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decline in Esperanto count

I am not learning Esperanto but why does the Esperanto count keep dropping?

October 8, 2019



At a guess, I'd say it's mostly because Duolingo now counts only 'active learners' instead of everyone and anyone who signed up for the course. Probably it will even out eventually, or even begin to slowly increase again.


I'm glad YOU understood the question. I had no idea what an "Esperanto count" was out of context.

Will it even out though? I thought there was a sudden drop when the counting system changed. Neither the old counting system or the new really means anything, though. The "count" doesn't matter. What matters is how many people are really able to communicate in Esperanto when they're done with their studies, and how many actually use the language... and for what.

If I were to guess, I would say that it had something to do with pent up demand, but who knows?

Edit: For comparison, I found a screen shot from November 2018 which showed 374K active learners of Esperanto and 361K for Klingon. Now it's 298K and 416K respectively. I thought I'd seen a similar screen shot showing Klingon and High Valyrian on a different date, but I can't locate it.

(Currently 982K "active learners" for High Valyrian.)

I'm not going to repeat the exercise, but the last time this came up, I did check the new sentence threads for Klingon and High Valyrian courses, and while they have more "active users", their active users didn't seem to be that active actually using the courses, learning, and asking questions.

"Active users" is a marketing term and has never been clearly defined - I think on purpose. It doesn't matter. What matters is how many people are actually learning (here or elsewhere) and actually progressing. That's a lot harder to measure.

Edit II: I said I wasn't going to, but I just compared recent new sentence threads for Esperanto, Klingon, and High Valyerian. For HV, I did not count the SEVENTEEN threads just posted by one person complaining that there is no audio. I lined up the newest thread with the top of my screen and hit page down five times and then looked at how old the posts were.

  • High Valyerian 3 weeks - about 15 unique learners
  • Klingon 2 weeks - 23 unique learners
  • Esperanto barely 6 days - about 26 unique learners

My point is that "active user" count says nothing about how active those users actually are. Esperanto has more unique users asking the same number of questions (and comments and wisecracks) in a shorter period of time.


Thanks for you comment. Not that you said this but I am in no way criticizing Esperanto learners. I want to learn Esperanto. I had heard before about "active users" but I was still surprised to see the number of Esperanto "active users" diminish. I was just curious.


Not that you said this

Thanks for saying this. Thanks for understanding. I was worried people would think I was saying that. Really, you just got me thinking and I had to find out - as you can tell by the multiple updates after the fact.


Late to the party (appropriate username), but I think I remember someone from Duo saying that an "active user" is anyone who has done any exercises in the past year.


I've written to the "press" address today (representing Esperanto Variety Show) asking for a clarification on this very question. Every time someone says they "think" they remember what Duolingo said about this, turns out they're thinking of HelpfulDuo's post "Changing How We Display Learner Numbers". It doesn't actually say this. It just says that an active user is someone who is active in the last year. It never defines "active."

If I hear back, I'll be sure to let people know.


Esperanto has more unique users asking the same number of questions (and comments and wisecracks) in a shorter period of time.

Wisecracks on language learning forums are the best. :)


Thanks for your response. I had heard about active users but was still surprised. I plan on learning Esperanto at some point so I have been following the active learner count for Esperanto more closely than the other languages.


Duolingo counting 'active learners' now makes Esperanto seem less popular than it really is because the language is much easier to learn. Each learner is likely to be counted as an 'active learner' for something like French for much longer than they're counted as an 'active learner' for Esperanto even if in both cases they learn the whole course.


Do you have data for that?


Do you have data for that?

Look at the size of the Esperanto tree and look at the size of the French tree. There is your data. The latter is huge compared to the former.


That assumes identical motivation and determination for learners of both languages.


Thank you for your comment. That makes sense.

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