Weekly Incubator Update: Tracking Progress from August 28th to September 4th
A busy edition
This edition is busy both in terms of several course movements, and also in terms of the number of updates. There are updates from as many as seven teams, and a few of the teams have more than on update.
English for Tagalog starts
English for Tagalog has been added to the incubator and team has set themselves an aggressive target to launch beta this year.
Two beta launches
Last week, I had predicted that one of the courses will go beta - Esperanto for Spanish. In fact two went beta - Greek for English, and Guarani for Spanish. Congratulations to the contributors from the two courses and to team Duolingo!
Esperanto for Spanish is slated for next week.
PHASE 1 Progress: Total
Greek for English - 100% | 99% | 99% | Beta
Guarani for Spanish - 99% | 99% | 99% | Beta
Esperanto for Spanish - 100% | 100% | 100% | 100% (+0)
Romanian for English - 100% | 100% | 100% | 99% (-1)
English for Thai - 99% | 99% | 99% | 99% (+0)
Portuguese for French - 96% | 96% | 96% | 96% (+0) 1-Oct-2016
German for Italian - 94% | 94% | 95% | 95% (+0)
Swahili for English - 70% | 70% | 70% | 70% (+0) 1-Dec-2016 ^
Spanish for Italian - 70% | 70% | 70% | 70% (+0)
Swedish for Russian - 68% | 69% | 69% | 69% (+0)
Italian for Portuguese - 60% | 61% | 64% | 65% (+1) 25-Dec-2016
Czech for English - 59% | 60% | 60% | 61% (+1) 7-Jul-2017 ^
French for Chinese - 48% | 48% | 48% | 48% (+0)
Russian for Turkish - 46% | 46% | 46% | 46% (+0) 31-Dec-2016
French for Turkish - 42% | 42% | 42% | 43% (+1)
Klingon for English - 29% | 29% | 32% | 33% (+1) 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 - 21% | 22% | 23% | 24% (+1) 31-Dec-9999
English for Tamil - 16% | 16% | 16% | 19% (+3) 28-Feb-2017 *
English for Bengali - 11% | 11% | 12% | 13% (+1) 20-Feb-2017
Yiddish for English - 9% | 9% | 9% | 9% (+0) 7-Jul-2018
English for Telugu - 0% | 0% | 0% | 0% (+0)
English for Tagalog - (
New) 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 - 0.78% | 0.17% | 0.35% | 0.36% (+0.01)
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).
1212 words, 61%.
TTS recording has been completed*
We have some amazing news today after a long time! The TTS recording process has been completed and the TTS has been added to our course.
From now on we have to listen to a lot of short clips of Greek audio (more than 5,000) to see whether there's anything wrong that should be fixed.
We need your understanding, because this procedure will last a few weeks and then we will be ready for Beta release.
Don't forget to follow our official group on Facebook here
Thank you very much for your support,
Η Ελληνική ομάδα / The Greek team
WE ARE IN BETA!!!*
Amazing news!!! After two years of hard work, delays and unexpected events the Greek course for English speakers is finally in Beta!!!
From now on you can start learning Greek and ask us any question you have. Don't forget to follow our group on Facebook here
Special thanks to all contributors and moderators of the Greek course, the former members of the team, the alpha testers and all of you who were supporting us all this time.
We will need your help to correct mistakes and improve our course by sending us feedback. Thank you very much for your patience and Καλή επιτυχία (Good luck).
Η Ελληνική ομάδα / The Greek team
We appreciate your kind patience. Words of encouragement to us are like water to plant. Thank you. <3
Tenemos las grabaciones
Ya recibimos los audios de las oraciones, y los revisamos, pero Duolingo sigue migrando su sistema de TTS, no sabemos cuándo van a terminar, eso es lo único que nos detiene ahora, pero probablemente terminen pronto.
