Weekly Incubator Update: Tracking Progress from August 21st to August 28th
One course likely to go beta this week
The Esperanto for Spanish course is planned to start its beta phase this week.
Klingon gathers pace
Klingon team seems to be picking up the momentum to work towards a beta release at the end of this year.
Please read on for the team updates that you have been waiting for. This edition includes four of them.
PHASE 1 Progress: Total 23 courses
Esperanto for Spanish - 100% | 100% | 100% | 100% (+0) 31-Aug-2016
Romanian for English - 94% | 100% | 100% | 100% (+0)
Greek for English - 100% | 100% | 100% | 99% (-1) 1-Oct-2017
Guarani for Spanish - 100% | 99% | 99% | 99% (+0)
English for Thai - 98% | 99% | 99% | 99% (+0)
Portuguese for French - 96% | 96% | 96% | 96% (+0) 1-Oct-2016
German for Italian - 93% | 94% | 94% | 95% (+1)
Swahili for English - 70% | 70% | 70% | 70% (+0) 1-Dec-2016 ^
Spanish for Italian - 68% | 70% | 70% | 70% (+0)
Swedish for Russian - 68% | 68% | 69% | 69% (+0)
Italian for Portuguese - 58% | 60% | 61% | 64% (+3) 25-Dec-2016 *
Czech for English - 58% | 59% | 60% | 60% (+0) 7-Jul-2017 ^
French for Chinese - 48% | 48% | 48% | 48% (+0)
Russian for Turkish - 45% | 46% | 46% | 46% (+0) 31-Dec-2016
French for Turkish - 42% | 42% | 42% | 42% (+0)
Klingon for English - 28% | 29% | 29% | 32% (+3) 31-Dec-2016 *
Indonesian for English - 28% | 28% | 28% | 28% (+0)
Hindi for English - 28% | 28% | 28% | 28% (+0) 26-Jan-2017 ^
Korean for English - 20% | 21% | 22% | 23% (+1) 31-Dec-9999
English for Tamil - 15% | 16% | 16% | 16% (+0) 28-Feb-2017
English for Bengali - 9% | 11% | 11% | 12% (+1) 20-Feb-2017
Yiddish for English - 9% | 9% | 9% | 9% (+0) 7-Jul-2018
English for Telugu - (New) 0% | 0% | 0% (+0)
Course - 3 weeks ago | 2 weeks ago | a week ago | Now (Progress delta); Estimated Launch Date (provided by contributors) (Date delta)
'Estimated Launch Date' only when provided by the course contributors
Mean - 0.27% | 0.78% | 0.17% | 0.35% (+0.18)
Median - 0% | 0% | 0% | 0% (+0)
* This week's Leader Extraordinaire!
^ The Hindi, Czech, & Swahili teams' progress is as per their own calculation
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).
it's been a while since our last update — let's blame it on the summer. We haven't been idly sitting by, though, and it's time to give you a little rundown of the last couple of weeks. So, I contacted duolingo a while ago with a couple of questions about the problems we can't fix — but we're still in limbo about that. Let's blame that on the summer, too.
Also, the course is now firmly established in beta and available on the mobile app, too. Our error reports per 100 users have been below 20 for a couple of days (and not above 20 for a week). There's still some work to do before we reach 3, but we're getting there. We've been making progress fixing reported mistakes, adding missing translations, and I also added some much needed tips & notes over the last few days.
Finally, we have a new team member, fmk64 (or Franz). He's been active in the forums and on facebook for a while, so you might have seen him help out and suggest improvements! We're very happy to have a new member!
We'll keep going, and I promise more frequent updates in the coming weeks (still blaming it on the summer...)!
We're working on fixing reports, adding missing translations, adding tips & notes, and team members! Keep your reports, your questions, and your criticism coming! Thanks to all of you for your help!
About the TTS recordings
Hey guys ,
We have contacted the duolingo's admins and we learned that the reason of the course's delay to be released is due to the fact that the duolingo's engineers are backing up the TTS recording system.
The recordings of the Greek course will start therefore after this procedure is done.
We don't have any information regarding the date of the release,because it is difficult to estimate it for now.
Η Ελληνική ομάδα / The Greek team
For the First Time in Forever...
We finally give you an update!
A lot of things happened in incubator. You might see that we're advancing slowly, but we have made a lot of progress. Currently, we are tying to figure out a way to overcome what we believe as one of our biggest challenge yet:
Teaching Indonesian Affixes
Affixes are crucial to understand, yet tricky. We are trying to be careful with them since we want you to be able to learn with maximum convenience. Working on them is like working on a puzzle. Solving it is the job for Indonesian course contributors!
