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Duolingo aligns with government to help reach 1m Welsh speakers by 2050

On St Dwynwen’s day (Monday 25 January, 2021) Duolingo will #CaruCymraeg (love the Welsh language) by committing to support the government’s Cymraeg 2050 strategy to reach 1 million Welsh speakers by 2050.

Duolingo will align course content and share knowledge with the National Centre for Learning Welsh, and use its global reach to attract new learners. To date over 1.62 million people worldwide have started learning Welsh on Duolingo – up 100k since October 2020 – with 474k active learners today. At the 2011 census the number of Welsh speakers stood at 562,000.

The 2020 Duolingo Language Report has revealed Welsh was the fastest growing language in the U.K. (up 44% in 2020) beating Hindi, Japanese, French and Turkish. The report also found Welsh learners were some of the most committed and most dedicated in the world, ranking third for the longest average daily streaks, and third for the most number of lessons completed in 2020.

The Minister for Mental Health, Well-being and Welsh Language, Eluned Morgan, said: 

“We’ve set a goal of a million Welsh speakers by 2050, around a third of Wales’ current population, and in recent years we’ve seen a surge in demand for Welsh in early years and school-age learning.

“To reach our target, it’s important to also grow the language among adults and apps such as Duolingo are a great way to get a taste for learning Welsh in a fun way which fits around people’s busy lives. I’m really pleased the National Centre for Learning Welsh has developed a partnership with Duolingo and it’s inspiring to hear of people around the world who’ve learned Welsh through the app.

“So on St Dwynwen’s Day, our national day of love, it’s a perfect time to fall in love with learning Welsh!”.

Efa Gruffudd Jones, Chief Executive at the National Centre for Learning Welsh, said:

“Creating and promoting opportunities for our learners to practise and enjoy their Welsh is an important part of our work at the National Centre and we’re delighted to be working in partnership with Duolingo.

“We encourage our learners to use Duolingo’s language learning app, to practise their new skills and reinforce their classroom learning, and I would like to thank Duolingo’s team of enthusiastic volunteers in Wales for their work.

“We would like to congratulate Duolingo on reaching this important milestone – llongyfarchiadau!”

Welsh language tutor, Richard Morse, who helped create the Welsh course for Duolingo;

“It is amazing to have brought a Welsh course to so many people in five years. Thanks to everyone who has helped on the way. Ymlaen i’r miliwn o siaradwyr!

Colin Watkins, Duolingo’s Country Manager in the U.K. 

“We hope that by aligning with Cymraeg 2050 and working with the National Centre for Learning Welsh we can help reach the goal of having 1 million Welsh speakers much sooner than 2050. We want everyone in Wales, the U.K. and Welsh diaspora worldwide to see the benefits of learning a language, and have fun doing it.”.

“Duolingo is the gateway. Because our courses are free there is no barrier, you can learn on your own at your own pace. The fear many people have when starting, being embarrassed, not having the time, the cost is removed.

“Our data shows if you have a positive experience you stay motivated and go on to consume media, music, literature, or join in person events like those run by the National Centre.”