Popular language learning app Duolingo has launched an English course specifically designed for speakers of Tagalog, which is spoken by more than half of the Philippine population.
Duolingo’s English for the Tagalog Speakers Course is designed with the beginner English-speaking Filipino in mind and aims to make learning basic English fun and easy by including words and situations that are useful for learners. Interesting vocabularies such as expressions of hunger, emotions, and activities that are popular in the Philippines – all make for good basic conversational English.
According to Haina Xiang, marketing director of Duolingo, 20% of Filipinos on Duolingo are learning Japanese, 19% are learning Korean, and 16% are learning Spanish.
“We are amazed by the Filipinos’ diversity of learning passion. We want to share the fun and make language learning more accessible for Filipinos,” she said.
Xiang said Duolingo has been posting a monthly average users (MAU) growth of 32% in the Philippines, which is higher than its overall growth of 10% globally.
The peak time for Filipino learners is between 09:00 pm to 10:00 pm, while the average study time per day is 15 minutes, according to Xiang.
She said thousands of Filipinos are also learning man-made languages such as Klingon and High Valyrian. One interesting fact: More than 2,000 Filipinos celebrated New Year’s Eve by learning a language at 12am, she said.
The Tagalog course is a representation of Duolingo’s founder story, the company said. Luis von Ahn, Duolingo’s CEO and founder was born in Guatemala. He realized that education sometimes brought inequality across socio-economic classes. He observed that people who have money can buy themselves the best education in the world, while people who don’t have very much money barely learn how to read and write.
Realizing language is important for personal growth and career development, Von Ahn created Duolingo and sought to make it universally accessible. Now Duolingo is used by people across the economic spectrum, from celebrities like Bill Gates to refugees.
Similarly, not every family in the Philippines is lucky enough to get well educated. With the English for the Tagalog Speakers Course, Duolingo said it is expanding its mission to the Philippines – that is providing free and accessible education to everyone in the world.
Beyond English, Duolingo offers over 100 total courses across 41 distinct languages, from Spanish, French, German and Japanese to Navajo and Yiddish. Those whose English proficiency is good can pick up the diversified languages from English.