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Something big is coming to Duolingo. Are you ready?

September 4, 2013



This highly suggests language-adding tools for users. I hope it will be executed well, I don't want DL to become the mediocre mess that Memrise has become :/


Mediocre mess? I think we are using two different services. Ya, there are bad courses on Memrise, but that is to be expected. There are a ton of good ones there alongside the bad ones. And the good ones are very easy to find.


Thank you for speaking out for Memrise. Memrise is a site that wears everything on its sleeve, it makes it very clear that it is only as good as the input people put in to it, and it doesn't exactly order you to waste your time on courses you think aren't very good. There is so much to be gained from the 'organised chaos', it seems petty to just criticise the site for its bad points. I know some people expect to have silver service, but you have to actually have something rough and ready in the first place, before you can even begin to think of such lofty concepts as 'refinement' :P


Exactly. Don't see any useful "mems" for the word you're looking at? Make one. No good courses for Irish (say)? Make one. It will be interesting to see how Duo copes with user input at that level.


You say if there isn't a good course then make one, I don't mean to sound rude or anything if I do but if you're wanting to learn a language how can you make a course for it? You're doing the courses to learn. I use memrise to learn Danish and hardly any courses are made by actual Danes, they're made by people only a bit better than me. So in a way I hope duolingo makes it better because I think it would be hard to make a duo course unless you were fluent in the language.


What makes duolingo really appealing is it seems to be somewhat structured and has quality content which is mostly reliable and informative. Users receive feedback on their overall progress through unlocking levels and earning points.

I have several issues with user uploaded content

  • I can not see a way in which they could build a 'structured' course, and by structured I refer to a fully constructed skill tree to the same level and quality as the current duolingo skill trees. Which I feel would be taking away some of the key aspect of what I personally think is really good about duolingo. (A progressive FULL language learning tool)

  • The 'user' in question doesn't have to be a native speaker. certified teacher, duolingo staff or anybody with any real knowledge of the language at all. So how can the quality of the content be assured? Infact, how can it even be proven what I'm told I'm learning is what I actually am learning. And even so, at which point do you class yourself good enough to teach a language? I'm a native English speaker, would I say my spelling and grammar is flawless enough to teach foreign learners 'proper' English? No.

Which leads to.

  • I would hate to see a jumbled mess of half decent courses which you would have tossed around the place, by any old Joe who fancied making their own 'flashcards' for us all to see which have been ripped straight from a GCSE textbook. In regards to memrise, having used that service, I like it. But why would duolingo want to be like memrise when we pretty much all agree, memrise is a lesser product and this one is more quality.

If there was a filter process where 1 course of 'X' language was added and over time it was developed by users whilst vetted and approved by the staff at duolingo or other native/professionals over the quality of the 'X' course content, then I can see it working well.

Other than that, what can a few basic, mashed up, thrown together courses teach me I can't find out elsewhere.

Don't misunderstand that I wouldn't want user content added, but I'd rather it don'e correctly because (especially when it comes to languages) ..

QUALITY is winning. Not quantity.

Just my 2p


@Raftus "Courses on Memrise aren't like the full course on Duolingo, we agree on that, right?" I think that's the point of why people want duolingo to not be like memrise, which is why it was being insulted. I personally use memrise to learn NEW vocab instead of just redoing loads of old ones (obviously I still water so that I remember the vocab) in which case making courses myself would be pointless as I need to learn from people significantly better, (like natives, as I get the impression that some courses I see were just made using a dictionary/some basic phrases). I want a system where natives/fluent people can make a course like a duolingo course that teaches how to actually form your own sentences, something memrise doesn't do (as it's a flashcard site). Don't get me wrong, I love memrise, but I'd imagine most people using it (especially for the more obscure languages which aren't on duolingo currently) they use it to learn new vocab, in which case the "make your own course" suggestion is pointless. Sorry for blabbing so much and I don't mean to sound rude if I do.


You can be learning a language and still make a course, no problem. Courses on Memrise aren't like the full course on Duolingo, we agree on that, right?

For instance I'm not fluent in Spanish, and am learning it here and on Memrise, but I could make a themed course on certain gothicky, descriptive words that I've learned reading 'La sombra del viento', for instance. I don't have to be much better than others at Spanish, but that course might be fun for someone to learn from. You see a few of those types of courses there, and it gives Memrise a flavour distinct from Duolingo.


Ha ha, don't worry - you're not rude, it's a pleasure talking about this with you. We obviously see different uses for Memrise, but that's the beauty of it. I just felt that Memrise was being unfairly slighted here, when it is a completely different kind of site to Duolingo.

