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  5. We have been busy Planning an…


We have been busy Planning and Scheming...

Hello all! Conas atá sibh!

We do apologise for the recent silence from the Irish team. For the past few weeks we have been regrouping and reviewing our strategies.

We have recently restarted the second course, Tree 2, and plan to release it next summer. This time we are determined to finish the course because it will be very different, and we are excited to have a much improved course available to you!

Our new course will firmly focus on conversation and shift from our former grammar based approach. We are much more interested in getting you talking than making you practise grammar! The focus this time will be on impactful and relevant language to set you up for real everyday conversations as soon as possible.

Our more practical approach is best summed up in a new skill—Asking for Help—which will appear very early on in the new Tree. This will help you ask what a word means, or how to say something, and should help you take your basic skills even further with other speakers.

We hope you are excited for a new course, and we are all working hard to get it finished as soon as possible.

More to come soon. Watch this space.

From Noah, the most recent member of the Duolingo Irish Team (Foireann na Gaeilge, Duolingo).

September 5, 2018



More to come soon. Watch this space.

Have you considered regularly updating the Irish course’s Incubator page, as an appropriate space to watch for more to come? (The Irish team’s recent silence has lasted for fifteen months there.)

EDIT: This discussion is a copy of the most recent update there.


Thanks for the feedback. This update was also posted to the Incubator at the same time to maximise its reach, and we'll continue to use both—especially if that's what the community wants.

  • 1695

I'm happy to see some activity once more.

It's something a lot of people have been waiting for.

Also nice to see that incubator posts are now also shared in the forums. The reach before was quite poor, so this will help a lot.

Maybe see if you can make this post pinned to the top in the forums though. That way it'll gather even more reach.


This is so great news!! Go raibh maith agaibh!! I will be waiting for the new tree (im)patiently. ;-)))


This sounds like very good news. It should be very helpful. I can't wait. Thank you to everyone working on it.


Our new course will firmly focus on conversation and shift from our former grammar based approach. We are much more interested in getting you talking than making you practise grammar! The focus this time will be on impactful and relevant language to set you up for real everyday conversations as soon as possible.

I'm sure the Irish learners are glad that there is going to be an updated tree, but please don't turn it into a phrasebook. Phrasebooks only turn you into a parrot, regurgitating everything that is "taught".

You will never be truly fluent if you turn into a parrot.


Agreed. Irish grammar can be tricky, and the Eclipsis and Lenition make it more challenging. There almost needs to be a true "Phase 2", where you build upon what is already in place. Either integrate the new content into the existing lessons to help reinforce the concepts, or add an all new Conversation section. I'm excited to see what is coming, for sure. I'm just worried that what we have now will go away, and as you put it, I don't want to be a parrot


Of course. I wanted to give a quick update and so I didn't go into much—or maybe enough—detail, but rest assured you will still fully understand all of the language and structures that you are taught. The emphasis here is on a shift of focus, not that we are neglecting anything.


Awesome. I've found that the downfall to so many other learning structures (typically audio/book combos) teach "conversation", however they are limited to the specific dialog depicted in the character interaction. The learner isn't taught how to build their own thoughts into sentences. Duolingo does an excellent job of this as it is structured today, and I'd hate to see that go away.

Being able to apply what we've learned using the existing tree in a conversational structure that can be quickly applied will be great!



Thank you for explaining to me what is going on here. I was just very worried that you were neglecting grammar and how Duolingo teaches languages.



That's what I was worrying about. Duolingo is unique in the way it teaches languages because it is very similar in the way we learn our native languages (we start off with very simple words and build on that with more difficult words and then sentences). So, turning Duolingo into a boring, old, and useless phrasebook would kill my love for the site.

Phase 2 needs to be included in the new tree. :)


Thanks so much that helps a lot!!


Maith thu, a chara! Very excited to hear Tree 2.0 is on the move again. I'm wild about Irish and someday I'm going to be able hold intelligent (or at least intelligible) conversations as Gaelige.

This young man gave a TED talk about the beauty of the Irish language in Berkeley this year. (I think he used to play Jeaic in the Aifric series). Very much oriented to the international community and possibly cringe-worthy for people who speak Irish everyday. But I liked it. Áilleacht na Gaeilge, the beauty of the Irish language, is what has lured me on through 100's of hours of learning. Gutsy of him to give the "Lament of the Three Marys" a go.

For learning the basics of Irish, I haven't found anything even remotely close to Duolingo. A terrific resource. Can't wait for the new, improved version.


