There are more people learning Irish on Duolingo (143k) than...
there are native speakers of this language (130k)!
In order to replicate the success of the hebrew revival you have to start from 0 native speakers. Duolingo is gonna give a great push to Irish but still this is not a "revival".
I did not apply to the Incubator, even though I did consider it. I'm fluent in english but I still make some grammer mistakes. there are people who have both english and hebrew as mother tongues so I think they are more fit than me. BUT if you need any help with learning hebrew I'd be glad to help you out. Also I must warn you that it's gonna be different from any thing you know (and it seems you know quite a lot of languages haha)
"In order to replicate the success of the hebrew revival you have to start from 0 native speakers." To bring a language back to life, from being fully dead... that's not just a revival, it's a resurrection! Then again... Isreal... resurrections... puede serrrrrrrr! (jiji)
Seriously, it is an amazing feat. Has it ever happened successfully with any other language?
I have no idea what the chances are of that many signing up, though it doesn't seem too implausible given Duolingo's low barrier to entry. As to them persevering for 12 years (or Duolingo offering enough material for that!), I consider it unlikely -- but I was just talking about number of learners rather than duration of study.
I see your point, but it's also an app, meaning it's not just "online" in the traditional sense, but rather a more mobile option. For example, while in a carpool, waiting for a bus, waiting for a video to buffer on your laptop, or standing in line at the grocery checkout, one can whip out the smart phone stay productive (and patient, lol).
Also, I don't think that you'd have to do duolingo for 12 years to reach an equivalent level of kids studying it for, what, one class period per day, 9 months per year -- guessing, as I'm not Irish, but I would assume that that's the scholastic schedule. Our class periods were only 48 min in high school. That's 1,871.56 hours of classtime. If we double it to allow for homework hours too, it's 3,741.12 hours
I would argue that Duolingo is at least three times as efficient as the classroom+hw approach. There was even a study already that showed it was even more efficient than Rosetta Stone. Also, it's probably more like 10-15 times as efficient as the lessons in primary schools. But, to be conservative, I'll stick with 3x as our rate for this comparison.
ONLY 45 MIN./DAY FOR 6 YRS --------- OR 30 FOR 5 (and skipping 1 out of 4 days)
Dividing the 3,741.12 hours by 3 yields a total of 1,247.04 hours. If one pursues Irish on DL for just half of the time you mentioned (12 years), that works out to 207.84 hours per year. Assuming that the average consistency rate is 75% of days active, that's only 45.5 minutes per day. Not too tall of an order at all, especially considering that, when doing Duolingo on one's computer, the efficiency skyrockets; I go at least 3x as fast as compared to my smartphone (thus, 9x as efficient as class hours....but not factored into these calculation, again, in the interest of staying conservative). Plus, let's not forget that it's gotta be MUCH more than 3x as efficient (in the 1st place: phone speed) as the hours put in by the younger children.
I would say that, all told, about 30 min. per day (75% of days only) for about 5 years would be plenty to be very fluent.
By the way, I am friends with a rather large group of highly intelligent Irish professionals, only 2 of whom are confident in their ability to speak Irish with ease. As a result, one could argue that the total number of speakers at the outset of the discussion should be reduced too.
I hope SOMEONE finds this slightly interesting. Haha.
My source is the American Community Survey conducted by the United States Census Bureau. (I was using the 2008 figure, but the number for 2013 is similar.) According to the Census Bureau's website, the survey "continues all year, every year", rather than being conducted only on St Patrick's Day.
What study were you referring to?
Only a tiny proportion of Irish children living is isolated, small communities scattered along the west coast of Ireland speak Irish as a first language. The language has been largely wiped out as a first language in the vast majority of Ireland due to centuries of British rule and Anglicisation.
While it's always easy to blame someone else (the bad Brits again!), we have to take responsibility for the downfall of our language. The Liberator Daniel O' Connell denounced it as "backward". The Famine forced millions of people from mostly native Irish speaking areas to emigrate. In the latter half of the 19th century the Irish Catholic Church (then a quietly nationalist, patriotic organisation) discouraged Irish being taught. The ordinary parents around that time also discouraged their children from learning or speaking it because English was seen as the language of the future, the one worth knowing if you wanted to get anywhere in the world. This was the prevailing attitude decades after the British had lifted the ban on Irish being taught in schools.