Thank you so much for your patience, help, and enthusiasm!
With love, Indonesian Team
We're working hard on reviewing like we have said previously and it seems it might take longer than we have thought.
We have to make sure all accepted translations are valid for every sentence. If we are to cancel the review, and release a bad course, the duolingo community would be upset.
Sebastian - On behalf of RO-EN_Team.
Better progress this week. For a change, we have two leaders extraordinare! That suggests that going is good. Moreover, we have four updates from the teams. (I had apparently missed the Hungarian last week).
Previous Update 16-Aug to 21-Aug
I'm so very happy to see an update from the Indonesian Team! :) I miss Indonesian so much and would welcome an excuse to get back to it! I'm going to start reviewing my Swahili this week (even pulled out my Simplified Swahili textbook and dusted it off) in anticipation of the Swahili course. I've been focusing on European languages all summer--could use a little change of pace.
Also, is that progress on the Klingon course I see? Yessss. Qapla' to thw Klingon team!
I guess there is one good thing about there being so many courses close to 100%: Once they all reach beta and have been there for a bit, there will be more 'room' for other languages to be added! Everyone seems to have such great suggestions for languages to add. I think my favorite of these is Finnish though.
But no matter how long it takes for these courses to finish up and others to be added, I'll be there for them, ready to learn :-)
@KhanradCoder: I think you've misunderstood the game: When you write that, it's you who's supposed to give lingots to others... ;-)
(And learn Finnish once it arrives...)
"alfmf" - "a lingot for mentioning Finnish"
"alfalfmf" - "a lingot for alfmf"
"alfalfalfmf" - "a lingot for alfalfmf"
Etc., etc., etc.....
No, these special alfmf lingots are given only when Finnish is mentioned or someone gave alfmf.
"Alfalfalmf" =a lingot for a lingot for a lingot for mentioning Finnish. The Finnish course is highly awaited by users and has become somewhat of a joke. (New users commonly ask about it- "Where's Finnish? I want the Finnish course!" )Alfmf gets the word around about Finnish even more. Plus, it's great fun.
It was a joke because "Alfalfa" is only 2 letters different from "Alfalfmf" & was one of the Little Rascals...LOL.
Why does this make me imagine ALF (1980s show alien) with a tattoo of "MF" on a "THUG LIFE" meme???
No 1 per cent progress from the Czech team, and Klingon as leader extraordinaire? What a completely crazy week this has been...
It's a tip of the hat to 60 for being the only number right between two sets of sexy prime quadruplets.*
Not exactly adhering to Occam's razor but, then, I bet Terence Tao would be proud nonetheless.
*I.e., one more than the largest prime of one set and one less than the smallest of the next set.
As a mathematician here, the last thing I was hoping to read in this post was Terence Tao's name :D
Accept my lingots, sir. 8D
Klingon has made more progress in the past week than in the past two and a half months! Go Klingon! =D
I can't wait for Indonesian, I would like to travel to Malaysia and Indonesia someday!
And I wait for new languages for English speakers, like Finnish, Arabic or Estonian...
"alfmf" - "a lingot for mentioning Finnish"
"tlfmf" - "the lingots for mentioning Finnish"
And various alf's and tlf's get stuck at the beginning to add more "a lingot for"s or "the lingots for"s.
So much updates this week! It makes me forget about the slow progress of the last few weeks:)
THANK YOU JITEN! DUOLINGO WOULD NOT BE THE SAME WITHOUT YOU! #youRule #multilingualismIsMyFavoriteIsm #SundaysR4WIUs #HashTagz4Dayz #SRSLYtho
This is so exciting - to see both
Portuguese for French Speakers
Esperanto for Spanish Speakers,
getting SOOOOO close to hopefully hatching.
Roo crosses her paws and hopes.
Sounds like Team Romanian has good timing by conducting an extra-thorough sentence check now. Even if they locked the course for Duolingo's review immediately, it would probably still get held up by the TTS delay that Team Greek is describing.
The incubator seems to be awful quiet compared to the days when there were 40 languages in the incubator or in beta; I hope Duolingo aren't losing interest in it!
I remember we were told that Duolingo had added extra support for teaching agglutinative languages, which a lot of us took as a hopeful sign that languages like Finnish might arrive. Since that happened have any agglutinative languages actually been added to the incubator?
