How does Duolingo decide which courses to add next?
From the series Ask us about Duolingo, Round 1!
Most Voted For Question: 149 Votes
How does Duolingo decide which courses to add next?
Every time Duolingo considers a new language, we ask ourselves 3 important questions:
- How many people will benefit from this course?
- Can we support the tools and infrastructure necessary for this course to succeed?
- Who will create the content, handle reports, and moderate the forums to help learners?
Number of potential learners - our mission is to make education accessible to as many people as possible. This is why we first consider the number of people who want to learn a language and why the first Duolingo courses included Spanish, English, Portuguese, French and German. Duolingo currently spends most of its efforts improving existing courses and optimizing the course creation process because, as good as the courses are, we believe that we can make them even more effective. Focusing on course quality first and foremost will benefit existing courses as well as potential courses created down the line.
Technical cost - every course requires lots of resources to build and maintain so we have to pick carefully. Our tools and features are easier to modify for some languages than others. For example, languages with certain alphabets and special characters unfortunately cost us more to create and will take longer to integrate with the Duolingo system. (Yes, we hope to be able to teach Japanese and Mandarin some day! Until then, check out Tinycards, the Duolingo companion app which features tons of helpful flashcard decks to get you started learning languages and scripts that are still beyond Duolingo’s course offering.)
Contributors - qualified volunteers are a prerequisite to creating each course. Duolingo’s contributors generously donate time and expertise to create and maintain the content that allows millions of people around the world to learn for free! We are thankful for each one of the thousands of contributor applications and are working on tools that will help even more of you give back.
NOTE: Some courses may seem like exceptions to these criteria. We’re well aware that there are excellent arguments for certain courses and that we won’t be able to please everyone. But sometimes the stars align and we’re able to create courses like High Valyrian. Why? Because! Part of what makes Duolingo great is that we are a diverse, open minded (and yes, imperfect) bunch. And a launch of a course such as High Valyrian is not the reason we have not launched Mandarin. Duolingo reserves the right to throw in a curve ball from time to time and admit it, you wouldn’t have us any other way :)
So if we assume Arabic fails point 2, what's holding Finnish and Latin back? They are 2 of the three most requested courses (according to the voting you have specifically asked us to do), they don't have different alphabets or characters, they don't have unique features other languages already here don't have and dozens of people have applied to contribute.
Yes, I see absolutely no reason to make a Hungarian course but not a Finnish course (do not get me wrong, both are great languages in my opinion but from what I understand, Finnish is slightly simpler than Hungarian and is more useful to several groups of people such as those interested in the Nordic culture or Lutherans who wish to study in Finland).
Charles657687 :) I JUST started learning HARDER languages than Hungarian and I have to get them put on "the list" of wanted languages. I agree that Hungarian is Difficult as that's what I heard but I've JUST started learning the basics of Archi and Circassian/Kabardian! Somehow I think Duolingo may NOT WANT to add these because of the TRUE difficulty of these but, time will indeed tell. ;)
I check the English for Tagalog incubator status page from time to time. There is currently only one contributor to the course. The estimated completion date was last month (December 24, 2018). The last update notes were added 2 months ago by someone who is no longer a contributor. Hopefully more people will apply to contribute so they can get it finish and start on Tagalog/Filipino for English speakers.
No, there is no rule against any particular class of languages. (I prefer to say "ancient" rather than "dead" language; it sounds more positiv; also, Latin never really died out, it evolved into its descendant Romance languages, just as Ancient Greek became Modern Greek, and Old English became Modern English.) In fact, there are three constructed languages on Duolingo: High Valyrian, Klingon, and Esperanto. (For multiple reasons, i myself am not a fan of Esperanto.)
Apparently Farsi/Persian would not be added despite all its any amount of requests and applies. So many people have applied and requested to contribute in Farsi/Persian course as moderator, a post requesting Farsi/Persian got more than 860 Lingots and more than 450 upvotes, Yet they refuse to add this language to the App.!
The number of potential learners. Polls are inaccurate and can sometimes not be representative... seeing how The Donald was elected
So how do they determine which has the greatest potential without asking from people? Finnish and Latin (together with Mandarin, Japanese and Arabic) are on top on basically every single poll, they are the most talked about languages that aren't here, they are the most upvoted posts (which they have asked us to do) and they are the easiest languages to implement out of the seven Memrise top 20 languages we don't have (the five I mentioned plus ASL and Thai). For the record, languages like Greek and Norwegian aren't in Memrise top 20.