Gura míle, a Heather. Dónall may have tailored his talk to an international audience, but his message is true and I'm impressed that he told it so compellingly.


This young man gave a TED talk about the beauty of the Irish language.

Go raibh maith agat, a Heather. Bhí sé sin go hálainn!


Tá sé sin go hiontach! That's wonderful!

I've been learning Gaeilge for about two months, /ever since I discovered Duo/ and thoroughly enjoying every single lesson here.

I've seen that some of the older Duo trees already have their expanded/improved versions 2.0 or even higher, so I've been hoping for the new version of the Irish course too, my absolutely FAVOURITE Duo tree... And now I'm simply thrilled and delighted to read the news :]

Ag foghlaim Gaeilge an caitheamh aimsire atá agam. Is aoibheann liom an teanga seo!

Ok, I confess that I've learned those particular sentences outside of Duo, and they're a wee bit more difficult than my current beginner level of lessons here, but:

a] it is this Duo course which encourages me to slowly and shyly search for some other Irish resources in the wilderness of the Internet, and

b] those two sentences still describe my enthusiastic attitude towards not only Irish language in general, but towards this Duo course in particular :]

And I enjoy all of it: not just the tree itself and every lightbulb of 'tips and notes' which help me to understand a little bit more, but I also love this forum. The discussions between beginners and some more experienced learners/contributors, written under almost every single 'sentence excercise' here are invaluable. I even genuinely enjoy the /apparently controversial for some users/, human voice in the recordings. I think the timbre of that lady's voice is truly beautiful and I honestly prefer it to every computer generated voice in other language courses here on Duo. It adds so much authentic, believable emotions to the enchanting rhytm and melody of the language itself - it actually helps me to understand /or rather feel/ what is being said even before I read the translation sometimes...

In short - I'm delighted with the Irish course, I'm all eager to learn more and I just can't wait for the new tree :] I hope that that by the time it's released I will have learned all the lessons of the current version of the course.

Thank you so much for all your hard work here and for the great news :]

Go raibh maith agaibh agus go n-éirí libh !


I just came across an old post that pointed out that there is an error at the bottom of the Tips & Notes for the Prepositions 1 Skill.

Teastaíonn seacláid uaimid "We want/need chocolate"

should read

Teastaíonn seacláid uainn "We want/need chocolate"


Great news!

Slightly alarmed by this focus on "everyday conversation"... It's just that each time I've been promised "relevant everyday conversation" in Irish classes, the result was anything but relevant.

Like booking train tickets in Irish...Constantly being asked about : What I did at the weekend. my hobbies...

Too "practical" and "useful" (for who?) and no conversation "fillers" which are absolutely essential for me as a beginner, to give me time to process things...

And not enough focus on the learner practising asking questions to the Irish speaker so that you are not constantly on the receiving end from his/her questions in real life...

So I ended up preferring the random element of Duolingo sentences.

However, asking for help feature sounds good!

Looking forward to what the Irish team has concocted together !

Best wishes.

[deactivated user]

    I am also a little alarmed by the switch to conversation over grammar. I don't want to memorize phrases, I want to learn to construct my own phrases. Don't ruin a good thing Irish team!


    You should read my comment thread at the top. I think that should ease your mind (as it did mine because I had the same worry).


    I'm really impatient to wait! I don't mind whatever people say, I like Irish really much! Please just be quick as much as you can. So… All the best!


    Glad to hear this is coming back. I recently spent 16 days in Ireland and visited 2 Gaeltacht and... wow the "audio" from here did not prepare me for their accents :) Inis Mór was particularly memorable. Gotta find a way to go spend more time there to learn!


    Hmm... thanks a million for more stuff and all, ...but, where exactly are all these 'everyday conversations' expected to take place?

    I'm Irish and live in Ireland just over 50% of my time these days but I virtually never get any opportunity to speak it there, it just doesn't work like that. I don't live in an Irish speaking area, and when I go to one for work or such it just wouldn't be 'right' to attempt to speak. I need the emphasis to be on grammar to be able to read and follow tv and radio. I don't expect to ever open my mouth in Irish. There are local Irish conversation groups in most villages and towns now that meet occasionally so it might be some use there I suppose.

    I suspect more Irish is spoken outside of Ireland now in bars and diaspora clubs, so I think it'd be useful for those people.

    Will I have to re-do my tree all over again like after the last update? If that happens it'll be so soul destroying I'll definitely call it a day, I don't want to go through that level of upheaval again.

