Something Like Home — a short documentary about refugees using Duolingo
Duolingo’s mission is to make education free and accessible to all – and that’s firmly rooted in the belief that where you’re born should not impact your ability to learn.
Over the years, we've received thousands of emails from people sharing how learning a new language has impacted their lives. But some stories we receive are so powerful that they stop us in our tracks. These are stories of survival and perseverance, and ultimately, triumph.
We knew these stories existed. We knew they were important. And we knew we had to share them. This is why we made "Something Like Home," a short documentary about the impact of language on the lives of four refugees. We were inspired by their stories and hope you will be, too.
Watch the movie here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcX6i2qp6w0
I was so happy when I read the top comment on youtube and it was someone asking when(*) would an Arabic course be available on Duolingo so that we too can communicate with the refugees <3 ..
(*)Hopefully Soon ;)
You can also communicate in Arabic with Egyptian Christians (internal refugees, second class citizens, harassed or killed on a daily basis, although they are the native population). Watch these movies and practice Arabic with English subtitles! https://rtd.rt.com/films/the-way-of-the-cross-copts/
عظيم أن نعرف!! LONG LIVE THE COPTS! (and all good hearted people)!! It's great to know that!
I've met a few Copts myself: WONDERFUL PEOPLE!! Most MID EAST countries are very interesting. Food and music is great! Hope there's more stability and peace. I like to help some groups focusing on these minorities. تحيات وأطيب التمنيات!
I imagined that, ha ha!! Of course I do, I like Kazakhstan, Lebanon and Syria too! I know more Muslims than you think. I like many things from many places Amgad. BTW, it's great some places like Aleppo, Palmyra or Latakia have been saved from destruction. People's lives are improving again, some locals told me!: Houses & monuments rebuilt, children back to school, more freedom and PEACE in a secular state.
Many Copts have migrated outside Egypt but often they are also discriminated to escape! They are second class citizens living in fear.
They can't even play in the first football league due to DISCRIMINATION
There already is an international standard, ISO 8601 specifies that international dates should be written yyyy-mm-dd. This standard is often used internally as interchange format in computer software.
Problem is that ISO 8601 is rarely used for standard human communication due to the inertia of existing systems.
A lot of times I'll be online looking at dates and wonder whether the first number I see is the day or the month. If there is only one date and one of the numbers isn't higher than 12, it's hard to know unless I know what country the writer is from. I'm fine with either the yyyy/mm/dd or the dd/mm/yyyy, but putting a unit that is neither the smallest nor the biggest first is just not logical. Though I'll still say "October 1st" because "1st October" sounds awkward in English and "the first of October" is a bit wordy. Somehow it feels more logical when it's written Oct. 1 vs. 10/1. My brain wants to say January 10th for the latter for some reason. Anything related to numbers confuses me.
I have met a lot of refugees who try to learn a foreign language and especially English to communicate with the State services, the UN services, even to buy staff from the market. I recommended Duolingo, as it is the easiest and free application that they can use. Some of them had showed extremely devotion to this task. And it is a service that many refugees demand. On the way to Europe in a camp, under bad weather conditions, Duolingo is a company, if they have a wifi connection. I propose Duolingo offers them a free Plus subscriptionthrough UNHCR services , as a lot of them are out a wifi connection. It is not impossible to have this option, since UNHCR has registered their data. From Greece to the refugees with love <3 Thanks Duolingo!
I would suggest also making subscriptions free through One Laptop Per Child and Sugar Labs, which currently offer software in more than 100 languages, some completely localized, others in development. Anybody who knows English, French, or Spanish plus any of the others can contribute. You can contact me for further details.
This documentary really touched me. I spent several months in Istanbul in 2012 and 2013. I met many Syrians beginning with an in-person Turkish class we were taking and who were always so polite, and so eager to make friends. I also saw many children. So many children on the street with so very little. It really made me grateful for the little I have though that was cold comfort in not being able to help as much as I would like. The need is so great.
Now I am taking a [Euro] Portuguese class and most of the students with me are Venezuelans. Today was graduation day for the semester.
