https://www.duolingo.com/widle

New courses in the incubator

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There are three new courses in the incubator now. If I'm reading it correctly, they are all for Chinese speakers, teaching Korean, German and Italian.

Edit: Their completion dates have been set to June 30, 2019. This sounds realistic, even if a little on the optimistic side. Good luck!

Edit on Sep 13: Japanese for Chinese speakers added too.

9/10/2018, 10:55:35 AM

39 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/E.T.Gregor
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I think they are all developed in-house by Duolingo as they were looking for Chinese-speaking teaching experts for all of these languages and more (scroll down to China): https://www.duolingo.com/jobs
If that is correct, we can also expect Japanese for Chinese speakers.

9/10/2018, 1:04:02 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/widle
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It looks like they are setting up a whole branch in China, including engineers and other staff.

9/10/2018, 1:29:51 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
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And French for Chinese speakers to finally make some progress. (I don't think it has, at least to any notable degree, in years.)

9/10/2018, 9:30:06 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/jrikhal
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And French for Chinese speakers to finally make some progress.

In fact, it didn't really.
The main variations since April 2018 --- oscillating between around 10% and around 20% (WIS numbers, not the automatically generated wrong numbers displayed on course's incubator status page --- are due to a bug in Duo counting lexemes in the incubator(°). Once this totally artificial variation (as in, not due to any change on the course) filtered out, the course has move up by 1.5% (WIS' numbers) in approx 16 months.

But we can hope that the big push (with 3 new courses added at once) on zh-CN will also imply a big push on FR<-zh-CN. Crossing fingers.


(°) Not talking about variation due to the team adding/removing to the total number of lexemes or similar real changes by the team that are standard (artificial) variations that makes the course's incubator status page not realistic and that the WIS' computation is aiming to correct, but talking about the fact that without anything being done on the course the incubator will, due to a bug, some day see a given number lexemes and the other day a different number, oscillating between both from one moment to a later one.

9/11/2018, 8:48:55 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/jrikhal
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Note that the same staff that is part of those 3(°) new courses' team has just joined that FR<-zh-CN team too.
Probably a good sign for the course.

(°) 4 now, in fact. ;)

9/13/2018, 9:16:16 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/testmoogle
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Oh wow, you're right! Just checked that page you linked. So they've already got plans to make a Japanese course for Chinese speakers? Nice!

日语课程负责人 Japanese Language Course Manager (Contractor, China)
日本語を話せますか?你会说日语吗?加入多邻国中国团队,主导日语核心课程的开发和教研工作。Design a new Duolingo course to teach Japanese.

9/11/2018, 12:50:11 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/garpike
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This might well be very useful when it comes to not turning any Japanese sentence into a strange mixture of Japanese and Chinese whenever I forget a Japanese reading.
I hope it will be a lot more Kanji-heavy than the English course.

9/12/2018, 10:20:14 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/testmoogle
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I hope it will be a lot more Kanji-heavy than the English course.

Ooh! I hadn't thought much about that aspect of it. Yeah, I really hope that will be the case too! ^^

I'm interested to find out how various things in this future course might turn out.

I wonder how it will manage having both Japanese text and Chinese text on the same page. All of it in a Japanese font or all in a Chinese font? The text I quoted in my last comment, for example, for me all the Japanese sentence and about half of the Chinese sentence is displayed in a Japanese font (Meiryo). Bits of the Chinese sentence are displayed in a Chinese font (Microsoft YaHei), though only because those particular characters aren't supported by the Japanese font. So some of the characters in the Chinese text get drawn in a form incorrect for the language.

Toggling between Japanese↔Chinese↔Korean IMEs seems like something that will be interesting to deal with too. Especially considering my automatic IME on-off toggler userscript (here) won't be able to work on a course where neither source nor target language is English... I've been using my automatic switcher for over a year. It would suck to have to go back to switching input language manually every time the translation direction changes, like everyone else. :P

9/12/2018, 11:46:42 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/garpike
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Bits of the Chinese sentence are displayed in a Chinese font (Microsoft YaHei), though only because those particular characters aren't supported by the Japanese font. So some of the characters in the Chinese text get drawn in a form incorrect for the language.

Which Chinese characters display incorrectly for you? Do you mean that DL is displaying shinjitai forms for Chinese characters that take different forms in China? I haven't noticed any of these; your own browser/font setup might be responsible for this, rather than the DL system.