Latin I see the point, but Finnish is probably just because of poll raiding imo. Finnish is like a cult-meme on Duolingo, which is probably why.
Are you seriously suggesting that user metrics could be used to determine the user interest for a language that isn't offered? How?
You've been around for a long time and have seen all those other top languages in the early polls get picked, leaving Latin and Finnish as the only old top-10 languages not yet implemented. I don't understand why your conclusion from that is that the support for Finnish is somehow artificial? Are you suggesting its top-10 status 2--3 years ago was also artificial?
Yes, now people are joking about Finnish, but that doesn't mean that that interest isn't real or isn't still there.
Are you suggesting its top-10 status 2--3 years ago was also artificial?
I cannot comment about that, but I can certainly say yes to that now. The Duo team is HUGE on metrics and statistics. That is why they run those A/B tests, that is why they take so much care into userbase (ex. sorry Dutch team: Apparently, the Dutch team's main userbase is Chinese, so I've been hearing rumours float around that they are going to make the course more appealing to them or something). Anyways, stats is big in Duolingo, and is something they take heavily into consideration
It is possible. Where users are from, what languages are in high demand... can all be estimated from user metrics.
The same could be said about any of the top 4 languages (each with 1000+). What about Memrise or the mentions? Do we just assume Finnish learners disproportionately use Memrise or visit the forums? And if so, the question remains: How do they determine what's popular without looking at the numbers? Or why do they ask us to upvote previous suggestions if they take no note of the votes?
Poll raiding on Duolingo doesn't affect the Memrise numbers (which is admittedly a smaller platform) or the amount people talk about it here, and have talked for years. I don't even think a cult status means it isn't actually popular, 3/4 of the upvotes would have to be illegitimate one way or another for Finnish to drop from top 3 Latin alphabet languages.
Circular reasoning. Because the number of people here, polls can easily be raided. Think about non forum users
Let me preface this comment by saying, this is not an argument against learning Latin. I am merely stating my thoughts on why it hasn't been prioritized by Duolingo. I would fully welcome it one day, but I understand why it's not coming first.
For Latin, I would say it's point 1: How many people will benefit from this course? Before you say anything, I know a lot of people are interested in Latin, and a lot of people study Latin in school. If you are interested in Latin, by all means learn it. In terms of Latin's benefit, however, I'd put it only slightly above the invented languages.
I know the usual arguments for learning Latin. Latin can help you learn Romance languages. That's true, but learning a Romance language (such as French) can be just as helpful in learning other Romance languages.Latin can also help you understand medical and scientific terminology. This is true and useful if you already read Latin, but learning Latin is not the most efficient path to learning technical vocabulary. While knowing Latin has some benefits, if you are not learning Latin for learning's sake, you are unlikely to find the rewards commensurate with your efforts.
The only people who would truly benefit from Latin are historians interested in Roman, Medieval, or church history. Latin would enable them to read primary sources, but this only applies to a small percentage of the population.
And Klingon then? There are much, much less people interested in that than Latin. Latin is taught amongst almost all high grades and nearly a prerequisite to understand science. Even nowadays. It has had an history of use spanning over 2,800 years. Compare that to Klingon, which has none of these three. It is only known by heart amongst some obsessive fans.
The argument that point 1 makes Latin unable is not a valid one for Latin. Not by any measure.
Latin is definitely more useful than Klingon. I'd never try to suggest otherwise.
However, I think it's a stretch to say Latin is a prerequisite to understand science. While many scientific terms have Latin roots, someone studying science can learn the meaning of those words without understanding the language they come from.
I know there are a lot of people interested in Latin, but there is a difference between interest and benefit. For instance, I'm interested in learning Hawaiian because I think it's a beautiful and unique language. I'll probably never go to Hawaii, and even if I did, everyone who speaks Hawaiian also speaks English. Although I might improve my linguistic knowledge and cultural understanding by learning Hawaiian, I can also do that with other languages that might be of more benefit to me in daily life.
The distinction between interest and benefit is important here, especially when you think of Duolingo's mission. They want to remove the economic barriers to language education, so that anyone who want to can use language to improve their life and career prospects. Latin doesn't fit into this plan.
Granted, Klingon also doesn't fit into this plan, but it's not as if the decision to add Klingon has any impact whatsoever on the decision on whether or not to add Latin. The fact that they chose to add a language with less practical benefits than Latin doesn't mean that Latin has practical benefits or that there aren't more beneficial language to choose from.
