https://www.duolingo.com/tchachkii

how is a new language course added?

tchachkii
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a few months i applied to start a new course in finnish, but nothing's happened. a course in indonesian has started since then, and i was wondering what happens in order for a course to start? is there like a certain amount of applications for a course in the language before it starts or what?

2 years ago

3 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/TKElliott
TKElliott
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Nobody really knows for sure. However, it seems to be a combination of:

Sufficient number of good quality applicants to the incubator - if there aren't enough decent applications to construct the course, that course is going to be a nonstarter, no matter how useful/popular it might otherwise be. I've seen courses start with two contributors, but they do seem to like to have more.

Usefulness - likely to be useful to a large number of learners: the original purpose of Duolingo was to provide free language learning to allow people to learn who could not otherwise afford to do so, and to enjoy the career/life benefits that learning a second language would bring. English is the classic target language for this, which is why the Duolingo Test Centre started with English.

Popular demand - this is one reason why Irish and Esperanto made it into the incubator so early.

Worldwide coverage - Duolingo is not just about European languages, so now the concept is proven, they seem to be trying to move outside Europe, including outside the "big" languages like Chinese and Japanese (e.g. Indonesian, Swahili).

Minority languages - apparently another strand to Duolingo's purpose is now to help preserve minority languages, so I think we will see more of those getting bumped up the queue.

Publicity - hence Klingon. It's good for PR purposes to say that Duolingo is even building a Klingon course.

Origin languages that are not English - we already have a lot of language pairs that are to/from English, which is fair enough as English is widely spoken, and also widely learned as an additional language. However, Duolingo seems to be wanting to include people whose native language is not English and who want to learn an additional language that is also not English.

I think the key thing to remember is that there are apparently about 6500 spoken languages in the world, and Duolingo doesn't concentrate on just one target/origin language (e.g. everything to English/English to everything), so that creates a number of potential course pairs in the millions.

As the Incubator only seems to have a certain amount of capacity (which may be due to bandwidth or staff input time - since each course-in-progress requires input from the technical team), there is obviously a queue.

I seem to recall that one reason why we don't know what languages are "up next" as it were, is that the timescales involved make this impractical. All it takes is one course to overrun so it takes up an incubator slot for longer than expected, and a couple of potential course-contributors to pull out, and suddenly there's a problem and the Plan is screwed up.

Thus, Duolingo tends to keep their plans quite close to their chest(s), until they're sure what course they want to build next AND there's a space in the Incubator for it.

From the perspective of a course contributor, all you can do once you've applied is sit back and wait (or apply again, if you think your application last time wasn't quite good enough). Your time will come - eventually. You just have to remember that with so many potential language pairs, all with people who are equally keen to make the courses, it might be a while.

Of course, if you really are keen, you could see this delay as an advantage. After all, if you use the time between now and getting The Call To Action to start planning how you would structure a Finnish course (maybe get in touch with the Hungarian/English team, since it's another Finno-Ugric language and there will be similarities). That way, once you get The Call, you can leap into action and have the course finished in double-quick time - I have noticed that with the languages that are teaching a dissimilar language (e.g. non-Romance/Germanic to English), there's usually a delay right at the start while the team figure out what approach to take.

Another point I have also heard as a thing in favour of a particular contributor is for that person to contribute usefully to the forums while waiting for The Call - this shows that the person has a commitment to Duolingo, and to helping other people to learn.

So, be patient, start planning... and good luck.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Pfiff
Pfiff
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The Ethnologue claims 7,102 living languages, so the number of possible pairs will be 7102(7102-1)/2, which is 25,215,651.

Duolingo has released 52 courses in about 3.5 years, so just under 15 courses per year. (Obviously these have not been at a constant rate, but who cares. :P) To make 25,215,600 further courses will therefore take 1,681,040 years. Plus 477 years if you want courses to and from Klingon.

We'll be waiting a while.

This comment is intended in jest.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bufferz91

I am afraid it can take years for duo to approve a course, or so I've heard :(

2 years ago
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