Beta languages, change in policy

We have decided to change our policy with regard to Beta languages, after much discussion. Here are the main points.

Even though Cantonese won on our recent poll at Facebook, we regret that we will not be able to add Cantonese. Our present text splitter only works for simplified characters. After much research on the web, and in Japan and Hong Kong, we have found that to enable Cantonese, we would have to buy a new splitter for traditional characters, with no guarantee that it will work properly with LingQ. It could require a fair amount of work for our programmer. We are not prepared to do this at this time. We have more important work that we want to do, improvement that will benefit the majority of LingQ users.

The language that came second to Cantonese on the last poll is Hebrew, and it will be added.

We have noticed that only a small number of learners actually study Beta languages, and the number is dwindling for each Beta language added. In future, we have decided to only add a Beta language if 1,000 votes are registered on our Facebook poll in favour of that language. We are resetting the Facebook poll to zero and encourage you to vote again for the language of your choice. As soon as we have 1,000 votes for a language, that language will be added.

On the positive side, we have some exciting developments in the plans that we are sure all of you will enjoy. We regret this change but have found that the Beta languages are a distraction from our main goal, which is to continue to improve the learner experience for the languages that most people are studying.

That’s bad news.
A simple, but efficient splitting algorithm for traditional text is the following:

  1. Convert trad. to simpl. script.
  2. Use the splitter for simpl. text.
  3. Now split trad. text according to found words in the simpl. text.
    Very easy to implement. I don’t understand that this is not possible.

I do understand Beta languages haven’t been a success so far, but I doubt the new policy will be better than the previous one…

Have you guys considered “contracting” out pieces of functionality like what hape suggests to members with programming or software engineering skills (such as me) in exchange for points?

Steve, if you had warned us about this change a bit in advance, I would have asked my friends to vote for Greek. I didn’t do it because it looked quite sure Cantonese would be added, so it would have been useless to help Greek reach the 2nd place. You could have added it anyway, since it got just a few votes less than Hebrew…

I do know that and I totally agree, Yirtse. I and other members have already complained about this, but LingQ wants to keep the Facebook vote rather than running an internal LingQ vote, so I have stopped complaining about that and accepted the idea of the Facebook vote.
While I’m happy for you who can now study Hebrew, I wonder how many members will study it. Modern Greek had got more votes among my LingQ friends than Hebrew did.
Anyway, I will manage to get 1000 votes for Greek and the other languages sooner or later.

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MichelE! My name has a final “e”!!! :stuck_out_tongue:

Maybe you could help me make it happen… Of course, I will keep studying my languages and I’m considering limiting my content providing activity in order to study more.

Well, Christians may want to learn Hebrew to be able to read the Ancient Testament, may they not?

Uhm, then I don’t know why they’d want to learn it… Can you understand the Ancient Testament if you know Modern Hebrew, or are the two as different as Ancient and Modern Greek?

hi Michele,

It is different from the Greek case. Hebrew has been a ‘dead’ language for more than 1600 years in terms of speaking ,if I am not wrong. Ironically, it makes revived modern Hebrew less changed from the old one. You do not have to translate Hebrew Bible into modern one in order for Israeli to ‘understand’ it, unlike in the Greek new testament. Although there are many changes, I am sure that any Israeli whose mother tongue is Hebrew is able to ‘communicate’ with Moses, if he would appear in Israel, today.

While some people may not be satisfied with this decision, others may be shouting for joy that Hebrew finally arrives at the LingQ. I think it can be for any language. I do not understand why many want to learn Cantonese or Modern Greek, but many others may have their own reasons. Although I do get what you try to argue, it would be great if you respect that Steve and his team explained why they had to make the decision. By the way, I would have been happy, even if Greek had been chosen, though.

who are you? You have just joined LingQ, you don’t know me, but you want to give me behavioural lessons!
I have been a member of this site for almost two years and I have always been respectful towards everyone. But being respectful doesn’t mean having to agree with everyone all the time. Everybody has the right to disagree (respectfully) in civilized countries. I bet Steve will understand and agree about this.
You didn’t even take the time to carefully read my posts. I did write I’m glad for Yirtse (and for anyone else who had been wanting to learn Hebrew at LingQ). I’m not disappointed or angry because Hebrew was added. Although I am not going to learn it for a while, I consider it as a very important language. I am just disappointed because we weren’t warned about this change in advance.
Anyway, thanks for the info about Hebrew.

