Scottish Gaelic course on Duolingo app has 20,000 signups ahead of launch

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A free online language learning service with more than 300 million users will launch its Gaelic course on St Andrew’s Day.

Duolingo was launched in 2011 and now has more than 90 languages on its online service including Spanish, French, Navajo, Jawaiian and Welsh.

READ MORE: Scottish Gaelic to be included as one of 90 languages on Duolingo

It is estimated around 60,000 people in Scotland speak Gaelic but already 20,000 have registered for the course before its release - months ahead of schedule - on Saturday.

Users learn by playing various games including typing words or phrases, matching grammar and also speaking or listening to sentences to earn “crowns” and progress their knowledge through a number of levels.

Contributor Martin Baillie said: “July 2020 was the initial estimate but we revised it because we’d made so much progress over the summer.

Scottish Gaelic will become available on Duolingo. Picture: Duolingo

Scottish Gaelic will become available on Duolingo. Picture: Duolingo

“The more users we have, they contribute to the process. There’s 20,000 pre-registered so that’s a pretty decent starting point.

“It’s about raising awareness, getting people involved in learning Gaelic and hopefully they’ll go on to use other resources that are out there.”

Early phases involve picture-based learning with simple words such as identifying a boy, girl, cat and dog before moving on to other animals.

It then uses what you learn from the pictures to help form and translate sentences - both written on the screen and with audio clips recorded by Martin and his team.

Scottish Gaelic will become available on Duolingo. Picture: Duolingo

Scottish Gaelic will become available on Duolingo. Picture: Duolingo

Colin Watkins, Duolingo’s country manager in the UK, said: “We hope our course will open up Gaelic to millions of people across Scotland and the Scottish diaspora across the world.

“Anyone can start learning the language for free from today. All it takes is for you to download Duolingo and then spend five minutes a day learning, that’s all. It’s perfect for when you are on the bus or having your lunch.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “The Gaelic language is a vital part of Scotland’s cultural identity and we want to ensure those who wish to learn and use the language are given every opportunity to do so.

“I therefore warmly welcome the launch of the new online resource from Duolingo which is another useful tool to promote the use of Gaelic.

“This sits alongside the recently updated Learn Gaelic website which contains a wealth of adult learning materials for those with an interest in the language.”
Duolingo’s Scottish Gaelic course is available free on iOS, Android and duolingo.com.