Weekly Incubator Update: Tracking Progress from January 10th to January 17th

French for Italian graduates from beta
Congratulations to the course team and to team Duolingo!

Course completion dates
The Duolingo Incubator team has recently provided the course teams with an option to override the default course prediction dates. This was needed mainly due to the fact that a few course teams are building their tree from scratch. That rendered the default algorithm useless. I am guessing that a few teams will make use of this feature in the coming weeks.

It would be further useful if there was a way to see which date predictions are automatic and which ones are manually provided. I am not sure if it currently exists.

PHASE 1 Progress: Total 29 courses

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

Welsh for English - 92% | 100% | 99% | 99% (+0)

Spanish for Russian - 97% | 98% | 98% | 99% (+1)

French for Arabic - 93% | 97% | 97% | 98% (+1)

Vietnamese for English - 91% | 91% | 93% | 96% (+3)

English for Thai  - 91% | 92% | 93% | 93% (+0)

French for Russian - 83% | 86% | 87% | 88% (+1)

Swedish for Arabic - 58% | 68% | 77% | 83% (+6)

German for Italian - 80% | 80% | 81% | 81% (+0)

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

Romanian for English - 69% | 72% | 73% | 74% (+1)

Greek for English - 39% | 51% | 77% | 72% (-5)

Hebrew for English - 71% | 73% | 72% | 72% (+0)

German for Arabic - 45% | 53% | 62% | 72% (+10)

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

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

Portuguese for French - 33% | 48% | 52% | 53% (+1)

Swahili for English - 23% | 23% | 23% | 45% (+22) *^

Guarani for Spanish - 27% | 32% | 36% | 43% (+7)

Italian for Portuguese - 40% | 41% | 41% | 42% (+1)

Russian for Turkish - 39% | 40% | 41% | 42% (+1)

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

Esperanto for Spanish - 28% | 30% | 31% | 32% (+1)

Czech for English - 28% | 28% | 29% | 30% (+1) ^

Hindi for English - 25% | 26% | 26% | 26% (+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 - 1.45% | 2.72% | 2.03% | 1.79% (-0.24)
Median - 0% | 1% | 0% | 0% (+0)

* 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).

nueby from Team Czech wrote one week ago::

Week 27

588 words, 29.4%.

BrandenRyan from Team Swahili wrote 2 days ago:

Tangazo la Sita

Elimu Haina Mwisho

We’ve generally been following a pattern of updating once every two weeks, but with some of the feedback from last week’s update and some new Incubator features, I thought it would be nice to write a bit and to show the Duolingo community a neat picture as well!

A big thanks to Jitengore for the comprehensive WIUs, as always, and for recognizing Team Sw-En for its third Star Update Award in as many months – not that we’re counting or anything! It is a cool tidbit of information to mention in passing at our office, though, to keep cultivating interest and enthusiasm among our staff.

As always, I like to begin updates with a Swahili proverb; this week’s means Education has no end. In English, we usually say, “You’re never too old to learn!” The Swahili team has been enjoying our journey of learning how to build a Duolingo course, and Mama Rehema especially has enjoyed gaining new computer skills. Coming from the first generation of Tanzanians (as they were post-Independence of Tanganyika in 1961 and post-Union with Zanzibar in 1964 to create Tanzania), catching up with a more technological world in the 21st century can be a huge challenge, especially in Africa! It is never too late to learn something new, and I’m sure many Duolingo users can attest to this through continued language learning. We’re excited to be contributing to that with the eventual release of the Swahili course!

Course Update

If you guys haven’t seen yet, there is a new feature on all courses in the Incubator to manually set an estimated course-completion date. As of now, I’ve tentatively set it to June 1, 2016. However, this is a very, very rough estimate that will likely be pushed back depending on the following factors:

1- Here at Peace Corps Tanzania, we are entering a new training cycle for new Volunteers. That means that Rehema (and likely Emilian as well) will be focused on the language training component for a while. We have not developed a standard for seeking new contributors because it is hard to assess the credentials of applicants. Also, and this is my personal (not professional) view; PCTZ wants to commit to creating the best course possible modeled after its language training methods. We do not necessarily want to open up the course for now while it is still in its formative stages. However, during this period, I’ll be working on various course elements: some translation of lexemes, review of already-constructed skills and lessons, continued work on available image exercises, and hopefully finishing the Tips and Notes for all sections in the next month or two.

