“The course does not get too heavy for new learners”
Sam Dalsimer, head of PR at Duolingo, told The PIE there are other factors for launching the Hindi course.
“There is a desire amongst all kinds of people to either learn Hindi because it’s part of their culture and heritage and they moved away from it, or for people who might be traveling [to India] for work or for school or just for a vacation,” said Dalsimer.
The course took over a year to create and is different from any of the other courses due to the differences between the latin alphabet and the Hindi script Devanagari. However, Kanan Gupta, the principal course creator said Duolingo’s main focus was to teach the diverse structure of the language through a wide variety of exercises, without making the course too difficult for users.
“The course does not get too heavy for a new learner at any point, it trains them enough to be able to hold conversations and easily pick up more advanced vocabulary on their own in the process,” said Kanan Gupta.
Alongside this, the course was developed using the Common European Framework for Reference of Languages, a proficiency guide. Duolingo helps users reach a certain level of proficiency but Dalsimer added that users should not only depend on the app and use other methods of learning such as visiting the country, listening to music, and storytelling.
There are no current plans to launch other Indian language courses, but Duolingo is now focusing on launching an Arabic course later in 2018.
The firm is also working on different kinds of content to make language learning more entertaining for users such as their podcast series, Duolingo stories where users read fictional stories in the language they are learning and Duolingo events where users meet in the real world and get to socially practice the language with each other.
“Learning a language is like going to the gym: it’s something that a lot of people say they want to do but it’s very hard to do and it’s hard to keep up with. So Doulingo’s whole [view] on learning a language is: it has to be made fun,” said Dalsimer.