for Russian - 56% | 57% | 57% | 57% (+0)

Romanian for English - 40% | 40% | 56% | 57% (+1)

French for Arabic - 40% | 44% | 49% | 55% (+6)

Swedish for Arabic - 37% | 37% | 41% | 43% (+2)

Welsh for English - 7% | 7% | 25% | 40% (+15) ^*

German for Arabic - 39% | 39% | 39% | 39% (+0)

French for Turkish - (New) 37% | 37% (+0)

Greek for English - 34% | 34% | 34% | 34% (+0)

Italian for Portuguese - 26% | 27% | 28% | 30% (+2)

Czech for English - 11% | 11% | 11% | 23% (+12) ^

Hindi for English - 21% | 21% | 21% | 22% (+1) ^

Klingon for English - 19% | 20% | 20% | 20% (+0)

Portuguese for French - 18% | 19% | 19% | 19% (+0)

Guarani for Spanish - 3% | 7% | 9% | 10% (+1)

French for Chinese - 6% | 7% | 8% | 9% (+1)

Yiddish for English - 8% | 8% | 8% | 8% (+0)

Esperanto for Spanish - 0% | 0% | 6% | 7% (+1)

Swahili for English - (New) 0% | 2% (+2) ^

Mean - 1.45% | 1.5% | 2.73% | 1.9% (-0.83)
Median - 1% | 1% | 1% | 1% (+0)

* This week's Leader Extraordinaire!
^ The Hungarian, Hindi, Czech, Welsh, & Swahili teams' progress is as per their own calculation

Progress Visualized:

Here's what the contributing teams have said during the last week:

Luke_5.1991 from Team Norwegian wrote one week ago:

We've begun work on the second version of our course!

It's with great enthusiasm that we announce that we've begun work on Tree 2.0!

Please visit the official suggestion/feedback thread to help us along as we improve and expand upon the course.


~ Det norske laget

nueby from Team Czech wrote 6 days ago:

Week 17

We adjusted our word goal to 2,000. So now our 449 words translate to 22 percent done. Yey!

JanisaChatte from Team Russian wrote 5 days ago:

It’s Finally Here!!!

Welcome to the new Russian for English speakers course. We hope you enjoy our course.

Here is a short page of exercises to teach you the alphabet (a video by ShadyArc is also available, though a bit fast-paced).

Now, some tips on installing a Russian keyboard on your device:

Open the Control Panel, then go to Clock, Language, and Region. There, select Change keyboard or other input methods.

Click the Change keyboard button and add any languages your heart desires. You can have more than one keyboard layout for a language! To switch between languages, a keyboard shortcut is normally used (Shift+Alt by default, but you can change that). A phonetic keyboard can be found here. Windows 8 and higher have their own "mnemonic" layout (not without flaws, though)

Check the Microsoft site for a more thorough guide.

Open the Apple menu and click System Preferences. Select Keyboard and click the Input Sources button. You can add languages there. Mac has a phonetic one right there if you need it.

Also, check the option Show Input menu in menu bar. That is it. The default shortcut to switch languages is ⌘ + Space

Or, in more detail, HERE.

Go to your Settings and find the General tab. Select Keyboard→Keyboards and click Add New Keyboard...

Android phone
Go to Settings and find the Controls tab. Select language and input. Click the settings icon next to the keyboard, then click select input languages

(here is a longer explanation)

Wow, team Russian, you have done a fantastic job of guiding the new learners. You, along with the Swahili team, get the Star Update Award for this week! You made me spend all the time it took to preserve your formatting :)

zw91 from Team Spanish for Chinese wrote 5 days ago

课程最新消息 / Latest News of This Course / Noticias Recientes del Curso

大家好!我们很高兴地宣布,经过我们八个月的努力,为中文母语者开设的西班牙语课程已经完成了75%以上的句子翻译。按照这个速度,这门课程有望在明年春季进入公开测试 (Beta) 阶段。希望大家继续关注我们的课程!

Hi! We are pleased to announce that, after 8 months' effort, we have translated more than 75% of sentences in this course, Spanish for Chinese speakers. At this pace, this course will hopefully enter the Beta phase by the end of next spring. Stay tuned for more surprises!

¡Hola! Tenemos el placer de anunciar que hemos traducido más de 75% de las frases del curso español para hablantes de chino, después de 8 meses de esfuerzo. A este ritmo, se espera que el curso entrare en la fase Beta por el fin de la primavera siguiente. ¡Quédate conectado para más sorpresas!