I agree with you on everything to do with Latin. (And I'm a former scientist who didn't learn Latin before studying science.)
However, this is simply not the case:
it's not as if the decision to add Klingon has any impact whatsoever on the decision on whether or not to add Latin.
We know that adding one language does affect the resources available for adding other languages. Both because Duolingo staff have repeatedly referred to this in saying "We would like to add language X / more languages, but we are only a small team" and similar things, and because there are several concrete things we know that are needed from Duolingo staff for each course, although the bulk of the work is done by volunteers:
picking the language and the first course contributors (who then pick the rest of the team)
adding graphical elements needed for the course
depending on the alphabet of the language, adding special characters, whole alphabets and/or alternatives for the alphabet (and making decisions about these things -- we know the Russian team didn't want the Romanized option to be included, but were overruled by staff)
if needed, making changes to the Incubator to adjust it to different languages (Turkish had a long hiatus when the team had to wait for something to be fixed by staff)
being involved in the choice of TTS for the course
even for completed courses, doing A/B tests (see the newest HelpfulDuo post and German contributor christian's comment on that
launching the course: we quite often hear from the teams that they are ready and they are just waiting for Duolingo staff to release the course
And Duolingo being a technology heavy project, there are probably a gazillion other things directly related to the courses that staff are doing behind the scenes that we aren't even aware of.
So while adding one course but not another is probably not exactly a zero sum game (at times there have been more than 30 courses in phase 1 of the Incubator, and at the moment there are only 22), and there are probably big differences across courses in how much staff time they take up (for example a completely new language vs. a course involving two languages that already exist here), adding language X most definitely affects the adding or not of language Y.
The distinction between interest and benefit is important here
Like I stated in my previous post to you, they talk about benefit in the short version but interest in the long one:
This is why we first consider the number of people who want to learn a language
If the staff doesn't make the distinction, I'm not sure we can. Besides, now that we have 30ish courses, which Latin/Cyrillic languages would truly benefit English speakers?
Yes, there is a difference between interest and benefit. A surprising number of Duolinguists are learning Klingon, but is it really very useful, compared to say Hungarian, Indonesian or Swahili, which hav a substantial nativ-speaker community? Likewise, as i just pointed out, Chinese currently has fewer learners than French, German, Japanese, Italian, or Korean.
Spanish, French and Italian can all benefit English speakers in different ways (sorry for the copy paste of links, I am just too tired to formulate a comprehensive response). https://studyspanish.com/topten_reasons https://www.babbel.com/en/magazine/top-5-reasons-to-learn-italian https://nz.ambafrance.org/17-good-reasons-to-learn-French
Regardless of BenMizrahi0's post, i think Chinese is way more useful than French or Italian. (I myself actually know, in addition to Chinese; Spanish, Italian and to a lesser extent French.) Chinese has a much bigger speaker population, and way more speakers who don't know English, and has more cultural value because it represents (to English speakers) an exotic culture. I am kind of disappointed that fewer Duolinguists are learning Chinese, than the less-useful French, German, Japanese, Italian, and Korean.
The thing about point 1 is that the short version talks about benefit whereas the detailed version simply mentions how many want to learn it. In terms of true benefit you may be right (Latin is nowhere near as popular where I live so I wouldn't know) but in terms of amount of potential learners who study it at school etc. it is one of the most popular ones left. And considering which languages they have added so far (I wouldn't consider the Scandinavian ones as "curveballs") I think we should go by the detailed answer.
I have to slightly disagree here. Latin is not useful just for historian of the Roman world (which, depends on their area of expertise, might actually find Koine Greek to be a more useful language than Latin) but for many Catholic laymen who wish to read the western church fathers and the great theologians of the church in their original language, or even just in order to understand mass.
Latin (or, more accurately, classical Latin), is also not very useful for the historians who are interested in Medieval Europe as the dialect of Latin they used then was quite different than classical Latin, but it is useful for anybody who is interested in the context of the Italian rinascita (Renaissance).
So far I think the two groups I stated above are quite a big slice of the population, maybe not in the Anglo-Saxon nations but mostly in Europe and the Levant.
Some of us still attend Mass in Latin every week as well as say the prayers and the music in Latin while in church. There is a growing traditionalist movement in the Catholic Church. A Latin course would benefit the parishioners at these parishes with the Latin Mass as well as the seminarians at the handful of traditionalist seminaries. It would also benefit priests who were never taught Latin and want to learn how to offer Mass in Latin.