No need for the word agglutinative, the answer is basically the same for "have any languages actually been added?" Korean was the last non-English course to be added and this is from their update in early March
When we started building the course Duolingo didn't allow us to teach those pieces separately, so each combination had to be created in the system, multiplying as we added more base nouns and grammatical particles. But, however, we are very excited to say that we can now teach each suffix individually one time.
So only three English courses have been added after that. But something else has definitely happened too, I counted 31 new courses in 2014, 29 in 2015 and now we're on track to get 6 in 2016. That can't purely be because of more complex languages being added.
Oh, and it's not like other phases have slowed down that much; 26 entered beta in 2014, 13 in 2015, 15-20 projected in 2016 and the amount of courses graduating was 11 in 2014, 21 in 2015, possibly 20 this year.
My guess is that this slowdown (today notwithstanding) represents a change of priority for Duolingo (aka a realization of their present and future financial situation). This guess is based on Luis' recent comments and what courses in particular they have added this year. At least for English speakers, all of the tastiest low hanging fruit has been picked. Future courses will either be less tasty fruit (less popular languages like Tagalog and yes, Finnish) or harder to pick (Korean, Arabic).
I think you're right about the change of strategy and the low hanging fruit.
On the other hand, once you have a language in the Incubator, using the same one for further courses should generally be much less hassle than creating the original course. This should be true both in the case of it being the target language: once you have a good tree structure it will probably only need relatively minor tweaks to adjust to the needs of learners using different languages (and you'll already have experienced, trusted course contributors lined up), and when it's the source language: all that translation needed to create the page is already done.
That's why I'm a little bit surprised that they are not making more combinations of the languages they already have.
Do many Duolingo trees have a good structure, though? The course of English was notoriously bad and made little sense. I am not sure many English trees got fixed.
I think they have the standard structure. The course has a number of odd choices that make it less than ideal for a lot of languages:
- Adjectives like "bilingual", "religious", "traditional", "negative" and "human"(!) are introduced before "good", "bad", "big", and "small". Because reasons.
- Present Simple is introduced first. It is overused in the course, including contexts where it is hardly justified ("We eat an apple", "They go home", "I use the book"). Sentences like "I am reading a book" are nowhere to be seen at first. If you are really patient, they do appear. A tad bit late, though. You find them in the skill number 43, having finished 80 % of the tree. Apparently, someone considered it advanced material.
- "Food" and "meal" are introduced in the same early skill. I am not sure many languages make this exact distinction between objective edibles and a portion of food to be consumed during one of the time periods you devote to eating. More importantly, how many languages will draw the line at the same place English does? Same with work and job, which are introduced in one and the same lesson of "Professions".
- Zero focus on English articles, which are, in fact, fairly hard to get right for a non-native. Here is an amuzing fact for fellow Duolingoers who live under a rock: the vast majority of languages in the world, including most spoken languages, do not have articles.
- I think "shirt" and "skirt" in the same lesson are not a good idea. However, it is an easy mistake to make for a teacher. By the way, we have «стол» and «стул» in different skills—exactly for this reason. :)
- Past Perfect is introduced completely out of context, which makes it hardly teachable if the native language of a learner has no pluperfect (e.g., Plusquamperfekt). Sentences like "I had come back home" and "The park had closed" are therefore useless: they lack any reference point that would suggest you need to go farther back into the past and use "had closed" instead of just "closed".
- Skill number 43. English"-ing"-forms are not called "gerunds", and they in fact have three distinct uses. First, "doing something" works as a progressive participle ("I am painting the walls", "The girl painting the walls asked you to buy something to eat). Second, these forms produce gerunds ("Teaching them was pretty hard"). Third, "-ing"-forms sometimes become full-fledged nouns ("I like that building"). It is a bit too much to cram into the same skill. Moreover, the first use would be taught much earlier by any sane teacher.
- Last time I studied English it had at least a few dozen extremely common irregular verbs. Where are they? Oh! I forgot they were introduced in the same "past tense" skill as the regular verbs. Unfortunately, English is not like Russian, which has about 5 verb stems with weird conjugations, or Japanese, which has about two and a half.
- I think it would be nice to have a separate small skill for predicate adjectives like "alive", "asleep", "abroad", "alone", "afraid" or "glad". They are taught right next to the ordinary adjectives. Saying things like "an alive dog" is an easy mistake to make if you never knew these should not be used as modifiers.