BrandenRyan from Team Swahili wrote 2 days ago:


Hamjambo wote?
The Swahili-English Team is very excited to be working on the first African language course on Duolingo! Of course, other languages on the site are spoken in Africa (French, Portuguese, etc.), but the Swahili language, or Kiswahili, is truly indigenous as it is a Bantu-origin language. We are very happy to see the enthusiasm that the Duolingo community has for the Swahili course as evidenced in the threads and comments we have received on our streams. The core Swahili-English team was created out of the partnership that Duolingo has forged with Peace Corps (under the U.S. Government). The first product of this partnership has been the popular Ukrainian course.

Sasa, tungependa kujitambulisha ili wote mtufahamu vizuri! - Now, we would like to introduce ourselves so that you all can get to know us well!

Rehema Mputa has been teaching Kiswahili and Literature in English in Tanzanian Secondary Schools since graduating from the University of Dar Es Salaam in 1975. Besides teaching Tanzanian students, Rehema teaches Kiswahili to foreigners in and outside the country. She first joined Peace Corps Tanzania as a language tester in 1999 and later as a Language and Cross-Cultural Facilitator (LCF) in 2001. Currently, she serves as the Language and Cross-Cultural Coordinator for Peace Corps Tanzania. She sometimes works as a translator/interpreter for a variety of publications and documentary interviews. She enjoys listening to music and playing with her grandchildren. Karibuni!

Paulina Augustino has a certificate of teaching from Morogoro Teachers' College and has her Bachelor's and Master's of Education from the University of Dar es Salaam. She started teaching Kiswahili with Peace Corps Tanzania in 2009 and has served as a technical trainer, administrative assistant for trainings, and as assistant grants coordinator. Her hobbies are reading books and newspapers and story-telling. Karibuni sana kujifunza lugha ya Kiswahili!

Emilian Mbassa is an English and Swahili teacher and has taught in many schools in Tanzania from 2008 - 2012. In 2012, he joined Project Abroad as Swahili language tutor. He has a Certificate of Teaching from Eckernforde Teachers' College. He began working with Peace Corps Tanzania in January 2015 as an LCF. He likes listening to music, singing songs, hiking, making new friends, and reading books.

Branden Ryan is the native English speaker on the Swahili-English team. Branden has lived all over the world and his educational background is in International Affairs/Politics and Spanish. He has lived in Tanzania since 2013 while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer. He taught in the Lindi region and now lives in Dar es Salaam working with the Programming and Training Unit of Peace Corps Tanzania with a focus on gender equality programming.

Course Update:
The Sw-En Team had a conference call this past week to learn the ins and outs of the Incubator. We've been slowly mapping out how the initial skill tree will look. This week has been primarily used for playing with the Incubator as we figure out how it works and how to add material to each lesson.

One challenge we've encountered is figuring out the best method for adding material as Kiswahili is an agglutinative language. We expect that a lot of the necessary grammar explanations will come in the Notes sections. We're realizing that we need to build a vocabulary base before even teaching Simple Present which is kind of contrary to the language learning methods here. The foundations are different, so we have to be flexible with how we approach the Swahili course!

You might have noticed that it says our progress is around 30% - this is not accurate since we are starting with a blank tree and it reflects the progress of the words that have been added instead of the words necessary in the entire tree. With around 40-50 proposed skills, there is a lot of work to be done on the course! It is a fair estimate to say we are perhaps nearing 2% completion as we just began work on Wednesday and today is Friday!

Some sneak peeks:

You guys are killing me! :) So much formatting to be recreated for the WIU! BTW, it is great to learn about you all and let you know that the Swahili team has tied for the Star Update Award for this WIU with the Russian team.

Lextum8 from Team Esperanto from Spanish wrote 17 hours ago:

Me presento y les cuento cómo estuvo la semana en el curso.

Saluton! Me llamo Lucas (aunque en duolingo pueden llamarme Lextum8, o en Esperanto Luko), soy de Argentina, tengo 17 años y estoy trabajando en este curso que es una de las sorpresas para los hablantes de español, que están recibiendo la atención que merecen.

La primera semana hicimos un buen progreso, luego esta semana ha sido más lenta porque tuvimos que reorganizar las lecciones en las que trabajamos, lo que retrocede el progreso, pero ya tenemos las primeras lecciones bastante completas y vamos a seguir progresando con mucho esfuerzo y dedicación!

Yo estoy rindiendo exámenes esta semana para terminar la escuela media y otros exámenes para entrar a la universidad, pero luego de estas dos semanas que vienen, tendré mucho más tiempo para el curso :D

Ĝis baldaŭ!

nueby from Team Czech wrote 11 hours ago:

Week 18

459 words, 23.0 percent.

ckhadung from Team Vietnamese wrote 8 hours ago:

November comes. And November goes.

