The duolingo logo and its owl icon

Duolingo Will Stop Updating Welsh, and People Aren’t Happy

Language-learning app Duolingo has announced that it will stop updating the Welsh language, even though it was one of the fastest-growing language courses when the pandemic hit in 2020, according to ABC News Australia.

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A spokesperson for the app, whose mascot and logo, a green bird named Duo, has become a viral sensation, says that the reason the company won’t be making more updates to its Welsh language course is because of “limited resources.” As reported by Sky News, a spokesperson for Duolingo 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.”

The mention of other languages being in higher demand when compared to a language that has been in decline due to the lingering effects of colonization feels inconsiderate at best, especially coming from an app that also hosts fictional languages such as High Valyrian from Games of Thrones and Klingon from Star Trek. Census figures from last year showed that there are now 24,000 fewer Welsh speakers than a decade ago. Duolingo currently offers 43 language courses, 39 of which are tailored for English speakers. In February 2023, Welsh was the 30th most utilized course by English speakers, with over 589,000 learners. Now, nine months later, its current user base has grown by nearly 100,000 and sits at 663,000.


Duolingo will no longer update the language of Welsh despite its growing popularity on the app.  #Duolingo #Welsh #Wrexham #Learning #ABCNews

♬ News serious information news program – gooooodee_jay

Jeremy Miles, the Welsh government’s minister for education and the Welsh language, said that he would be writing to those at Duolingo to see if the government and the app could work together to develop Duolingo’s already existing course with help from the National Centre for Learning Welsh—the government currently has a target of getting a million people speaking the language by 2050, and Duolingo could be a vital resource in reaching that goal.

According to Sky News, Miles said, “Duolingo is a valuable resource which can help learners on their journey to become Welsh speakers, alongside other language learning opportunities.”

There is currently a petition to have Wales’ First Minister, Mark Drakeford, intervene and urge Duolingo’s CEO to reconsider ceasing the Welsh language course’s development. The petition currently has over 3,000 signatures, with the originator writing, “We hope that our petition would move you to persuade Duolingo to continue to have a vibrant Welsh curriculum that would allow us to achieve a functional fluency.”

(featured image: Duolingo)

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Brooke Pollock
Brooke Pollock is a UK-based entertainment journalist who talks incessantly about her thoughts on pop culture. She can often be found with her headphones on listening to an array of music, scrolling through social media, at the cinema with a large popcorn, or laying in bed as she binges the latest TV releases. She has almost a year of experience and her core beat is digital culture.