    So I don't know how to think about this really.


    There's a lot more Irish spoken in Ireland than in foreign bars and "diaspora clubs", but if there isn't anyone in your social circle that you can speak Irish with, you need to expand your social circle, and it is far, far easier for someone in Ireland to do that - that's where those ciorcail comhráite come in.

    More grammar won't really help you much when it comes to following TV and radio - usually vocabulary is going to be the most important thing when trying to process in real time, and context helps you understand the grammar. Grammar is more important when you are reading and writing, in part because you have more time to get it right. It's important when you're speaking too, but if you're not using the basics, then more advanced grammar isn't going to help you with speaking.


    There's far more fluent Irish spoken in Ireland than outside of it for sure, but I was referring to the beginner level of fluency you'd get from a course. You only really hear people 'trying out' their Irish in specific settings in Ireland, like in the vicinity of a school that teaches the language.

    It's actually harder than you'd think getting to speak Irish if you are Irish and not a native speaker. I have a huge social circle of friends, family and work acquaintances who are Irish and some are native speakers and several have a very good grip on the language. I know everyone in the Irish conversation group in my local village, went to school with some of them. But the thing is, they are the kind of lads who maxed out in Irish on Leaving Cert. They stayed in Ireland for their working lives, maintained their Irish and have vocabularies and talking speeds the equal of native speakers. They set up the conversation group to enjoy speaking in Irish as they would in English, it'd be an imposition for me or a returnee like me to turn up and them have to slam the brakes on and be constantly coaching me. It just wouldn't be fair and it'd spoil their enjoyment of what they're at for the evening.

    I understand what you mean about vocab helping the most with listening to tv and radio and good reading and writing ability is actually what I'm shooting for. I just don't need to speak, I don't feel like I have enough years of life left to acquire the speed and ability, and can't imagine a situation with friends or work where it'd be socially acceptable to try.


    Gura míle for the feedback Dar, but to put it quite simply a language is meant to be spoken. If we labour the grammar and don't teach vocabulary you'll never be able to speak it. A language is not an ornament to be examined, it is a tool for expression and life.

    We are continuing to develop a course based on conversations to give people the tools to start living and expressing themselves as gaeilge. For academic rigour there are plenty of resources outside of Duolingo.


    I wish you well with it too because I think it will be very useful for people planning holidays in Irish speaking areas of which there are many on Duolingo, or who are thinking to move to live in one. It clearly has a use, just not for me.

    All I need is to get to the same level of usage as the vast majority of my neighbours in the township I live in when I'm back home.

    I want for example to be like my immediate neighbour who likes to watch and listen to the tv news in Irish, gets an Irish newspaper from time to time, reads novels in Irish, doesn't need TV subtitles, listens to Irish radio in the van for the sport and music, can write in Irish etc. All things he does every day. But if you asked him when he spoke Irish last he wouldn't remember.

    I don't see Irish as an 'ornament to be examined' it's something I hope to use everyday as a means of communication, just not verbally in real time. Now, if you emphasised listening skills in real time though over grammar I'd be very, very much up for that.


    Are you seriously going to quit learning Irish just because a language app might get an update sometime next year? So what if you have to start your tree from scratch? I have been through the tree a few times and am looking forward to there being new stuff next year (if it even happens). Duolingo is just a small piece of the puzzle. What is important is what is in your head, not how many stars or medals or points some website gives you.

    I hope I don't sound harsh, I just want to motivate you. Language learning is hard. Bloody hard. And Irish is way harder than French or German. Progress seems so slow and is hard to measure. Just put in the time and you will get there. It is going to take a couple of years to reach fluency, but when you get there, you will have achieved something amazing. I am in my mid forties and living in Germany. I finished school after the inter cert (junior cert) and am now learning Irish so that I can teach my baby daughter (and because I want to be an Irish speaker). I don't want to have to explain to my daughter in a few years time why I don't speak Irish. How embarrassing. I didn't even know that Irish had gender or cases. Just a few months ago, I could say "An bhfuil cead agam dul go dtí an leithreas" and not much else. I can now understand a sentence or two here and there on TG4 and I am delighted, because I know that I will get there. So what if it takes a couple of years? Hard things are worth doing. The knocks are part of the journey and it will get very bumpy and rough before it gets easier. But then it will just get easier and easier until one day you are a fluent Irish speaker.


    Stars? Medals? Points? What are you talking about? I haven't even remotely implied I'm motivated by any of these things.

