Weekly Incubator Update: Tracking Progress from January 3rd to January 10th

Progress numbers
This weeks presents increased challenges with reporting the progress numbers both for courses that are self reporting as well as those that are not.

I understand that calculating the progress involves several metrics, some of which can be assessed objectively, while some others cannot. Number of words completed over the number of words planned is a simple objective metric. The right weight-age to apply for the other metrics such as Images, UI strings, and TTS for the overall progress number is subjective at best.

While I would not like to be the final say on the progress, whenever the teams themselves cannot provide a final progress number, I am forced to make my call.

Welsh - I have switched to automatic (Duolingo calculated) progress reporting.
Swahili - I am leaving the progress at 23%, because the team does not believe the newly reported 49% to be the right call.
Hungarian - Same inference about the 100% report. IMHO, the course cannot and should not be called complete if there are several sentences that have only one translation. The power of Duolingo comes by addressing the plurality when it comes to translations between a given language pair.
Greek - Their course shows a phenomenal progress this week, but I can't really tell whether this comes due to any reduction in the number of words planned. But I am reporting the Duolingo calculated number.
Edit: I stand corrected, there's been no reduction in the number of words and the team has been rocking! Totally!!

PHASE 1 Progress: Total 29 courses

Spanish for Chinese - 97% | 99% | 100% | 100% (+0)

Welsh for English - 85% | 92% | 100% | 99% (-1)

Spanish for Russian - 97% | 97% | 98% | 98% (+0)

French for Arabic - 88% | 93% | 97% | 97% (+0)

English for Thai  - 91% | 91% | 92% | 93% (+1)

Vietnamese for English - 92% | 91% | 91% | 93% (+2)

French for Russian - 79% | 83% | 86% | 87% (+1)

German for Italian - 79% | 80% | 80% | 81% (+1)

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

Swedish for Arabic - 56% | 58% | 68% | 77% (+9)

Greek for English - 35% | 39% | 51% | 77% (+26) *

Romanian for English - 71% | 69% | 72% | 73% (+1)

Hebrew for English - 71% | 71% | 73% | 72% (-1)

Spanish for Italian - 68% | 68% | 68% | 68% (+0)

German for Arabic - 43% | 45% | 53% | 62% (+9)

Swedish for Russian - 60% | 60% | 61% | 61% (+0)

Portuguese for French - 23% | 33% | 48% | 52% (+4)

Italian for Portuguese - 39% | 40% | 41% | 41% (+0)

Russian for Turkish - 39% | 39% | 40% | 41% (+1)

French for Turkish - 40% | 40% | 40% | 40% (+0)

Guarani for Spanish - 24% | 27% | 32% | 36% (+4)

Esperanto for Spanish - 28% | 28% | 30% | 31% (+1)

Czech for English - 27% | 28% | 28% | 29% (+1) ^

Hindi for English - 22% | 25% | 26% | 26% (+0) ^

Swahili for English - 23% | 23% | 23% | 23% (+0) ^

Klingon for English - 21% | 21% | 21% | 21% (+0)

French for Chinese - 9% | 9% | 9% | 9% (+0)

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

Indonesian for English - 0% | 0% | 0% | 0% (+0)

Mean - 2.14% | 1.45% | 2.72% | 2.03% (-0.69)
Median - 1% | 0% | 1% | 0% (-1)

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

Progress Visualized:

Here's what the contributing teams have said during the last week:
(For Phase-1 and Phase-2 courses by default, and for Phase-3 courses per request).

Luke_5.1991 from Team Norwegian wrote 3 weeks ago:

Tree 2.0 Update!

The second version of our course has the following statistics:

  • 3,210 words, more than any other Duolingo course
  • 110 skills
  • 473 lessons
  • Lessons per skill, average: 4.3
  • Lessons per skill, maximum: 7
  • Words per lesson, target/average: 7
    ...but we're not done!

We still need a few weeks to review the new course for improvements. Stay tuned.

