Duolingo in Tetum

I have suggested the establishment of a new Duolingo course, for Tetum (Tetum Praca to be specific). The reasons for this are manifold.

a) Tetum is an official language (of Timor Leste)

b) Tetum is easy and is a lovely combination of Austronesian and Romance languages

c) There is a number of Timorese, both within and outside of Timor-Leste who are prepared to help.

October 6, 2016


Tetum would be interesting. Is the Praca dialect from the Dili area of Timor-Leste?

If you would like to create or contribute to a course, this explains everything.

October 6, 2016

Request now added to the [GUIDE], thanks for posting the link!

October 7, 2016

Yes, Tetum Praca is the Dili dialect ("town Tetum") and certainly the easiest of the dialects to learn and is widespread throughout the country.

I have followed the guide, submitted an application etc. Thanks!

October 7, 2016

G'day Lev,

Kim from Sydney here. Our family has Timorese friends that speak a mix of English and Tetum (some don't know English at all) and, as we would love to travel to Dili we would LOVE to learn the language. I was about to suggest it myself when I saw it was on the list of "suggested languages".


January 7, 2017

Boa tarde, hau-nia kolega, di'ak kae lae?

Look forward to any contributions and editing. I'll get a start on this project in February - I have a different book to write at the moment!

January 9, 2017

Terrific news! I look forward to it. Unfortuanely, as I am yet to learn the language, I won't be of any help in the contribution / editing area but I may have friends I could run it past.

Suffice it to say, I didn't understand any of what you wrote, and a Tetun translator didn't help much either. It translated it as "Good late, my friends, good CEA it?" @ . What did you actually say?

January 9, 2017

"Good afternoon my friend, how are you?" ("Di'ak kae lae" transliterate is "Well or not?" which gives a good example of levels of health in said little country.)

January 9, 2017

I don't think it seems probable, but I would love a course of Tetum. I've been interested in Timor-Leste since I was in middle school (not that I remember why I took interest in it, although most probably because it was the youngest country in the world at the moment) and I would love to visit it. I started learning Portuguese literally today, but to speak Tetum would really be awesome.

November 27, 2016

> although most probably because it was the youngest country in the world at the moment<

Heh. I was there when all of those events were happening. I suspect I'm going to have to create it at a different site. A project for the new year!

November 27, 2016

If you are looking at different sites, there is one course on Memrise - Basic Tetum (Tetun) :

January 7, 2017

Wow, witnessing history, must be awesome!

November 27, 2016

Boa tarde maun, dkl? Hau la koalia tetun kleur loos ona, maibe'e se ita sei halo kursu foun iha ne'e, hau bele ajuda ita uituan. My tetun is rusty at the moment but I'd be really interested to see a course up on Duo Lingo at some stage and would be more than happy to help out with the process.

February 23, 2017

I suspect the best chance of Tetum (Tetun) being added would be if staff at the Dili Institute of Technology took it on. However, for the People of Timor Leste, arguably the more pressing needs are courses in English and Portuguese for speakers of Tetun. It's important enough that the government of Timor Leste should fund the work.

I've created a Brainscape course based on the Tetun Language Course which was produced by Peace Corps East Timor in association with the Centre for Language Studies at the Dili Institute of Technology. PDFs of the chapters can be downloaded at

The course includes all the words and phrases in the manual.

(I have no association with course creators. I just used their freely available course materials.)

Chapters 1-10

Chapters 11-20

Chapters 21-30

Chapters 31-40

I've also half completed creating a Brainscape course using words and phrases from the book "Mai Koalia Tetun – A Beginner's Course in Tetun-Praça The Lingua Franca of East Timor" (2nd edition, 1996) by Geoffrey Hull. The book has 18 chapters but the Brainscape class covers only seven so far. The book is excellent and will give you a much better comprehension of the language than the Brainscape class alone. Unfortunately, it is now hard to obtain in hard copy, although it's still available as an e-book.

Mai Koalia Tetun Chapters 1-7

June 23, 2018
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Sounds like an interesting language, but I don't think there is any chance to add it into the incubator before the Indonesian for English speakers course hatches.

October 7, 2016

Could you elaborate on the process for me, if you know? Having completed a few trees so far I could fairly easily construct a similar one for Tetum, by early 2017.

October 7, 2016

You apply to the Incubator. You may or may not get an e-mail acknowledgement. Then you wait: probably for years. Duolingo will decide to add a language based on its own ineffable considerations (probably mostly that they only have so many staff to support the needs of the teams active in the Incubator).

Apparently if higher-ups somewhere in the Peace Corps decide they want better language training tools for future volunteers, there is (or at least has been) some channel by which Duo might pop a language way up the priority list one might otherwise intuit.

October 9, 2016

I am currently preparing for a school immersion to Timor Leste and I know if there was a Tetum course on duolingo everyone would take it! It would be so helpful...

March 14, 2017

We need this urgently! Please install it! I gave 6 lingot for! Great idea!!

August 13, 2019
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