2- We still have to identify if there is a viable Text-to-Speech platform. By ‘we’, I mean the collective Duolingo-we in general, but that has to be identified and reviewed, of course. If there isn’t a pre-existing tool, the entire course will have to be recorded manually (like Ukrainian and other courses). Recording would take time, so hopefully we can use a TTS tool!

Additionally, in reference to last week’s update and the issue of counting lexemes versus skills completed to calculate percentage completion, I’ll continue to estimate percentages based on “words completed” values. After looking over the Turkish course as another example of an agglutinative language whose course has 1,400 lexemes (words) but also many forms, and reviewing which of our skills need to be populated with words (not many), I’m going to say that a high estimate of total words in the course will be 1,600. We are currently at a little over 1,100. Those 500 additional words will likely come through necessary additions to various skills to broaden the latter part of the course. 855/1,600 comes out to 53% completion. But, some of those skills are grammar-focused and will require multiple forms of different lexemes to complete, so that, along with other factors, I believe our course to be approximately 45% completed.

Ningependa kutangaza kitu kimoja kwa wale ambao wanaongea Kiswahili na wanaotaka kujua hali ya cozi ya Kiingereza; kwanza, sisi kama timu tunahitaji kumaliza na cozi ya Kiswahili, halafu itawezekana kutengeneza cozi ya Kiingereza kwa walioongea Kiswahili. Hatutaweza kufikiria kuhusu ratiba ile ya cozi ya Kiingereza sasa, lakini.

And finally, Rehema, Emilian, and I received a very, very exciting package in the mail this week. We’ve been looking forward to it since November and I was both surprised/not surprised that it took two months to arrive in Tanzania, but embe dodo ni sawa sawa na kisukari! A bonus proverb for this week – the translation for this is that a dodo mango (a type of big, sweet mango) is the same as a sweet banana. Contextually, fruits are desserts in Tanzania, so this equates to the saying, ”Beggars can’t be choosers!” Even though we had to wait a while for our package, that made it all-the-sweeter!

We were sent some cool Duolingo swag! Check it out!

Tunawashukuru Kai, Rogelio, na wafanyakazi wote wa Duolingo kwa uvumilivu wao! - We thank Kai, Rogelio, and everyone at Duolingo for their support!

Team Swahili is on a winning streak with back to back Star Update Awards! And with such detailed updates and lovely photographs, how can they not keep their streak :)

nueby from Team Czech wrote 12 hours ago:

Week 27

588 words, 29.4%.

AndrsBrny from Team Hungarian wrote an hour ago:

Moving along

Hello dear followers,

here's another update on our progress with the Hungarian course. As I mentioned last week, we have some new members on the team who are very eagerly getting to know the ins and outs of fixing the sentences we have so far, so we've made some good progress, getting closer to 50% of fixing sentences that have a single translation.

It's a bit more difficult to measure the progress on fixing the proper names and eliminating further mistakes, but our team is spread out now and we're trying to have everyone fix separate issues so that we can get ready quicker.

It's been very nice to hear your encouraging words after last week's post! We're working on getting the course out to you and we can't wait to have you guys test the beta and help us improve the course before we let this baby-owl fly off into post-beta life!

Summary (tl;dr)

The new team is making solid progress on adding translations, fixing mistakes and getting closer to our goals for beta.

Thanks and have a great week!

nueby from Team Czech wrote 11 hours ago::

Week 28

588 words, 30%.

ckhadung from Team Vietnamese wrote 10 hours ago:

My hovercraft is full of eels

I am working with Duolingo and New York-based voice company to get the voice recording going. The process may take a while and the date of completion shown in Incubator page (January 31st) is when the course only reaches 100%. It does not mean beta will be released on that day without the audio.

