Duolingo Gives A Fillip To Free Language Learning With Crowdsourced Lessons

Saikat Basu 11-10-2013

Duolingo has gained a lot of traction as an online language learning service. It could easily gain some more with a new initiative that aims to crowdsource new lessons and new languages with the help of the website’s growing community of ten million and counting. The Language Incubator could be your chance to contribute to a course and expand the scope of learning from the six languages which Duolingo covers on its own.


According to the site, the most requested languages are Chinese, Japanese Russian and Arabic. Bilingual participants can apply to contribute a course. Duolingo looks over their applications to see if they have the necessary skills to moderate the course. With approval, the service gives the applicants the blueprint for developing new language classes. The blueprint covers a list of the basic 3,000 words of a language, key concepts to include and the order in which material should be taught. Moderators can recruit others to help with the content creation.


Duolingo was innovative with its launch. The feature to translate real-world documents while learning a language Learn A Language And Translate For Practice With Duolingo (Now Open To All!) The internet has given us some fantastic tools for language learning, and Duolingo is the latest site to give it a go. It's just come out of closed beta and is now available for everyone... Read More was one of its first attempts at crowdsourcing knowledge. The Language Incubator has been launched in beta, and as with all things, the number of participants and a check on quality will determine its success or failure.

Founder and CEO Luis Von Ahn said that broadening language content came from frequent user feedback.

“We simply cannot add so many by ourselves. When we get asked for a language, a fraction say I’m willing to help. We took a cue from that and developed a system that lets the community contribute classes.”

Have you used Duolingo? What do you feel about this new venture?


Source: GigaOm

Related topics: Education Technology, Language Learning.

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  1. James B
    October 12, 2013 at 8:40 am

    Never in my life have I heard the phrase "give a fillip". You might want to avoid such obscure Americanisms.

    • Saikat B
      October 12, 2013 at 11:43 am

      That's strange. The orgin of the word according to OED goes back to the 19th Century. If you do a Google Book search, it's as common as any other. Did a site search on BBC as well to test your point. Same result :)

    • sarefo
      October 12, 2013 at 3:25 pm

      I've never heard it either, and I very rarely come across phrases I've never heard before :)

    • Kathleen Ryan
      October 12, 2013 at 7:56 pm

      I am American, and I have never heard the word or phrase. I did a Google Ngram search, comparing the word to its synonyms, and found it to be 10 to 100 times less frequent. I then checked the whole phrase, and while quite rare in both, it is more common in British English than American English.

    • Anne-Marie Visser
      October 13, 2013 at 12:09 pm

      What is your point Billy Elliot? Did you not understand what was meant without looking up the term? Or do you propose to use only words that 100% of the readers know and use?

    • James B
      October 13, 2013 at 2:28 pm

      Is Billy Elliot your only cultural reference of something English? Wow.

      Yes, I had not a clue what was meant by the title. I thought it was spanish or french actually, given duolingo is about language learning. A large part of our audience is foreign, so it would indeed be best to stick to words which are in common use - especially when it adds no value to the title at all, and there are far more suitable alternatives. Since you asked.

  2. billy elliott
    October 12, 2013 at 6:58 am

    i actually already used this app and i really like it. native lang is eng but i use it to keep my french flowing and taking up portugese. i recommend it