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Salted Gannet is not Expensive

Alex J. Craig reviews Duolingo’s online Gaelic course

iScot Book Review

FEW PEOPLE in Scotland had heard of Duolingo until last November, when their online course in Scottish Gaelic was launched. The course rapidly gained adherents, and the number signed up for it currently stands at 129,000. This may well be more than the total number of Gaelic speakers in the world.

Duolingo, based in Pittsburgh, was founded in 2009 by Guatemalan Luis von Ahn, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University and his Swiss postgarduate student Severin Hacker. The aim was to create a platform which would enable people to learn a language for little or no cost. The project was immensely successful; there are now over 300 million users world-wide. From the original English (for Spanish speakers) and Spanish (for English speakers), 94 languages are now offered, including Irish and Welsh (and even Klingon!). The original grant funding was soon overtaken by massive investment, and the company is currently valued at $1.5billion. Revenue comes from advertising on the app and subscription fees for those who wish to avoid the ads.

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Issue 59 of iScot Magazine is now available for download. The last issue before Brexit ! Jings, Crivvens, Help Ma Boab!