Help for Swahili

Dear Duolingo Powers-that-be,

We're so grateful to have an African language on Duolingo, and it's great that the course has improved enough to have exited beta. But, frankly, it very often doesn't feel like it has. Basic translations galore are missing. Even things as simple as accepting both singular and plural "you" are routinely overlooked, not to mention all the problems with definite and indefinite articles.

And now there are no contributors whatsoever listed in the Incubator! Please on-board some so as to continue working toward a truly mature version of the current tree and with a view toward the large steps forward that would hopefully characterize a version 2.0!

Thank you!

September 23, 2018


Thank you and yes! We will be focusing on improving the Swahili course and adding audio in the coming months. We'll also be looking for contributors who want to help. Any Swahili speakers out there, please apply :)

September 24, 2018

Thanks so much for the reply! Looking forward to the improvements!

September 24, 2018

Dear HelpfulDuo,

I know of at least two Swahili speakers who have applied and have not heard back (and I think I know of a third but now I can't remember who). I just thought I'd mention this in case it is claimed that no one has applied.

September 29, 2018

What happened to the old contributors?

September 26, 2018

Thank you for your response. Are you able to explain what happened to the original audio then? It was recorded but never added.

September 27, 2018

Any updates? It's been two months now :)

December 5, 2018

I have just joined this lovely community. And I must say I have been impressed so far and applied for incubator just a minute ago. I am a native Swahili speaker, born and raised in Dar - Es - Salaam , Tanzania. Hopefully I get to hear back from the incubator team. I enjoy helping others speak my language and that's why I even created this YouTube channel to share with others.

February 12, 2019

You are doing a great job in Youtube. For beginners you explain all in an understandable way, slowly spoken and repeating a lot of times. I started with Duolingo, but it's not enough. I suscribed to your Youtube-Channel.

April 2, 2019

Thank you so much Alexandre. It's an honor to hear such a beautiful feedback from you. I enjoy making those tutoring videos and it is more rewarding when I hear someone finds them useful. There is always room for improvement please do not hesitate sharing your opinions, suggestions or thoughts on where we need to make improvements. Again, thank you so much for subscribing and I look forward to having a conversation in Swahili with you. Happy learning my friend.

April 3, 2019

People have applied. Please start accepting the applications and get them started. As a Plus member i feel as tho my money is getting wasted

September 30, 2018

Oh, adding audio? I had more or less given up hope of that... I would so love that. Really looking forward to it <3

November 26, 2018

I believe the course still lacks any audio as well.

September 23, 2018

I really want to learn this language but the tree is riddled with errors nearly always with the English translations. That and the lack of audio and the fact that finding any good Swahili dictionaries or grammar books make the tree just not worth taking.
I hope they get their act together, because when Duolingo gets its act together they put together a dynamite tree.

September 24, 2018


Just wanted to let you that there is a dictionary for Kiswahili. It's called 'Swahili: practical dictionary' by Nicholas Awde

September 26, 2018

Does it have the noun classes?
Every dictionary I have looked at does not have that, one I looked at did not even say if the words were nouns, verbs or adjectives.

September 27, 2018

The kamusi dictionary has noun classes

also, please come and speak swahili at the Amsterdam Swahili events, every first tuesday of the month and invite all your friends

February 15, 2019

[deactivated user]

    According to the incubator updates, they had recordings for the audio ready. A speaker spent time making those recordings, but as far as I can tell, they were never added to the course. That is quite a disappointment.

    When the course was still in the incubator I had applied to be a beta tester, as I had studied Swahili in the past and I have worked as an ESL tutor in college so I'm experienced at explaining English to non-native speakers. But I never got a reply. That was a few years ago and what I learned of Swahili has lapsed to the degree I don't feel comfortable offering to help with the course. I was hoping to find time to do the Duolingo course to review some Swahili, so this is quite unfortunate. I hope Duolingo will get some new contributors.

    September 24, 2018

    Would be nice if you can help with the program!

    September 24, 2018

    I don't know how active they are at responding to applications. I've tried to twice and haven't heard back either time

    December 3, 2018

    I have just joined the community and submitted an incubator application couple of hours ago. I am a native Swahili speaker and enjoy helping others. I put much of my content on my YouTube channel for those interested. I believe in free learning materials.

    February 12, 2019

    That's a shame. I hope that some contributors can join. I had been hoping to try the language.

    September 24, 2018

    Baba yangu ni Kenya na anaongea Kiswahili

    September 24, 2018

    Hey! I understood that :D

    December 5, 2018

    Je, anaweza kutusaidia?

    September 28, 2018

    Check out my YouTube channel , let me know what you think and where to make more improvements. All materials are for free. YouTube Channel:

    Asante sana.

    February 12, 2019

    The discussion posts left by contributors years ago promising sound seem to be disappearing as though there is some kind of effort to hide initial plans to add audio. Nobody forget that Swahili and other audioless courses desperately need audio. Their response has been disappointing and unprofessional for service like this.

    September 24, 2018

    Hmm, I still see several of them, including images of sound file icons and a picture of Emilian holding a microphone in a recording booth.

    September 24, 2018

    I commented on some old posts and comments and they disappeared almost immediately. I can no longer find discussions left by contributors, only the incubator updates.

    September 24, 2018

    I know sometimes my comments don't show up for technical glitch reasons (seems to happen in the Swahili forum more than others). I doubt they would put in the effort to actively monitor (and censor) the Swahili forum if they can't seem to find much corporate energy to direct toward the Swahili course.

    There are still some ex-contributor posts promising audio. Here's one with a bunch for example:

    September 24, 2018

    Ok, but can you find any actual posts made by contributors? Not just comments because I am looking through them now and I can't find any by Brandon Ryan or any other contributor and I am sure there were some.

    September 24, 2018

    I see a couple from BrandenRyan at the top (one at the very top) of the Top All Time tab:

    September 25, 2018

    Are there other audio-less ones?

    September 25, 2018

    Hey @HelpfulDuo, thanks for finally offering to help us with the Swahili course! Was starting to lose hope! Whats the progress so far?

    November 3, 2018

    Totally agree! It looks abandoned, They could eliminate it and we would not lose much, but better if you trust someone to help improve it. You just need someone with time and desire, I think there are several so ...

    September 24, 2018

    I got this answer from the support the other day:

    "Unfortunately, we can't really say when sound will be released. While it's true they listed an update about audio files, we can't say for certain when they will be accepted/released. I'm sorry I don't have a more concrete answer."

    December 6, 2018

    yes I agree

    September 26, 2018
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