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I would like to see Mohawk (and maybe other Iroquoian languages) on Duolingo.

After doing a search in the form, I was surprised most of the 54 results I got was comments. So here is a discussion for Mohawk and other languages related to it.

Mohawk is an indigenous language in the Americas, specifically in parts of Canada and New York. It is one of the languages of the Six Nations of the Iroquois people (the others are Seneca, Cayuga, Oneida, Onondaga and later Tuscarora). Mohawk still has native and fluent speakers of the language, since there have been efforts to revive it.

I specifically would like to learn Mohawk, however the other five should be considered. Mohawk is the least endangered out of the six (with 3,500 total speakers), while Tuscarora is almost extinct (only having 1,200 native speakers). As hard as it would be to revive them, Mohawk has the best chance of living again. Duolingo can at least start with one. There are private schools that teach all of these languages to those of Iroquois decent, but unfortunately not everyone of that decent live near those schools; I am one of those people. My great-great grandmother came from the Mohawk nation. I am pained that she couldn't teach her children and grandchildren this language.

Here are reasons Duolingo should try to add these languages:

  • There are growing efforts to revive them; there are even resources online and printed for each.

  • It will help grow the number of speakers

  • There are still native speakers as well as learning speakers that can contribute to the creation of a course.

  • It will raise awareness of revival efforts

  • Duolingo can provide these courses to the private schools, which statistically should help the children learning these languages.

I would like to see efforts to revive Native American languages in general, but this is my only specific request. Please consider Iroquoian languages.

July 25, 2016



I'd love to see a Mohawk course—particularly if the 'household' skill includes the word for 'stove polish':


Oh my, this is so fun to see! It's exactly how I was talking in English before my vocabulary got better xD "the thing that does this and that that you use when you do this"


Lol! As long as that word is, it's fun to pronounce (I just read it out loud).


LOL I got that book!


Very interesting! I remember there was a discussion about Duolingo wishing to add Native American languages (notably Cherokee). But then there was something about some problems with money from somewhere (there are a lot of some's here, I don't know, maybe someone knows something more specific about it :)). Let's hope some of those languages will be added soon.


I think it was more about publicity and bringing in traffic.

We were very keen on getting started with Native languages right away and were working with the White House on an agreement to promote it but it got very bureaucratic on their end and fell through, unfortunately. While Duolingo really cares about protecting languages and helping teach heritage languages, we are still focused on growing our user base. Because of that... we can't really launch a course unless it has real potential to help us grow either through a large user base or through media. With regards to Native American languages, it'd have to be through media exposure and it will be hard to achieve that without the support of a large entity like the White House.



How does one have a language added to the program. I am in contact with the Hiawatha Institute for Indigenous Knowledge and many fluent speakers of Mohawk and Oneida. I am interested in getting the ball rolling on adding the language. Who must I contact with Duolingo to begin the project?


Hello! I am thrilled you would like to help! The process is very long and done in very careful steps. It requires both linguistic and technological knowledge as well as group skills.

The first thing to do after finding fluent speakers is to have them create a Duolingo account. This way they can access the Incubator, which is a different website where Duolingo creates their courses. Next, the contributors need to go to the Incubator, which is here: https://incubator.duolingo.com/

The contributors must but fluent in both languages of the course, so they will have to prove that in an application. Mohawk and Oneida are not popular languages, so the contributors have to select "other" in a drop-down menu of what language they want to teach. A second drop-down menu has a list of languages they can teach from, which they must also be fluent in. They have to type two different versions on the application, one in each language. They must also provide an e-mail address when they submit their application, because when Duolingo decides (yes, sadly it's up to Duolingo when they will start working) to use resources to create the course, the people who applied will be contacted by e-mail if they qualify.

From there, the course must be worked on constantly by the team. How they do this varies, but the goal is to provide the highest quality course there is. I know that many people on this website has worked to get the courses we have, and according to them it's not an easy task, so they really need dedicated people.

I hope that answers your questions! Thank you very much!


I live in western New York, so I'm surrounded by these tribes and I actually learned about them back in third grade. I'd love to learn the language indigenous to my area!


What an absolutely great idea, I live in Sydney and there is almost exactly the same problem with Indigenous Australian languages, and what a shame it would be to lose all of the culture. Duolingo has the perfect platform for language conservation and revitalisation, it's just so difficult to get a language approved...

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