Ideas For Letting Users Add Their Own Languages
I just thought a bit about how to enable users to add their own languages. These are some of my ideas:
The users that want to make another language on Duolingo, picks the language they want to contribute to. Then Duolingo gives them a whole list of all of the sentences in Duolingo (These could be divided by category, lessons, etc.) and under them would be a place for people to write their translation into the new language. Then the most common ones would be seen as 'the correct answers'. And if you then rely on the discussions to give grammar explanations, then you already have a pretty good way of letting people add their own languages to Duolingo.
This was just what I thought. I hope you will share your ideas and hopefully the Duolingo team will see them ;) .
A nice idea, but no, I don't think it will work.
A, there are about 20,000 sentences in DuoLingo, which on average have 500 correct translations, and say a 'correct' solution is one that is entered by at least 10 different users. 20,000 * 500 * 10 = 100,000,000 so you would need a lot of users to translate everything.
B, since A is such a lot of work you'll want a system that can deduce correct sentences from other correct sentences. So if 'Anybody can do that' is a correct solution than 'Anyone can do that' should also be a correct solution. These deductions are usually unique.
C, different languages not only have different words but also different grammars. You can't simply copy paste the tree of say Spanish to create a tree for Dutch since Dutch doesn't have a subjunctive (well ok, it has a subjunctive but only the Bible uses it actively). You also can't copy paste the German tree since Dutch doesn't have cases (well ok, some remnants, but nobody but the Bible uses those either). A non-Roman/Germanic language would be even more problamatic.
D, the languages that are most often requested (Mandarin, Japanese, Russian, Arabic) don't use the Latin alphabet, so you would need a lot of lessons to learn people how to type it.
E, not every language can express the same things. If you've finished German you'll have noticed how difficult it is to translate the modal particles to English: 'Der Krieg war doch noch nicht verloren?' How do you translate 'doch'? So it isn't possible to simply create a course translating the sentences from English to the desired language without losing some aspects of the language you are translating to.
So I think it is best to wait until the language course creation tools are out :)
I see this translated often as "The war was not yet lost, after all"
But I think
"The war was not yet lost though."
"Though the war was not yet lost?"
Works perfectly well.
Sounds sort of quaint, but there.
Though it has to be said though, that although though is not often used in this context in English, it does seem to have a similar effect though.
When you say after all, though, it conveys that there was doubt at one point. For instance, my drug addicted auntie didn't steal my medicine after all.
Using the word though conveys some sort of clarification. For instance the difference in the following sentences is pretty obvious.
"my drug addicted auntie didn't steal my medicine" and "my drug addicted auntie didn't steal my medicine though". Using though at the end seems to negate a sense of expectancy, as if the reader/listener had expected the auntie to have stolen the medicine.
"Though the war was not yet lost" is not a complete sentence; it's a fragment. And "The war was not yet lost though" would never be written, only spoken.
The odds where against them. Though the war was not yet lost. With the power of cheese cannons, the cats lured the mice into a chokepoint, and turned the tables against them.
Strictness is not something I personally value much, it's quite inflexible :)
I have a professor who is fluent in Hawaiian and really wants to find something like this in Hawaiian. the school of hawaiian language should start a program for native speakers to contribute...tiny language, tiny islands, big dreams... :)