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What is necessary for a language happening?

I have seen heavily populated threads with several years old claim for Euskera, Finnish, Arabic and so on...Many people offering themselves as contributors and many more supporting the idea. But nothing happens.

Those threads sink into oblivion.

Really, what is necessary for a language happening?

August 9, 2017



The courses are designed by volunteers and it takes a lot of time to make a new language course.

You might look at:

[GUIDE] I would like a new course: What should I do? https://www.duolingo.com/comment/15014194

From the Duolingo Help Center: https://support.duolingo.com/hc/en-us/articles/204979660-How-can-I-suggest-a-new-language-course-

Apply to contribute to a course in the Incubator: https://incubator.duolingo.com/apply


Let me add:


Luis' mom needs to approve it, and given how little popularity seems to affect the new additions, I'm not sure that's a joke.


Besides taking into consideration who's there to make the course, there's also who will learn the course compared to another. So basically, they
a) need people to make the course
b) need time to make the course
c) need lots of people who will take the course - more than other courses that they can also make.


1) Script must be compatible (but they seem to have gotten away from this with Japanese and Korean going to be released on mobile only)

2) There needs to be contributors (I believe at least 2, usually more is necessary)

3) They probably won't do it if it doesn't suit their "interests" (i.e. Finnish, Latin, etc.)

4) There needs to be space in the incubator.

Strangely, I have a feeling we will have another language for English speakers soon, if only because there are only four or five in the incubator (disregarding imminent releases as Czech, and Korean) and there are usually a few more. Perhaps Thai? Or maybe they're waiting to put together Chinese or Arabic? Who knows.

Might have forgotten something, but #2 is the most important, and usually #3 comes in more than it should.


1) Indeed and, in Alcman's list, Arabic fails on that point.

2) Courses need only one contributor to "progress".
Usually staff starts by adding two course "moderator" (who will later "form" the new contributors) to new courses, but it's not a "rule" (just an habit):

  • "Irish from English" course was added to the incubator with 0 contributors. The first contributors arrived few weeks later).
  • I think "High Valyrian from English" course started with only one.

3) Probably, indeed.

4) No, there is no such thing as "one/some course(s) need to go out of Phase 1 for other ones to enter".

#2 is the most important,

IMO, far from being the most important one in the sense that it's not the limiting factor!
Of course without anyone qualified applying, the course can't be created but I never heard staff saying it had been the limiting factor for any course and I don't think it ever has been the case: even for High Valyrian(*) they found enough contributors to start the creation of the course.

usually #3 comes in more than it should.

"than it should be" based on what criteria?

(*) only taking it as example because it has very few "speakers" around the world (at least our)... ;)


No, there is no such thing as "one/some course(s) need to go out of Phase 1 for other ones to enter".

On the other hand, the number of Phase 1 courses in the Incubator cannot drop below 0. Even continuing the current shrinking trend could send an unhelpful message about the self-assessment of the future growth to their investors. (If you could handle 10 more Phase 1 courses before, why can't you/don't you want to now?) If something big is coming that is sucking out the oxygen, it may need to come soon, not Soon™.


I saw a course with only one contributor. Spanish for French.


Right. But they start out with two, usually.

For example, Telugu has NO contributors.

Edit: And Spanish for French doesn't need more than 1, because that has graduated and they have all left. French for Spanish is the same way.


Oh. Good point. And if all the contributors have left Telugu, it's going to take a really, really, really long time for that course to finish :D


Both of them have 0 day streaks...this is what happens when Duo shoves out a language without having a good enough base...


I think English to Arabic got delayed so they could concentrate on French to Arabic, German to Arabic and Swedish to Arabic. That one is not a script issue, more like change of priorities.

No idea how they decide on other languages.


I think English to Arabic got delayed so they could concentrate on French to Arabic, German to Arabic and Swedish to Arabic.

There is no courses French to Arabic (=Arabic from French), German to Arabic (=Arabic from German) and Swedish to Arabic (=Arabic from Swedish) under construction/onto which staff is concentrating.
The reverse ones, yes.

That one is not a script issue

Yes it is: Duo system can't (yet) teach a language using arabic script (no problem for it to teach from arabic). For example, it can't yet have a course "English to Arabic" (=Arabic from English).


Sorry, I didn't know the reverse was even more difficult to construct. I guess I shouldn't have answered since I didn't have the full info.

But this same question getting asked several times a day gets so annoying.

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