"But sometimes the stars align and we’re able to create courses like High Valyrian. Why? Because!"
I'm sorry but that's not an explanation. The language isn't fully developed, it has no community, there are few people interested in learning it and the language is barely used, even on the TV show. It fails the above criteria, so I simply don't understand how and why it was chosen.
Don't forget that the big brunt of the work is made by the bilingual users, so the time it takes for making one depends on the number, time and dedication those people have. Also, a real language is more coplicated, it has more stuff to check, while a man made language is a lot smaller.
Though I'm INTO High Valyrian and Quenya/Sindarin Elvish! There are "forums" on the internet with groups of people who speak it and they have "get-togethers" to use it. I HOPE to one day get to do this! So, I'm GLAD High Valyrian was added! I plan to add it soon! To each their own! :)
I would guess that if someone or something like say HBO came along and was willing to completely fund the creation of a language course for its own reasons such as getting free press for their tv show then Duolingo would not have any objections to adding to their content base without having to pay for it. I’m not saying that is what happened, but it would not surprise me if it did.
You don't add languages like finnish (widely wanted) or lithuanian (most archaic indo-european language), and add klingon (useless conlang) instead, yet you guys are boasting about how you're "considering how many people will learn the language" and if it's "useful". Come on.
I guess if people come up with a complete and well made course that doesn't require a big effort from the dev team, it's more likely to just be uploaded, especially with artistic conlangs where the criteria are probably less stringent and there's less to check than with an actual language. It also depends on how many people can actually work on it, if someone had the free time to learn High Valyrian, he probably also has the time to work making the course.
It won't, the Basque team has been struggling from the start of Duolingo to make a Basque course. They have contributors, everything, and even though they made every effort into understanding the criteria, adapting to the replies to be more specific, etc. Even starting creating the lessons as if it was already into the incubator (members of the Basque team are also already contributors to other courses), nothing happened. And we never got the official statement as why the course hasn't, for years, still be accepted. The "points" are met, the team exists and nowadays has become really much more than needed. It's not solely native speakers, it's also made of Professionals of that language ... So don't expect any language to just go to the incubator just because every criteria's met. Some have been struggling for years for some languages, where no technical issue is met.
I may be a Ukrainian contributor, but I'm gonna be direct. Ukrainian is not the most useful language to learn, it never was. I have my own reasons for learning this language and I'm not denying that I've loved being part of a community that has the same love for this unique language as I do. But, let's face it. Ukrainian didn't do too well on point one, yet they'd rather make a course that not that many people actually want but something like Klingon or Dothraki will get them more likes Facebook, Twitter etc. and make people think cool. Sure it's a smart business move, but think about all the dedicated fans of Duolingo who have been loyal and helpful to the site! Think of all the people who spend their days learning Hungarian as a substitute to Finnish. Think of all the people who post comments asking why they can't learn Arabic and all they get is "We currently are not looking into this but we will look into it in the future" followed by a series downvotes until their post is deleted and their opinions censored.
Listen, the Duolingo staff are very nice people. They've been insanely helpful! They've brought into the incubator, answered many of my questions and overall been some of the kindest people I have ever met. But please listen to the people who've built your courses, tried to convince their friends to join and overall been loyal to your site over the years.
Firstly I want to thank you for being a Ukrainian contributor. As a Ukrainian myself who only speaks Russian, I am happy that I am able to learn my home language during my adult life that I never got to learn growing up. Secondly, I see your post is from 2 years ago, but now they have a course in Arabic and are in the process of developing Finnish, and even a constructed language like High Valyrian has over 1 million learners! So of course in time, I'm sure Duolingo can and will keep adding more languages. I am eager and hoping to see even more languages come out in the near future
I am sure Finnish meets all the criteria, multiple volunteers, there's a facebook group where people are already creating the material, it is one of the most requested languages. Whilst the Valyrian thing might be cute and will probably get publicity and traffic, but even Emilia Clark says sometimes she makes it up when in character.
Okay but scottish gaelic is starting to die off. I would really like more people to learn it as it was a big part back then. My family still speak it and I do to. I wanted to contribute since it was my first language and I saw the hori We on the amount of people who wanted to learn it
Same, I can even contribute to that course... but no — Klingon and High Valerian take first place. Nothing against Duo,, I simply do not understand why it has been two years and there is STILL not a Scottish Gaelic course in the incubator — there are definitely people that can (and will) help make it possible, and even more people who will take the language and benefit from it. Similar story for Latin.
