Weekly Incubator Update: Tracking Progress from December 4th to December 12th

New course alert!
English for Punjabi has started in the Duolingo Incubator! With this, yet another script - Gurumukhi enters the incubator. Welcome aboard!

December Schedule
I should have seen this coming... This week's post is delayed by over one day. Next week, I will try to get this done on my Sunday (regular time). The week following the next will see another delay by a day - 26-Dec instead of the 25th.

PHASE 1 Progress: Total 23 courses

German for Italian - 99% | 99% | 99% | 100% (+1) 1-Jan-2017

Portuguese for French - 99% | 99% | 99% | 99% (+0) 31-Dec-2016

English for Thai - 99% | 99% | 99% | 99% (+0)

Italian for Portuguese - 75% | 78% | 81% | 83% (+2) 25-Dec-2016 *

Swahili for English - 70% | 80% | 80% | 80% (+0) 31-Jan-2017 ^

Czech for English - 73% | 74% | 75% | 76% (+1) 7-Jul-2017 ^

Spanish for Italian - 70% | 70% | 70% | 71% (+1)

Swedish for Russian - 69% | 70% | 70% | 70% (+0)

French for Chinese - 49% | 49% | 49% | 49% (+0)

Russian for Turkish - 47% | 47% | 47% | 47% (+0) 31-Dec-2016

French for Turkish - 45% | 45% | 45% | 46% (+1)

Korean for English - 36% | 37% | 38% | 38% (+0) 31-Dec-9999

Klingon for English - 33% | 33% | 33% | 33% (+0) 31-Dec-2016

Hindi for English - 28% | 28% | 28% | 28% (+0) 26-Jan-2017 ^

Indonesian for English - 27% | 27% | 28% | 28% (+0)

English for Tagalog - 26% | 26% | 26% | 28% (+2) 2-Feb-2017 *

English for Bengali - 23% | 23% | 23% | 23% (+0) 20-Feb-2017

English for Tamil - 14% | 15% | 17% | 17% (+0) 28-Feb-2017

Spanish for Arabic - 10% | 10% | 11% | 12% (+1) 31-Dec-2017 ^

Yiddish for English - 9% | 9% | 9% | 9% (+0) 7-Jul-2018

English for Telugu - 6% | 6% | 6% | 6% (+0)

High Valyrian for English - 2% | 3% | 4% | 5% (+1) 1-Jun-2017

English for Punjabi - (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 - 0.29% | 0.82% | 0.41% | 0.43% (+0.02)
Median - 0% | 0% | 0% | 0% (+0)

* This week's Leader Extraordinaire!
^ The Hindi, Czech, Swahili, Spanish (for Arabic), & Tamil teams' progress is as per their own calculation

Progress Visualized:

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).

AndrsBrny from Team Hungarian wrote 5 days ago:

Growing and growing

Hello everyone,

our course is growing and growing! We now have over 200 000 people learning Hungarian. Wow! It seems that many people learning the language submit many reports, though, so even though we're fixing errors, our error rate has remained fairly constant over the last few weeks.

We have nevertheless been making progress by adding many more translations and trying to make some Tips & Notes more helpful! We're also currently looking to get someone new on the team to help us continue our efforts!

As ever, thank you very much for your patience, your reports and your interest in our course!

Dedalvs from Team High Valyrian wrote 3 days ago:

First Checkpoint Cleared!

We've finished our skills up to the first checkpoint! There are still a lot of sentences we'd like to add, but we're pushing forward to the second, so one down, four to go!

nueby from Team Czech wrote yesterday:

Week 75


jaye16 from Team Greek wrote yesterday:

Modern Greek course gears up in Beta

Some notes on the form and structure of the Modern Greek language and the teaching methods of the course.

Greek, you'll be happy and maybe surprised to hear, although the language of the diverse and ancient culture, which has contributed so much to the wealth of our modern world is far simpler in pronunciation and spelling than English. On the other hand, the great variety of sentence structure in Greek allows you to easily express ideas in rich and diverse ways in both informal and inspirational areas.

To unlock this simplicity and abundance - it is thought preferable- to learn the authentic modern alphabet of the Greek language. Which - we introduce you to through the learning ladder of "Greeklish" in the first lessons in our course. However, our aim is not to teach you "Greeklish" but provide an introduction to the Greek alphabet and the whole course.

