What is the "big surprise expected this week"?
Last week this was posted on Duolingo's Twitter account: "Get ready to learn about lots of new “characters” on Duolingo. ;)". https://twitter.com/duolingo/status/852545261704556545/photo/1
What do you think this could be? Japanese/Arabic/Farsi? Or something completely different, like that: https://twitter.com/Gargotejant/status/852659717914734592/photo/1
It might be a revenue generation thing - if in the future they move from Lingots (earned) to Gems (both earned and bought with real money). People might buy extra items with Gems, and buy Gems with real money.
Until then... I worry that the new avatars will cause more Lingot begging in the mean time. [I assume Gems are not transferable, and therefore will not involve begging, but I am not really sure]
I think it is Duolingo Avatars because I see hairstyles, clothes and accessories when I'm poking through Duolingo iOS source code. Probably not Japanese because they released it a while ago for a short period of time, and the official release is still a month away.
There was some debate about this topic last week
HOwever we should perhaps just wait and see
And perhaps it will truly be a big surprise.
Copied from another thread about this subject:
What people have said so far:
- Chatbots/clubs: Possible, but it doesn't seem like they'd hype up a new feature in this way.
- Tinycards: They already have several courses for the Arabic/Chinese/Japanese writing systems. Unlikely.
- Korean: Korean is only about half done; I don't know about this. Maybe, but probably not.
- Japanese: I tried the hack-that-wasn't-really-a-hack to get into the Japanese course, but there are only two or three words for each lesson now. Although, as mentioned on Reddit, "Agreed that it's some kind of early release for Japanese - note the colors of the present. Maybe an iOS-only release, given the call for alpha testers only for iOS." Possible.
- Finnish: Everyone always says this whenever Duolingo makes an announcement. Unlikely.
- Arabic: Possible, but Arabic doesn't really have "characters" in the logarithmic or syllabic sense. Maybe, but more unlikely.
- Farsi: No mention of this (that I know) has been made by Duolingo. Unlikely.
- Chinese: I am almost positive that this is it. Luis said that since the technical problems that came with Japanese were fixed, they were going to add Mandarin before the end of the year and possibly Cantonese within the next two. Mandarin is the only likely language with "characters", so there's a very high chance this announcement is Mandarin in the incubator. Probable.
- Emoji: 100% definite yup absolutely real. (Unlikely.)
This is why I think Chinese is the most likely option: Klingon was added in part for its own sake, but also in part for the publicity Duolingo would get from adding Klingon. They hyped up its entry to the incubator so that the reporters would get a head start on making the articles.
Mandarin, behind Spanish/French/German, is one of the most-studied languages. Lots of people who first heard about Duolingo were wanting to learn Mandarin on it ("duolingo mandarin" is the fourth suggestion on google when you type in "duolingo"!), but because of technical limitations, Duolingo didn't have a course for it. That's a lot of potential customers.
Now, Duolingo has the ability to create one, which is why we have Japanese. Building up this sort of hype isn't a bad business strategy: people will speculate for a few days. I predict that a few days from now, Duolingo will say "Chinese will be added to the incubator in X days!", at which point news stories come out and more people get interested. They know Duolingo is working on one now, so when the course does finally come out in however many months, they'll join it.
On the other hand, the present box has the colours and pattern of the Japanese flag. When they were working on setting up the Japanese incubation process, the course was accidentally posted a few times. The course has been accidentally released (not sure if they've fixed it or not) already, which may mean they're setting up the course for testing. I tried accessing the course, but each lesson only has a few words, so I'm not sure why they'd release it now.