Can you please add Serbian, because four other countries on Balkan (Kosovo of course isn't one of them! ) understand it well and thrust me everyone here wants to learn another language even those languages that aren't listed here. So please add it because you would be doing a favor to the whole world, giving people the chance to understand a great language that is used in a lot of big countries, because it is written as it is spoken. Those can be yours and the worlds benefits.
Discussion for the Georgian language had more than 700 votes, but there are gone and we had to start from 0 (50+ now).
When is Duolingo going to fix this bug and bring back our votes? I have reported it 2 months ago, no response.
How can we be sure that this will not happen again? It's very frustrating.
I'd love to see (Westerlauwers) Frisian one day! It's one of (if not) the closest language(s) to English! It's currently endangered, level 4 (5-safe, 1-extinct) and I think a course on duolingo could help making this go a little slower. I think it's a rather interesting language, because it's so familiar and yet so unintelligible when spoken (to me at least). It even has it's own word for the non-matching crockery, it risselreauke. If it becomes available, I'm sure there is a bit of interest for it
Afrikaans fits all the listed criteria, yet I have seen no movement in launching an Afrikaans course. Afrikaans is the second most spoken language in South Africa after isiZulu, and has had many requests in the forums. There are many who would love to contribute to the course if given the opportunity, and many in the forums who want it. If you are looking for qualified language experts, I could forward a few well-known translators who would love to take a project such as this. I would also be grateful to be a contributor as a Bilingual, native speaker.
If you know "a few well-known translators who would love" to work multiple hours pro bono per week over a substantial period of time, suggest to them that they volunteer as course contributors here: https://incubator.duolingo.com/apply. Should Duolingo decide to do a course in Afrikaans, following this basic procedure may bring them to the attention of the course contributors (as well as establishing that they do, in fact, have an interest in contributing and have a basic idea of what contributing involves). Burying the information in the middle of an old discussion will not.
Thanks, I only saw your message today and was unaware of this application page. I only knew that this forum existed, hence my request for Afrikaans put here like many others. Applied and invited my friends to contribute - hope that we can move to the first phase soon. "Burying the information in the middle of an old discussion" was not my intention. Geniet jou dag verder! (Have a lovely day!)
Uyghur has ten millions native speakers in China. And in the 1/3 China people use it. It is the most wide-used lauguage in China besides Chinese. And there are many people use Uyghur in Kazakhstan, Uzbekstan and Turkey. Uyghur is being used by a large number of Chinese. It is being taught to the Children in Xinjiang, China the largest province in China.
The first point is important. But you should also consider the reasons why people learn languages. Some start for a fun and others learn it for a reason.
I am Armenian. I live in Armenia and 3M Armenians do so, but majority of Armenians (9M of them) live outside of Armenia and they usually try to keep the language so they are having harsh time finding Armenian schools or Armenian after class lessons. They speak Armenian in their houses but by each generation it becomes harder. I believe having an Armenian course in Duolingo will boost they learning curve and it will be really popular abroad. Basically there are Armenians everywhere (Think of it you probably know some of them).
I recognize that this is an old post, but I would like to make a plea for the creation of a Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian course, which could be under the flag of Naš Jezik / Наш Језик, an endonym for this language family. In response to your three questions:
1. There are over 2000 forum entries to date, with multiple comments on each, supporting the creation of this language family. The official threads also have more than 1000 comments to this effect. So, the number of learners is substantial. 2. The technical cost is not substantial, given that duolingo already supports latin and cyrillic script. Regarding the dialectical differences, I outline how this is overcome in the official posts. 3. There is a huge community of people around the world who speak these languages and are willing to contribute. Members have had to make language decks on external websites to fit this gap that Duolingo has not filled.
I know that Duolingo will not please everyone, but the lack of transparency regarding their decisions and lack of centralized system to properly tally votes and support, makes this feel like an uphill battle with users, rather than a collaborative effort. Thank you for considering these languages; here are the official threads for anyone interested:
Duolingo should and more African languages. I am interested to learn languages like Zulu, Xhosa and Igbo
I'm in for that. (but the only problem is that not all of the elvish was created by J. R. R. Tolkien [or I haven't read the prelude]) and duolingo would be creating a made-up language (which is extremely hard (believe me, because I have created a made-up language for a friend of mine who is making a book).