Our team is outstanding, working to uplift the course in preparation for its final tree, communicating with learners to access, explain and fine tune each sentence. Adding new Tips and enriching others as well as providing sources to access the Greek keyboard on your computer and every other assistance they can offer.

May I say to each member of our team - YOU are a gem ! And to each of YOU, our learners, thanks for being a part of the great adventure of the Modern Greek course.


English for Punjabi comes to the incubator!

Previous Update 27-Nov to 4-Dec

Last updates from:
2016: Nov, Oct, Sep, Aug, Jul, Jun, May, Apr, Mar, Feb, Jan
2015: Dec, Nov, Oct, Sep, Aug, Jul, Jun, May, Apr, Mar, Feb, Jan
2014: Dec, Nov, Oct, Sep, Aug, Jul, Jun, May, Apr, Mar, Feb, Jan, 1st.

December 13, 2016



  • black non-italic => team's own computation/estimation
  • gray italic => Duo's (flawed) automatic computation/estimation

Sorted by estimated launch date

Sorted by estimated %age of completion

December 13, 2016

Ah, there you are! I'd wondered if I'd missed your post. Wonderful work as always!

December 13, 2016

I am so exciting for Punjabi The language of Bhangra and the wonderful Sikhs! I do hope they do a Punjabi for English after that. I desperately want to learn Punjabi. Turn your speakers up and listen to this I bet you will dance :) !

December 13, 2016

Thanks for the share, I'm excited too! So amazing that Punjabi and Icelandic can be traced back to the same language (Proto-Indo-European), suggesting that at some point the ancestors of their speakers were from the same "tribe" and had the same culture. Now look at how different they are. A few thousand years makes such a massive difference.

December 13, 2016

I read your interesting question to Satdeep with regard to the possibility of making the (far-future) Punjabi course switchable into two scripts, by adding a flick-switch for Shahmukhi script as well !

Well, there seems to an almost perfect one-to-one relationship between Gurumukhi and Shahmukhi. Only Shahmukhi does not provide for half letters. So, तरंग - wave can be written in Gurumukhi as ਤ੍ਰੰਗ or ਤਰੰਗ but in Shahmukhi, it can be ترنگ only. However, a research paper shows that they are almost (>98%) accurately transliteratable: .

For more interested ones, I've found out two web-based transliteration tools! Here is a beta version of Gurumukhi-Shahmukhi Transliteration tool:
and here is version v1.0 of Shahmukhi-Gurumukhi Transliteration tool:

December 14, 2016

Great, thanks!

December 14, 2016

Not sure if this was in a previous update and I missed it, but I just noticed that my golden owl for Spanish was missing. About 8 lessons had been added. If you're like me and haven't looked at your Spanish tree in a while, it might be worth checking!

December 13, 2016

Similar for German!

December 16, 2016

[deactivated user]

    I can't wait for Italian for Portuguese speakers and Czech for English Speakers. It makes perfect sense to be studying Italian through Portuguese without having to use English. As for Czech, that's my Slavic language of choice. :D

    December 13, 2016

    Jiten Ji, May I again ask about the medium chosen to teach Devanagari alpha-syllabaries in the upcoming course! Will there be just them and the sounds associated with them OR is it that you are using some Roman transliteration standard also through which Devanagari may be introduced? If yes, which one is it?

    Hoping for your reply :)

    December 13, 2016

    If I remember looking at their course progress, they're teaching the alphabets and then doing the course in the Hindi script starting with basic words. I'm sure they have a better answer.

    December 13, 2016

    Hi Vinay, (no, I am not ignoring you). We will provide the details in one of the coming weeks.

    December 19, 2016

    Thank you, Jiten Ji :)

    December 19, 2016

    Although any new language is arguably a good thing, I have to say that I think it would have been better to do Punjabi for English speakers before English for Punjabi speakers. From what I understand, most Indian Punjabi speakers also speak Hindi to some extent, if not Hindi and English, so I can't see much of a benefit to this course. It would be almost like having an English for Catalan course - all Catalan speakers know Spanish fairly well so they get by with the English for Spanish course just fine. Not that it wouldn't be great to have a Catalan for English course, but Duolingo has "limited resources" and has to prioritise certain potential courses over others.

    December 13, 2016

    Duolingo is trying to make profit from testing English proficiency. Therefore it makes sense for them to build courses teaching English.

