WELSH language learning is going to get a fresh boost thanks to a new partnership between Duolingo and the Welsh Government.

Jeremy Miles, the Minister for the Welsh Language and Education, earlier announced the new partnership between the National Centre for Learning Welsh and the global digital language learning platform.

From October 2021, the National Centre’s language team will take up the baton from a group of enthusiastic volunteers, led by Welsh tutor Richard Morse, who have been running the Duolingo course since its launch in January 2016.

The development is the first of its kind, and part of a wider initiative within Duolingo to move from a volunteer-based model to having some courses managed ‘in-house’, with others developed in partnership with external bodies such as the National Centre.

Speaking exclusively to The National, the minister said: “The Duolingo course has been fantastic success and from our point of view as a Welsh Government with our target of a million Welsh speakers by 2050 that's incredibly good news.

"And Duolingo have made a fantastic job in making this available to people, but also the small team of volunteers have been working really hard to make the service available.

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"I just want to say a huge thank you to them giving people the opportunity of learning Welsh.

"The partnership being launched today between Duolingo and the National Centre for Learning Welsh is a really good example of that kind of innovation.

"It would be a really good opportunity more and more people to learn Welsh.”

In the 2020 Duolingo Language Report Welsh was found to be the fastest growing language in the UK, up 44% on 2019 - ahead of Hindi, Japanese and French.  Welsh learners were also found to be some of the hardest working and most committed in the world, ranking third for the longest average daily streaks, and third for the most number of lessons completed. 

Welsh’ success continued in 2021 with the language overtaking Russian, Chinese and Portuguese to become the UK’s 6th most learned language behind Spanish, French, German, English, Italian and Japanese.

There are currently 476,000 active learners of Welsh. More than 58 per cent of recent learners are in the UK, 15 per cent in the US, and two per cent in Australia and Canada. There are also people learning Welsh in the Cook Islands, Greenland and Burkina Faso.

  • This article originally appeared on our sister site The National.