Midway to the second checkpoint
602/2552 (approx.) words
Estimated Completion Date: December 31, 9999
What to do in the meanwhile? Here are a few tips*
Practice/study Hangeul and basic Korean through Wikibooks
Watch Korean TV, Sports, etc. to polish Korean. If you are a sports fan, you can watch Korean K LEAGUE Classic (Football) and Korean Baseball Classic highlights (full games are occasionally uploaded) through SPOTV. Might have to use VPN for some content (European Football, UFC, etc.)
With a strong foundation in Korean, by the time the course is released, you'll be flying through it in no time! Good luck!
Status update, 03 September 2016
I shall be away on holiday for most of September, so expect progress to slow down; the quick jump of last week is unlikely to repeat itself during this time :)
On the upside, work is slowly progressing on the syllabus. This so far contains an outline of vocabulary and grammar topics equivalent to roughly half of the final planned course, but we (the Klingon team) expect to expand this syllabus further in the near future and get it closer to completion.
Then we will have to create all the new skills and fill them with the words and grammar we are planning to teach as well as adding sentences :)
When Reporting Errors
Hi! I'm am a new contributor, and I'm just getting used to fixing errors and things like that :)
But if you are reporting an error here are some common mistakes you should avoid during the course
1 Always Include The Personal Pronoun
In this course (and in general Ukrainian), it's preferred if you keep word like I, You, He, She, etc. So no phrases like "Хочу пити" say "Я хочу пити" instead
2 Don't mix Cyrillic and Latin keyboards
Just because some letters look like Cyrillic ones, a computer won't recognise that. Please use one alphabet per alphabet (preferably Cyrillic)
3 Russian and Ukrainian are not the same
We've also gotten a few answers written in Russian. There is a course for Russian and this isn't it.
4 Please be specific if you are writing a report
If you are writing a report, please explain your mistake. Saying things like "I'm right" doesn't exactly tell us your problem.
Until next time, До побачення!
Spelling Mistakes "Kyiv and Komp'yuter"
A lot of reports and complaints have come in about two words, ""Kyiv" and "Computer(s)". There are two good explanations to these two words.
- It's Kyiv not Kiev
A very debated topic on the forums and I think by having a post here, many people will see it and spread the word.
When Ukraine was under Soviet rule, the name for modern-day Ukraine's capital was transliterated from the Russian name Киев (Kiev) and that's what it was known as ever since. But, in the Ukrainian Government has officially changed the English spelling to Kyiv (from the Ukrainian Київ) so that is what we will use in the course. So please do not used Kiev in your answers, use Kyiv instead. You can read more on it here: http://www.businessinsider.com/kiev-or-kyiv-2014-1?IR=T
2 Yes, we know computer is spelt wrong.
A lot of reports, have been sent and the forums have gone pretty mad over a typo.
In the skill Hobbies, one of the words taught is the word for computers. But when the course was being made, a typo was made and Комп'ютер was spelt Компьютер by mistake. This can't be changed as far as I know, but Комп'ютер is accepted in all sentences as correct. Hopefully, we will be able to fix it after we graduate from beta but please realise the contributors are humans, and humans make mistakes.
Please keep these things in mind when reporting errors
Amazing news!!! We have reached ten thousand learners in 4 days!!! Thank you very much for making this happen!!! We have still a lot of mistakes to correct. This is quite difficult as there are approximately 6,000 Greek sentences and 6,000 English translations. We need your help in order to improve the course. You can report a problem or comment on a wrong sentence. Then, we will receive notification and we can correct it in less than a minute.
Duolingo hasn't activated e-mail notifications yet! This will happen when the course becomes more stable than now.
Problematic sounds cannot be corrected. We will be able to disable those sentences soon :)
Give us your feedback or ask your questions here. Spam posts will be deleted
Thank you very much for your support,
Η Ελληνική ομάδα
Two courses - Greek for English, and Guarani for Spanish started their beta phases. English for Tagalog entered the incubator. Esperanto for Spanish is going beta next week.