    December 13, 2016

    You're right, but what I'm saying is that building a course for Punjabi speakers won't necessarily provide them with much more income because if a Punjabi speaker really wants to test their English, they will simply use the English for Hindi speakers course. I may be mistaken, but as far as I know most Indian Punjabi speakers also speak Hindi.

    December 13, 2016

    I think they are pushing other languages of India until Hindi is completed. Hindi course will be a road map other Indian languages. as much as I know from studying Hindi Grammar., nuances in its grammar is insane, something like Russian. (stay assured it's much simpler. Hindi perhaps most simple for all Indian languages). Hindi is nearest relative of Punjabi. Their evolution tree is something like this:-

    PIE->Vedic Sanskrit -> Classical Sanskrit -> Prakrit ->Saurseni prakrit -> Saurseni apbransh -> Punjabi

    PIE->Vedic Sanskrit -> Classical Sanskrit -> Prakrit ->Saurseni prakrit -> Saurseni apbransh -> Hindustani or Hindi.

    Creating an optimized course for Hindi must be a gargantuan task. Punjabi have some extra shades on that . Such as Punjabi is a tonal language with three distinct tone high, medial and low. As an interesting fact Punjabi is only language in Indo European family which is tonal.

    Let's see which language will come once Hindi is out.

    December 14, 2016

    most Indian Punjabi speakers also speak Hindi to some extent, if not Hindi and English

    What is, in numbers (not in proportion), the amount of Punjabi speakers that don't?
    I don't know but my uneducated guess is that this number of persons(*) could be a large one. In which case, the number of potential Duo users they'd reach (that they wouldn't reach with Hindi and English interfaces) would give sense to creating this course.
    Don't forget that Duo is very (mainly?) interested in having a large number of users. ;) ... :( ... ;) ?

    Moreover — and this can be the (main) reason in case the above number isn't that large — Duo always creates first (among a given pair of languages including English) the course teaching English because they know their system will work for this course while they could encounter issues with the course teaching the other one from English. Thus, they prefer to identify (most of) the issues during the months of creation of the course teaching English rather than risk to be blocked for months/years if they started by the other one.
    Finally, during the creation of "English from XX" course, the volunteers have to translate the entire interface: the largest the number of language-interface their product exists into, the better for their product.

    (*) and far far more (still considering absolute numbers) than the number of Catalan native speakers not speaking Spanish, to keep the same comparison. ;)

    all Catalan speakers know Spanish fairly well so they get by with the English for Spanish course just fine

    and — important factor I think — the number of catalan speakers that don't speak Spanish is too small to (ever, or for the next decades of Duo's existence) justify the creation of the course.

    December 13, 2016

    Duo always creates first (among a given pair of languages including English) the course teaching English

    Well, except for when they don't create it at all (the Scandinavian ones, Irish, Hebrew, Esperanto, off the top of my head). So yes, when there is a pair of courses involving a certain language and English, but not always when there is a pair of languages involving language X and English.

    Edit: Ah, I should have read airelibre's comment to the end...

    December 13, 2016

    Good point re. the total number rather than proportion. With ~100 million speakers I guess at least a couple of million don't speak Hindi well enough to use it (although these are usually older people or less educated/poorer people who have less access to the internet anyway) so it could be worthwhile.

    But you point about Duolingo always doing the to-English course first isn't correct. What about Hebrew? All the Scandinavian languages? Esperanto, and the fictional lanaguges?

    December 13, 2016

    What about Hebrew? All the Scandinavian languages? Esperanto, and the fictional languages?

    Short answer: They simply don't plan to create the course teaching English from it hence it can't be the first one to be created.

    That's why I excluded them from the argument (which was already long enough ;))
    but planned to add a note (see below) that I then forgot to write... :(

    More detailed answer:

    • if they plan to create the "English from XXX" one day, then they start with this one
    • otherwise (= if they don't plan to create the "English from XXX"), they "start" by the other one since they only do that other one.

    And there are also the few cases like Catalan where they start with a pair not including English (and, in this case, they don't plan to create "Spanish from Catalan" so even "started" by "Catalan from Spanish").

    I had planned to put a (*) — with text (*) when they plan to create both — after "Duo always creates first" and forgot about it while typing the rest. Sorry.