God jul og godt nytt år!

BrandenRyan from Team Swahili wrote 2 days ago:

Tangazo la Tano

Daima bidii, kamba hukata jiwe!

This is a Swahili proverb that, literally translated, means Persevere forever, rope cuts stone!. It means that no effort will go wasted and that with perseverance, persistence, and continued effort, anything is possible! No task is insurmountable.

We feel that way about these DuoLingo courses. Not that we are comparing ourselves to rope cutting stone, but that we admire the efforts that each team puts forth on a daily basis, from Team Cymraeg and their monumental strides in course development to Team Vietnamese and their ability to rebound after a crazy techno-snafu! It inspires Team Swahili to work harder on our own course. The course-creation process can seem daunting, but it is rewarding all-the-same.

Course Update

The team is finally back together after the holidays, and we are making great progress. Here at Peace Corps Tanzania, we are gearing up for a three-month training period, so it is possible that our progress will slow towards the end of January and into the next few months. We’ll be able to do some reviewing of the completed lessons, though, and to work on other aspects of the course. We are aiming for a late-Spring/early-Summer release, Mungu akipenda!

In terms of calculating course progress, I’ve realized that it is a little difficult as we haven’t completely populated the course yet. There are some lessons with no words, but in addition, we are using a lot of forms when adding grammar structures to the course since Kiswahili is agglutinative. That means that one word, or word form, might actually have multiple words inside (three, five, even ten!) with respective exercises. Thus, while I estimate that the course will have anywhere from 2,000-2,500 words, that wouldn’t actually be reflected in the number of words on the Course Overview because forms of words do not count as individual words themselves.

Instead of considering words as our benchmark, perhaps we can assess course progress in terms of the skill tree itself:

In total, the preliminary skill tree of the course has 60 Skills and 3 Bonus Skills.

Of those 60+3, 31 Skills have been preliminarily completed. By that, I mean they’ve been populated with words and exercises, though editing and proofing needs to be done and maybe some additions still need to be made.

9 Skills are in progress, meaning that they have lessons and exercises, but the skill itself is not gold in our editor.

19+3 Skills are either empty or only have words but no exercises.

We have also begun the process of adding word images to the course using the old system. Hopefully, this makes integration into the new image system on DuoLingo easier once that happens. We were initially waiting for that new system to be in place before adding images, but due to delays, we are continuing with the older system.

The Tips and Notes sections are also priorities for the team – mainly myself as the one formatting all of those sections. Since we are Peace Corps and a large component of our Language Training includes cross-cultural training, and I personally believe in the link between culture and language, some of those sections will feature cultural notes rather than grammar points alone. This will add an interesting aspect to the course! Also, the grammar sections will be incredibly useful in completing the course, so hopefully they will be integrated into the app versions of DuoLingo in the future.

So, if we consider that 31 of 60+3 skills are relatively complete (minus proofing and testing), that would mean that 49% of the course is complete. However, this does not include images and UI strings, once those are open to us to edit. Those completed skills also do not all have the Tips and Notes included, so that could decrease the completion percentage. We are welcome to suggestions on how the community thinks we should assess our progress – please post on the WIU discussion thread or directly to my activity stream.

Also, we are not currently accepting contributor/moderator requests to the course, so if you have submitted something and have not received a reply - Pole ya kwako! Utusamehe!.

Heri ya Mwaka Mpya! Happy New Year!

Team Swahili ties with Team Hungarian for this week's Star Update Award!

nueby from Team Czech wrote 12 hours ago:

Week 27

588 words, 29.4%.

AndrsBrny from Team Hungarian wrote 5 hours ago:

New year, new goals

Hello everyone,

first of all, I'd like to wish everyone who is following this course and who has been helping out a very happy new year. This is going to be the year that we'll finally publish the Hungarian course! It's great to see that there are so many people who are clearly very keen to start learning Hungarian and I'm sorry that we've been keeping you waiting for so long.