I will be intrigued to see how Duo intend to keep the high standards once (because this is probably what the big surprise coming up is) they allow user-generated content.


Ah good. I don't agree with the people insulting memrise, although I do agree with the comment to a small degree because some languages have better courses than others. From looking at the ones like Chinese, French, Spanish, I haven't tried any of them out but there seems to be a lot of long courses with a lot of words, whereas some languages have very few good courses (or none). Some people use memrise to learn, some use it to remember, I guess? I use it to learn partially because I have no other alternative website to use. It is different to duolingo, which is why I think it would be great if we can add languages to duo but make sure it's still in a duolingo style, so you don't get any languages like the badly made ones you sometimes find on memrise.

I really hope that this is what the surprise is, as I would love to get to see what languages are added here and since duo has audio, writing and reading practising it could come in very useful. Comparing memrise and duolingo does seem a bit weird though, as I thought of them as unconnected, I was surprised how many people I found to actually use both.


Irish, thats the one!


Definitely need that


I admit, maybe mediocre mess was a little harsh. I use Memrise for Spanish vocabulary too so it's not like I used it once and am criticizing it after using it only 5 minutes though. It's just that compared to the professionalism DL uses Memrise seems a bit less organized. And in the end, I'd rather have professionals making courses than people like you and me. Not saying courses users make will be bad, not at all, but people who went to school to study a language for a couple of years probably have more experience in putting exercises and lessons together than we do. I guess we'll see in the end how well it works :)


Some of the courses are awful, lack audio etc., but some are actually put together very thoughtfully. I'm thinking of Ben Whately (who is one of the Memrise team) and his Mandarin course. It's massive, with a huge amount of thought put in. It is a shame that they don't weed out the crap ones though. There was another one done by the Guardian newspaper on Memrise. The good courses are easy to find.


There may be some duff courses, but I'm doing courses in Greek, Irish, Latin and Chinese (particularly excellent) on Memrise, and have improved my Greek no end and was able to use phrases in Zakynthos on holidays recently from Memrise. Not bad for a mediocre mess.


I second this. I hope it is really just a tool to help duolingo implement new languages at the same high quality as the existing ones.


What is this about? Isn't it just some pictures of eggs?

[deactivated user]

    Why are you torturing us? :(


    If being ready means having acquired a compulsive desire to successfully complete a qualifying activity every 24 hours, then YES! How Duolingo achieves this level of behavior modification without using food pellets is nothing short of amazing.


    They just turned all of us into my dog. We'll do almost anything to be told what a good boy/girl we are.


    Yeah, I didn't think I'd fall for it ;)


    This whole "Guess what's hatching" thing should be considered cruel and unusual punishment.


    At least we can guess at what it is. With all those eggs, I think it's an indefinite number of something. Maybe the ability to add your own languages - that would be indefinite. Or maybe teaming up with Google translate and including almost every language.

    I find it interesting to see people's reactions. Does it really matter whether you know what it is or not? It wouldn't make the time pass quicker, anyway.

    I think the suspense is actually kind of fun. It gives me something to dream about. :)


    Something big is coming, and it's not just one egg, but lots of eggs. Very cryptic. White eggs on a red background. It's very exciting and almost too long to be left in suspense. :)


    They explicitly said in their latest AMA that they are no longer creating courses for new languages internally and would be making tools for creating courses instead. They aren't exactly being vague about what is coming up. Though for some reason a ton of people still don't realize it.


    If not user added languages. this list may give a clue as to which languages may be useful



    Interesting statistics. Thanks for posting. :)


    now this many eggs can only mean user added languages! :) which is totally cool


    I'm not quite ready... do you think you can put it on hold for bit please?


    Its a baby owl what are you guys thinking!?!


    Unfortunately, Oct 9 will be two weeks too late to easily balance all those eggs on their ends. As everyone knows, the best time to attempt this feat is on the two equinoxes, when the gravitational pull of the sun is equally balanced.

    Perhaps this article can help duolingo with their egg balancing challenge:


    Actually, the idea that eggs balance more easily on the equinox is a myth. The disturbances in the air, slight downward slope of the surface, tidal effects from the moon, and vibrations in the floor outweigh anything gained on the equinox.

    I'm not sure whether you were kidding about that, but I thought I'd explain just in case.


    I really really would like Russian


    UM... what do you think!?!?!? WE'RE SOOO READY!!!!! ;)

    [deactivated user]



      Perhaps Cornish ?


      literally no chance that this will ever be added by the duolingo team. as sad as that may be.