I am afraid the world will always need to learn more languages.
Thank you for all you do to help make that happen (including getting this great film out for others to see and understand too).
Very interesting. Hope there's more focus on forgotten politically incorrect refugees like Pakistani Christians in Thailand (there are many children on the street with so very little, apart from fear). https://www.worldwatchmonitor.org/2016/03/christians-fleeing-pakistan-are-stuck-in-thailand/
Or prisoners of conscience, facing the death penalty, hardly ever mentioned in the MSM
https://www.christianfreedom.org/free-asia-bibi/ http://www.pakistanchristianpost.com/detail.php?hnewsid=6846 Thank you Duolinguists, hope you create an App to teach Thai to those migrants too!
We can show a documentary about them in all duolingo languages!! I'm afraid the world will always need to learn the language of unbiased truth
Thank you for making this a sticky and easy to find. When this movie thing first popped up to watch after I finished a french lesson I assumed it was some sort of ad and got kind of annoyed as a plus subscriber and was all set to complain. But now I'm intrigued! (but maybe adding something to the popup graphic indicating that this is actual Duolingo content might help. ;) )
It's a fantastic charity that we're able to help those in need, especially in times of war.
However, like all decisions that effect many people on a large scale, we need to be very careful about managing the heavy responsibility of extending asylum and opening our arms to newcomers.
although the following is a situation that some will not want to face or acknowledge (a "trigger warning", if you will), this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qm5SYxRXHsI&t=0s&list=WL&index=86), shows the darker implications of what happens when prudence is not given to the management of this process.
Note: I'm not vehemently opposed to the concept of granting asylum to foreign peoples itself; rather, i believe it requires great deal of caution to be sure that the ones granting it are not damaged in the process.
Asylees are guests, and as such, it's important that they bear certain and basic responsibilities, such as learning their host nation's language and live in harmony with the host nation's people, culture, etc
Thank you Helen for picking up that this was a question about the use of words.
Right on track for the purposes of Duolingo, and keeping this discussion on the appropriate subject matter for Duolingo, being that of learning language.
Not to use this discussion to hop on their hobby horse to discuss issues of refugees, and comparing which religion in the right one, and to discredit others.
It is appreciated when we can choose to keep this discussion on appropriate Duolingo matters, especially of language learning, and within our guidelines , especially the clause about being respectful to all other individuals and ALSO groups.
Again, thank you.
One can appropriately discuss language and religion together to some extent. Some religions are fixated on scriptures in one language only. Christianity, unusually, has three, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Europe fought the Thirty Years War over this and other issues. On the other hand, some Christians have translated parts of their scriptures into more than 2,000 other languages. Buddhism teaches that people must be taught in their own language. Not all Buddhists observe this teaching, but such sad facts are much of the history of many religions.
I vote for adding Duolingo courses in Coptic, Pali, Aramaic, Sanskrit, and some other scriptural languages. I am not fluent in any of them, but I know people who are, and I know where to find texts and textbooks.
It's available to everyone with a smartphone (or computer) and an Internet connection.
Some refugees used to be middle class before their neighborhoods got bombed, and when they fled they brought their smartphones with them. I heard that a lot of people even used WhatsApp during the trip to Europe to stay in touch with family.
I AGREE 100%!
LOOK AT THE FORGOTTEN AND POLITICALLY INCORRECT PERSECUTION OF PAKISTANI CHRISTIANS IN THAILAND!
WOW, it must be a coincidence this is never mentioned! Thousands of people helpless (they don't often have smartphones when they arrive to other countries after some relatives were killed in their homecountries; actually they often live in terror and misery as 'INFIDELS').
Don't forget many minorities from different groups are also being BUTCHERED in South Africa;
Could we follow anyone from the video? Are there any Christians from Syria around on Duolingo? I would especially support them, along with everyone who needs help.
I agree with the comment on YouTube about basic practical words people need to communicate, such as where is the bathroom, may I have water, I need a place to sleep, directions, name etc..