Many of my friends and I were determined to start Persian (Farsi) on Duolingo. No success. I am deeply disappointed in this polatform. I have nothing against having non-existant languages on Duolingo but when you put the criteria as mentioned in this post, it is kind of offensive to think that languages like High Valyrian can cut the bar when real languages with rich history and literature behind it fall in the abyss in Duolingo's priority list. Such a shame...
So is it the point two which is stopping Bengali course? But how will it cost more to Duolingo? Dozens and dozens have applied for the course. Few dozens also want to learn It and some even joined Duolingo just for it. The Bengali Academy had made the compound scripts as simple as putting diacritic marks on Latin vowels. Will anyone please tell me, how to do a course request? I am not talking about Applying as I have done it already :(
I wish Nahuatl course happens. I created a Tinycards course for the meantime: https://tinycards.duolingo.com/collections/31FqSv5x/curso-de-nahuatl-para-duolingo
I think duolingo should exclude number 2. Minor languages should be included.
Point 2 is: Can we support the tools and infrastructure necessary for this course to succeed? Have I misunderstood what you are referring to or are you seriously suggesting that Duolingo should add courses without considering whether it has the resources to create and maintain them?
For a couple of different reasons. One is that Brazil has a larger population than Portugal. Substantially larger. The other is that Duolingo is located in the United States and its founder is from Latin America. That would naturally incline Duolingo to go with Brazilian Portuguese, in the same way that it uses American English, rather than British English.
I wull suppose it ended up as a question of % of active Portuguese speakers. Portugal has 10 million citizens vs Brazil's 200 million. Brazil is in the world's top 10 most populated countries so i guess that weighed in its favor. They likely also had an easier time finding Brazilian volunteers as well. I heard the Spanish course is more akin to Latin America than Spain for similar reasons.
Why Pitjantjatjara - an Australian language - merits inclusion! See discussion at: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/40050481
I believe the greatest benefits of adding Pitjantjatjara would be:
to greatly diversify the languages on this platform by adding a language that diverged (and was isolated) from all others tens of thousands of years ago. It provides a wonderful insight for all language-learners into such languages and into their similarities with (and differences from) other, more familiar languages;
to add an entire new continent - Australia - to the list of regions covered by Duolingo.
How many people will benefit?
Every language learner. Because every language enthusiast will learn so much about languages by exploring a language with such different roots;
Potentially, every one of the 400,000/year tourists that visit the world-famous Rock, Uluru, where Pitjantjatjara is the primary Aboriginal language spoken. Duolingo could be actively promoted to this large audience who visit the region primarily to connect with Aboriginal culture;
All Australians (and others) seeking a greater connection, especially in the Black Lives Matter era, with First Nations peoples.
Pitjantjatjara has been written down almost phonetically in recent decades (with a standard alphabet and simple underlining, for instance, to distinguish two forms of 'r'); it should not require exceptional tools or infrastructure.
I live here and know the region - and believe it is possible to bring together the necessary team to create Duolingo - Pitjantjatjara!
Perhaps someone will let me know if or where I should provide further information. Thanks :)
Apparently Farsi/Persian would not be added despite all its any amount of requests and applies. So many people have applied and requested to contribute in Farsi/Persian course as moderator, a post requesting Farsi/Persian got more than 860 Lingots and more than 450 upvotes, Yet they refuse to add this language to the App.!
"Refuse"? More likely "are not immediately interested in making this language a priority." That puts Farsi in good company with the vast majority of other languages in the world.
You might do some research on the history of Latin and Finnish on this site, which involved years of people begging and pleading and no doubt (I don't really remember) making hyperbolic and unsupported statements about Duolingo's motivations or attitude to the language - and then, no doubt at a point that seemed right to Duolingo in regards to the allocation of its resources, those languages were introduced.
Incidentally, the number of lingots donated is irrelevant. Anyone who has been around for any length of time does not take them seriously, in large part because we have lingots to burn. I personally have thousands of lingots and could, if I felt like it, donate 860 lingots to a post in support of any language I felt like. (It would be a royal pain, but I could do it.) That would, however, be utterly meaningless as a measure of the language's overall popularity.
I agree. I am getting frustrated with Duo's failure to add mor courses to the Incubator; and to a lesser extent with how some courses seem to be failing to make good progress toward completion; some courses, like Swedish for Russian Speakers or French for Turkish Speakers, currently hav 0 Contributors. And i don't know how to contact Duo headquarters so we can actually tell them we want far mor courses. (There is little point in venting our frustrations on the Duo forum if Duo headquarters doesn't get the message.) And i want not just mor courses via English, but also mor courses for speakers of other languages; it is much easier to learn on Duo via your own language, than via someone else's.