      Whether we are surprised with Chinese courses, or we see the door opened for user-provided Chinese courses, I'm just thrilled. My daughter just started a language immersion program, and I want to keep up. Way to go, DL, in advance!




      None of them I guess, but maybe we will be able to add it ourselves =)


      it has to be mandarin... please make it happen


      I really hope the Japanese gets added. I've been waiting since duolingo came out.


      Japanese would be awesome!


      I am excited about this.


      owl eggs...? Could that mean there will be some sort of mini duolingo? My guess is either user added languages like most people have commented or mini games, now that would be fun


      这儿发生什么?What 's happening ? A new egg hatching now...Godzilla 's new-born baby ? All of us will be crushed soon for sure ! Save our souls !


      Maybe not godzilla's new-born babies. But rather Sid's dinosaures (http://imgur.com/vNbqPQL) or mushu (http://imgur.com/QY0WrR3) Anyway YES we are ready !!!


      Good job, you are 'the artist' ! How did you get this result ? Gimp ?


      Fear not!!! The DL Owl will save us!!!


      ¡ La inteligencia contra la fuerza bruta, claro que sí ! ¡Tengo ganas de encontrarte, monstruito mío, no miedo !


      Yep, Chinese would be the best option for Godzilla :)


      ...You say 'Chinese', so my dream would come true ! And what about Russian ? Russia has also the red color on its flag...I prefer Chinese but Russian would be cool too...I really think that Russia will play an important role in the future between the USA and China. We usually underestimate Russia.


      You know, if you want to say what's happening, we usually say 发生了什么事?Because 这儿 means here, so your sentence actually translates into What's happening here? My mother tongue is Chinese :)


      Thanks, even if that 's a bit slow, I need to check the examples in my dictionary before writting. Thanks a lot.

      So tired sometimes when I 'm back from work...By the way, my name is Italian but I am French actually and unfortunately I can't speak Italian with Italian people...很奇怪,哈哈!


      Lol. I understand. Chinese can be so hard sometimes. But I wish you all the luck in mastering it!!!


      A giant scrambled egg brunch hosted by duolingo for all of its users as a token of thanks?


      yes, i am ready Master.


      NO - I'M NOT READY!!!

      Hehe. Just kidding. Go ahead and throw it at me. :)


      expecting at least 2-3 asian languages, eastern european languages wouldn't hurt too


      I hope it's a new language! BTW, since you have German already, please, please, please PLEASE, please, add Yiddish. Please? TY. Don't let Yiddish die, please! TY.


      Yiddish is now developing in the incubator


      I'm not ready yet. Wait for my tree to be finished.


      I feel ready. I just don't look it.


      I hope it's Russian




      Didn't he say something about a certification process being implemented soon? Is this it?


      I'm thinking since only one is about to hatch, it's just one language. The others are close, though... Based on the color scheme, I'm leaning towards Japanese, though Chinese could be a possibility.


      I have faith that it will be worth the wait. Watch this video of Luis at Tedx if you have not already. Mind-blowingly cool. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQl6jUjFjp4

      I am so excited to have joined Duolingo at this time! "We are Duolingo. We can translate your legions..."


      Why not try Scottish, Nynorsk (Norse) , Latin (modern), Galician, Egyptian , Icelandic, Arabic?


      I would like to see Latin, Egyptian, and Arabic too.


      like ancient Egyptian?


      That would be so cool! I was thinking more Egyptian Arabic to help travelers and International businessmen, but ancient Egyptian would be awesome! I knew Egytian Arabic was different than Arabic in other parts of the Arab word so I was more focused on that angle. Maybe a bonus skill level in dealing with terrorists with phrases like, "I'm not an American spy," and "Where is my embassy?" I'd love to see Egypt, but I definately want some language skills first before going there.


      We are going out of our minds. We need to know. =/


      A new language right?! please let it be a new language or languages!!!


      the red colour suggest an asian language


      Da neke stvari veliko dolazi za duolingo to će biti strašan


      Yo estoy listo y yo soy listo. :-)


      I hope it's new languages like Arabic!


      Yes I am ready Luis. What is it?


      I hope they add dutch, swedish and polish :D


      No wonder I haven't seen Duo much recently - all those eggs muct take a lot of incubating... Thank you to everyone at Duolingo for their unremitting effort to improve what is already a great program, and happy hatching!


      Yes, I am ready!


      I hope they add Icelandic :o


      Please provide new courses on Dutch, Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, and Indonesian:-) Thank you Luis:-) Duolingo is awesome:-)


      And what about Mongolian, Chinese, Japanese, korean and stuff


      Quiero aprender Japones y no esta u.u

      Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.