Hi all,

Our course has been progressing fast recently thanks to everyone's effort. With this steady progress, we will reach 100% by the end of December. However, I have the feeling that the course content is not "good" enough. "Good" in the sense that how much people can learn and how much they can apply the language into actual conversation. Thus, I decide to take a step back to examine and make necessary modifications to the skill tree.

My three goals: increasing vocabulary, reducing difficulty level and focusing on practicality. Progress will therefore be slower from now on. Hopefully this would increase the quality of the course when it's released in beta.

Stay tuned!

rmcode from Team Welsh wrote an hour ago:

More great progress

We've added over 1800 sentences this week which takes us to about 40% of the course completed.

We're looking at testing out the initial units to make sure that they are effective and accessible, we also need to look at sorting out the audio and the image questions.


Team Cymraeg

jitengore from Team Hindi wrote just 25 minutes ago:

Week 22: 22% complete, beta launch 31-Dec-2015

davidvdb from Team Dutch wrote 17 minutes ago:

New Tree Version!

Hoi allemaal!

We are now officially able to build our Tree 2.0! This means that we can edit the existing course and add some brand new words, lessons, and skills! A new voice and bonus skills are coming soon™. We already have some ideas, but we would like to hear your suggestions here! And a great thank you to everyone who gave a suggestion already!

Groetjes from Team Dutch!

Russian course is in beta! A healthy average progress with a healthy median. What more do you want?

The next update is expected on Sunday, 15th of November at 4:00 pm UTC.

Previous Update 25-Oct to 01-Nov

Last updates from the recent months: 2015: Oct, Sep, Aug, Jul, Jun, May, Apr, Mar, Feb, Jan.

November 8, 2015


Congrats Team Russia!

November 8, 2015

With the last few weeks being so hectic, I didn't even notice that Russian was released. This is fantastic.

We didn't have a double Russian/ Polish release, but I hope Polish is out soon.

November 8, 2015

"You used to update me on WIU... Now you're there with me."

November 9, 2015

Fantastic gif lmao :D

November 9, 2015

Wow Cymraeg team is going extremely fast. Those are amazing news indeed :))))

November 8, 2015

Why the negative votes for this comment, folks? Team Cymraeg is this week's leader! :)

November 8, 2015

Now we wait for Finnish

November 8, 2015


November 8, 2015


November 9, 2015

The team Welsh is amazing ! You guys rock ! And for Vietnamese and Polish : See you guys soon in the other side

November 8, 2015

Just a question. Why is Greek for English speakers stuck in 34 per cent? I mean, we'll wait for you because we know you're working hard for us, Greek team! :) But... what's happening?

November 8, 2015

I was going to ask the same thing.

November 8, 2015

And Yiddish. There hasn't been an update for these two languages in weeks. =/

November 9, 2015

In months. The last time Yiddish moved was in June :-(

November 9, 2015

I wish all courses had Welsh's progress.

November 8, 2015

Wow! Go Team Welsh! Reminds me of summer of last year when Dutch and Irish were still in phase 1. Perhaps those days of seemingly superhuman progress have returned?

And Vietnamese is so close, I can feel it. But as we're used to, I expect a bit of a wait when it comes to a TTS for them. Being a tonal language means the TTS should be one of, if not the most important, things to ensure works properly. But whatever the case, I'm sure things'll work out just fine. (…As long as the course is released before mid-January, that is. That's when I plan to take a Vietnamese course at my school and I'd love to use Duo alongside it).

There are just so many languages to be excited for. And now that we have two agglutinative languages in the incubator, our chances of getting Finnish sooner rather than later have increased quite a bit in my opinion.

Good luck to all the teams in the incubator! I will at some point, no matter how long it takes, take on your courses and complete them. It's just a matter of time :)

November 8, 2015

Esperanto and Turkish are both agglutinative and already launched, so hopefully your dreams will be realized soon!

November 8, 2015

Ah, yes! I can't believe I forgot that Turkish was agglutinative as well. Although I'm not sure I would personally consider Esperanto agglutinative (I'd say it's closer to being Fusional, like German), if it is then that just means we're even closer to Finnish so I can't really complain :)

Danke schön für die netten Worte!