Previous Update 21-Aug to 28-Aug
It is absolutely ridiculous for the Ukrainian course not to accept 'Kiev' on the grounds that it is a transliteration from Russian. Regardless of its origin, it is indisputably the most commonly-used English word for the city. The fact that the Ukrainian government 'officially' changed it to Kyiv (as if it were the arbiter of the English language) does not change common usage. And accepted answers in Duolingo have always reflected common usage.
The same goes for Дніпро, for which the common English word is 'Dnieper'; most English-speakers won't recognise 'Dnipro' any more than they would recognise 'Xiang Gang' as 'Hong Kong'.
The government can express a preference, or decide which spelling will be used on their own web pages and publications, but they can't legislate about the English language.
Much as Japan can't demand, for example, that the food be spelled susi (with kunreisiki romanisation) rather than sushi (with Hepburn romanisation): they're not the ones to decide how the word is spelled in English.
Well... To be fair, the English speaking world HAS accepted another government's choice plenty of times in the past about renaming something.
The government of Iran asked the international community not to call it Persia in English any more, and we did that. Ditto for the Chinese government changing the official English name of 北京 from Peking to Beijing (even if a number of other European languages still use the old one).
In other post-Soviet states, no one in the English-speaking world would still call Bishkek "Frunze" (not that most would have heard of it...)
I agree with your notion, but will just point out that "Frunze" is not a correct romanization of the Kyrgyz "Бишкек", which is the name of the city.
I think the point is that there is not one unique "the" name of the city.
London = Londres = Londýn = Lontoo = ...
All of those are names of the capital of the UK.
English calls the capital of Italy "Rome" not because this is an incorrect romanisation of the Italian name for it, but because that is the English name for the city.
Or as another example, "Bangkok" is in no way a reasonable Romanisation of the Thai name for the city (which starts something like "Krung Thep"). But it's the name of the city in English.
All of the forms you mention became common usage. Common usage is what defines a language and that is the main point. If Kyiv became common usage in English then you would have a point, but until then I have to agree with garpike.
There's also a distinction to be made between the romanization of a foreign name and the English form of a foreign name. They're not exactly the same thing
Your second paragraph is a great point. "Kyiv" is, unfortunately, a less than intelligible character string to the English speaker. Checking a couple dictionaries yielded only two words beginning with "ky," the already incomprehensible (and unspellable) "Kyrgyz" and "kyphosis." In short, a character string unassimilated to the English language in word-initial position.
Also, the Czech government was talking recently about changing the official name of the Czech Rep in English to "Czechia". Not sure what's happening with that.
Not exactly. They have decided on the official short version of the name which can be used e.g. at sport matches, where the whole official name is too much of a mouthful. Like when the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland uses just "United Kingdom" or "Great Britain" or just "Britain".
Or like Spain or France. Spain is officially ''Kingdom of Spain'', and France is officially ''French Republic'', so, in the same way, Czech Rep should be called ''Czechia'' in non-official contexts.
I'm going to play Devil's Advocate here, simply because I don't have a dog in the fight.
The relevant section of the wikipedia article is pretty good on this:
Following independence in 1991, the Ukrainian government introduced the national rules for transliteration of geographic names from Ukrainian into English. According to the rules, the Ukrainian Київ transliterates into Kyiv. This has established the use of the spelling Kyiv in all official documents issued by the governmental authorities since October 1995. The spelling is used by the United Nations, all English-speaking foreign diplomatic missions, several international organizations, Encarta encyclopedia, and by some media in Ukraine. In October 2006, the United States federal government changed its official spelling of the city name to Kyiv, upon the recommendation of the US Board of Geographic Names. The British government has also started using Kyiv.
So they've established a rule set for romanisation of Ukrainian place names and Kyiv is what you get when you apply those rules to Київ. Seems pretty reasonable for them to promote that and many foreign institutions and governments appear to agree as they have adopted the official romanisation.
I note that you end your comment with this example:
any more than they would recognise 'Xiang Gang' as 'Hong Kong'
But that immediately reminds me of the romanisation change from Peking to Beijing which was initiated, like with Kyiv, after the government of the country adopted a new standard romanisation scheme.
