https://www.duolingo.com/CaptainTomTom

Presidential Support for a Maltese Course

I've contacted Duolingo's marketing department by e-mail but got no response, so am wondering what the next best avenue is to get in touch with the official Duolingo staff. The e-mail is self-explanatory and reads as follows.

To whom it may concern,

I am a Masters marketing graduate and cultural assistant of the President of Malta. The President expressed interest in setting up an online Maltese course to me privately and I conducted research on how to go about this. I then realised there was a foundation of material on Duolingo related to a possible Maltese course, but that it had not succeeded thus far. https://www.duolingo.com/comment/4648980

Therefore, I suggested to the President that she do a press release supporting volunteering directed towards helping make a Maltese Duolingo course. I have an interview with the President on the 29th of August to further discuss the proposal to use crowdsourcing to create a Maltese course. I would like to have Duolingo's support before the interview, as I believe this approach will be hugely beneficial to Duolingo. Small nations such as Estonia have been very successful in modernizing via the Internet, due to their size and ability to interlink a small number of people and grab their attention. These initiatives are also popular with the media as news stories - it was widely publicized that Estonia was pushing an online citizenship, especially on platforms such as Reddit.

Therefore, if the Maltese President were to essentially promote Duolingo as regards making a Maltese course, it would create the public support to push a Maltese course through development, generate interest in this course and it would also be free marketing for Duolingo while also generating general press coverage of the website and the initiative.

To discuss this further, feel free to get in touch with me by phone at xxxxx or further by this e-mail address. To make this a success I hope to be in correspondence with Duolingo before my meeting with the President on the 29th of August. My interest in this is providing a service to the President.

Best regards

Timothy Alden

2 years ago

24 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/gcabildo
gcabildo
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If the president of Malta wishes it, that means it gives Duolingo free PR that even heads of states think that this platform is very beneficial.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wochenweise

First, I don't know how long ago you wrote this Email, but if it didn't get answered for a while, I think I'd repeat the request in an old-fashioned letter which looks appropriately officous.

Second, as far as I know, they need rather a few dedicated volunteers for these courses than many people on Duolingo, and it's not really like crowdsourcing. They ask many peope to apply as volunteers, but then only some are chosen.

Meanwhile, there is a service for language learning which is based on crowdsourced materials, and it doesn't offer Maltese yet. It's called Clozemaster, and it doesn't offer language courses, but rather "gamified language learning in context through mass exposure for learners of all levels. It aims to answer the question, "What should I do after duolingo?" and provide a more sentence based and contextual learning experience to complement other language learning apps like memrise and anki." It's a lot of fun in my experience. https://www.clozemaster.com/ (Scroll down and down and down, and you'll find a short FAQ)

Now, Clozemaster uses pairs of sentences and their translations from Tatoeba, and that's where the crowdsourcing comes in, because everyone can enter and / or translate sentences on Tatoeba. (They expect good quality, though.) It has an advanced search mechanism which you can use to check how many approved translations there are between Maltese and other languages, and if there are not many, more can be crowdsourced. The material on Tatoeba can be used for other applications, too, they have some kind of CC-license, and AFAIK they are used for the crowdsourced dictionary Glosbe and the language learning tool Bliubliu. http://tatoeba.org/deu/ https://glosbe.com/ https://bliubliu.com/en/

Then, Clozemaster uses word frequency lists from Wiktionary, and I checked the site they name in their FAQ, and there is currently no entry for Maltese: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Wiktionary:Frequency_lists

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/b05aplmun.ca
b05aplmun.ca
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I would second the recommendation to put your request on letterhead and also suggest that it be on official letterhead from someone in the president's office (if not the president herself).

(You may qualify as being in the president's office, but it's not entirely clear what you mean by "cultural assistant" - i.e. whether you routinely work directly with the president or just occasionally provide advice. In any case, if you do send the letter yourself, you should lead with your status as the president's cultural assistant, rather than with your status as a grad student.)

Also, from what I understand, a shortage of volunteers is not generally an issue and, in fact, it's usually more of an issue to winnow out, from hundreds of applicants, a reasonable-sized committee of bilingual people actually qualified to do the work and willing to put in quite a bit of weekly time to do it.

You might want to find out more about the current status of Maltese and the number of existing volunteers, before your president tries to round up more volunteers.