In addition, I invites three additional contributors to the team.

Stay tuned.

jitengore from Team Hindi wrote just now:

Week 32: 26% complete, beta launch delayed

No further update

Another graduation from beta! The French for Italian course has graduated from beta! Team Swahili has earned their 4th Star Update Award. Duolingo has provided the teams to manually provide the expected beta launch date for Phase 1 courses.

The next update is expected on Sunday, 24th of January at 4:00 pm UTC.

Previous Update 03-Jan to 10-Jan

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

January 17, 2016


Thx jitengore for this WIU.

One idea: you could indicate the ETA for the courses that manually defined it (not the automatic ones, of course). Maybe something like:

Welsh for English (ETA: 31/01/2016) - 92% | 100% | 99% | 99% (+0)

Also, note that big "one #" titles aren't supported anymore (thus the < h1 > tag around "Under construction...").

January 17, 2016

Great idea, jrikhal. As long as I can know as to which teams have switched to manual mode, I will be happy to add this info.

January 18, 2016

Manually-set dates will have "edited on [date] by [person]" underneath them in the incubator status page.

Compare Welsh-for-English and Indonesian-for-English, for example.

January 18, 2016

Oh yes! That will work fabulously!

January 18, 2016

Wow, there are a lot of courses on 80-90% + . I love it :-)

Also a big shout-out for team Swahili for the great work.

January 17, 2016

For those who missed it, Luis did a Quora session on the 13th where he answered quite a number of questions on duolingo and other subjects. The session is here:

And there's a discussion of the session in the duolingo forums, with most of his answers about duolingo copied in (because of accessibility issues with, here:

January 17, 2016


January 18, 2016

Wow Swahili! Great job! Looking forward to this course so much!

January 17, 2016

I have no idea how Team Klingon manage to keep up this blistering pace. They really should slow down a bit or risk burnout.

January 17, 2016

Well, it's obvious that if they slow down the slightest, Team Indonesian will come ahead. It's a big race.

January 17, 2016

This is unfair to the Indonesian team. They only entered the incubator last month (December).

January 17, 2016

Klingon is a course everyone can live without. Indonesian is a course we can all get excited about, so it would be nice to see some progress. Good luck to the team, as well as Vietnamese and any other languages of SE Asia released in the future :)

January 17, 2016
  • 1394

Hm. Duolingo has been infiltrated by the Dark Side!
(No, wait, wrong universe...)

January 17, 2016

Curious, you sound dismissive of the Klingon course (and yet, paradoxically, you're not attacking it).

No offence, but why are you dismissive of a course that has over 65 thousand people eagerly awaiting its release?

February 13, 2016

0.3% in Indonesian course now.

January 17, 2016

All five courses being released or Indonesian getting to 1%? Which will happen first?

January 17, 2016

Yeah, Greek progress went down, but you know what that means? They added more topics! We get more words—πολλές λέξεις! Yay!

January 18, 2016

You know what they say, words never hurt!

January 19, 2016

Can't wait to try Vietnamese for English speakers to see how Duolingo deals with a tonal language!

January 18, 2016

Go Guarani, nearly at 50%!

(Ok, ok, I know how bad the automatic percentages are, but I can hope, right?!)

January 17, 2016

What's exactly happening with Hindi nowadays?

January 17, 2016

Maybe you can help? ;)

January 17, 2016

I have applied. I did not receive any response. :P

January 19, 2016

A lot but believe me there is no clue outside incubator what is happening. : (

As per my opinion, (or gut feeling only, with no what-so-ever evidence) It seems that they will call for contributor in May or June.

January 18, 2016

That's what! (<This such an InE phrase) Let's see what happens. I don't know I'm just exited about the fact that Duolingo will be teaching my native and I may be able to help people with however little I can :')

January 19, 2016

Ahhh Vietnamese!! Go go go!! :D

January 17, 2016

FYI: I just completed this week's post. Please revisit if you have visited earlier in the day.