Steve, If “Greek” gets 1000 votes, does that mean that both modern and ancient Greek will be implemented? (That’s the way the split should go, as has been mentioned.) For me to vote for (ancient) Greek, I have to join facebook, which I otherwise have no desire to do.

Hebrew–either modern or Biblical–is a great choice, by the way, although not quite so great as ancient Greek.

. . . So, I take it the votes that Greek or any other language now has are not erased w/ each new beta language. How many votes does Greek have at this point?

I agree with Mikebond; I think that Steve has managed this situation pretty badly, and there’s nothing “disrespectful” about saying that.

Personally I’m glad that Hebrew has now been added, because this language (both the Ancient and Modern version) is very much on my own target radar as a future language to learn.

But of course I’m disgusted (for want of a better word) that Greek hasn’t been added as well. :frowning:

Has Steve even bothered to read the recent threads in the forum calling for Greek (Ancient Greek in particular) to be added!?

We’ve had people make offers of adding large amounts of content! We’ve had someone say that he could spread the word at the Theological Faculty of the University of Toronto! We’ve had several other fairly longstanding paying members (like Mike) express very strong interest in Greek! Does this count for nothing?

As Mike says, if Steve was planning to make a sudden change to the rules for the facebook poll, he should surely have given us some advance warning of this?

(But in any case, the Facebook poll has always been pretty unfair, because most of the folks who vote there are never actually going to join LingQ - even as a free member!)

Well, poor timing or not, it’s pretty clear that that the beta language idea was unsustainable, so good on LingQ for prioritizing. That’s what successful businesses need to do. I know that I’d personally like to see more improvements to the lessons/languages that already exist.

It seems to me that almost nobody is seriously learning most of the beta languages offered, but I imagine that a lot of people would like to see more audiobooks and other things of that nature added to improve the amount and quality of content in the languages that have been on here a while.

Want to learn a language here at LingQ that doesn’t have a dedicated spot? Take that Turkish slot that I am almost positive nobody is using and learn it there.

You may be right Z33Dubyah. But it all just kind of shows that the polls for new languages should have been done here at the forum: that way it could have been established whether there was any actual demand for a language before adding it!

As things stand, we now have slots for languages like Norwegian (which I’ll bet nobody is using) but we don’t have a slot for Greek - a language for which there actually IS some demand!

That has to be crazy, doesn’t it?

Well thanks, Imyirtseshem, for that “motherhood” statement about the value of languages. No kidding?

I believe that the polls were reset.

This is not a matter of belief. Was it, or wasn’t it? I cannot see the poll because I’m not a member of facebook. As LingQ has already suddenly changed the rules, maybe LingQ can tell us how the poll will now work.

Sorry to sound so grumpy, but I don’t like being preached at for voicing an opinion, especially in a discussion of opinions. <grumble, grumble>


Well, I’m sorry to prove you wrong, but I use Turkish slot to study Turkish! :wink: And I’m a very committed language learner - once I pick a language, I stick with it until I learn it to a high level (although I do have a language wanderlust, but I successfully suppress it). And there are more of us who study Turkish as well. But I see your point and have to agree that adding beta-languages had to stop or at least slow down one day. Quantity does not translate well into quality and I’m sure Steve is aware of that as well.

I believe that LingQ needs to pay attention to more pressing problems, like why so many new members don’t create even their first lingq? Recently I’ve advertised for LingQ on my Facebook page and I managed to invite four friends to join LingQ - surprisingly enough, none of them created any lingq at all! I wonder whether they didn’t manage to open any lesson or didn’t know what to do next if they did… Maybe there should be some kind of interface for beginners to LingQ, where there would be all explained nice and tidy? Maybe some kind of a simplified menu - like choosing the language you want to learn, choosing the level, the first lesson chosen for the learner and step-by-step approach to teach them how to lingq? Just some ideas.

Perhaps votes for our favourite new languages could be something we can buy from the LingQ store with the credits that we earn from our LingQ activity?

I have 160 credits unspent - I’d spend a few of them on votes for Ancient Greek to make Michele happy.

BTW: Did I hear someone say that “Learning With Texts” can be used for Ancient Greek…?

(If it’s not going to be added at LingQ, then maybe LWT is something to be explored after all?)

@Z33Dubnyah: like Piotr is seriously learning Turkish, I am seriously learning Polish and want to revive my Finnish during this year. I have provided quite a few lessons for Latin and Esperanto, and they are still being used.

@Ernie: yes, the vote was definitely reset. Modern Greek is now leading with 21 votes.