We've gone through several rounds of reorganising the team and short bursts of productive work have been followed by slumps again. One of the things that has been lacking particularly was our communication outside, and I'm very sorry about that — as a new year's resolution, we'll be working on improving on that.

So, that being said, here is an update of what's going on.

Current state

As many of you have noticed, the course looks like it's 100% done. In some ways, it is, and that's good news! We have added sentences and words for all the skills, so the course is in principle ready.

However, we are aware of some things that have to be fixed before we can go into beta:

-many sentences have a single translation: this might not seem like a big problem, but it would be incredibly frustrating for learners (you!) to type in what is a correct translation, just to have it refused right away — we've fixed about a third of these sentences, and we're planning on being beta-ready when we have reached around 50%. We're going to fix the rest as we go.

-There are some other, fairly systematic errors in the sentences (like translations of proper names like Éva to Eve, etc.) that we feel should be mostly eliminated before we hit beta.

This is what we're working on, and we have just again received support from two new people who are motivated to finish what we have been working on for so long.

We are doing these things now so that when we're in beta, we'll be able to focus on the things that you discover when you're going through the course. We're very much looking forward to your feedback, but we do not want to provide you with a course that we know has certain types of mistakes in it.

Summary (tl;dr)

I hope I could give you a small insight into what's going on in our team right now. As I've said, we're working on fixing some things in the course which is otherwise done. We have new people helping, and we'll make sure we communicate our progress more actively than last year.

Thanks for your patience!

Team Hungarian ties with Team Swahili for this week's Star Update Award!

rmcode from Team Welsh wrote 4 hours ago:

Now with audio!

The most exciting thing for all of us working on the course was the addition of the TTS at the end of last week. Now it feels like a real course and is the culmination of a year of first of all lobbying for the course and then writing it. Here's a link to a brief recording of the course in action.

Otherwise we managed to add over 100 image questions and over 1,600 new sentences, which represent another 10%, but since we're already at 100%..........

There are now over 11,000 people signed up to start our course, which is very encouraging, especially since only about 18,000 adults in the whole of Wales currently attend Welsh classes. So just a few more weeks of testing and correcting and then it's time for Beta :-)

I'r gâd!

Tîm Cymraeg

jitengore from Team Hindi wrote just now:

Week 31: 26% complete, beta launch delayed

We are currently restructuring our tree. In our attempt to teach the alphabet and alphasyllabary in the natural order, we realized that this order imposed challenges to the desirable order of vocabulary to be introduced. We are revising the tree so that the latter gains importance over the former.

This means that as this work is undertaken you may not see progress for the next few weeks, but progress towards a course that will be the ideal Hindi learning platform is being made! We are acutely aware that this attempt to teach Hindi via English is quite unique and has not been done before. We are determined to see that our course scales up to the typical Duolingo levels of awesomeness!

We will be looking at adding contributors after we settle on a clear path for the tree.

Outstanding progress by the Greek team takes them to 77%! Welsh course gets the TTS (Audio - Text to Speech). Hungarian progress is higher than the currently reported 80% mark. Hopefully we will know the exact level from the team next week. Team Swahili continues to delight by providing detailed updates. Also included is an older update from Team Norwegian (Phase 3).

The next update is expected on Sunday, 10th of January at 4:00 pm UTC.

Previous Update 20-Dec to 27-Dec

Last updates from: 2015: Dec, Nov, Oct, Sep, Aug, Jul, Jun, May, Apr, Mar, Feb, Jan.

January 10, 2016

<h1>Duolingo's 2nd Celtic language!!!</h1>


January 10, 2016

I want Scottish Alba gu bràth!

January 13, 2016

Cornish anyone? :)

January 16, 2016

I really hope we will see Scottish Gaelic next! <3 that would be great!

January 17, 2016

Me too

January 17, 2016

Glad I'm not the only one!

January 17, 2016

Excellent work, team Greek! Does anyone remember those old days when the Greek course was at 10-20% and seemed like staying that way for a while? I sure don't.

