Welsh Duolingo petition tops Senedd list
A petition calling for the first minister to intervene on Duolingo’s decision to mothball its Welsh course is the most signed petition on the Senedd’s website for the last two days.
Last week Nation.Cymru reported that the Welsh language course on the learning app would no longer be edited or updated from the end of this month.
A Senedd petition was started by Kierion Lloyd asking that Mark Drakeford personally intervene with Luis von Ahn, the CEO of Duolingo.
It has far gained over 1300 signatures.
Petitions with more than 10,000 signatures will be considered for a debate in the Senedd.
The app uses game-like experiences to help learners practice and improve their language skills. At one point Welsh was the biggest growing language course on the platform.
A group of volunteers wrote the course and maintained it from its launch in January 2016 until the volunteer programme ended in 2021.
Since then the National Centre for Learning Welsh took over the responsibility of developing and maintaining it.
According to a Duolingo Language Report in 2020, new Welsh learners on the app shot up by 44 per cent – beating French, Hindi, Japanese and Turkish.
Welsh learners were also found to be some of the hardest working and most committed in the world, ranking third for the longest average daily streaks, and third for the most number of lessons completed.
In October 2021, Duolingo launched a partnership with the National Centre for Learning Welsh.
Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles MS hailed the partnership saying it would help “work towards achieving the Welsh Government’s ambition of a million Welsh speakers by 2050”.
There are currently over 650k active learners of Welsh on Duolingo and over 2 million have learned some Welsh on the course.
However, from November the course will be frozen in time with no further development.
Education and Welsh Language minister, Jeremy Miles said he would write to Duolingo to ask them to reconsider their decision to “pause” updates.
In a statement he said: “Duolingo is a valuable resource which can help learners on their journey to become Welsh speakers, alongside other language learning opportunities.
“In light of this news, I will be writing to Duolingo to ask them to consider how, together with the National Centre for Learning Welsh, we might support the continued development of the Welsh course.”
A Duolingo spokesperson said: “Duolingo will pause updates to the Welsh course starting in November when The National Centre stops creating content.
“Our aim is to channel limited resources into enhancing high-demand courses like Spanish, French, and German, which serve a larger audience in the UK and worldwide.
“Welsh, already one of our most comprehensive courses, will remain free for all, and continue to be the go-to for people wanting to begin learning Welsh and those seeking to improve their skills.
“For learners who might have completed our course we encourage them to explore the newly launched Languages Gateway, which offers numerous other Welsh learning resources.”
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