You should also definitely connect with Duolingo before you do anything that will raise hopes or expectations about what Duolingo might do. It's not really clear what criteria Duolingo chooses to decide which language courses are developed when. Free publicity might be an enticement, as might funding, but Duolingo probably has other considerations as well.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Urhea

I hope they listen to your request, maltese even though a minority language is still nice, and it has italian, arabic and romance infulences so it's a nice mix.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AmareloTiago
AmareloTiago
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A Maltese course would be pretty cool! Not long after I started looking at the Duo forums, the first Duo Goes to ... post I saw was Malta and I was enamored! I would love to have a Matlese course available, even if I never got past the second checkpoint.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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Hello Timothy, I think it's great that when people think of languages, they think of Duolingo. (And that when people want to create a course, internet searches are bringing folks to Duolingo!) To have a course created on Duolingo, volunteers must apply to create a course. To apply, go to http://incubator.duolingo.com/apply.

I wish you the best of luck! ^_^

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/annika_a
annika_a
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I think this opening post is about something quite different than about volunteering to create a course...

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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Duolingo suggests applying to volunteer if someone wants to create a course. Taking into account that they've already written a letter to staff, this was one of the other avenues they could explore :).

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CaptainTomTom

Good news everybody. The President wants to go forward with this. We'll look into contacting Duolingo officially and I will keep you all posted on the progress in this thread. To elaborate, I'm actually a recent graduate student who has stepped in to help the President personally after discovering what she wanted and having personally used Duolingo.

She wants a Maltese course for expatriates and Duolingo would be perfect. I am not her employee, but I will be the main volunteer and agent once this becomes official. Thanks everybody for your help. The research and advice you guys put in was important in today's meeting. I mentioned the Ukraine Peace Corps using Duolingo bit as a proof of concept. Any further advice is welcome.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/StrapsOption
StrapsOption
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Incredible news.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/StrapsOption
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My mouth dropped open when I saw this. This is incredible. I would use exclamation marks, but I would use too many, which would result in this page slowing up, and my comment would be spam.

I made several posts about Maltese and Malta: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/5280783 , as I see you mentioned in your email.

I'm excited to talk to someone close to President Coleira Preca. I'll be really interested to see what you can do, so keep us posted!

This truly is amazing. I really hope this works out, and I wish you the very best of luck. ✠

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CaptainTomTom

Are you living in Malta?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/StrapsOption
StrapsOption
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No, but I am part Maltese. Inti minn Għawdex jew Malta?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CaptainTomTom

Malta. :) I grew up in Germany, though. Which country do you live in? If you wish, I can suggest you as a contact of ours in the Presidential meet next Monday. This wouldn't really be happening without you, because you built a foundation I could use as proof of concept. If you want to get in touch with me, message me.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/81cheney
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I would love for Maltese to be available. It's a Afro-Asiatic language and is a great contrast to all of the Indo-European languages. About 10% of the vocabulary is English loanwords. It also has some influence from Latin. Arabic heavily influences it to this day though.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessamator
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If this is really true, it sounds like a no brainer, Duolingo will likely facilitate such a course, just like it helped facilitate Ukrainian with the help of the peace corps[1].

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CaptainTomTom

Can you elaborate on what you mean by them facilitating Ukrainian with the help of the peace corps? If I can tell the President that Duolingo is flexible about these things on the 29th it will help a lot.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/b05aplmun.ca
b05aplmun.ca
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That footnote Dessamator included is actually, if you click on it, a link to an article on the subject.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CaptainTomTom

Thanks, did not see that!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CosmoKaiza
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Please add Maltese. I want to master Tunisian and Maltese is the closest language to it. So yes add Maltese !

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/helenosborne30

I wish there was a Maltese course. I live in Malta and I've done the first year of Maltese as a Foreign Language at the LLC, but I need all the help I can get!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/aMbVkWn5

I would love duolingo to have a Maltese course so that I can communicate with my relatives and explore my heritage

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/artluvva

Hi Timothy, Thank you for sharing this information. ? Another good reason for having Maltese on Duolingo is that asylum seekers and foreign workers cannot become Maltese citizens if the cannot speak Maltese. I remember that when Germany took in vast numbers of asylum seekers Duolingo added a German for Arabic course very quickly.

Have there been any developments since this post?

Best regards Barbara Cefai

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ZoranS.
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It would be great if we have the Maltese course.

6 months ago
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