Christianity is in 11.2% of the population, but religion doesn't matter when lives are being saved either way. :)
I have heard the Christians are discriminated against and kept out of the refugee camps. I agree all the refugees need help, but if they can't tolerate Christians in the refugee camps how will they tolerate them in a Christian country? I really think we should make an effort to help the minorities in those countries because the minorities will become more minoritized in a war that takes lives.
All lives are valuable minority or majority and I hate human suffering whether Muslim, Christian, atheist or whatever.
That sounds horrible. I'm not Christian, but they're as deserving of seeking refugee status as someone from any other religion. I can agree with you in the case of making bigger efforts to help the minorities.
Saving lives is always wonderful, but turning a blind eye when certain minorities are being killed is unfair. Equal treatment for all. Let's make a multilingual documentary about the Yazidi Genocide and their current plight! (It can include accurate statistics and interviews to the survivors as well).
We can also donate to Yazidi charities too. Is it spam to tell the TRUTH (that some people don't want to hear, and want to censor unfairly)? How totalitarian!
BTW, read about the concept of 'Pensée unique'= unique thought
(It's very anti democratic, orwellian and dystopian).
PS.I don't think your statistics are very reliable! Sounds like a hotchpotch. Tell those who are discriminated because of membership to a certain religion or group of people that religion doesn't matter!
My stats are actually completely accurate. If you can prove them wrong, go off. And you can oppose my opinion without attacking it, just pointing it out.
Don't confuse your wishes with reality!
Your sources are still unknown, we are still wondering where that accurate '11.2 %' comes from!? :)
Best wishes to everybody!
سب کے لئے بہترین خواہشات!
Have you checked out here ?
I also hope that others have responded to your comment here, have read this, and where appropriate, will act in their own wisdom to this issue, and in regard and respect to this Duolingo community, and especially to worth and respect of themselves in their own eyes as well.
I look forward to response :)
Wishing you all the best with your language learning.
I went to the American High School in Brussels. Very few of my fellow American students made much of an effort to learn French and to make Belgian friends. We were not even required to take French classes! Fortunately I had wonderful parents who pushed me out the door to participate in music lessons and equestrian activities. I had to learn French in order to learn anything else! After 3 years of "immersion" I was almost fully fluent, and had made so many good friends. I cried all the way back to the United States! Fast forward many many years and my mother and sister and I are all on Duolingo learning Spanish together, and in the same Club. Other family members are learning German, Japanese and more. It's a little competition that brings us close together and reminds us of our early years in other countries, where we first learned the pleasure of communicating in other languages...
It was worth stopping my comfortable life and watched this documentary. The news sometimes make me helpless or even numb because you cannot do anything about it but those interviewees have enlightened me. I hope more and more people have chance to improve their lives. With or without 'home', I hope everyone can at least have sanctuary in his heart.
I am very proud of being a part of Duolingo community! Thank you for sharing this meaningful documentary!
Ok, so if you want to have this discussion, let's have it.
How come that about 90% of those refugees coming to Europe are men between 20-40?
And why do those refugees flee to Europe when there are safe countries closer to where they come from?
Finally, how do poor refugees have the means to come to Europe?
Thanks duolingo for letting us learn for free a variety of languages! Thanks also for respecting free speech in this discussion/ comment section:
Other sites such as Youtube make unbelievably anti-democratic 'censoring' tricks to hide ‘politically incorrect’ comments they don’t like- even if they don’t incite any kind of illegal/ violent action! In connection with this documentary, those who want to practice several languages and also help persecuted Christians, refugees & other people in need rarely mentioned can do so in this multilingual site:
You have different versions in Spanish, Portuguese, French, Chinese, Korean, German, Italian, Swedish, Afrikaans…
There’s a section to send support letters to Christian refugees/ persecuted individuals in their own language!
They have to take a lot of security measures to deliver those letters, due to the high level of fanaticism of some extremist thugs often idealized by fake SJW$ in the West! This webpage,
http://solidarite-kosovo.org/ is to help the native population of Kosovo, Christian Serbs who have been outnumbered by mass migration and questionable imperialistic Nato bombings to put an illegal puppet government. Many of their Unesco Sites: Churches, monasteries have been vandalized by yihadi-style extremists: another culture and language at risk! You can see youtube videos of those Taliban-style attacks to architectural treasures silenced in the West by cowards and traitors! Please help save ‘em and their heritage! Remember that there are always two sides to every story. That site is in French, but they plan to make it multilingual: you can help! Let’s keep diversity, human rights and freedom worldwide!
