1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Educators
  4. >
  5. Change student language from …


Change student language from "Spanish" to "No Specific Language" doesn't work

I accidentally created my English class for "Spanish" students. I tried to change it to "No Specific Language" but it keeps reverting back to "Spanish." How can I change the student language so it won't revert back to the one I chose by mistake when I created the class?

September 15, 2016



Duolingo is a bit clunky when it comes to dealing with more than one base language. The design assumption seems to have been that each user will only ever use one base language.

"No specific language" refers to the target language, not the base language.

Each classroom that you create will have as its home language whatever your home language was at the time. It sounds like your home language was set to Spanish when you created that classroom. You'll have to delete the classroom, change your home language to English (I assume), and then re-create the classroom.

[edit]: I think they've changed the way classrooms work since I last looked. It looks like you get to set both home and target language when you set up the classroom. (unless you choose "no specific language" for the target language, in which case you don't get to specify the home language".)


I have the same issue and there are two problems with @hughcparker's response:

  1. "No Specific Language" does refer to the home language, not the target language. The field that I (and I assume the OP) are referring to is labeled "What language do your students speak?"

  2. I assume my home language is English since all my menus are in English, yet all classes are created with Spanish as the default home language. (This, I assume, is based on the fact that most English Language Learners in the US are Spanish-speakers.)

Now, to add details to this bug report:

When using Safari, I am able to select "No specific language" from the above-mentioned drop down, but saving changes changes nothing. The language my students speak is still set to Spanish.

When using Chrome, however, "No specific language" is not an option in the above-mentioned drop down.

I am filing a bug report as well, of course.


Hi, Hugh.

Unfortunately, I can't respond to your comment directly because I'm not level 2.

I find it strange that the "What language do your students speak?" field should be the target language field. "Target language" means the language that a learner is learning. Thus the language that my students speak should be their home language. (Many of them speak little or no English.) It strikes me as strange that what language my students already speak would be considered their target language, but perhaps I am missing something.

You suggested: "If your home language is set to English, and you set your classroom's target (learning) language to be English, you'll then need to specify what language your students are learning from (their home language). I think if you don't specify it defaults to Spanish."

Where do I specify this if not the "What language do your students speak?" field?

Thank you.



I've deleted my last post - I think I must have been tired. I'll try again:

You're right, the "what language do your students speak" field is the home / base language field. Target language does indeed mean the language your students are learning.

Regardless of your home language, if you set your classroom's target (learning) language to English,, you'll need to specify what language your students will learn from. If you don't, it looks like it defaults to Spanish.

If you set the target language to "no specific language", the "what language do your students speak" will disappear. The students can then choose whichever course they wish, and you'll still be able to monitor their progress.

Regardless of how you set up your classroom, your students can sign up for whichever Duolingo courses they want to.


Don't worry about it. It looks like you're responding to a lot of posts.

I understand your last post, but I don't want to set the target language to "No specific language." I want to set the home language to "No specific language." I have a student who speaks Uzbek and Uzbek is not one of the possible choices for a home language. So, instead of asking her to try to read Spanish or Russian or some other language with which she has no familiarity, it would be better for her to interact with the site in English. Unfortunately, you cannot set the home language and target language to be the same. Setting the home language to "no specific language" is supposedly an option, but, as I and the OP described above, that option doesn't seem to work on Safari and doesn't seem to be available on Chrome.



Ah, ok. I see.

Classrooms can to either be set to "no specific language", or a specific Duolingo course. Your students are going to have to choose from the Duolingo courses that are available. It's not just a matter of choosing which interface language, you're choosing which of Duolingo's courses your students are going to do.

Duolingo is a relatively young company, and there are quite a lot of courses that haven't been built yet. Have a look at the Incubator, to see which courses have been finished, and which courses are being developed.

It may be that there isn't a course that suits your student at the moment, unfortunately.


That's OK. It would be nice to have a setup that worked for all languages that haven't been done yet — something that relied on English (and pictures) only. But I understand that that's not available. I was only reporting that one of the features that appears in the FAQs and other materials does not work. Not complaining. (I want my money back!) Just making a bug report.




I don't think that's a feature that's in any of the FAQs. I could be wrong, though - could you post a link to where you saw it?


Here is the section I was looking at: https://schools.duolingo.com/help#i-teach-english-or-ellesl-what-do-i-do

The part that confused me was where it said, "If students are from different language backgrounds." The FAQ also does not indicate which setting should be set to "no specific language." In light of our conversations, I'm thinking the FAQ now means the DuoLingo Language Course setting not the Which Language Do Your Students Speak? setting. In fact, that's probably where the confusion for me, you, and the OP started. As noted above, in Safari, in the Which Language Do Your Students Speak setting, there is a "no specific language" option, though it does nothing. Since the FAQ is unclear about which setting to set to "no specific language," and because it suggests there's an option for students to be in the same classroom with multiple home languages, I assumed Which Language Do Your Students Speak should be set to "no specific language." It now occurs to me that this may be a bug with how the site appears in Safari. (As noted above, the "no specific language" option does not appear in Chrome.) You then may have assumed that the OP and I were referring to the DuoLingo Language Course setting (which is why you thought we were referring to the target language) because you knew that's where the "no specific language" option is supposed to be (and maybe you don't use Safari).

So, in the end, I'm guessing we should get rid of the "If students are from different language backgrounds" line in the above FAQ. It seems like DuoLingo doesn't have a method for dealing with that yet.


Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.