January 18, 2016

Thank you jitengore, so appreciated :)

January 18, 2016

Nice progress Team German for Arabic. Keep up the good work! :-)

January 17, 2016

Thanks! This train has left the station and has no brakes. :)

January 17, 2016
  • 2118

woop woop! Cant wait for the reverse course, though it seems the EN<>AR team has been left waiting to start their reverse course for a while :-(. The usual problem with non-latin scripts.... anyways, I am keeping my fingers crossed for all of you :-)

January 18, 2016

it seems the ENAR team has been left waiting to start their reverse course for a while :-(.

Has it ben left waiting, or is it more a question of much of the team focusing on these other, rather urgent courses? The team seems to be looking for more contributors at the moment.

January 19, 2016

I think that you are right - the English for Arabic team was gearing up for the reverse course just before the refugee crisis hit. From their updates and from personal knowledge, it seemed like many of these team members have split off to work on German, Swedish, and French for Arabic. They are spread quite thin at the moment!! I think we'll see renewed efforts for AR<-EN once these courses start graduating.

January 20, 2016
  • 2118

not sure which team you mean the DL staff of the EN<>AR team?

I know that the EN<>AR team is loosing contributors because they cannot start the reverse course, and people get frustrated (personal communication with team member ;-) ). So this is why the team is searching for new contributors. They do want to start the reverse course.

[I fully acknowledge there are real difficulties with language/scripts that have not been used before, and I fully understand that it takes a while to figure out - I am not at all criticizing. It is just a shame that a team is loosing good contributors over it. ]

Regarding 'urgency': due to the refugee crises a lot of people would like to learn basic arabic to be able to assist refugees better. I agree that the courses teaching German/English/French etc from Arabic are probably slightly more critical than the reverse, so that people have an easier time to get integrated in society, but I don't think that this means that the reverse courses are not urgent.

January 19, 2016

I meant the EN<>AR team.

I am not privy to any inside information, nor do I have any opinion on the relative urgency of these courses. But I seem to remember that some of the contributors of this team specifically lobbied Duolingo to be allowed to start these newer courses. It's also not unreasonable to think that Duolingo would want to concentrate their Arabic resources on these at the moment.

It is indeed a shame if other contributors are getting frustrated at not being able to start a new course. That's true for many other potential contributors as well, not just those who are already involved in another course.

January 19, 2016

I think this course at this time will be very helpful. Keep up the good work.

January 18, 2016

Thanks for the WIU, Jiten! :-)

January 17, 2016

Hopefully once some of these courses are finished we'll start to see some of those endangered languages. On another note, good job team Swahili!

January 17, 2016

An upwards of five courses could be released in next two weeks, exciting times.

January 17, 2016

good work team >> my wishes to make Spanish for arabic soon >> and really i thank you all

January 18, 2016

You duplicated czechs update

January 18, 2016

Half-duplicated, the second one should say "600 words".

January 18, 2016

he made 2 27s and one 28

January 18, 2016

You're right. The 28 is copied incorrectly though.

January 18, 2016

Dear WIU enthusiasts, I am currently working on this week's update. Taking jrikhal's advice, I am adding the custom reported launch dates. Please visit in an hour or two.

January 24, 2016

Great job, team Swahili!

January 19, 2016

Oh man, oh man, oh man! I haven't had a chance to log on for a loooong time (couple months) and I come back and find out SWAHILI made it in! Wooooo! WOOOOO! \o/ I'm so excited!

I'm also really curious to see how the Hindi course covers the Devanagari alphabet. I've been trying to learn that one off and on for a few years and can never seem to get it to stick. Cyrillic I can muddle through, but Devanagari just twists my brain. Which is frustrating since soooo many languages use it! So I'm really hopeful for the Duolingo Hindi course.

All my thanks to you, Jitengore, for continuing to provide such thorough and consistent updates. You're the best!

January 21, 2016

Where did you find that?

January 18, 2016
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