I've been using my automatic switcher for over a year. It would suck to have to go back to switching input language manually every time the translation direction changes, like everyone else. :P

It sounds like I really ought to try out your IME-switcher; it must be very good. I don't suppose I could persuade you add support for Russian and Greek? There is a (still unfixed) bug in Windows 10 that makes language-switching hotkeys malfunction; I can't do timed practice nowadays without disabling all the other keyboards first...

9/13/2018, 12:06:55 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/testmoogle
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It sounds like I really ought to try out your IME-switcher; it must be very good. I don't suppose I could persuade you add support for Russian and Greek?

My userscript only works for toggling IMEs on and off. Therefore it only helps those input languages that use an IME (Japanese, Chinese, Korean, ...). What it's basically doing is blocking the IME from being allowed in the text box whenever an English typing question appears, and then allowing the IME again in all other situations. Since the IME "off" state is alphanumeric output, this is essentially the same as having switched to "English" on your language bar.

It's not possible for a userscript to switch a user's language bar to go from one language or keyboard to a different one in their language list. Would be extremely nice if that were possible. So there's no way I can help for the Russian or Greek courses, since these languages don't use an IME.

And this sadly is why my userscript won't be able to switch between Chinese and Japanese/Korean either, as that would entail needing it to switch language on the language bar. ^^;

9/13/2018, 11:12:11 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/testmoogle
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As for the font irregularities when having both Chinese and Japanese text on the same page, there's no way a user can avoid this problem just merely by adjusting the settings of their web browser or operating system.

It's a cross-language character encoding issue.

Example: "pirate"

  • Chinese: 海盗 (hǎi dào)
  • Japanese: 海賊 (kaizoku)

On your screen, either the Chinese word or the Japanese word will be displayed slightly incorrectly. The first character (海) should look different in each of those two words, since Chinese 海 has 10 strokes whereas Japanese 海 has 9. However, the character 海 in both languages is the same unicode character codepoint: "U+6D77". To display the character correctly for both languages, Duolingo needs to tell the browser to use a Chinese font for the Chinese text and a Japanese font for the Japanese text.

The problem is that Duolingo sets the lang attribute only once in the HTML per page, informing the web browser that the entire page is written in one single language (which is whatever language the user is currently viewing the site in). It could specify which language each section of text is, but doesn't. So when the web browser encounters hanzi/kanji/hanja, it doesn't know whether it is Chinese, Japanese, or Korean and therefore has no idea what language font to use. Some web browsers use a Chinese font as the default; other browsers decide based on something like the order in the user's language preferences or by their operating system locale.

As I'm primarily learning Japanese, I've configured my browser to display Chinese characters in a Japanese font if a web page doesn't say which language it is, and it then falls back to a Chinese font for any characters not supported by the Japanese font. Otherwise it would display almost all Japanese kanji in a Chinese font on Duolingo.

As for which of the characters display incorrectly, here's the Japanese sentence and the Chinese sentences from my quote again, but colour coded to show which parts Firefox is displaying in Chinese font or Japanese font:

Japanese sentence:
日本語を話せますか?
Chinese sentences:
你会语吗?加入多国中国团队,主核心程的开和教研工作。

From the Japanese sentence, 語 and 話 should be written slightly differently to how they are in Chinese. (The first stroke in the 言 component should be completely horizontal in Japanese.)

From the Chinese sentences, at least 核 should be written sightly differently to how it is in Japanese. (For the 亥 component in Chinese, the first stroke isn't completely vertical and the third stroke doesn't contain a 90° angle.)

Doesn't matter about browser/font setup. Either Japanese 語 & 話 or Chinese 核 -- the same font will be used for all three of these. One of those sentences will be displayed with an incorrect language font. ^^

9/14/2018, 1:13:06 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
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If it helps any, for timed practice, I have my layouts (clustered into 4 basic ones, e.g. all Latin together) strategically ordered so that the most common switching is Shift-Alt-Alt (or Alt-Shift-Shift). It takes only the slightest increase in time over switching only between two layouts. Then Shift-Alt-Alt-Alt and Shift-Alt work for the other two.

9/14/2018, 1:32:13 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/garpike
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@testmoogle

The first character (海) should look different in each of those two words, since Chinese 海 has 10 strokes whereas Japanese 海 has 9.

