Duolingo

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Duolingo is a popular language learning platform.

As of November 2023, Duolingo does not offer a Toki Pona course. (It has, at least, mentioned Toki Pona before.[1])

Alternatives[edit | edit source]

Many resources have been created that intend to give a similar experience to Duolingo:

Under construction This list needs work. If you know about this topic, you can help us by editing it. (See all)

Viability[edit | edit source]

Speakers have differing opinions on whether Toki Pona would be suitable for Duolingo.

A commonly speculated problem is that Duolingo focuses on vocabulary and isolated translation exercises, whereas Toki Pona is focused on dialogues of circumlocution, highly sensitive to the participants' preexisting and contextual knowledge, and avoids setting fixed phrases for concepts. Some tokiponists believe that Duolingo could make a Toki Pona course work with its format, by focusing on grammar tips and keeping the sentences and translations very general. For example, mi lon tomo tawa. would be answered "I am in a moving room", not "I am in a car". Still, the likelihood of this happening and being handled well is a risky unknown.

The idea of applying Duolingo's grading system to Toki Pona has been praised and criticized. In existing courses, it is important to use perfect grammar, even if the sentence is still comprehensible, or else the answer is marked incorrect. This could be a positive feature for Toki Pona, as small mistakes like the omission of particles can completely change the meaning of a sentence or make it incomprehensible.

It is possible that the Stories feature would be a better fit for Toki Pona, but it is unrealistic due to being available in very few courses, and is always placed to the side of the translation-based learning path.

With Duolingo being such a large platform, it could have negative effects on existing communities by making them too difficult to moderate, and causing an influx of thousands of learners to drown out proficient speakers.

The feasibility of work on a Toki Pona course also seems to be declining, with Duolingo removing volunteer contributions and various courses in recent years.

References[edit | edit source]

English Wikipedia has an article on
Duolingo.
  1. Cardwell, Ramsey L. (11 May 2021). Why learn a made-up language?. Duolingo Blog, Duolingo. Retrieved 7 November 2023.
    There are many reasons to create a conlang, including to facilitate communication between speakers of different languages (check out Volapük) or even to reflect aesthetic and philosophical principles (Toki Pona was designed for minimalism and positive thinking).