Welsh is one of the ‘most popular’ languages on Duolingo, says company boss
Welsh is one of the “most popular” languages on Duolingo, according to the company’s boss.
Luis von Ahn, the firm’s Chief Executive, said it is still the fastest growing language in the UK on the learning app – which has over 40 million users worldwide.
He was asked about the most popular languages on the application during an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning.
This follows the company revealing this week that revenues are still rising as the world starts to open up from Coronavirus restrictions. The firm recently floated on Wall Street with a multi-billion dollar price tag.
Ahn also said there has been an explosion in the number of people getting to grips with Scots Gaelic.
There are now 400,000 people learning Scots Gaelic – 10 times the number of those who speak the language.
The number of people wanting to learn Welsh soared during the pandemic
According to the 2020 Duolingo Language Report, the new learners on the app shot up by 44 per cent – beating French, Hindi, Japanese and Turkish.
The report also described Welsh learners as some of the most serious and dedicated in the world.
Then on St David’s Day this year Duolingo revealed it would align course content and share knowledge with the National Centre for Learning Welsh to help the Welsh Government reach its target of one million speakers by 2050.
It was reported that 1.62 million people are using the app to learn Welsh – with 474,000 active learners.
When he was asked about which were the “most popular” languages on the app on Radio 4’s Today programme, Luis von Ahn said: “In the UK in particular we have a lot of UK languages – for example Welsh is the fastest growing language in the UK.
“Another interesting statistic in the UK is there’s about half a million people learning Scots Gaelic which is about 10 times the number of speakers (which is something) a lot of Scots Gaelic people are very happy about.
“Ultimately, investors are the ones who pick our price in the Stock Market, that’s the idea of being a public company
“We’ve just grown really fast. For the last four years our revenue has more than doubled every year.
“The way Duolingo makes money. It’s entirely free to learn on Duolingo which is one reason why we have so many users.
“You can entirely learn for free but, just like something like Spotify or many of the dating apps like Tinder, the way we make money is that if you learn entirely for free you have to see ads at the end of a lesson and we make money from those ads.
“There’s also a subscription where if you pay to subscribe you can turn off the ads – so we make money from the subscription as well.
“Only five per cent of our users pay to subscribe but they give us 70 per cent of our revenue.
“Our mission is good for the world but it’s also good for business. Only five per cent of our users pay us. We are the top grossing app in the education category on iPhones and Android devices worldwide.
“We make more money than all those other apps although the majority of those apps charge everybody.
“The reason we are the top grossing app is that our free users have allowed us to grow to our super massive scale, basically through word of mouth.
“I absolutely think that having a really great service for free for people who can’t pay or don’t want to pay is actually good for business as well and I think the more sophisticated investors we have understand that really well.”