Japanese holds Duolingo record for most learners while in Beta!
The Japanese course for English speakers has just reached 2.90 Million learners - an astoundingly high number for a relatively new course, but even more amazing is the fact that it is still in Beta status! Previously, Hebrew held the record for having the most learners while still in Beta (over 900K learners). Japanese has swamped that record by 3 times the amount of Hebrew!
Even better - Duolingo users are signing up by the thousands every day, and the course is still only 1% into reaching its Beta status! True, Japanese did have a head start when it got released to android and app users, but still, there are a ton of people signed up for an undeveloped course.
Congratulations to the Japanese team!
The number of Hebrew "learners" is misleading because it includes people like me who signed up for the course and did a couple of lessons but didn't actually pursue it when we found out that it lacked full audio. I'm basically waiting on full audio before I actually start learning the languages that don't have full audio. I'm hoping some day it'll arrive.
Overall I think the number of people signed up for these courses says very little.
I'd be much more interested in, say, the number of people who have kept 10% or more of a course fully practiced. I think that would be a much more meaningful measure.
I suspect by this measure, Hebrew and the other languages lacking full audio (e.g. Vietnamese and Swahili) would have miserably low numbers relative to languages that have full audio.
All of the course numbers are misleading in this respect. I don't think anyone has claimed otherwise. There's a huge disparity between "started a tree" and "stuck with a tree", never mind "completed a tree", even in the most popular and accessible languages Duolingo offers.
People are allowed to be excited that the course has such a huge intake of people interested in it, especially as one of Duolingo's stated goals at the moment is increasing its userbase. I certainly didn't claim otherwise.
Hebrew will probably never have full audio - as has been explained many times, they had to use voice actors (because TTS for Hebrew is absolutely dreadful), and as such, time and budget constraints mean that the audio is only on sentences, and that some sentences don't have audio. The team tried to work with Duolingo to find ways round this, but it hasn't happened. They have released a Memrise course which fills in the gaps rather well. It's not ideal, but they've done what they can. The course has a very steep learning curve (especially if one does not use the Memrise course), but it's still a very good course (especially for free!) if one is willing to do the work.
It would be great if the course had full audio, I personally would love it to, but on the plus side, it's a very good course, the team have supplemented where they are able, and the audio may not be complete but it's very clear. Only Esperanto (also a voice actor) has better audio, IMO, and the Hebrew tree is one of the best of the 8 I've completed.
This can help you. :)
Woo Hoo! So happy it finally appeared. I first joined Duolingo because I wanted to take the Japanese course, and so I've been waiting (and waiting) for it to come out, and immediately jumped on it when it finally arrived. Clearly, I wasn't the only one eagerly awaiting that course!
Japanese is a very popular language so I was expecting this. I wonder how many will finish. I have done various languages only to move on to something else. But either way it's nice to see so many at least take an interest in it.