January 10, 2016

It's so exciting and mind-boggling to see exotic (to me) combinations like "Russian for Turkish speakers" and "Swedish for Arabic speakers". What an amazing project Duolingo has turned out to be! I'm so excited to be a part of it all :)

And congrats to the Czech for English speakers team. Their course is still in the early stages but they are making steady progress. I think this is the course I am most excited about, personally.


January 10, 2016

I've got a soft spot for the Czech course too, even though it's unlikely I'll personally take it. It's nice to see it czugging along.

Nice collection of pics btw :)

January 10, 2016

Czugging along :D
!! I love it !!

Those images were at the top of the page when I did a Google Image Search for "Prague". I just snagged a screenshot of those two rows :)

January 10, 2016

Czech people must be like “Hey, there's more to the Czech Republic than Prague!” ;)

I imagine the French feel the same about Paris and I can especially imagine them thinking “It's just a dumb, metal tower. Get over it!”

January 10, 2016

What?! The Czech Republic has even MORE to offer?!! Sign me up NOW!! :D

January 10, 2016

It definitely has! Try to google e.g. those: Český Krumlov, Telč, Litomyšl, Českosaské švýcarsko, Český ráj, Kroměříž, Krkonoše, Šumava, Holašovice, Kutná Hora, Zelená Hora, Lednicko-valtický areál, Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně or Pálava

And that's just very brief selection that came to my mind at the moment.

January 10, 2016

The Czech Republic is beautiful all round. Can I suggest, go to Karlovy Vary (called Karlsbad in German). Beautiful old spa town. When I was staying in Bayreuth, Germany, people used to suggest it as an easy day trip over the Czech border by train. Totally worth it, although seems to be mostly populated by wealthy Russians on holiday - on the street people people could see I was a visitor and always spoke to me in Russian first.

January 11, 2016

Yiddish and Klingon still making incredible progress, I see.

January 10, 2016

Yiddish has a new contributor, so maybe they will finally move on

January 12, 2016

26% within one week is extreme. Congrats to the Greek team! It's sad not to hear anything from the Yiddish course, though. No more progress has been made since June 2015, that is really sad. Hope they can regroup at some time!

January 10, 2016

Unfortunately they do not seem to be interrested in regroupig. I applied as a contributor via the incubator, via contacting a contributor on her duolingo profile and via sending her a message on facebook - but she ignores me. Does anybody have any ideas what else I could do to contribute to the Yiddish course? I'd love to work on it.

January 12, 2016

No idea sorry :( But I personally think Duolingo just needs to get an entirety of a new team rather than this

January 16, 2016

I wonder if it's possible to contact Duolingo directly :-/

January 17, 2016

Vietnamese is getting CLOSE ! ! ! I love the steady progress you are making xoxo.

January 10, 2016

If the Greek team keep their steady progress, they are going to reach 100% next week -

January 10, 2016

I don't really think a week is possible because they have to polish the course too, not to mention revise the tips and notes and getting the TTS. But I'm sure it will be up in less than a month.

January 10, 2016

I said reach 100% not getting released

January 10, 2016

Hungarian update, wooohooo!

January 10, 2016

Very excited to see an official confirmation of action from the Hungarian team. I've been hanging out for some Magyar action for ages.

January 11, 2016

English for Thai reaches record progress for the first time in months!

January 10, 2016

The Greek team are flying with the progess they have made now that they have more contributors. :'D

January 10, 2016

Go Welsh!!!

January 10, 2016
  • 1684

So glad to see Hungarian back in action! Also, I can't wait for Romanian!

January 10, 2016

The swahili progress should be included

January 10, 2016

I agree. I don't know how much of it though :(

January 10, 2016

Hence why my quick update turned into a really, really long post!

I think it might be easier to estimate once the entire skill tree is populated with the words that it will contain, but that is difficult since it keeps evolving and incorporating new elements. I actually added two new skills since I wrote that update on Friday, so now it would be 62+3 bonus.

