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Duolingo update causes scores of errors in mothballed Welsh course

20 Jan 2024 3 minute read
SaySomethingInWelsh and Duolingo.

Emily Price

Creators of Welsh Duolingo are calling on eduction minister Jeremy Miles to insist on a repair of the course following an update that introduced scores of mistakes for learners.

In October last year, Language learning app Duolingo announced it would mothball its Welsh course – meaning it could no longer be edited or updated.

However, just before the course was frozen in time, it received a minor update which developers say initiated errors and inconsistencies that can no longer be corrected.

The app uses game-like experiences to help learners improve their language skills and at one point Welsh was the biggest growing language course on the platform.

Confused

Developers of the course have warned that the mistakes which have appeared post update have undermined Welsh Duolingo’s content leading to learners becoming confused and irritated.

Mistakes include the misspelling of Welsh words, marking answers as wrong when they are correct, marking the north Wales version of some words as incorrect and correct mutations being ignored.

The admins of the volunteer run Facebook support group, Duolingo Welsh Learners, have put together a list of the errors to be sent to Jeremy Miles.

A group of volunteers wrote the course and maintained it from its launch in January 2016 until the volunteer programme ended in 2021.

After that, the National Centre for Learning Welsh took over the responsibility of developing and maintaining it up until the course was mothballed in 2023.

It’s hoped that the education minister will urge Duolingo to employ one of the previous Welsh course contributors to repair the damage done by the update.

Errors

Richard Morse, a former contributor the course and one of the support group admins said: “I am really disappointed in how badly this small update has been written and how it undermines much of the rest of the course.

“Already many Welsh learners are contacting our support group in total confusion because the Welsh they learned earlier in the Duolingo course is now being rejected.”

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “Duolingo is a valuable resource which can help learners on their journey to become Welsh speakers, alongside other language learning opportunities.

“Following the announcement in November 2023 that developing new content will be delayed, we have received confirmation from Duolingo that the Welsh course will always be freely available to users.

“Duolingo has indicated that they are willing to have a regular dialogue with the Welsh Government and the National Centre for Learning Welsh, which will allow us to review if future updates or corrections to the Welsh course are needed.”

Duolingo was invited to comment.


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Sikejsudjek
Sikejsudjek
27 days ago

How on earth are you supposed to learn Welsh when the Welsh government aren’t able to get this course fixed! Can you not manage to employ just ONE person to update it? I’ve moved to Wales from England and have been learning Cymraeg on Duo Lingo for two years. Makes me think I’m wasting my time. Do you want people to learn and speak the language or not!

Linda
Linda
27 days ago
Reply to  Sikejsudjek

Dysgu Cymraeg offer wonderful courses, both in person, and on line, and they are free for young people, and very reasonably priced for adults. They are often half price.

Erisian
Erisian
27 days ago
Reply to  Linda

I have been learning with Dysgu Cymraeg very happily for 4 years.
Unfortunately, during the pandemic they realized how much cheaper it is to force everybody into zoom meetings instead of learning face to face and such courses are no like hen’s teeth and usually miles away from you.

suzeworld
suzeworld
25 days ago
Reply to  Erisian

I am going to a live taught Dysgu Cymraeg course in Bangor, at the uni. They are also launching the same beginners course in Llanwrug in January (now!)

Erisian
Erisian
27 days ago
Reply to  Sikejsudjek

DuoLingo is a private company outside the UK.
We will have to ask them nicely and probably hand over some cash too.
However, unless the Help and Forum features are fully restored it will never be as good as it was.

Tomos Siôn
Tomos Siôn
26 days ago
Reply to  Sikejsudjek

The translation is a northern way of saying the same thing.

Richard Morse
Richard Morse
26 days ago
Reply to  Tomos Siôn

It’s taught on all Dysgu Cymraeg North Wales courses. Duolingo was designed so that both South Wales and North Wales learners could use the variants they had learned in their lessons.

Richard Morse
Richard Morse
26 days ago
Reply to  Sikejsudjek

The Welsh government paid for this erroneous update.

Richard Morse
Richard Morse
26 days ago

The list of some of the new errors is here :- https://welshclass.wales/gwallau%2Ferrors

The Facebook support group is here :- https://www.facebook.com/groups/welshduolingo

Riki
Riki
26 days ago

And I’m sure coincidentally it’s only Welsh affected! Why people can’t see through this sort of stuff is beyond me, it’s been done on purpose as to make it difficult for international people to learn the language. It’s plain as day!

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