- Certain vocabulary should not have been included. Alternatively, the course would benefit if these words were included later. "She is a negative woman" is a particularly egregious example: it is unreasonable to assume that every language uses its word for "negative" in the range of contexts this wide. On the other hand, if "negative" is introduced early on, even before numbers—what other options do you have? "Negative teachers" and "negative dogs" are not much better.
Even with a great structure, it makes little sense to teach English via translation with a universal tree. To use one of our examples as something more obvious, teaching English to people who speak Spanish is going to take a different form/path than to people who speak Vietnamese, as Spanish has articles, verb agreement, and tons of easily recognizable cognates with English, whereas Vietnamese has none of these things and has to focus on them (at least the first two) early.
@DrSwordopolis: Yes, of course. Hence the "relatively minor tweaks to adjust to the needs of learners using different languages" I mentioned earlier. Or major tweaks, as it were.
@Shady_arc: Are you saying the contributors of the English for X language courses don't have the freedom to move things around and, when necessary, built those specific skills that are needed for that particular group of learners? That sounds ridiculous, if it is the case!
One would assume that Duolingo would want to put extra emphasis on those courses now that one of their methods of trying to earn money is proficiency exams in English. (Or has that boat sailed already, too?)
Fair enough, so this theory only really works if and when you do have a good tree structure. :-)
Which English course do you mean? As far as I remember, the only English one I've finished (from Dutch) was just fine.
It's true. There are plenty of logical courses to be added for Spanish, French, German, Arabic, etc speakers...
@annika_a: We now have. However, Russian was amongst the first Incubated courses. In the late 2013 and early 2014 contributors could not so much as create a new sentence. The only thing one could do was traslate sentences from the existing pool (and remove them if they were mistakenly added to the course).
Now the Incubator improved and you can, in fact, change the structure of the tree. The team is slowly making the new version, however, it takes much time. After all, making an English course, like, completely from scratch is beyond what they aim to do.
Some of my complaints do not even apply to a particular language pair. When you teach very specific words first, the words that are typically used in very narrow contexts—you work yourself into a corner (if not a dead end). It is difficultto work within an extremely limited vocabulary and make natural sentences with "individual" (noun), "potential"(adjective), "local", "access"(noun) or "transportation".
The Indonesian course update mentions teaching affixes - and isn't extra support for teaching agglutinative languages really extra support for teaching affixes glued onto words?
Turkish and Hungarian are available, but they were added before the extra support for agglutination.
For those who haven't noticed, Greek is in BETA. If English can be released in beta, shouldn't Greek be released in "B"? :D I keed, I keed.
Yeah I got to level 2 before mentioning it to you guys. Sue me, lol. I was excited...call it a "betamax".
1) (n.) feeling of excitement from a recent beta release. 2) Tiny, weird cousin of VHS. 3) (v.) to sequester oneself (usually with gelato) immediately following the release of a new Duolingo language course, so as to attain a jump start on that new tiny flag level. See also: betamaxin'-and-relaxin', betamax slacks, betamax snacks
Hey if the Greeks can bring back a language, I can bring back a word? Right...? Right....? crickets
Also, there's a new flags image file: https://d7mj4aqfscim2.cloudfront.net/images/flag-sprite11.svg which has the flag of the Philippines :) even though https://incubator.duolingo.com/ still uses an egg for Tagalog.
I'm using Firefox. In this case, when I right-click an image, the menu that pops up includes "Inspect Element."
Once I select "Inspect Element", Firefox shows a display that includes the part of the page's source code that has the URL of whichever file has the image. :)
Also, English for Tagalog Speakers just entered the incubator: https://incubator.duolingo.com/courses/en/tl/status ! :)
One thing that Luis mentioned earlier in the year was updating DL to improve the conversational aspect of language learning. If I remember correctly, it was expected to be released mid 2016. (Reddit AMA I think). Could it be that that project is taking priority over new languages in the incubator? Any one have info?
Also, I believe Luis had an interest in promoting native languages of the Americas. I wonder if there are DL folks working on this w First Nations in the US, Mexico or Central America. Guarani is a step in that direction, I'll probably do 10 to 12 levels. Cherokee, Navajo or Quechua, and other native language courses would be crazy great!
It's a random date which means they have no idea when the course will come out. It's not meant to be taken seriously.
Yeah, this way you can't accidentally not release the course until after your estimated launch date, right? ;)
Hey, the estimated launch date didn't stop the Hindi course from sneaking out for a wild hour or two... ;-)
I know, I mean the Duolingo contributors will surely finish before that year.