Guarani (Jopará) has no more contributors...
2 years ago, a Guarani course for Spanish speakers was started. The course has been released into Beta, but now, with the absence of contributors, it is unlikely to ever come out of beta.
A moment of silence please, for the course teaching this beautiful language...
Actually, I view the lack of contributors as something of a positive. The team they had basically dropped the ball as soon as the course came out of beta. But that fact isn't inherently obvious to the Duolingo team in Pittsburgh; they're probably not reading the discussions in the Guaraní course too often. Having no one in the incubator is at least marginally more noticeable. Maybe they'll actually take a look in the contributor application database one of these days and see if they can find someone.
I think it's more ad hoc; I assume that's somewhat inherent to the nature of Jopará. Obviously it makes more sense to have Spanish for Ministerio de Defensa (although there certainly is a Guaraní name for that, too) than it does for pan or leer, but I certainly assume there are plenty of people, perhaps mostly in Asunción, who say pan and lee.
Yes, I believe it could be turned into a purer form of Guaraní (and that such a thing would be desirable, perhaps with just a couple Jopará-focused skills). However, as I understand it, changes to target language vocabulary (as opposed to sentences) are only possible with a new tree version, which is only a possibility after exiting beta. (Such things account for misspelled words hanging around the Ukrainian course for over two years already.) So it's obviously a long-term prospect. For now the tree doesn't even accept standard Guaraní as a translation from Spanish when the course taught a Jopará word for a concept, but I can guarantee that those translations are in the system waiting to be added in many instances, if only because I submitted lots of them.
That is sad to hear, I was hoping for pronunciation to be added :(
It might be a general problem with Peace Corp courses.
Once their 'tour of duty' is up, they are going to have big life changes: country, job, university, etc. They might see the course as belonging to a past stage of their life, rather than as part of some ongoing life commitment. [OK, I am making a lot of assumptions here. My only other reference is Ukrainian. Also I know nothing of the personal histories of those involved]
Counter example: Swahili seems to have made a successful transition - the volunteer has left, but it still has two contributors (who appear to be staff).
The person who produced the vast bulk of the Guaraní tree was a Peace Corps contracter. She actually hasn't been listed in the incubator for months already. I assume the problem with the Peace Corps courses is a bit different than the one you mention: they pay people to build them but not necessarily to maintain them (where by "maintain" I really mean "actually finish the job" so that people who don't want to have to enter completely awful English in the Swahili course or Paraguay-only Spanish in the Guaraní course can do them and not have correct answers rejected every fourth sentence because obvious, basic alternatives are missing).
Yeah, perhaps my original description of Swahil wasn't very good. This is my understanding:
The female contributor has pretty much always been there, as far as I can remember. She appears to be staff.
The original male contributor, who was a volunteer, seems to have left.
There is a new male contributor, who appears to be staff. Not sure how long he has been there.
I don't know about payments. Staff would have a regular salary I assume. However, I thought the PCVs would be unpaid, except for living expenses. Sort of thing you might do as a gap year before (or after) university. I am a Brit, so my knowledge relates to the VSO (Voluntary Service Organisation), and I am assuming it works the same.
Edit: Just seen that the new Swahili contributor has contributed 41%, so I now assume he must have been there a while. Also, didn't realise one of the Guarani contributors was a staff member! Doubly weird it has been abandoned.
Edit: Plus the main Guarani contributor (Letizan) has a green ring - so I assume they has been active in the forums. Perhaps the problem with Guarani is still related to the new contracts. I don't remember if the contributors ever reappeared after that.
Edit: Doh! Got confused - orange/gold ring means active (not green).
The two Swahili contributors there have been there I think pretty much from the beginning. You can see them both mentioned in the Incubator update titled, "Hamjambo wote?" from two years ago (maybe closer to 3, the way Duo counts time on posts), from when they were first starting.
I think the problem there is that, while they are Peace Corps staff, working on the Duolingo course is hardly their first job responsibility. Of course, technical limitations of Tanzanian internet also complicate matters.
Over 90% of the Guarani course was made by two people, one a contractor for Peace Corps (there was an interview with her in I think a Peruvian newspaper shortly after the course came out) and the other whose profile says "Working for Duolingo!" However, he hasn't actually been in the Incubator as far as I remember in my entire time paying attention, which is over a year. And it sure seems that the tree has remained pretty much unchanged from when it was released (barring the unfortunate relative recent disappearance of the audio and the efforts of a couple of very helpful Guaraní speakers to provide the explanations otherwise so sorely lacking). I'm pretty sure I've read every discussion in the course, at least as it existed for its first 6-8 months and never saw a single post from a contributor. I do think it was at the time of the new contracts that the two remaining contributors disappeared. However, I don't think they had ever done much if anything, so I'm not surprised they would be uninterested in the new paperwork.
That's actually why I have a certain hopefulness about the Incubator having no contributors. If there are contributors, I think Duolingo leaves it up to them to select further contributors. Obviously, they weren't doing so. With nobody in there, perhaps someone at Duolingo will eventually get around to looking at existing applications and seeing if anyone might be willing to re-animate the thing.
I really hope that they’re able to find some people, as difficult as it might be. I started the course, but I found it really difficult without any audio. For some reason, hearing seems to be a crucial component in my learning process. I’d love to see the course developed to its full potential.