Now as to whether the duolingo course should accept Kyiv or Kiev, I personally would argue they should accept both but I don't see a problem with them using Kyiv in their model answer.
I agree with your final paragraph.
And Peking is perhaps a reasonable analogy: many have switched over to Beijing but I don't think the name/spelling Peking is "dead" yet in English.
I actually wasn't aware that Peking was an old name for Beijing until today.
Indeed, Peking is in use even today in some Chinese institutions; just google "Peking University".
I'm very happy for both to be accepted; I was not arguing that 'Kyiv' should be expunged. What I strongly object to is the implication in the incubator comment that 'Kiev' will not be accepted as a correct English translation for the place that is called 'Київ' in Ukrainian, and as such should not be reported. It is a correct English translation and moreover it is the most common and widely-used translation—it has entered English and become an English word: we do not eat 'Chicken Kyiv' or listen to Mussorgsky's 'Great Gate of Kyiv'!
It is not the place of a Duolingo course to coerce learners into changing the words they use in their native language, regardless of any arguments, however valid, in support of new romanisations.
All the times I've reported "Kiev" as being an answer that should've been accepted, it's been added. With the disclaimer that it's a while since I've worked on the Ukrainian tree much, I don't remember the last time Kiev wasn't accepted.
While Kyiv is the model answer through the tree, iirc, last I saw Kiev was being added, unless minds have been changed.
Conclusion: Might be worth reporting when it isn't accepted.
I 100% agree with you on Kiev. Kiev is the English word for Kiev, it is not just Russian. But I have to disagree with you about Dnipro. Dnipro isn't a city like Kiev, Donetsk, Odessa etc that many westerners have heard of. The first I heard of Dnipro was their football team being successful a couple of years ago. I'm a native English speaker, but your post is the first time I've ever seen the word Dnieper. Is Dnieper a well known word for English speakers? I thought Dnipro was the English word for it.
The ease of changing the word is quite sensitive to how frequent it is. It is very easy to replace words and spellings almost no one needed in the first place :)
Which may be why Livorno, if anyone speaks of it at all, is Livorno nowadays rather than Leghorn -- people don't speak of the city much anymore and so when people do, it's comparatively simple to just borrow the native name.
Or Ratisbon in Germany, which is probably Regensburg nowadays if the town is even mentioned at all, while Munich, which is better-known, retains its traditional English name.
Haha, it happens to be that I hear Regensburg mentioned in English quite a bit, but I will admit that it is an odd coincidence since my University department collaborates with that in Regensburg! I've never heard them call it "Ratisbon" though?
The name "Ratisbon" has dropped out of common use in English, I think, and so nowadays when people talk about the city, it's not surprising that the use the German name. Which was the point I was trying to make :)
I could not disagree with you more, garpike. The Soviet legacy is a horrible thing to have to overcome and if one of those ways the good people of the Ukraine feel is appropriate to help overcome that legacy is to tweak the spelling of their capital city to more closely reflect the Ukrainian spelling rather than the Russian, then all the more power to them!
The English word 'Kiev' long pre-dates the existence of the Soviet Union. Here a book from 1825 containing multiple examples of it.
It makes absolutely no difference to the good people of the Ukraine how we spell their capital city, and how we spell their capital city has absolutely nothing to do with the Soviet Union.
What does that have to do with Soviet legacy?
The Ukrainian spelling is Київ , e.g. "Kiyiv" (pronounced approximately as "Kiyiw").
When the Ukrainians switch away from calling my ancestors "people who can't talk intelligently" I will consider the request to change my usage of my native language made by the ever so illustrious Kuchma government ;)
From what I can tell given the nomenclatural chronology from Wikipedia and Ngrams, "Kiev" passed the only other English language name to ever have held top place ("Kiow," a form presumably based on another foreign occupier's orthography, this time the Poles) in around 1845.