    All those pairs of languages (English + XXX) you mention fall under the same reason as Spanish from Catalan:
    due to lack of sufficient number of potential users (either "in Duo's eyes/estimation" or for obvious reason for fictional languages), they have added "first" to the incub. the course "from English" because it's the only one (among the two possible) that Duo will have.

    All the courses they started with teaching from English means they don't plan (at least in mid-term future and ever for fictional languages) to create the reverse one teaching English. That's, afaik, at least what they had said to contributors to Danish, Swedish etc. when those teams had asked about reverse course.

    December 13, 2016

    I had heard that about the Scandinavian courses before, but it's only now that I've joined the dots and made the inference that there won't be an English for Hebrew course. (I will ask anyway to be sure). That would be a shame, because a lot of Israelis would really benefit from a Duolingo English course. Israelis on average have ok English compared to some nationalities, but they're certainly nowhere near the average proficiency of Scandinavians.

    December 14, 2016

    A shame if it never comes (long-term future, which my guess is several pair of years) but before that it's ddwn to

    Duolingo has "limited resources" and has to prioritise certain potential courses over others.


    December 14, 2016

    Here's another question: how many of those 100 million speakers know Gurmukhi? I'm guessing most of the Pakistani Punjabi speakers don't speak Hindi so if Gurmukhi knowledge there is limited, this isn't as useful as it could be.

    December 13, 2016

    Most of Pakistani Punjabi speakers speaks Urdu. Which is Almost Hindi in nastaliq i.e. Shahmukhi minus four nasal consonants.

    December 16, 2016

    It is in contrast with India where Punjabi is one of the 22 official languages. It taught in schools and college in Punjabi and is compulsory subject secondary education. while, due to massive influence of Hindi, Punjabi serials have disappeared But Punjabi is itself thriving in Hindi movies (in songs more than any other language) and Punjabi movies are also thriving. Due to the recognition from Indian government, many people even don't know Punjabi not only spoken in India or it has other script excluding Gurumukhi and Devanagari. Perhaps, because of this reason Punjabi entered in incubator with Gurumukhi first.

    December 16, 2016

    Most sad thing of Punjabi language in Pakistan is that even having 65 million Punjabi speakers, this language is never taught in elementary schools or colleges. Punjabi is not used government works, TV programs, Punjabi is not even used in parliament. Everywhere Urdu is pushed, promoted and encouraged. Promotion of Urdu so much in intense aggression that in Canada where Punjabi is 4th most spoken language, Pakistanis are directed to tell their native language as Urdu instead of Punjabi. Today, virtually all Punjabi literature are produced in Gurumukhi.

    December 16, 2016

    Also, doesn't Catalonia extend into France (where Catalan speakers who don't know Spanish probably do know French), a little bit of Italy (where Catalan speakers who don't know Spanish probably do know Italian), and all of Andorra? Which foreign languages do schools in Andorra require?

    December 14, 2016

    Catalan is dying out rapidly in French Catalonia. Only the older generation still speaks it. Same for l'Alguer. But yes, you're right, I hadn't considered these places and they probably do have some speakers of Catalan who don't know Spanish.

    In Andorra pretty much everyone can speak Spanish even though the official language is Catalan. The only people I met in Andorra that didn't know much Spanish and who knew relatively more Catalan were a couple of French people, and one Brit. The school system is interesting. On the non-fee side you have the French system, the Andorran system and the Spanish system. The Spanish one is being phased out "because the Spanish government can't be bothered to keep funding a Catalan-speaking nation" (this is just what someone told me, it might be completely libellous!). This year I think they closed a couple of Spanish schools and now there's only one left. In the Spanish system only Spanish is used for most of the lessons, and then Catalan, French and English are all their own subjects. In contrast, in the French system I think most of the lessons are taught in French and some are taught in Catalan, and then you have Spanish literature and English as separate subjects. I know for sure that it's like this with the Andorran system, with the only difference being that most of the lessons are in Catalan and a few are in French. For example, maths might be in Catalan and geography might be in French. I think the fee paying schools are technically Spanish-owned but I think they work in roughly the same way as the Andorran system. So comparatively the Spanish system turns out the worst students by some margin in terms of linguistic abilities, since they only teach in the language that everyone already speaks because of TV/family/friends, whereas the others make sure that the students are fluent in at least Catalan (which they may or may not speak at home), and to some extent French.

    December 14, 2016

    How will Hindi be released in ~1 month if it's been at 28% for nearly a year?

    December 24, 2016
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