Russian for Spanish speakers now in the cube! Yay!
Congratulations on entering! Although Russian for Spanish is not one of my favourites of courses, it is great to see another language popping in! :)
Esperanto for Portuguese as well, which I frankly don't understand. Esperanto is one of the least popular languages for both English and Spanish speakers (although with Spanish there are very obvious reasons for that) and I expect the staff to know that. I get that it would come eventually but as the sixth language?
I imagine that Esperanto courses are somewhat easier to develop than courses teaching other languages because of the simple grammar and relatively small lexicon. I think (though I might be wrong) that the recordings in both of the Esperanto courses already released are mostly the same so they could re-use many of them for this next Esperanto course.
...and here's a link for that one: https://incubator.duolingo.com/courses/eo/pt/status
I imagine that part of the point is that the PT->EO team will include people who were involved in EN->EO and ES->EO and they have already demonstrated their professionalism and ability to deliver a course without fuss or bother.
Furthermore, when you say they are among the least popular EN and ES courses, you are basing that on the publicly available "total registrations" number, it is possible other engagement metrics, lessons completed, visits, might tell a different story.
Esperanto for English will probably reach one million people this year, and Esperanto for Spanish could reach 200 thousand people.
Esperanto speakers are by definition bilingual, and most of us are at least trilingual too, and language enthusiasts, that's why there are many good contributors that usually know each other because of congresses, internet groups and such.
We are also interested in Duolingo because it seeks free language education, and esperantists seek similar purposes, and possibly Duolingo too likes Esperanto's purpose.
One too has to mention that Esperanto courses always teach Esperanto to x language, there's no need for x language for Esperanto speakers, so they don't need to wait for the reverse tree to get finished before they start with a new language course.
We also have the Academy of Esperanto, which is the most official thing Esperanto has, as it comes from Zamenhof's time, revising all of our words and sentences.
And Esperanto is not the least popular course in either language. Guaraní is behind Esperanto in Spanish, although they are close, the Esperanto one is growing a little faster. And Eo-En is not even near the bottom of English courses.
Finally, there aren't many courses that would succeed in Portuguese, since most of the popular languages are not possible yet (Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, Hindi, and Russian is incubating for Spanish right now). I don't think there would be much more demand for other languages already in Duolingo, and it wouldn't be easy to find a Dutch/Irish/Swedish for Portuguese contributor.
Is there that much need for the reverse Portuguese courses anyway? That's a legitimate question, I honestly don't know.
Also almost all national languages apart from English have the equivalent of Esperanto Academy, including the aforementioned Swedish, Dutch, Irish and Russian, so that's not point that would lift Esperanto above most of the others.
I didn't say Esperanto is the least popular, I said it's among the least popular. And again, Spanish has kind of few courses and EN, PT, FR, DE and IT dominate as one would expect so all the other courses are near the bottom by default. With English it's in the bottom third of total learners (with 750k) but the course is nearly two years old, Vietnamese is over 600k in less than a year and Greek over 300k in half a year. Even if the other younger courses don't overtake it, those two would drop Esperanto to the bottom fourth. Furthermore, by my calculation it was the tied 16th biggest grower in January out of the 19 courses available for mobile and tied 17th out of 20 last month.
it wouldn't be easy to find a Dutch/Irish/Swedish for Portuguese contributor.
I didn't say anything about Irish but in today's interconnected world nothing would surprise me. Even one of the staff members speaks both Swedish and Portuguese and that is usually considered a plus. If the staff in general has a soft spot for Esperanto, then that would certainly explain a thing or two.
Is there that much need for the reverse Portuguese courses anyway?
Not sure how you're thinking of reverse courses here. Are you suggesting that e.g. Polish would be a more popular language choice for Portuguese speakers than Portuguese for Polish speakers? I think of Portuguese as a global language thereby creating a certain level of interest everywhere that any of the "smaller" languages largely lack.
There's a point to be made that Portuguese for Dutch or Swedish could have diminished demand since Dutch folk and Swedes are pretty good with English, but I'd be willing to speculate that the vast, vast majority of Portuguese native speakers who get curious enough about a Dutch or a Swedish to begin learning it will already have a pretty good English level themselves.
Responde to DonFiore:
Of course there is, portuguese has native speakers and is a world language.
I didn't say that Esperanto deserved a course because it has an academy, I said that its academy is working with the contributors to create these courses, that's the point. Have you seen any other language academy help Duolingo courses? (apart from the fact that High Valyrian course is being created by the language's creator).
Anyway, the reason for this new course is that Esperanto courses don't really bother them, they are created in less than a year, they use latin script, they don't need many new recordings now, and new contributors are chosen by other contributors.
But I don't think any of the other languages more popular than Esperanto for English but that don't exist for Portuguese speakers at the moment (with the possible exception of Russian) would necessarily see that popularity carry over to Portuguese-based courses. Granted, there is a population of Polish immigrant heritage Brazil, but I doubt there are many people on earth fluent enough now in that language pair to make a course.
Of course, I would expect Latin to be most popular non-present language for Portuguese, but, well, Duolingo and Latin...
At the end of the day, I'm sure, as others have said, that the ordering is really about the availability of already-experienced incubator folks able to make the course.
Besides Latin and Russian, I could easily see Swedish, Greek (which currently has less total learners due to the time difference), most likely Polish, Dutch and Hebrew being more popular. I would list more but I don't know that much about Esperanto's popularity in Lusophone countries. The point being, people don't study languages just for heritage reasons and couchsurfing.
If not for heritage reasons, why would any substantial number of Brazilians learn Polish? OK, I'll admit I don't know about Portugal, but of the Portuguese speakers likely to be using Duolingo (i.e. I've only ever come across one Angolan) more than 19 in every 20 is Brazilian. And clearly nobody's learning Greek for economic reasons these days, and I can't believe there are all that many Portuguese speakers hankering for a Modern Greek course as part of a circuitous path to original language bible study.
Personally, I suspect Dutch and the Scandinavian languages are popular from English in large part because they are perceived to be easy, a condition much less applicable for Portuguese speakers, but that would apply for them for Esperanto. Heritage could certainly play a role, particularly for Norwegian and Swedish, a condition not inapplicable for Brazil, although to a lesser extent: Minnesota alone surely has more people of Scandinavian heritage than all Portuguese speaking areas combined.
I can't believe there are 300,000 English speakers learning Greek to study the bible. I would imagine it's the culture and history for most of them with a bit of heritage, vacation and etymology mixed in.
Esperanto is perceived to be easy for English speakers as well, yet it's near the bottom of the list. Why would it be substantially different with Portuguese? If a Portuguese speaker wants an easy language, he probably takes Spanish. Not that Swedish and Dutch, two languages people actually can study for economic reasons, suddenly have that difficult a grammar even if the vocabulary is a bit more alien to a Portuguese speaker.
And since you seem to study a lot of languages, are you learning all those for economic, heritage or easiness related reasons? Or is there culture, interest to languages in general and whatever reasons people often have mixed in?