Isn't Kiev/Kyiv a de facto Russophone city, anyway?
Hindi & Swahili - looking forward to seeing you in early 2017 ! ! !
In the meantime, Guarani is SUPER interesting!
Care to share details about Guarani? I'm curious about the new courses, though I have too much on my plate to try them out!
I'd like to input my two cents here, even if I'm not the one being asked. :P I see you're learning Irish. It's definitely like that difficulty-wise.
There are a couple of words shared with the same Spanish counterpart.
It looks easier than other Native American languages (the words seem shorter than some of the other stuff I've encountered) but having never studied a Native American language besides Guarani, I can't verify that statement.
It definitely looks pretty fascinating, although I'm into like two lessons and it's already super difficult. Not to mention, most of the lessons are longer than what I'm used to. But it should be fun! I encourage you to try it when you get the time!
I'm curious how you would compare it to Hungarian? For me Guarani has been much more straightforward. The lessons seem pretty uniform at about 10 questions. Does your experience differ?
Guarani also seems to introduce new vocab at a somewhat more moderate pace than I've seen in other courses. My frequent reaction is, "I'm pretty sure that word means X or Y" as opposed to, "I'm positive I haven't seen that word yet" (even though I actually have).
I'm never sure what determines lesson lengths, or whether it's the same for all users: I've found most of the lessons in Guarani very short—usually about 8 questions (if one gets them all right), with a few vocabulary lessons being slightly longer at about 12. In Hungarian, on the other hand, almost all are about 20-questions-per-lesson for me (when all correct—which is a rare occurrence!)
Yep, same for me. I don't know that I would have said "almost all" for the 20 question lessons in Hungarian, but there are certainly many of them.
Maybe the lessons are longer to me because I make a lot of mistakes. :) I'm not really sure how quickly Guarani introduces vocab because like all courses in beta, I've encountered at least 2 instances where new words where introduced where they're not highlighted. So, I'm not going to comment.
Thanks for chiming in Multi, you are spot on :) Cdub, I've just started the Guarani, so I've only got a little bit of background, but it is a Native language, and it feels different and completely removed from western languages, sort of like peaking into a parallel reality (even with a few loan words) and that makes it super interesting to me :) I also have quite a bit on my plate, so I won't be able to go far with it. While I'm at it, my motivation for language learning is to be high functioning conversational in the languages I learn, so because of that, I have to concentrate on only a couple at a time (boo...)
Hooray! Guarani is so much fun! And Romanian is also so close to Beta. I'm also excited about English for Tagalog - that would be a cool Christmas present if it were launched on the estimated date ;-) And I hope it means they will do Tagalog for English afterwards.
Thanks as always for the useful post, Jiten!
One question/suggestion: you write that "English for Tagalog has been added to the incubator and team has set themselves an aggressive target to launch beta this year." Indeed, their course page indicates a "completion" date of 12/24/16. However, unless I am mistaken, we have seen that completion date is not the same thing as beta launch. A team can complete their work, and there will still be a delay of weeks or months while Duolingo staff reviews the course, adds audio, etc. (Though, maybe this is faster for courses into English?) Anyway, to prevent any confusion, should we refer to a team finishing its pre-beta work in a different way than beta launch? What do you think?
Thanks again for the incubator update--I look forward to these every week.
Good point, syntaxosaurus!
However the two dates - completion and beta-launch - should not be far apart, unless there's an exception. The self-reported date by the contributors is meant to be beta lunch date. You can see that the contributors adjust it based on their dialog with team Duolingo.
(For the Hindi course, it means that our team will have to "complete" the course content before a few days before 26-Jan-2017 so that team Duolingo gets the time they need to lunch beta).
Ah, I see. I was thinking of a course like Vietnamese, where there was a delay of a couple months between the team locking their course for review and beta launch. However, you make a good point that contributors should adjust the date based on when they actually expect Duo to finish their end. Thanks!
