I have a question about the estimated completion dates for Duolingo languages:
Are they often completed on or VERY near the given date?
I'm only asking because I'm kind of sitting around waiting for a language like it's Christmas or a holiday of equal settings, and I think my head may explode if this particular language doesn't release soon.
The estimation isn't always accurate. It often says 99% done but it's nowhere near that. I've heard it has to do with the number of possible translations per sentence, so not really accurate. Just try learning some of the many other languages while you wait! I know how you feel though.
Tbh, it'll probably be a while. They took applications last month and alpha testers 2 weeks ago. They're really just getting started.
I don't know how far you are already in the language, but duo did put up an official hiragana card lesson on tinycards. Since there's no TTS voicebank yet, you can't get the pronunciations to go with them, but it's a good sign that there is work being done.
In my opinion:
Duolingo needs to change the way the estimate is shown on the incubator pages.
It needs to show an additional middle step "Audio and other finishing touches". Nearly every course takes an extra delay, beyond the date the incubator shows, for audio to be added and other little tweaks to be done.
So at the moment, add a couple of months to each estimate and you'll be less likely to be disappointed, and more likely to be pleasantly surprised when they actually release it within an extra two months of the estimated date.
Interestingly though, they released Swahili without audio, so perhaps Duolingo is looking at ways to come closer to meeting the incubator date estimates.
For other reasons too the estimates can prove inaccurate.
They said the Swahili w/out audio was so Luis could show they had a Swahili course out at a technology expo in South Africa. I doubt it speaks to a general trend.
Yeah, I just wish there was a way to try a beta-beta version while they work out the kinks. Sometimes the only reason a language takes so long is if they're adding extra and perhaps unnecessary addons.
Of all the dates, the one for Japanese is probably one of the most reliable. But I still wouldn't hold my breath. Spend the time using other resources. Then you'll be prepared to get even more out of the tree when it comes out.