I definitely think we are more than a third of the way finished with the course - 23% is too low but I agree that 49% is too high. But in the end, it is very subjective and tough to discern!

January 10, 2016

For example; we have 811/1104 words completed now. A lot of those words in the grammar skills, like I mentioned, can have anywhere from 4-12 examples built in because of the different structures. Say we end up with between 1,600-2,000 words in the course because I considered the original 2,000-2,500 to be inclusive of those embedded structures. Using words as the metric for completion, we'd be between 40-50% complete.

January 10, 2016

I agree!

My request to all teams with manual progress report is to provide me with a definite number. And don't leave me with making that call :)

I will tend to be more conservative. Better to under report than to lead the eager learners to believe the unreality and experience the dismay in the end!

January 10, 2016

For the loyal WIU readers, I think a happy median at 35% is a conservative estimate. No need to edit the graphic, we'll just use that as a base for next week's percentage! :)

January 10, 2016

What are the bonus skills in the Swahili tree?

January 11, 2016

I think you just got to go with your gut and pick an appropriate sounding number...

January 10, 2016

It's only fair to give at least a few percent points. IDK, a half, a third, two thirds?

January 10, 2016

The Greek and Welsh teams are amazing!

January 10, 2016

I saw two more Phase 3 updates in recent weeks:

"Arabic->English Contributors Needed :)" by Amgad in English for Arabic Speakers 3 weeks ago,

"Call for new contributors!" by Eradus in English for Korean speakers 2 weeks ago,


January 11, 2016

Looks like Korean posted something else a few hours after you posted this...

January 11, 2016

Congratulations to Team Greek!! I'm about to start my third semester of university-level Ancient Greek--can't wait to start learning Modern too, a lot sooner than I had expected! You guys are incredible!

January 11, 2016

Thanks for the Hindi update, JitenGore. I know it is going to be an awesome course!

January 10, 2016

Take your time, Jitengore and Team Hindi... A better-quality course is worth the wait!

January 11, 2016

Will English for Thai finally be released? I hope because it was stuck at ~90% for a while.

January 11, 2016

Magyarország zászlaja

January 12, 2016

I am expecting a delayed post for this week's WIU - about 6 hours delay. Apologies!

January 17, 2016

Much appreciated update, thanks.

January 17, 2016

Magyar team, go go go!!! )))) we are waiting for you, guys!

January 11, 2016

Thanks Jiten specially for the update on Hindi for English course. I am a bit more curious about how this course is being developed, and will be very thankful if we are provided information on these two points: -
1. What will be the transliteration scheme, if any, it is going adopt?
2. Will we be able to to see it (the romanised transliteration) as we are able to do so in Russian Course, through toggle button?
Thanking you and hoping that information will be provided :-) Vinay

January 12, 2016

I honestly think that Swahili's idiom's skill will be the best of all the courses. So many proverbs to use

January 12, 2016

Hopefully we'll be able to deliver! :-)

January 13, 2016

I want to learning indian language, but when?

January 11, 2016

Hindi is the main Indian language

January 11, 2016

Has anyone seen the Indonesian wait time? 2053...

January 11, 2016

Once they start properly, the course could also hatch in 2016. Don't rely on that automatically estimated date.

January 11, 2016

I know. But it is taking a while to start.

January 11, 2016

I wouldn't stress too much. From what I've been told, they actually HAVE started, but they are planning out the full course structure before uploading anything onto the Duo system.

Anyways, it's the same team who built English for Indo speakers, so they have track record in getting the job done.

January 12, 2016

That will still be before Yiddish comes out, sadly.

January 12, 2016

They will also restart somewhere in the future and build a great course, I'm sure about that =)

January 12, 2016

I tried to stay hopeful and Yiddish is a language I really want to learn, but now I'm really starting to wonder.

January 12, 2016

2058 now :-p I'm only mentioning it here for the record, since these things are funny to look back at once the course is up and running soon...

January 17, 2016
Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.