Having checked this in the Chinese course, this character displays correctly on the iOS app (both sentences and tiles), but as the shinjitai form on the website. However, if you select the shinjitai tile and then switch to keyboard input, it changes back to the Chinese form in the text box!
Whereas it's hardly an impediment to comprehension, I do take your point that this should be fixed.

In the case of 語, however, I think the form of the top stroke falls more under equally acceptable variants of font style in Chinese (a bit like the letter 'g' in English)—the Kangxi dictionary uses the 'Japanese' form of this radical throughout; the slanted top stroke is just a calligraphic variant that is slightly more convenient to write with a brush (the stroke is flat in seal script, as is, in fact, the top stroke of 亥). The 'Chinese' form of this stroke is also used in Japan, as can be seen in the top left of this Tokyo shop sign.
I feel this is splitting hairs somewhat, whereas the 母/毋 distinction is of more significance as it affects stroke-numbers and thus dictionary use.

Thanks for explaining about your userscript; I misunderstood how it worked.

9/14/2018, 9:23:50 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/testmoogle
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@garpike

I feel this is splitting hairs somewhat, whereas [...]

I agree. The examples I used weren't too great, but I had limited myself to only the characters within the couple of sentences I quoted. Here are some better examples outside those particular sentences: U+76F4 and U+89D2 .

Also, if the default fonts used by a user's browser for Japanese and Chinese happen to be vastly different styles (size, boldness, etc.), then simply this alone will be a big enough issue itself. Even if the character strokes are identical, it could look pretty awful just having two very distinct fonts randomly scattered about all over the place within a single sentence. ^^

9/15/2018, 12:40:27 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Semeltin
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I wonder if Japanese for Chinese speakers could be successful because the Chinese have a relatively low opinion on Japan.
On the other hand, maybe people from Taiwan would enjoy the course.

9/11/2018, 6:54:44 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/jrikhal
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I wonder if Japanese for Chinese speakers could be successful

It's now in the incubator. ;)

9/13/2018, 1:04:03 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Plazation
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We need German for Dutch speakers or the other way round. And yes, there are new courses. Hopefully it'll mix things up a bit

9/10/2018, 10:59:36 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/testmoogle
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Wow! Korean for Chinese speakers! Excited to see the first inter-CJK course. Hoping now that they might also have plans for a Japanese course for Chinese speakers someday too. ^^

(Really what I'm hoping for is Chinese and Korean courses for Japanese speakers. But this is an awesome start, seeing the first inter-CJK course actually in the incubator.)

9/10/2018, 8:30:18 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
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All three of those markets look comparatively very untapped based on the learner figures for their English courses relative to population. It's long been something of a surprise to me. I figure Duolingo's marketing must not have been too strong in that part of the world. It would make sense to see them try to pick it up.

9/10/2018, 9:34:52 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/IsakNygren1
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That's a very big surprise. I hope these courses will be finished within reason of time and not get stuck in the incubator for years.

9/10/2018, 12:55:39 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/ISpeakAlien
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This is great news! I suggested Esperanto for Chinese speakers a while ago, so I hope that will also be added. I apologize for my bad Esperanto. I made that post a long time ago when my Esperanto was much worse than it is now.

https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/23479815

9/10/2018, 3:31:52 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/DragonPolyglot
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I'm so happy! This is really unexpected and exciting.

I really, really hope they add more courses for Japanese and Korean speakers. Or that teach Korean and Japanese. The fact they are giving us not one nor two but three new Chinese-base courses makes me hopeful for this wish. And honestly I would love to improve my Mandarin just to do these courses.

Edit: OMG, they added Japanese too! :D

9/10/2018, 4:34:28 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/DerGoldmann
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Since the Korean course is too low level for me, I'm looking forward to working on my Chinese by taking the Korean course in Chinese!

9/11/2018, 5:27:08 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Lemniscatarum
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Good for Chinese speakers, especially since Korean is only available for English speakers so far (I think).

9/10/2018, 2:21:27 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/betarage
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I hope they can make courses in non english languages that you can't get in english like how spanish has 2 languages that you can't get in english.

9/11/2018, 2:05:28 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/widle
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And Japanese for Chinese speakers has been added today.

9/13/2018, 7:44:15 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/MarcinM85
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Great news! I don't know Chinese but it is always good to see new courses in the incubator, especially with other base languages than English. I hope more such courses will be added.