November 8, 2015

Esperanto is definitely agglutinative - it's like building with legos, we often compare its structure to Turkish in that way - but you can also make words in a sort of German-like way, so I could see how it would be similar in that regard. Bitte schön, jetzt gehe ich wieder zu meinem deutschen Baum :-D

November 9, 2015

Hey, first of all I am very impressed that you go to a school where they teach a 'rare' language such as Vietnamese, my schools never offered any languages other than French and German! Not even Spanish! I am also very enthusiastic about this language. Reading the update above, the team say they are going to slow their progress down to focus on course quality ahead of development speed. Therefore, I think mid-January might be a bit too optimistic, but I could be wrong. I think it is the right decision not to rush it though :)

November 8, 2015

Yeah, it certainly seems that mid-January may be a bit optimistic, but considering how close they seem to be already, I really think the upcoming holidays may provide opportunity for significant advancement toward their goal of improving quality (after the typical holiday going-ons like vacationing and visiting family of course). I definitely agree with slowing down for the sake of quality, though. I want this course to be the best Vietnamese course on the web (and maybe eventually in general :-)

And yeah, I realized some time ago that I was really lucky to be attending a Junior College that offered Vietnamese, and even luckier that it's part of a District with three other JCs where one of them offers the following languages: Arabic, Cantonese, French, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and American Sign Language. It's just rather unfortunate that I can't take them all… especially since this upcoming spring is my last semester before I graduate and (hopefully) transfer to university. I haven't had the chance to take a language class in my 3 years here (Astrophysics major and Computer Science minor, so there were a lot of classes I needed to take instead).

November 9, 2015

Nice to see the amazing progress for Welsh and Czech. It looks like Vietnamese could be coming pretty soon! That should be interesting. And Polish will probably be the next to go into Beta. I look forward to that.

November 8, 2015

Czech progressed because they adjusted their goal from 3700 words to 2000, which is not good news for me.

November 8, 2015

Realistically though, most if not all courses have around 2000 words and making all 3700 words was going to take a lot while. 2000 words is still a lot and then there's the possibility for a second tree once the course is out of beta.

November 8, 2015

Oh I didn't know that they could add more words later. But still the more is the best for me because I think 3700 words is a LOT and 2000 words won't be enough to express everything I could possibly think. So I will need some extra study not only practice.

November 9, 2015

Hmm, I'm not sure how to phrase this really, but I think you're misunderstanding where Duolingo is capable of getting one in terms of language fluency.

At the moment, a course on Duolingo is only capable of getting one to approximately A2/B1 level fluency (when using only Duolingo). If you want to, as you say, "express everything [you] could possibly think" you WILL need to go to outside study and resources. With this in mind, 2000 words is a very reasonable amount, especially considering this is about the amount most of the current courses have (well, I'd guess the average is closer to 2500 for courses that reach beta and have no Tree 2.0).

The strength of Duo lies in its ability to familiarize one with the way a language works so that the only extra work you'll have to do is increase your vocabulary, practice listening and speaking, and learn slang and idioms.

November 9, 2015

Well put. Duolingo is one tool in one's arsenal, not a complete solution, and was never intended to be.

November 9, 2015

I personally feel that it's generally better for teams to target a smaller tree at first. Get the tree out there and build up a community of learners around it. Duolingo has been improving their ability to let course builders revise and extend their trees so the option should be available for new courses to do this after less time than before.

(I say ‘generally’ because team Norwegian built a huge tree in a very short time. But I think Germanic languages building a course for English learners have a significant advantage from already being closely related to English.)

November 8, 2015

2000 words is not that small a number. Besides, they can always add to it later when they get access to tree versioning.

November 8, 2015

The Welsh team is a machine! They will be done by the end of the year:)

November 8, 2015

The Russian course is amazing! There is a lot of work to learn the alphabet, but it is so cool. This is my first time doing a beta course, and it is so exciting. There are already some incredible linguists that have already completed the tree. That will be me - in about a year...

Vietnamese coming along too, WOW, great progress. Vietnamese and Hindi are my numero unos. So many languages, so little time... I think I'm going to need some kind of structure for my language learning goals!

November 8, 2015

I was having kind of a bad day, then I opened my computer and remembered that today is WIU day. Thank you infinitely much for bringing such positivity into our lives each week!!

In other thoughts, I think Swahili can learn a lot from the agglutinative languages already produced from the incubator, notably Esperanto and Turkish. So cool to see it launched!! Welcome to the Duolingo family :-D

My leaderboard is super inflated with points this week between Russian in beta and people still working on their German 2.0 ;-)

November 8, 2015

Amen! I couldn't agree more about the positivity. I look forward to the WIU every week. Thank you Jitengore. And go team Polish! What a final push! I can't wait!

November 9, 2015

Can't wait for Polish!!!

November 8, 2015
  • 1354

Yay for the upcoming new Dutch tree! The old one was pretty good, I wonder what the new one will look like.