    Do I have medals? I wouldn't know. What are Crowns for? I've never come across any use for them. The only reason I have a streak is chance. If I can't access Duolingo tomorrow for whatever reason then it's gone and I wouldn't care in the slightest. If there was a setting for opting out of all this stuff I'd select it. If other people get motivation from these things then I'm happy for them that they're there, but they don't motivate me in the slightest.

    Neither do I gauge my progress in Irish by Duo level or anything Duo' related at all.

    I do however like to know where I am with what I'm doing, what to expect next, and it's important to me to be methodical with getting tasks done and completing what I start. It looks like I won't be able to complete this course though before it is replaced with a completely new course. That is very disheartening.

    I will have to quit Duolingo when this course disappears, because I want to complete it. That means I will have to focus on just the Memrise version of this course. When I eventually complete it I'll probably take a look at the new Duolingo Irish course to see if it suits my needs, but from the way I've seen it described so far it looks like it will emphasise specifically what I don't need.

    As for knocks, well I overcame a brutalising school experience (and I mean that literally) but came back to the language for my own reasons and I never said I was going to stop learning Irish. I already use other resources like most people do, it's just a shame for me personally that it looks like I only have a few months left of using this one.

    I never expect to reach fluency in Irish, it's not possible for me. Fluency to me means communicating at a level where I could take an undergraduate course using the language. That took me close to two decades to achieve with a language, and I don't realistically have another two decades of life left.

    I never required fluency from this app though, just the ability to read, write and listen.


    I'm glad to hear you're not going to quit learning Irish. I'm sorry I misinterpreted your post. I am sure you will accomplish your goals. Go n-éirí an t-ádh leat!


    You don't have to be sorry for that, but thanks. When I'm misinterpreted it's usually because I've said something ambiguous that could reasonably be interpreted in several different ways; so I rarely take offence and this was no exception.

    I won't be leaving Duolingo completely either because I do Welsh here too and if the lads who did the Basque from English Memrise version of the Duolingo Basque from Spanish would just finish the 'home journey' of that to Duolingo I'd definitely do that here too.

    Good luck with your endeavours too. I know where your head's at with wanting your child to have some familiarity with her culture. My three were all born outside of Ireland and it was hard at first to give them some real sense of their parent's identity. We moved back in the end to let them go to school but I still had to work abroad. Tough choices we're forced to still make as a people are they not?


    "Tough choices". Very true. I resented Ireland for a long time. The conservatism, lack of opportunities, etc. I love my visits back now and have seen a lot of positive changes. I hope to be able to spend more time in Ireland in the future, maybe even buy a shack in the west! I would also love to see Basque on here. I spent a summer in San Sebastian about ten years ago and was very impressed by how they nurture their language.


    I'm definitely very excited about this - I'm just about to finish the final lesson in the current tree! I do think it was a little mean to leave conditionals until the end ;)

    Is there any chance there could be some "early access" or something? I'm desperate to keep learning.


    I'm delighted to hear you're enthusiasm. Cuireann sé gliondar ar mo chroí. Stay tuned for some of the ways we'll attempt to include community members in the launching of our next course. Just be advised, it mightn't be til Spring or Summer.


    Measaim go bhfuil an dá rud tábhachtach.


    Sin é, agus cuirfear béim orthu araon agus chuile ní eile a bheidh tábhachtach dóibh siúd atá ag foghlaim.


    Go raibh milé maith agaibh


    I think grammar lessons are tremendously important.
    Phrases are important too, but no aspect of the basic grammar should be neglected in this course.


    Go raibh mile maith agaibh!


    Buíochas le Dia !

    • 1592

    Is this going to be an Irish 2? Or will the old course disappear? And what will happen to our progress on the old course?


    When new trees came out for Spanish and German, the old trees were completely replaced by the new trees. However, many of the words* from the old trees were still in the new trees, so you didn't lose all the progress you had previously made, you just had to complete the new material finish the new tree

    • I am not sure whether the retained progress was tracked by words, sentences, or lessons, but the main point is that you shouldn't lose all of your progress

    [deactivated user]

      I will be done with the current tree by then. It will be great to reinforce what I have learned with a new tree and new vocabulary!


      "This time we are determined to finish the course - 2 years ago" Any update lads?


      Hey, good question and I'm really glad there's still interest in the course!

      There's been some turnover of team members and some overhauling of our previous work over the past years, which has slowed our progress. Despite this, the course is well on its way. Especially recently, we are working steadily to get the course over the line ASAP. We'll announce a timeframe for that soon enough.


