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API or Toolkit, please! Think Sourceforge meets Duolingo

i really hope the Duolingo team develops an API or a Duolingo-toolkit that allows users, perhaps users with a certain number of hours in Duolingo and thus familiarity with it, to launch new languages.

Those languages could be closed projects moderated by teams of users, and different teams could work on different segments of the same language, too. And when a team thinks its segment is ready, they could alert Duolingo staff.

That segment could be reviewed. If passable, it could be alpha and beta-tested among users. And once enough of the path or all of the path is complete, the language could be rolled-out to all users. I think this would be a strategy that would work, especially if Duolingo reserves the rights to combine teams and segments when it feels that would be beneficial. And to close teams when the segment is not productive. And where all the product belongs to Duolingo, even if a segment is closed.

Teams would be volunteer-driven. Some people reciting for audio lessons. Some people translating. Some people writing tips. A lot of people learning as they work to add content, improving their skills.

September 23, 2013



I'm just gonna copy/paste what I normally do when this topic is brought up. So here it is.

There is a ton of misinformation going around so I'm gonna try to clear some things up.

Future languages aren't coming in the way that a lot of people think they are. Duolingo is going to give users the ability to create courses for any language they want. They are no longer creating courses for new languages internally. That was confirmed in the latest AMA from a few months ago. "So that’s the approach we plan to take: Instead of us slowly adding languages, we’ll create all the tools necessary for the community to build them."


While no ETA was given in that AMA, Duolingo has recently announced that "Something big is coming to Duolingo." https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=617459704964869 on October 9th of this year. Taking the above information into account, it's pretty obvious what that something is. Course creation tools.

Also note that October 9th is Hangul Day http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hangul_Day in South Korea. I don't think it means Korean is being developed internally and will be released on that day, but it's still interesting.


Wonderful! As I think is obvious in my original post, I believe that approach is a great way to leverage the interest of users. Rather than have users gripe about languages not rolling out, about what subjects are focused on, or even about extending the paths of languages into more advanced levels, Duolingo is creating a way for users to go fix those issues.

People being people, there will likely still be complaints. But there'll be a place to point them to, one not involving double-hockey-sticks, etc.

Really appreciate the confirmation that Duolingo is working on exactly this idea of a toolkit/API approach to introducing languages.

Now if we can just get a time machine to send us a glimpse at the popular discussions for Oct 10, so we can be sure what was revealed on the 9th! ;)


Btw, after rereading my post, I feel it may have come off as a bit rude with an attitude that people discuss this all the time so it's annoying or something. I'm not saying you think I came off like that, but if you do, then I am sorry. The reason I said I'm just gonna copy/paste is cuz the post might look a bit weird the way it is set up without mentioning that it's a general post used in multiple situations and also I didn't really feel like editing it to make it match this thread better.:P

I agree that it's a great idea. The internet is full of examples of people doing things for free and working together for a great cause. Whether it be for recreational purposes or for saving lives (Child's Play Charity ftw). I have already seen some people complaining about the idea of course creation tools, yeah, and some people worry that it will turn into Memrise. I don't understand that complaint that they offer up though because Memrise, IMO, has a lot of high-quality courses. Sure, there are bad ones, but it's really easy to find the good ones. Memrise is mostly meant for vocab and learning writing scripts anyways when it comes to language learning (Which is great!) whereas Duolingo is broader in scope.

I am eagerly anticipating October 9th myself, but I also have a few other things that I am looking forward to. Like the stuff that Valve is unveiling this week.:)


Excellent summary. And you even cited your sources!


Yep. It's the only way most people will take "Facts" seriously, and rightfully so.


i think they are working on it


Yep. It's probably what's "hatching" on Oct. 9


What are you talking about, that's what I said ;)


That's strange, previously your comment said Oct. 8th. Or maybe I went crazy and read it wrong... Haha!


Oh! I get it now ;)


note the winking face xD


Yep, that is what everybody thinks is coming Oct. 9th. I think so too :)


(This will only make sense if you saw the Matrix) But I feel like Tank, (paraphrasing) "If it's true, it's a very exciting time!" But instead of the one, we are waiting for the many. :)


Food for thought: public domain language courses prepared for the US State Department's Foreign Service Institute. These were prepared for Americans to learn languages of other countries to be able to work as FSOs. A lot of the courses are really old -- the Saudi-Arabic (Hijazi) course dates from 1975. But the material (especially translation exercises and vocabulary) may be more useful once it is plugged into the Duolingo model.



Even more interesting, are the Defense Department's language training resources. Main page: http://www.dliflc.edu/products.html

Highlights: Arabic Grammar Resources: http://ags.lingnet.org/ Language Assessment: http://oda.lingnet.org/ Courses in 24 languages: http://gloss.dliflc.edu/Default.aspx

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