Dothraki and Sindarin flags added to the Incubator
I was just checking the incubator and noticed that in addition to the Danish flag, Duolingo has added their own language flag designs in the course contribution page for Dothraki (Game of Thrones) and Sindarin (Lord of the Rings). Check it out at: http://incubator.duolingo.com/apply.
I am not sure how Dothraki is gonna work out (I can't comment on Sindarin). When it comes to Dothraki, 0 people are fluent in it (a requirement for the Incubator applicants) including the creator of the language David J. Peterson. Some people know a bit of Dothraki, and follow David's blog which can be found here: http://www.dothraki.com/ but the only one that could possibly even work on such a course right now would be David himself, and that isn't going to happen seeing as how he is busy working on a paid course atm and another book on language creation as well. On top of all that, the language only has about 3k words atm.
So basically, the rules for the Incubator would have to be changed when it comes to conlangs. Those applying can't be expected to be fluent and the course can't be expected to have all the words that a normal language would. I really hope that it does work out in the end, though personally I am far more interested in High Valyrian (another Game of Thrones language) than Dothraki.
Your link contains this about Dothraki "It’s now a fully-functional, human-usable language with a vocabulary of over 3,000 words (and growing)." So it does meet the vocabulary requirements. With 3,000 words, I'd say it probably has the thousand or so that Duolingo covers, but hey, the courses are customized to fit the needs of the languges, so I'm sure they can accommodate the unique vocabulary Dothraki and High Valyrian might have. Does DL teach the word "dragon"? I know in Dothraki it's "Vorsi."
As for fluency, I don't think Duolingo really considers whether the contributor is fluent in all the language skills or just writing and reading. For example, Latin won't need a contributor fluent in speaking and listening since it's a dead language. I'd assume dead and dying languages are learned to be read and written, not spoken. So contributors to a conlang course wouldn't necessarily need to be fluent in speaking. I've seen wikis with all the grammar and vocabulary lists before, so one could learn the language and become fluent enough to create a DL course. Luckily, Klingon and Sindarin have good communities of speakers.
Edit: I'm with you that it probably won't be any time soon that we see conlang DL courses.
The problem I see with both these languages is that neither is complete and not even the creators of both these languages could be considered fluent. I can't speak to Dothraki, but in the case of Tolkien and Sindarin (I can manage some Sindarin and Quenya, at least in grammar), while he did do quite a bit with that language, he left very little actual information about them. So there is barely any grammar for Sindarin, some scanty notes, and a few examples of Sindarin use, so any lessons in Sindarin now are based on massive reconstructions (not even Tolkien could have been considered fluent by our standards). Tolkien even contradicted himself on the language a couple times, and he's not exactly going to clear that up for us any time soon. But for us rabid Tolkien fans who love the languages and history and lore that he created (which I like more than real history; sorry, Earth), then we can settle for reconstructions and deductions. Learning Sindarin or Quenya, or any other incomplete conlang, is to me more of a scholarly activity, or one that you do for fun or passion, accepting that you're just never going to know how to communicate 90% of your life in Sindarin, unless of course you're an actual elf who lives in Middle-earth, in which case, carry on. The point is that either Elvish language study is entirely grammar-based, and unfortunately Duolingo does not lend itself well to understanding grammar beyond the very basic.
If Duolingo really, really, really wants to add conlangs like Sindarin or Dothraki, they are going to have to revise their requirements. I'm not even sure what those requirements for Sindarin would be: you'll have to decide which scholar's reconstructions you're going to use, what theories you'll incorporate, the inevitable contradictions (and arguments around which is correct) that will occur, and how you will test competency. Not to mention how the Elvish runes are going to be handled, which is also an important part of understanding either Elvish language. The people who are most qualified to teach Sindarin (that are still alive), the linguists who know enough to have reconstructed the grammar as much as possible and can adapt their studies to a Duolingo tree, have already done their part in contributing to the language and I highly doubt they would take on developing another course for Duolingo. Heck, I'm as rabid a fan as anyone, and while I would love to contribute to continuing on Tolkien's linguistics legacy, I would not want to try to create a Duolingo course for Sindarin.
But for anyone who is interested in learning an Elvish language, Pedin Edhellan (Sindarin) and Quetin i lambë eldaiva (Quenya) are both textbook-style courses that have just about as much grammar and vocabulary you are ever going to find, while remaining true to Tolkien's original language. Both are written by Thorsten Renk, a German linguist, and as far as being easily organized, interesting, and complete, I have found none better. I know this is a lengthy post, but I think this is really, really not a good idea for Duolingo and cannot imagine this going well. However, I would love to see Esperanto in the incubator and that would definitely not require a linguist (or several, in Elvish languages' case) to create the course.
I've seen this issue come up several times, and there're always the people who seem to think that conlangs are detrimental to Duolingo, which I don't understand. The courses are created by unpaid contributors, so it's not taking any more effort from Luis or the others. Language learning is about self-fulfillment, so learning Sindarin can be just as fulfilling as learning Spanish. And let's not forget that there are still opportunities to translate texts into conlangs. Hamlet has been translated into Klingon, so why shouldn't all the conlang communities have such a benefit? Maybe it wouldn't make DL money for translating contracts, but let's remember that we are the true money makers when it comes to CROWDsourcing.
It's also funny that people say things like, "Klingon isn't necessary, but I can't wait for Esperanto." Klingon and other famous conlangs have great followings, but Esperanto has been around longer than a century and still not fulfilled its goal.
It also goes for dead languages. According to some people's logic, Latin, Irish, etc. shouldn't be added since there are very, very few remaining native speakers. Or none, in the case of Latin. Yet people still seem to demand Latin and Irish, even though they're barely more useful than Klingon.
Couldn't find Sindarin checking the incubator. Here is a link which explains why: http://sindarin101.tumblr.com/post/145230130877/sindarin-on-duolingo