I'm Luis von Ahn, co-founder and CEO of Duolingo. I'm doing an AMA on the Duolingo subreddit!
Happy to answer any questions you may have: https://www.reddit.com/r/duolingo/comments/5pr3sv/i_am_luis_von_ahn_ceo_and_cofounder_of_duolingo/
Here are some of the highlights from the AMA:
- Full website rewrite and a forum overhaul with improved search
- Immersion not coming back (partly because of the rewrite)
- Japanese hopefully this year along with a way to teach different scripts
- Mandarin "eventually", Arabic "at some point", Latin "noted", "not sure" about Finnish, currently no plans for African languages
- 4-5 smaller languages this year
- New exercise types to teach more advanced listening and reading comprehension (longer passages) in the next couple of months to get complete beginners to B1.
- Tips notes on mobile this year
- Tinycards on web in February/March, after that on Android
- Pay to remove ads on Android
- More features to Clubs soon
HelloChinese, while good, does not have an option to review all of the skills you've learned so far, so retaining information is harder.
The HelloChinese course is also considerably shorter than a typical Duolingo tree. It has about 45 skills of 3 to 4 lessons. By comparison, the German from English tree on Duolingo has 123 skills; French from English, 81; and Russian from English, 79.
If there remain 'technical problems' with writing systems, Mandarin should be a lot easier to implement than Japanese, as it is much less arbitrarily complicated. I was surprised to get the impression that Japanese would be here first; if Duo can handle Japanese then it can certainly handle Mandarin, but not necessarily vice versa.
The rewrite of the website making it "literally 10x faster" apparently, and presumably more reliable for the various common bugs. And also explained that while small languages would be great to preserve, implementation is very resource-hungry due to having to record all the voice clips with a native etc
Is it OK if I ask a question here? (I don't have an account on Reddit). There are languages like Finnish and Latin which have been requested over and over again on the forums. Is there a specific time when you plan on releasing these languages? I presume that because they are so highly requested, they would attract a lot of learners (including myself), and if you could chose one language which isn't on Duolingo yet, with a guaranteed million learners that will sign up, and a government deal to use it in schools, what language would you pick?
Would you be nice enough to post a question there? Dear Luis, although we must accept Immersion is gone, users are eager to retrieve years of translation work made using the feature. Is Duolingo planning to grant access to texts in Immersion (even if only in read mode) to retrieve their translations? Thanks!
Thanks a lot in advance (in the form of some lingots for you) :))
Maybe you could also mention in the question that there are dozens of volunteers for both, some professional teachers, and there should be no technical problems, not even with Finnish since Hungarian has been successfully added. Those were the three criteria they gave here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/18949556
Thank you for responding to the petition here https://www.duolingo.com/comment/20374000 I have no Reddit account and so cannot join you there, so I hope that you will be able to reply here.
You will see that despite your reply to me people are still adding their names to the original petition and the French speakers have even translated my post and are adding their names there https://www.duolingo.com/comment/20399748
In addition, we are all still most concerned about the way that our work in immersion has also been removed as not only did they represent years of work on subjects as diverse as Wikipedia articles to complete public domain books such as Dante's Inferno, to give just one example, but they also contained a huge corpus of discussions. These discussions and the comments to amendments in the immersion documents are a valuable resource in their own right, representing, as they do, help and guidance on a whole range of grammatical, lexical and cultural subjects.
There is a further petition here https://www.duolingo.com/comment/20382789 which again politely asks for access to our translated documents.
I sincerely hope that you will see your way clear to reconsidering your decision, even if only to provide us with access to the work which we have done. Many thanks for your time. Gena.
I would like to think that if we do get access to our documents, that the resource that they represent would be available for everyone. There is a lot of expertise and advice there as well as the reading comprehension aspect. May I suggest that you sign Letra_a's petition at https://www.duolingo.com/comment/20382789 Thanks, Gena :-))
I'll post my question and luis's response on here so all Duo users can see it.
James: with immersion now firmly out of the picture, what can you tell us about Duolingo's future plans for learning new languages? Are there any new updates on the horizon to bots, the store, or the lessons in general?
Thanks for all your time and hard work,
Luis: Yes, we are working on a number of initiatives, including exercises that teach listening and reading comprehension of longer passages.
Thank you for taking the time to reply Luis!
I don't have a reddit account, so I'm going to post this here: Thank you for answering the user questions! Some of the answers I've read so far make me very happy - new exercise types, courses that teach the language skills to level B1, and, above all, there's hope for a Japanese course in 2017! I'm really excited about all these announcements, and look forward to reading more about the great things to come this year. Duolingo is amazing - thank you (and the whole team) so much for all your effort!
A great big sincere Thank You Luis! Duolingo has helped to inspire and find the love of several languages in our family... My youngest transferred to a new school and had to take Spanish classes - which she struggled with, until I introduced her to Duolingo! It's changed her world. Thank you! I travel extensively and after a recent trip to Portugal, I started learning Portuguese on your app as well! Amazing how quickly I've been able to advance, and converse with locals already. And my Eldest (who is a former Miss Teen Canada Int'l) is a water advocate, speaker and singer. She's also is in Ajman, UAE at this very moment and is Truly looking forward to the Arabic App - so she can improve her language skills that much faster. And just a thought, what about Aboriginal languages such as Cree or Ojibwe? We've lost our own language being Métis, and would love to learn even the basics again through Duolingo. Thank you again! Sincerely, The Kohan girls.
Where is the customer service? Why is Duolingo hiding? I try and try to contact through various ways but ZERO help. You expect people to pay for a premium service and then you walk away from problems leaving people scratching their heads in forums. I can’t even complete one level now because your service is so bad and the quality gets worse and worse. This seems to be less about learning languages and more about you making money. I want my money back now before I take legal action.