PS: I’ve recently read this interesting article
Apart from terrible cases against young women and girls such as the sectarian CHIBOK KIDNAPPINGS in Nigeria, thousands of girls are routinely raped, kidnapped, forced into marriage or conversion! Their families are HELPLESS, forgotten and suffer a lot.
In Egypt, Christians aren’t even allowed to play football in the first division!
Let’s help them! Let’s avoid that these situations are brought to other countries such as OURS through deceit, propaganda and do-goodism!
Thank you. This is really moving. Duolingo makes so much difference when you live abroad (at least if there's a course for the local language available). It would have changed my life, I think, if it had been around when I first moved abroad... A foreign language is incredibly stressful to deal with when you are already dealing with trauma, and when you don't have money for classes. My own experience is nothing compared to that of the refugees in question, but I can empathize keenly.
Duolingo is important even when it doesn't have a course for the local language.
There is almost always someone in a local community who speaks a national language, or French in the Francophonie and so on.
Also, If you have made it to a golden tree (or even halfway) in any language on Duolingo, you know a lot about how to teach yourself any other language.
Although I am an atheist and I really despise how religion expands our capacity for hatred and violence, I sincerely hope that we all learn the true Arabic or the Islamic culture. Because respect, compassion, or reconciliation are always the only way to solve the problems. What doesn't help at all is that mainstream media has tried too hard to selectively report sporadic violent acts of a certain groups and depict the whole middle eastern area as chaotic swamp that breeds violence. It feeds into the ignorance and stupidity of the mass.
The Muslims I know are all extremely friendly, helpful and well meaning. You can sense that there's not an ounce of evil in them. despite the media's desperate attempt to paint them as some kind of cartoon villain, they are just humans. Some lazier than others and some are more talented than the rest. Just like us.
Yeah. at some point we all need to learn Arabic in order to communicate with our friends who unfortunately live in the most war-torn part of the world.
I think the refugee debate can be solved by these guide lines. Does the refugees coming into a country effect the native people in any way? Does it effect them for better or for worse? Will any natives feel threatened or uncomfortable because of them? ( i live in the US and i can say that i have felt very uncomfortable and slightly threatened for the people with me as well as myself) Will these refugees take away native jobs? will they impact the economy for better or for worse? Will the native females ever be made to feel threatened? will these refugees assimilate and adopt native ways and customs or will they cling to there own and make it difficult or inconvenient for the natives?
In my opinion the native people must be put first. They are the people who should be the first priority, not the refugees. After the natives are satisfied then, and only then is it time to look to the refugees, and accept them. The natives come first thats the bottom line
So what tribe do you affiliate with then?
Cause the natives in the US were put on reservations and made to feel very uncomfortable and threatened, and had many atrocities visited upon them by the ancestors of those claiming to be "Americans" now.
The natives still are being persecuted, isolated, threatened and let's not even get into their job prospects.
Maybe everyone who is not part of an actual tribe should go back to where they came from, even if they were born within the borders of the country they are now in.
Who really "belongs" anywhere? We are humans on this earth and these artificial divisions that are made by the "leaders" (many elected by the west) and corporate greed are responsible for these migrations. In fact, that's what we should all be learning. How greed causes need, and why US taxpayers are subsidizing corporate GMO corn that is driving farmers out of business in the other Americas so they have no economic choice but to come pick your food that you happily pay too little for.
We need to see what we have in common, not how we are different. How would you want to be received if you lost everything?
The honest truth is that very few people leave with little else but the clothes on their backs to go someplace that is not familiar at all and where they do not know the language and the "natives" are hostile to them, without they have a good reason. The [True] Native Americans have a saying, "Walk two moons..." which means live the life of the other for two months before passing judgement.
As for feeling uncomfortable, that is a choice you make. Others are not responsible for your feelings.