Why Marathi is not included as a Duolingo course. It satisfies all the mentioned requisites, globally 100 million speakers, a considerable amount of community contributors who applied for its contributions, and Marathi ranks 10th worldwide as the most spoken language in the world. Marathi also ranks as the 3rd most spoken language in India after Hindi and Bengali. Creating Marathi course will definitely help a lot of Duolingo users trying to find opportunities by speaking this great language.
Having a large number of speakers isn't the only requirement, there must be a large number of people interested in learning it too. Now most people who want to learn Indian languages like Marathi, Tamil and Bengali are Indians or coming from a nearby countries. There are a large number of foreigners interested in Indian languages and culture, but for them Hindi is the only Indian language, as Hindi gets the most publicity. So, the only South Asian language course in Duolingo is of Hindi. Usually Duolingo first creates an English for X language before creating X for English speakers course. The English courses for Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, and Punjabi speakers is being built in the incubator, so you would probably have to wait for a few years before you get another Indian language course for English speakers, and that too, I suspect, would be either Tamil or Bengali, before other languages.
I hav a challenge for Duolingo.
The world’s 14 largest languages, by number of nativ speakers, are probably, as of c. 2018 (#nativ speakers, in millions; very approximate):
Chinese (Mandarin), 1000
I challenge Duolingo to completely connect these 14 languages; i.e. speakers of every one of these languages would hav, for them, courses teaching every one of the other 13 languages. (E.g. there would be a course teaching German for Japanese speakers, and vice versa; and Russian for Punjabi speakers and vice versa.) This would require 14×13 = 182 different language courses. (Basic combinatorics.) Actually, let’s expand this list of languages to be completely connected with four more members: Italian, Turkish, Korean, and Indonesian. That would require 18×17 = 306 different courses. Now we’re really talking connecting the world!
What particularly bothers me is that while a number of courses hav been developed that teach a language other than English, to speakers of a language other than English, not a single one of those courses teaches Mandarin Chinese, even tho’ it’s the world’s biggest language. We need to work hard to develop such courses! I myself am even advocating a Duolingo course teaching Chinese for Finnish speakers. (I speak Finnish in addition to English.)
Tengo un desafío para Duolingo.
Los 14 idiomas mas grandes en el mundo, por número de hablantes nativos, probablemente son (número de hablantes nativos, en millones, muy aproximada):
chino (mandarín), 1000
Desafío Duolingo a conectar completamente estes catorce lenguas; es decir, hablantes de cualquier de estes idioma tendrían, por su propio lengua, lecciones enseñando todos los otro trece idiomas. (Por ejemplo, habría una lección de alemán para hablantes de japonés, y viceversa; y ruso para hablantes de panyabí y viceversa.) Este necesitaría 14×13 = 182 cursos distintos. (Combinatoria básica.) Verdaderamente, crezcamos este lista de idiomas que debríamos completamente conectar, con cuatro otros: italiano, turqués, coreano, y indonesio. Este necesitaría 18×17 = 306 cursos distintos. ¡Ahora verdaderamente conectaremos el mundo!
Lo que especialmente me molesta, es que, hay muchos cursos Duolingo que enseñan un idioma otro que inglés, para hablantes de un idioma otro que inglés; ningún de estes lecciones enseña chino; aunque es el idioma más grande en el mundo. ¡Debríamos verdaderamenta trabajar duro par crear estes cursos de chino! Yo hasta abogo un curso de chino en Duolingo para hablantes de finlandés. (Yo hablo finlandés e inglés.)
It would be nice, but I don't see this happening anytime in the near future. At least, not for free. DuoLingo currently has 103 courses, including those in development, 63 of which fit your criteria above. That means they would have to add another 243 courses, so they would have to triple their current course-related resources, e.g. more servers and the required floor space and IT personnel, etc.
By the way, while Chinese is currently only taught from English, and only English and Spanish are taught from Chinese, another five languages are blazing through the incubator for Chinese speakers: German, French, Italian, Korean and Japanese. With any luck, there will be reciprocal trees before long.
Yes, the top-14-plus-4-more idea is pretty ambitious. However, even if we limit it to top-10, that will still go along way toward connecting the global community, and it will take only 90 courses, some already in existence. That is 13 fewer than the current total number on Duo, incl. those in Incubator, so i think completely connecting the top 10 should be feasible. (Completely connecting the top 14 is iffier.)