November 8, 2015

i really like the idea of an update award! maybe there should be an award for how regular the updates are, not just for particularly long and well written one. i think what drives people crazy is to not hear from a course that seems stuck for months at a time. the hindi course is setting a great example in that regard :D

November 8, 2015

Thanks, though I hope to be soon in a position to provide more insights rather than the one liners :)

November 9, 2015

Hindi is VERY high on my list of languages I want to learn and I seriously look forward to hearing more about the Hindi course's progress <3

November 10, 2015

Why did Catalan's progress decrease? :(

November 8, 2015

Adjustments to the tree would be my guess. Nothing to be worried about :)

November 8, 2015

Thanks jitengore! And thanks for this update too :)

November 8, 2015

We added few words to a lesson and still didn't create the sentences, so it seems we went back, but NO, we are very active and we plan to finish very soon :D

November 8, 2015

I forgot to care about WIU after Russian was released, but WHAT? Welsh at 40% omfg

November 8, 2015

Seems like you missed the Czech team's other update from this week

We adjusted our word goal to 2,000. So now our 449 words translate to 22 percent done. Yey!

November 8, 2015

Great catch, scarcerer! Added it.

November 8, 2015

I just wanted to write the same. You've been faster :)

November 8, 2015

I'm so excited for Welsh! My cousin can speak a few words, maybe she could teach me.

November 8, 2015

The Russian course has started with a bang, so much so that a few Duolingoer's have expressed (see below) that they now have a reduced interest in the WIU

RU serious?

November 8, 2015

Can't wait for Swahili!

November 8, 2015

Jambo! Jambo bwana - Habari Gani.... Mzuri sana! Wageni wakaribishwa, Kenya yetu, Hakuna matata!

Song stuck in my head since 1996 :)

November 10, 2015

This is awesome, really helpful! Thanks!

November 8, 2015

Norwegian also had an update, last week

November 8, 2015

Thanks to you (& others) for mentioning the Norwegian update.

As a reminder, I pick the updates only for Phase 1 and Phase 2 courses. I add updates for Phase 3 courses only when I get notified about them, ideally before the time of the post. After I posted last week's WIU, I did see a comment from Luke about their update, but I was not able to get to it. Sorry!

I have just added their update and to compensate for the miss, I will include it next week again so that it reaches a wider audience.

November 9, 2015

I see. Thanks for the explanation.

November 9, 2015

Was already excited about the release of Russian, but a new Dutch tree too!? It's too much good news!

November 8, 2015

Congrats Team Russian! Super exciting time for the Incubator.

Polish is so close, I really hope it comes out before the end of the month. Happy to see the Romanian course moving again. Now starting to eye Vietnamese and Hindi as languages to learn as well, and I will totally give Swahili a try when that is ready!

November 8, 2015

Hello! You always say that the beta launch for the Hindi course is before the new year but you don't make any progress, I just wondered what your plans are.

November 9, 2015

You are spot on! We hope to provide a detailed update with (possibly) a revised estimate soon™.

November 9, 2015

What is WIU?

November 9, 2015

WIU stands for "Weekly Incubator Update" the title of this post. As you can see, this post is meant to compile information on the progress of Duolingo's courses, particularly the ones that are still being created (i.e. in Phase 1).

November 9, 2015

Weekly Incubator Update i.e. this discussion each week.

November 9, 2015

jitengore, you forgot the new Norwegian update, that came out last week.

November 8, 2015

I see it like this:

November 8, 2015

The post is still under construction.

November 8, 2015

WIP ;)

November 8, 2015

Good job everybody! And congratulations to team Russian! The course is great. I've never used a beta course before, so I never realized how much work you guys still have left... I bet you're drowning in reports.

I suppose that I don't anticipate the Weekly Incubator Update as much as I had prior to this week, but there are still some great courses coming out. I think that the next new language that I'll start will be Portuguese (from Spanish) in honor of the 2016 Rio Olympics... but as Duolingo keeps coming out with more great courses, there will always be something new to learn :-).

November 9, 2015


November 8, 2015

The link to team Swahili's page just took me to this same page.

November 9, 2015

Not sure if I understand what you meant.

Edit: I now see what you mean. Corrected, thanks (& lingots)!

November 9, 2015

I'm hoping I'll just scrape through finishing the Russian tree in time for Polish... Wish me luck!

November 9, 2015

Go Klingon! We're still rooting for you!

November 10, 2015

Waiting patiently on Czech and Esperanto for Spanish.

November 10, 2015

You missed the norwegian teams updatr

November 9, 2015
Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.