Why Duolingo’s Valyrian course annoys me

So, once again Duolingo made a course for fictional language. Meanwhile, there are a lots of real languages waiting to be added on Duolingo. One of them is Georgian.

I do understand why they made Valyrian. The new season of GoT is out soon, so they want use it’s popularity to draw more attention to Duolingo. It’s good move don’t get me wrong. It’s cool and funny.

Also, I guess it was relatively easy to make. Because they used Latin script for Valyrian. While Georgian has its own and needs more work.

By ქართული ხელნაწერი წიგნი (http://www.manuscript.ge/) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

But still, this situation annoys me.

Duolingo claims:

Universally accessible.
There are over 1.2 billion people learning a language and the majority are doing so to gain access to better opportunities. Unfortunately, learning a language is expensive and inaccessible to most.
We created Duolingo so that everyone could have a chance. Free language education — no hidden fees, no premium content, just free.
Duolingo is used by the richest man in the world and many Hollywood stars, and at the same time by public schools students in developing countries. We believe true equality is when spending more can’t buy you a better education.

So I’m wondering, how is it that creating Valyrian course fulfils this mission more, than creating English course for Georgian speakers? Or English course for any other, real language.

For me it’s personal. For me it’s 63% of Georgia’s population that has no basic knowledge of English.


Those 63%, that have access only to 0.005% of the internet's content, because that is the amount of Georgian sites.


Students that have to study with outdated textbooks, because modern ones aren’t being translated fast enough.

Tourism business owners and taxi drivers, that have difficulty communicating with tourist. While tourism is one of the main drivers of Georgia’s economy.

And so on, and so on.

Georgians (and not only) wish to see Georgian language on Duolingo. Many people have wrote to Duolingo to become a contributor.

I really do hope that Duolingo reconsiders its plans. The mission is wonderful (free education for 1.2 billion), but actions sometimes cause frustration. Maybe, it would be better to think how to rich equity, instead of equality on the way to this mission.

P.S. მოყვარეს პირში უძრახე, მტერს — პირს უკანაო.