I somewhat feel like Duolingo has to start releasing some new courses into the incubator. The last language that was added into incubation I'm pretty sure was Korean and that was 7 months ago! And I know there are many people wanting and willing to contribute and add more languages. Am I the only one thinking this?
I think they're focusing currently on "English for X" courses. Hopefully they will do "reverse" courses afterwards (Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Tagalog).
My guess is that the new focus is on courses that will bring people to the test center, so English for X courses where X is spoken by a lot of people.
I may have snickered a few times while reading this. I did indeed know who that was from! And, oh dear, poor Ukrainian-not-Russian team. <3 to everyone for updates, big and small, and to Jiten for the excellent round up.
Tamil is back on top after a long gap!
However, as moderator I believe that "19%" completed is rubbish, there's still a lot to do. This doesn't seem to take localisation into account.
If you want, you can self-report what percentage you think best fits your progress toward completion. The Hindi, Czech and Swahili teams are doing this and others have in the past too (like Hungarian).
This is actually why Swahili is still at 70%. They may actually be further along (or behind) than this, but because we haven't had an estimation of their percentage in a while, it stays the same. So if you do decide to self-report, it'll be up to you whether the number here in the WIU changes or not.
Yes, but self-reporting leads to random figures! I don't have a proper estimation method as yet.
Have there been any murmurings about creating an English to Mandarin (Chinese) course? Since English and Mandarin are each spoken by a huge number of people, I'm surprised there isn't one yet.
There are issues with Duolingo command feeling that their system isn't suitable for teaching the characters. BUT a week or two ago I got an email that implied something like HelloChinese and Duolingo teaming up... If you haven't tried HelloChinese yet (it's a free app on iOS, I think free on Android also) it's a good Chinese equivalent to Duolingo.
I wondered if that was the case, but since an English to Korean course is in the Incubator, I figured that they would have had to figure something similar out for that.
I have used ChineseSkill for iOS in the past, and I've heard that it may be a ripoff of Duolingo. I do like it for its similarity to Duolingo, but I would also like it if Duolingo had its own Mandarin course.
One feature that I remember it having, which I liked, was that the user could choose whether to have Chinese characters shown alongside Pinyin Romanisation, or Chinese characters only, with pronunciation and Pinyin given only when the character is clicked on. I used the latter, since I figured that would force me to learn the Chinese characters more effectively.
Korean is a little different from Japanese and Chinese as its writing system is phonetic, whereas for the J and C you need to teach the characters (I mean, you "could" teach Japanese just in kana without kanji, but...)
Regards HelloChinese - yeah, you can toggle pinyin on/off, and IIRC also toggle between traditional/simplified characters. Both of those options are HIGHLY useful for the learner, so they've different ways they can learn if they just want to work on conversation, or they want to go to Taiwan rather than the Mainland and vice-versa.
Yeah, despite Korean characters looking complex and representing whole syllables like Chinese characters, I had heard that one can sound them out since unlike Chinese, the parts of the characters do represent individual sounds. I guess there is no need to have the option of side by side Korean with Romanised script like there would be with Chinese for the purpose of sounding things out. I don't know how the Korean course is handling it since it's not in beta yet, but presumably there would just be a switch like there is in the Russian course between Latin and Cyrillic characters.
As for HelloChinese, I downloaded it, and I've set it for Simplified characters and no Pinyin. I figure I have a better chance of learning the characters if the Pinyin isn't constantly there as a crutch.
Regards romanisation - maybe.
The Russian and Ukrainian courses do have a toggle switch for Latin/Cyrillic, but they're the only ones.
The other non-Latin alphabet courses (Hebrew, Greek so far) don't. I'm guessing Korean probably wouldn't either.
If it comes down to it though, there are plenty of browser plugins that bring up the romanisation as a scrollover.
I like hellochinese much better than Chinese skill. They're both Duolingo copies. I'd give it a try!
Jitengore as one of the people that can not wait for the hindi language to come out of beta I want to ask how is the contributors (forgive me if I spell this word wrong) load going?