In the nearly 100 years since Independence, the number of speakers of Irish as a first language has decreased. Can't blame any foreign occupation for that. The number of speakers of Irish as a second language has increased though, so maybe it's not all bad. But the reason we're not a bilingual nation is because the majority of Irish people don't want to be. Not enough anyway. While most Irish people like the IDEA of being fluent in Irish, they are just not willing to put the work in to get there.
I am the opposite,. I can understand a lot of written Yiddish but only pick out the odd word of spoken Yiddish. Then again, even though I am fluent in Hochdeutsch, I struggle extremely hard to understand German speakers from Bavaria, Austria and Switzlerland unless they are educated and speak only Hochdeutsch. I do not have this problem understanding, say, working class Berliners. The Main is the dividing line for me.
I was thinking how close the # of learners were getting to # of natives not too long ago. It's awesome how much duo has done for the language.....but I can't tell if the stats are more exciting or sad (especially when you consider how many newbies gave up or forgot by now).
That's outstanding. It'd be pretty cool if those numbers could be collated for the other courses and maybe published on the courses page as extra information.
I'd also really like to see those numbers broken down. Like monthly figures on active learners this month, how many are working on each quartile of the tree, etc.
Has anyone pointed this out to the language policy dept. of the Taoiseach?
I don't know what native speakers counts as. I'm irish, I have good conversational irish but not fluent or a native speaker. I know people who have become fluent through school but don't speak it at home. It depends on what counts as native and what counts as fluent but not native
The only way I can relate to that kind of thinking (as to who is either a native speaker or fluent) is my comparison to my speaking Spanish (Mexican with a slight Puerto Rican dialect). If I am asked if I am a native speaker, I'll have to say no, because my first language is definitely English (American dialects of the midwest, west and south), but if asked if I were fluent (since I judge myself harshly) I'd say semi-fluent to fluent. Now how can I explain what happens when I speak Spanish? The best way is this. I would NOT be lost in ANY spanish speaking country, I'd feel almost at home where Spanish is spoken, it would not knock me into orbit. However, I am definitely much more COMFORTABLE with English and prefer English any chance I get (but I do enjoy speaking Spanish too). Basically in an every day context, some days are better than others but generally I could hold a conversation for maybe about a half hour before they get the hint that Spanish might not be my first language. My accent doesn't sound like a non native speaker. The main problems I have are with grammar (even in English) and vocabulary. The thing is ... it took me studying Spanish in school for a few years, even a few semesters of college level Spanish and I have been exposed to Spanish since I was a toddler and massively exposed to it since I was about 15 years old (I'm now 51 years old) I have lived in Puerto Rico for a year and on the Mexican border for most of my life (I just recently moved away from the border less than a year ago). I find Spanish speakers from Puerto Rico, California, Mexico, Perú, Honduras etc on an every day basis even though I now live in the American heart land ... and yet I still struggle (perfectionist?) with the Spanish language on a higher level.
I meet Russian speakers every day, German speakers about once a month, Chinese speakers every week, Spanish daily. I work in a building (high rise) that has quite a few "Irish Americans" and I am the only one that can even just say basic things (maidin mhaith, oíche mhaith, cén chaoi bhfuil tú etc etc). But online, man, online there is a TREMENDOUS Irish language presence from TG-4 to RnaG via the RTÉ app and even a chat room (but I have to say the Esperanto chat room on IRC has a lot more action) .... sigh ... So I feel that no matter where you come from, or your origins ... you have to just REALLY want to speak Irish, it is a labor of love (or as I tell people, I have a love hate relationship with the Irish language).
Finally, one last example. It took me about 2 months to level up to the 8th level in Irish and it took me about 60 seconds in Spanish. (which is alarming, I should have been able to quickly level up to 10 or higher in Spanish, that is a gauge that tells me I have been taking my Spanish language for granted. Languages are a perishable skill, if we don't work with it every day, we lose it.
I am also interested in seeing some Native American Languages on DuoLingo, like Comanche, Navajo (Diné), Lakota & Cherokee (Tsa-La-Gi) ... I think Lakota only has about 6,000 (6K) fluent speakers left (according to forvo.com) ... man, talk about "Holy Endangered Language Batman!"
Sorry for the long windedness (I do blame THAT trait on the Irish side of the family) & Thanks DuoLingo for everything you do! Go Raibh Míle maith agaibh! Sláinte!
We spent about a week in Ireland this summer including a good part of two days in Gaeltacht areas and never heard anyone speaking Irish, even among themselves. It's probable that the locals were doing that for us, since the chance of (obvious) tourists speaking English was much greater than them speaking Irish, but it was still sort of disappointing. We did briefly listen to one or two Irish language radio stations.