Yiddish Course Abandoned?

I have tried to ask the company this question directly through email, however due to still waiting for a response, I believe it's a good idea to ask the forum as well.

When my grandfather first heard of the development of a Yiddish course on Duolingo, he was through the roof with excitement. He speaks English, German, and learned Spanish for my grandmother, and had always wanted to learn Yiddish for his mother.

Fast forward to two years after the Yiddish course shows some sign of life on Duolingo after appearing to be inactive for a year, my grandfather started to show signs of dementia, and today, it is very noticeable and inhibits him from performing even the most basic tasks. At 84 years old with dementia, his window for learning Yiddish has now passed.

This is heartbreaking for me. He was so excited that Duolingo had been working on a course, as he found the website's design easy to manage and understand compared to other websites to learn a language. It's not easy to find written resources for it where we live either.

I understand that other languages are in higher demand and get priority, but the Yiddish course has been in the incubator for about 4 years now, with no update or transparency in at least a year. This is a little ridiculous.

So my question is, was the Yiddish course abandoned? Is it on hold indefinitely? If so, I think it's a good idea to take it out of the incubator, at least temporarily, as to not keep anyone's hopes up.

September 17, 2018


The completion of the Yiddish course has become a Duolingo metaphor for when hell freezes over.

September 17, 2018

The problem is Duolingo actually has very little, if any, control of the development of most of the courses in the Incubator. Since they're all made by groups of volunteers who aren't connected to Duolingo as a company in any way, it's up to them and them alone to create the course, so if they decide to abandon it, lose interest, or unexpected distractions come up, that's the way it is.

Lots of people were in agreement that since there's been virtually no progress lately it should just be removed. However, the most recent Weekly Incubator Summary by jrikhal ( seems to indicate that there has been small, but present, progress in the course within the last week, and according to one comment in the discussion (, there might be a new contributor. So, there might be hope for the Yiddish course yet.

September 17, 2018

Oh my gosh thank you for the summary link! I thought these had been stopped a while ago! Very happy to see someone is still running it.

And yea my main confusion with the whole thing is that I thought Duolingo keeps in close contact with volunteers to make sure that even when things look stalled, there’s unseen progress, but didn’t know if that was the case here.

September 18, 2018

I assume Duolingo works closely with languages that require major design changes (like Japanese and Chinese), and maybe some endangered languages (Navajo has a whopping 24 contributors), but most teams seem to have a very large amount of freedom, especially regarding timing, as it's the course contributors that get to designate the estimated completion date. I don't know the exact amount of communication each team has with Duolingo, but I assume it's minimal.

September 18, 2018

Call me a finger pointer, but this is ridiculous. Becoming a volunteer on Duolingo is both a serious commitment and a privilege that should be taken seriously. A real let-down for this community.

September 18, 2018

Especially considering how many seem to be looking to help out.

September 18, 2018

I feel very bad for your grandfather :(

September 18, 2018

Me too.

September 18, 2018

I've also been looking out for the Yiddish course and very disheartened to see it stagnate. Especially considering Duolingo likes to advertise it's endangered languages, and Hebrew is already available, Yiddish needs some love and attention by now :(

March 8, 2019

How is this going now? I am sort of interested and am just wondering if this is ever going to become a thing. It would be nice if we could sort start the course even if it is not finished to at least get down the basics before they actually complete it.

November 23, 2018

I am studying Yiddish via memrise, and although I am making progress, I really really wish that Duolingo had a Yiddish course! The memrise course is boring and uninspiring, but I continue to trudge along anyway. Does anyone know if there is some way we can lobby the Duo Yiddish contributors? Maybe if they knew how many people are looking forward to the Yiddish course, they might be inspired to work harder?

January 17, 2019
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