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Question For Anybody Who Works on Incubator Courses

[deactivated user]

    So I was looking at a lot of the courses and seeing all the courses from things other than English and I started to wonder something, and I would love an answer for it. If you make say, Finnish for English speakers or whatever, how easy is it for you to make English for Finnish speakers? Do you just tweak the tips and switch the the questions to answers and vice versa?

    Many thanks and much love!

    July 22, 2017

    10 Comments


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/scarcerer

    Like jellei said, if an English course is ever going to happen, it's usually made first. If there is not much point making an English course (as is probably the case with Finnish), then you can start with the foreign language.

    The method of just switching things around is much more likely to happen between two similar languages, say Finnish and Estonian than Finnish and English. To give a very small and simple example, Finnish doesn't use articles, English does. Therefore the English for Finnish course would have to teach the foreign concept of articles to Finnish speakers but that skill would be pointless in the Finnish for English speakers course. The general idea of definiteness vs indefinitenrss might be covered in the partitive and accusative case skills which in turn wouldn't exist in the English course.

    That being said, I don't work in the incubator, I'm only talking based on my understanding of how it works and what I've heard contributors say.


    [deactivated user]

      This makes a lot of sense!


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jellei

      As far as I know, "English for X speakers" should always be the first one to create.

      I am working on a new version of Polish for English speakers and we don't look at the English for Polish speakers course at all. The problems are just different.


      [deactivated user]

        Thank you for your input and for your work on a course I have been struggling with!


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nueby

        For the two directions of the course to be connected, the languages would have to be very closely related. There is no "reverse" button we can hit, though. The contributors have to make the new words (being taught, shown orange in new lessons) into lessons, the lessons into skills, and the skills into the shape of the tree. Consistency/viability constraints (preventing words from being used before they are taught) would make it so we would want to copy the skill/lesson structure of the opposite tree. We would just populate the lessons with new words in the new language. Sentences could be added for those new words that match the main translations from the opposite course, and the system would recognize them and fill in the translations.

        So the issue really comes down to the low probability that a course will ever be added for two languages related closely enough for the structure and sentence matching to make any sense. Think Polish<>Czech. Those courses would probably be structured around topics and vocabulary, not grammar. We have the same number of cases, genders, tenses--no reason to treat a Pole learning Czech like an English speaker. It would be like learning an amusing distortion of your own language, probably quite fun. The deviations in grammar (different case or preposition for a particular verb, for example) would still have to be taught, but that would go more towards considering the opposite direction already when designing the first course, so it can be turned inside out later. Or, come think of it, at the same time, not later. Such courses would benefit from being built in parallel.


        [deactivated user]

          I would love to see courses made in tandem! Thanks for the food for thought!


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/piguy3

          So the issue really comes down to the low probability that a course will ever be added for two languages related closely enough for the structure and sentence matching to make any sense.

          Portuguese<->Spanish? I haven't done this precise pairing, but Catalan from Spanish and Italian from French seem to have a largely similar mix of vocab-centric and grammar-centric lessons as other trees. Even if the tense use and grammar points are obvious, the forms still have to be taught.

          Isn't there a feature that sentences from the reverse course are automatically incorporated if all the necessary words have been taught?

          It would be like learning an amusing distortion of your own language, probably quite fun.

          I have found Catalan from Spanish to be very fun indeed :) (even though Spanish is only a second language for me)

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