Anyway, looking forward to seeing you at the next powwow!
You can show us your native ways and customs. :)
The lessons are one thing. And they are of great value.
Also I am impressed by what they are doing with https://www.duolingo.com/labs
From stories and podcasts, to supporting people hosting language learning events.
Yes these are still limited in which languages they cover for stories and podcasts, as they are in development, however, I consider they have immense value.
Then there is tinycards
Yet the icing for me, is the halls of these very discussion forums. Where you can ask a language question, and people post wonderful and different explanations for grammar and language issues.
While there may be rule that they may at times refer to, it is the different explanations, the different patterns of talk to explain them, that are more beneficial for some learners. Including the different depths of explanations.
Also those that reference these explanations, assisting others in locating them. I also like the suggested additional articles you can read about in the "Related Articles" list that pops up, as it can assist in serendipitous learning.
And then there contents of all courses. The meat of the courses. That are continually being updated, and the interface is continually being developed to find appropriate and better solutions to become an effective language learning asset. In collaboration with the small team of a bit over 100 staff, and 100's of volunteers who contribute their skills, resources and time to strive towards quality education.
So I also want to acknowledge and thank the entire community out there who through choosing how they interact , are a key part of the success and diversity of why such a small team are able to create resources for well over 90 courses.
( please bear in mind this is IMO, not seeking to be a representative of the organization )
Immigration is an interesting debate. Should they be allowed to do it?
I'd say it lies in two arguments:
The first is, that it is illegal and it damages nations. This is true. Sweden's rape rate has grown, America's drug total in the southwest has grown, and it costs billions of dollars to keep them here. It becomes burdensome to natives, and it can even wipe out native culture, like what may happen in Germany in coming decades. Crime rates are also increased by them, typically in Europe as bombers.
The second is, that these are humans, just like the rest of us. They are entitled to life and liberty as much as us, and when that isn't possible, they should flee, which makes them refugees. Everyone deserves to be free, happy, and safe, but that isn't the case for them.
SO, the debate can't be clearly settled. Legal processes take a long time, and they need quick action.
The debate clearly lies within this question:
"Is the safety of refugees worth the effects it has on a native society?"
As a German I don´t see how refugees coming to Germany are wipe out the German native culture in the next coming decades. That's just an argument to scare people. Most Germans are not the tiniest bit affected by refugees. Just politicians and media are giving the impression, that everything is changing and therefore people are more scared. The "native Germans" still outnumber migrants by many millions and honestly many "native Germans" behave in ways that I am ashamed of and that is not the refugees fault.
Population demographics can actually shift surprisingly fast. This is especially the case when the native population has a low birthrate and the foreign population has a high one. It isn't always that the foreign population is CHANGING the local one, it is that they outbreed them and retain their own original culture. If those immigrants became a significant minority or even majority, they drastically alter the overall cultural pie chart of the country, without needing to change any natives minds. Some people view this worse than others, but mass immigration CAN have an effect.
Your point only underlines how vital immigration is for the survival of most first world countries. What good is a culture if it is on a path of self-extinction due to a constantly reducing population size?
Throughout history, different cultures have mixed many, many times. Peoples left their home regions due to famine, war and suppression, just as they do now, always looking for a better life, mostly for their children. That’s why, genetically speaking, we are all mongrels with DNA from many different regions of the world, and that’s most likely why your forefathers ended up where they did and you are where you are today instead of in a village in Syria.
Unelected childless EU bureaucrats are essentially forcing the ethnic cleansing of European countries through demographic replacement. They are forcing Europeans to accept people from hostile and ideologically incompatible cultures with explosive birth rates.
Europe is taking in massive numbers of Muslim refugees even though there are plenty of Muslim countries that have the money, means, and land to take them where they can happily integrate into a like-minded culture. I say this as someone who is 1/2 Norman & 1/2 Persian with family that escaped an Islamic country so I am well aware that the primary motive for sending the refugees to Europe instead of Muslim countries is to expand Islam through conquest. PC is the Trojan Horse enabling this conquest attempt.
