Appearances of Klingon: on television - in movies - in the news - in commercials - in politics - in literature - Translations


Duolingo on Twitter
Duolingo is a language-learning platform, which is free to use and syncs up across multiple platforms, currently PC, Android, iOS and Windows Phone. On 9 April 2015, duolingo anounced a Klingon version of it on Twitter (1) (2). The initial estimated launch date was set for August 2016, but was postponed multiple times.

The course was eventually launched (in beta version) for public on March 15, 2018 (3)


People were able to apply to teach Klingon since the day the Incubator launched in October 2013. The Incubator is a system that selected volunteers can use to build and edit courses. The beginnings of course creation were not in place until at least a year later. Even before the launch, Klingon was featured in some of the first publicity material for the Incubator, displayed on a flag in the background (4)


Development and Problems

Testing out the software began in April 2015, looking at the challenges and opportunities it presents, and trying to create a basic structure for the first part of the course. The development process was at 0% in May 2015, and had increased up to 20% in December 2015. Initially there were quite a few technical issues that stunted the progress: It seems the system was not invented with an agglutinating, case-sensitive, apostrophe-using language in mind. However, Duolingo's staff were able to engineer away or circumvent many of the most troublesome problems.

Until the end of 2015, the first part of the course had gone through a few iterations; the first few attempts that André Müller and Felix Malmenbeck had made wound up having too little interesting vocabulary to create varied sentences with, or using lots of unexplained grammar.

When the course was launched in March of 2018, Philip Newton noted the following continuing problems:

1. Capitalisation: capitalisation is often off, especially in five major areas: (a) forced lowercase of the vocabulary words in the preview of a lesson (for those who don't have crowns yet); (b) forced lowercase (I think) in "fill-in-the-blank" exercises for the words that go into the blank; (c) forced uppercase for the first word in multiple-choice "choose ALL that apply" exercises; (d) forced case-matching in distractor sentences in multiple-choice exercises, where a replaced word will have the same casing for its first letter as the word it replaced; and (e) hints may appear for a word that differs in case (e.g. the hints for Qach might show the hints for qach instead or in addition, or vice versa).

2. Hints: words that begin with an apostrophe, such as 'IH (beautiful), 'ej (and), or 'oH (it) do not display hints. Do not report "hints are wrong or missing" in this case -- it's a general issue and it's already on the screen. Reporting won't make anyone more aware of it or get it fixed faster.

3. Audio: there is currently no audio yet on the course, unfortunately. This will hopefully also change eventually, but might take longer than the other two issues. Please do not report missing audio. Again, it's a general issue, not one with any particular sentence, and reporting it won't make it come any faster.

In January 2019 audio capability for the Klingon courses was added to the Duolingo Incubator. The audio must be recorded by the volunteer contributors one entry at a time and progress is slow. Audio has been added to some of the sentences early in the course, but it will take a long time for audio to be added to all sentences in all the lessons. No estimate has been given for when the audio will be complete.


Much of the leadership and planning of the course has been done by swedish Klingonist Felix Malmenbeck (5) and the vast majority of the sentences used in the exercises were created by the German klingonist Philip Newton. Jeremy Cowan is also a long time participant in the project, but has mostly served in an advisory capacity. In March 2018, the duolingo page mentions these numbers for percentages of the existing sentences created: Philip Newton 59%, Felix Malmenbeck: 33%, Jeremy Cowan 4%. Others were also instrumental in the early development of the course and thanks have been expressed to Doug Henning, Zrajm Öqvist, and André Müller. Robyn Stewart and Agnieszka Solska have also joined the team to help add audio to the course.

How can I help?

At the current time, there are no openings to join the team, but once the course graduates from Beta work may begin on a second version of the course and additional contributors may be brought in. If you feel like you have the knowledge and energy to contribute, head over to the Duolingo Incubator and send in an application.

Right now, it's most valuable to have a lot of people using and testing the course:
  • Experienced klingonists can contribute by taking the course and looking for mistakes, reporting that their correct translations were deemed incorrect by the system, commenting on the finer points of aspect and other pieces of grammar, and so forth. Speakers are always welcome to share their knowledge and opinions in the forums. In general the forums can only be accessed via the Web, though users of the Android app can access the individual Sentence Discussions through the individual exercises.
  • New and intermediate learners can also take the course, so that they can point out if it's too difficult or too easy; if there's too much repetition or too little; if the explanation texts make sense to a new learner. These kinds of reports can only be done through the forums.

See also


1 : Twitter announcement of Duolingo on 9 April 2015

2 : Klingon for humans is in the Incubator!, announced 09 April 2015

3 : Duolingo's next language course: Star Trek's Klingon on Mashable, By Monica Chin on March 15, 2018

4 : coming October 9th: the Duolingo Language Incubator, Duolingo homepage 2013

5 : (es) Duolingo añadirá cursos de Klingon gratuitos a su aplicación, 11 April 2015

External links

General Information


Category: Appearance    Latest edit: 29 Jan 2019, by JeremyCowan    Created: 12 Apr 2015 by KlingonTeacher
History: r8 < r7 < r6 < r5 - View wiki text
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