      I and many others are absolutely dying for the more comprehensive course. Keep up the amazing work, it's super super helpful.


      They're getting rid of volunteer teams, so seems the hope was all for naught. Depressing.

      [deactivated user]

        Duolingo is moving to a system of financial compensation for Course Contributors, which will change the relationship between Course Contributors and Duolingo. Some existing Course Contributors will move over to the new system, some won't, some people will be attracted to the "job" who weren't before.

        I don't think anyone knows how the system will work, but I imagine that it means that a Duolingo employee will be responsible for setting and reaching certain targets, with a budget for hiring specialists to create the necessary content. Presumably a lot of new content has already been created but, for whatever reason, it wasn't released, but hopefully when the new system gets up and running, they won't have to start from scratch.


        Hey, you summed it up pretty well there. There has been constant work to develop the next iteration of our course but it's been complicated fitting it into our busy lives. Making it a professional position might help with that. There is plenty of material made, and the course is majority ready, so hopefully those efforts live on with whatever team is tasked with continuing the Irish course on Duolingo. We're really happy with the work done and sorry for the community that it's taken so long, so hopefully all that work gets to see the light of day. Either way, I'd like to think and I'm overall confident that the course will be in good hands.


        Ar fheabhas ! ádh mór oraibh !


        Will you be changing the vocabulary words, i.e. drop some and add some, or just rearranging them?


        Yeh, writing out the words 'pasta' and 'banana' a few dozen times felt like a waste of time


        The new course has to be effectively rebuilt from scratch. We will obviously reuse many of the same words, but they may be introduced in a different order.

        [deactivated user]

          Great news, I am very excited for the 2.0 tree! But please don't change the structure of the 1.0 tree to much, it is very effective! The 1.0 tree has just the right amount of "grammar" and it is very conversational. I am only just over a month into the course and can't believe how effective it at at enabling a person to start making basic sentences. I am terrible at memorizing from lists, but the game aspect and the fact that you do introduce vocabulary and grammar coincidentally, enable my mind to add words very quickly. Please don't get rid of the grammar rules, and base the new tree on memorization. The rules are what enables the brain to understand patterns, which aids memorization.


          I'm glad about this! I just had to finish my conversation class because it coincided with orchestra practices, but this way I can still practice conversation! Thank you Irish team! <3


          Given the complicated history of the audio on the Irish course, and the very long delays involved in replacing the originals set of audio files, can you tell us anything about your expectations for the audio on the expanded course?

          Will you be able to get new recordings for some or all of the new exercises? If so, will you be able to use the same speaker, or at least another speaker from the same area? I know that the course contributors weren't directly responsible for sourcing the audio in the past, but I hope that the audio doesn't complicate or delay matters significantly for this much anticipated expansion and revision of the Irish course.

          There are a few sentences on the existing course where there is a mismatch between the text and the audio. Will you be able to fix those exercises with this update - and if so, do you have a list of those problem exercises? And given that many of the discussions on these exercises are cluttered with "me too" comments, will it be possible to clean up the comments on those exercises? There is still a problem with new users reading criticisms of the original audio in exercise discussions, and assuming it applies to the current audio, because those comments are still there, often with lots of upvotes and lingots awarded, even though the audio that that were criticising is long gone.


          Those are excellent questions. Audio isn't something I can go into detail about just now. It's being planned, but its execution will be the final step—needless to say, after all the sentences and the whole course have been finished and we know what is to be recorded. We have exciting plans for the audio but to avoid raising expectations before we can promise to deliver we will wait to get specific.

          For now, just know that I agree about the past audio not always being ideal and that it is another integral dimension to the changes which are being "planned and schemed." It's a difficult job under Irish's circumstances as an endangered language and it would be wrong to judge past efforts as unsatisfactory, so I humbly hope we can improve on it next time.


          Brilliant, but I'm soooo slow will I ever get to it I'm on 202 days at Irish & loveing the challenge


          I’m assuming this has been delayed by the pandemic, but is it still happening at all? Or any chance it has already happened? Would love to know roughly when things change. It’d be cool to make a goal of finishing this current tree before a new one gets introduced.


          Hey! I just made a post for the benefit of the whole community, check it out to see what's up: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/51565059


          This particular thread started in September 2018, almost 18 months before the pandemic began to directly effect most of us. The "next summer" referenced in the original post was Summer 2019. While the pandemic almost certainly had an impact on the workload and work/life balance of any Contributors who were working on any update, there were plenty of non-Covid related delays before that became a factor.

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