So it comes down to whether you think it's morally correct to ethnically cleanse Europe through demographic replacement. If you swap out a country's culture, language, religion and people are they still the same country, or simply conquered? I think it's profoundly evil to impose this fate on Europe (It's also a betrayal to all legal immigrants who came to the West to escape Islam). Ethnic cleansing by any means is not morally virtuous and no amount of glorification will ever make it right or okay.
In the video, Saudi Arabia wouldn't take Noor because she was of Iraqi descent. It is sad that Muslim world will not take the responsibility for fellow believers and instead hoists them all onto the Christians. Why not help your fellow man?
Perhaps Turkey is the exception? Noor said it was like home. I think she is safer there than further into Europe because of the far right. Some of them want to kill immigrants.
hi! I'm from Iran and my native language is Persian. I just know English in a level to be able to make conversations in English speaking countries but not academic and grammatically and that's my main problem. it's hard for me to learn other languages in English. I hope to see Persian language on Duolingo soon. thanks.
People are beggining to get off topic. Everyone remember that this is about Duolingo's acceptance to humanity, whether they are right or wrong of have made right or wrong choices. I honestly am just waiting for time to watch the film, I've seen the amazing trailer though... xx
With all of the different dialects of Arabic, it will be very interesting to see how Duolingo will implement a simple 1-tree Arabic course. It seems too complicated to treat it as one language, as the dialects vastly differ from one another. Although, I am told that Modern Standard Arabic and Egyptian Arabic are the two most "important" ones. Well, I guess we will have to wait for the course to be released!
Is anyone else wondering if Duolingo might in the future, since they teach languages, include teaching people about how to use paragraph breaks instead of just posting dozens of sentences all jammed together?
Might Duolingo also start teaching people that (at least in English, maybe in some other languages too) using all caps (FOR EXAMPLE), when it's not for a specific acronym, looks like childish screaming?
Wow! I just got done watching this and it actually brought tears to my eye. I thought it was really cool when it showed us how there was the refugee camp encouraging the people living there to learn other languages with certificates and award ceremonies. I also loved how some of the interviewees talked about their jobs, which showed how amazing they already were, and how now they can use their skills in other places to bring part of their own culture or to find out new ways to use it. Overall a very inspiring documentary about language. Thanks to all who worked on this!
As a Syrian I can definitely confirm. Language is a weapon and a tool that can open up doors and limitless opportunities. I may not be able to travel now to learn, work and communicate in the language that I know and learning but I believe the future will be better and it won't always be like that. Thank you Duolingo and everyone who provides free education.
Honestly people, let's stick to topic here, okay? Duolingo is about living and learning and loving and accepting, and if you can't respect that then GO. Okay, so remember that people and if you can't and just want to start arguments with others then why bother? Anyways well done to the people who can stay on topic especially the ones with inspiring comments. @Luis, I am going to watch the documentary today so yeah! Anyways if you guys need to reply to me, refer to me as @MissSassyMimi
Saw this about a week ago, I actually liked it. Although in a small way it could be considered an ad for duolingo, it mostly keeps the narrative with the people interviewed and their desire, no, need to learn a new languague due to circumstances out of their control. Sağol, Duo, for help in keeping a human face to refugees everywhere!
100% agree! I pity these black christians savagely killed too!
15 Muslim migrants allegedly threw 12 Christians overboard
Fanaticism is crusty and miserable!
Muslims throw Christians overboard in religious clash on migrant boat in Mediterranean sea
PS: look at a BRAVE BLACK MAN giving a racist Antifa a schooling at Manchester march
Did you hear about that Muslim woman who was recently severely beat and raped by two Belgium men? It sounds like you're categorising the Muslims and as a Muslim, I take that to heart.
It is hard not to consider that Duo is clearly discriminate against language such as Persian(Farsi). Duo let to set up course for languages spoken by only One country such as Nedelands/ Swedish/Norwegian/Danish/Chinese/Japanese and so on, But Persian is an official language of Three countries like Iran/Tajikistan and Afghanistan. I have applied for the Persian course three times, but it gets nowhere.! Shame.