9/10/2018, 5:16:28 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/wyqtor
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I wish I could say I am excited, but I have some serious misgivings about this push to offer courses to Chinese speakers. Sure, the money is there, but... there were some posts a while ago about Chinese students unable to access the Duolingo forums because of government censorship. Why is Duolingo making courses for an audience that might be blocked from accessing Duolingo at any point instead of, say, Japanese speakers - who have the highest average streaks out of all Duolingoers? Shouldn't Duolingo encourage them instead?

It would also be wise to dedicate more resources to polishing the current, rather short Japanese tree, and to improve its presentation (like using Kanji+Furigana instead of only Kana).

9/11/2018, 3:58:47 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
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With Duolingo Schools, it is easier than ever to block a population from forums and there is is no longer an Immersion feature. If one combines that with carefully selected content in the course itself, then if China was blocking Duolingo due to sensors, it may not be a problem anymore with the updated structures of Duolingo. Meanwhile, Chinese speakers in the rest of the world (As well as those with VPN, of which there are plenty could still enjoy these courses. :)

I am very excited that Chinese speakers can look forward to these courses. I will continue to look forward to Dutch<>Spanish<>Japanese<>Dutch combinations. I would really these so I can ladder between these languages. So, I get very excited when I see more courses that don't link to English. :D I depend on English too much right now.

9/12/2018, 5:47:02 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/WinterSoldier.

I agree with wyqtor, I wish they'd focus on a group that isn't blocked out, maybe make German for Ukraininan Speakers like everyones been asking

9/12/2018, 3:07:36 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/jrikhal
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Edit: Their completion dates have been set to June 30, 2019. This sounds realistic, even if a little on the optimistic side. Good luck!

I'd say --- but hope to be wrong --- very optimistic, comparing to the statistics of the other courses from zh-CN : EN<-zh-CN, ES<-zh-CN and FR<-zh-CN.

Mid July 2020 would be the ETA if we take the average of the 3 previous course (knowing that for one, the duration still runs as the course is still in Phase 1)
And something like December 2019 would seem more realistic and, more importantly, this would let the ETA to more likely be later updated for closer date and not being postponed (deceiving people who were taking the ETA as an announcement or simply hoping the ETA to happen).

9/11/2018, 8:34:40 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/widle
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On the other hand, there is apparently Duolingo staff overseeing and supposedly directly working on the course, which could mean more intensive work compared to volunteers in their free time.

9/11/2018, 8:38:21 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/jrikhal
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here is apparently Duolingo staff overseeing

Yes, that's why I reduced to December 2019 as first ETA. ;)
Otherwise, I'd have that say around Mid 2020 would be more realistic to me for a first ETA.

supposedly directly working on the course, which could mean more intensive work compared to volunteers in their free time.

Not sure about that.
I recognize only one staff member in each of the 3 teams (but I don't know all staff members' username, so could miss some) and it's not clear they do speak IT, DE and KO (maybe this last one, I vaguely think to remember) hence not clear that they can contribute. Mentoring/Guiding the teams, yes for sure but more intensive actual work, not clear.


But this makes me wonder why FR<-zh-CN didn't gain also overseeing by staff when this push on courses for zh-CN has been setup 2 days ago.

9/11/2018, 8:51:48 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/jrikhal
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But this makes me wonder why FR<-zh-CN didn't gain also overseeing by staff when this push on courses for zh-CN has been setup 2 days ago.

It's now done: the same staff member joined that team too.

9/13/2018, 9:14:50 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Multi0Lingual4
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Holy cow. Three at once? Did not see that coming! At all!

Good to see languages other than English getting some more courses. I wish that could happen to German and a few others.

9/10/2018, 12:46:04 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Celica2898
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Well I guess there goes the chance that anything for German speakers will be added in the close future. But I understand why they did it, China being a gigantic market and all

9/10/2018, 3:46:50 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/widle
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Looking at the jobs page again, they are also looking for a "Country Marketing Manager (Germany)". If they are interested in the German market, they might consider some more courses for German speakers too.

9/11/2018, 12:55:40 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/myintermail
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Woah! This is great news!

I have been expecting Chinese speaker courses to be included for quite some time since they have a largely untapped audience there. But I would have expected Japanese to be included since I thought there is a demand for Chinese learners, or both languages are quite related to each other.

9/11/2018, 8:11:16 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Leon296232
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非常高兴可以用中文学习多领国上的课程 希望课程的质量可以高一点

非常感谢

9/12/2018, 9:33:43 AM
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