As for requiring an expansion of Duo's floorspace, staff, etc., i suggest decentralization: the numerous additional courses would be developed by contributors (volunteers), all around the world, without putting much extra demand on Duo headquarters. As for finding volunteers (e.g. people who know both Spanish and Punjabi, might be hard to find); speakers of either language, who want to connect the two, could teach themselvs the other language so that they can contribute to said Duo course.
Although the post states clearly why Duolingo releases courses like High Valyrian, there are still posts with dozens of upvotes that complain about the fact that there is no Finnish, Lithuanian and other courses to learn on the platform. That is why I feel it is necessary to express my opinion. Duolingo is a 100% free software and the only source of income for those who engage themselves in it (a.k.a. for those who work for Duolingo professionally, in order to make a living). The owners/contributors of Duolingo want to attract as many people as possible to the platform in order to have a higher income, this is rather clear, I suppose. Here is where the "magic begins"... Do you know how many people are loyal fans of "The Game of Thrones" ("The Game of Thrones" is where the High Valyrian course was inspired from)? Approximately 10 million. But this number increases more and more every day, plus there are at least some extra 10 million people out there who have heard of "The Game of Thrones" and might be interested in learning its constructed language called "High Valyrian". That brings us to at least 20 million possible learners for the High Valyrian course, almost as high as the most popular Duolingo course, the Spanish one. Do you know what profit can 20 million people (who participate in a specific course) bring to Duolingo? At least a couple of millions. The Klingon course (inspired from the "Star Trek" series) has the same goal, too. It wants to attract "Star Trek" fans towards the platform called "Duolingo". Sometimes, besides what the learners are desirous of, the staff of Duolingo have to think about themselves and their profit, too! And now it's time to ask a question: among the 90 courses that Duolingo offers, 2 of them do not interest specifically you, thus, is that a reason to complain all over the fora? Do you understand that the Duolingo creators have to make some money and the only way to do that is by creating unique, yet appealing "High Valyrian" and "Klingon" courses? Probably no... Now, how about analysing the creation of a Finnish course? Let us suppose that a Finnish course is released today. Do you know how many active montly users are there on Duolingo? There are around 25 million. In fact, hat is a pretty good number. Now let us estimate some things... how many of these users would like to pause all of their courses and start the Finnish one? I doubt if this number is more than 1 million. OK, you'll think that there is no way I can be sure about it, but come on... there is no way there are more than 2 million Duolingo users that absolutely need to learn Finnish today. However, from the hustle and bustle that we are experiencing daily in the fora about the Finnish course, I expect more than 20 million people to start learning Finnish on Duolingo by the time the course is released (of course I am exaggerating but you got my point). What is more, if you are so interested in Finnish language, guess what! You can start learning it by yourself! Isn't that amazing? If the Finnish course is so important for you, that you want it so bad on Duolingo, you can easily find a private tutor and have the language "put" straight into your brain. Duolingo will for certain do what its users want, but most importantly it will do what benefits its owners, who are trying to have an income via this whole project. We have such a great privilege in our hands and we are so greedy, in such an extent that we cannot accept that a course is not yet available. I am one of the people that is looking forward to the Finnish course, too, but come on... there are so many other languages to learn on this platform. Finnish is one of the hardest languages in the world, but we keep on asking for it all the time, as if Duolingo was not releasing the course on purpose, just because the staff want to drive us crazy. We should all accept that Duolingo is a profession for many people out there and these people need to help their families financially. They are neither our slaves that can make a language course in 2 seconds nor some bad guys that want to watch the forum burn just via not making a course on purpose. Let's think logically. Happy learning everyone!
P.S. I know my post is really long, thanks to anyone who will read it. I also know that my post will insult certain people without any particular reason, just because they are glued to their desire for a course. I am deeply sorry. Keep on learning, everyone, and do not let a Finnish course affect you negatively!
Er, there may be 20 million people interested or potentially interested in "The Game of Thrones," but that is very unlikely to translate into 20 million people sufficiently interested in the series and linguistically-inclined who want to take High Valyrian at all, let alone specifically on Duolingo. I agree that creating a course for the language was probably intended to get attention (i.e. publicity) and attract people who might not otherwise use Duolingo, but doubt that all that many people signed up for and then continued with it, once it was finished.