Duolingo, the world’s top language learning platform, launched its new Haitian Creole course for English speakers on Feb. 22. To promote this new, highly anticipated course, Duolingo is partnering with several Haitian-run restaurants around the country and in New York City.
According to the platform, this course will provide language learners the opportunity to learn the revolutionary language of the first Black independent nation spoken by more than 12 million people. It would also encourage learners to discover the rich culture of the Haitian people.
Haitian Creole began as a language widely used by enslaved people from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Later on, it became an official national language when the island of Saint Domingue, present-day Haiti, became the first Independent Black republic in 1804.
The language’s historic beginnings caused many challenges in creating the Duolingo course. Florida International University Haitian Creole Professor Nicolas “Tiko” Andre, founding member of the Creole Academy in Haiti, partnered with Duolingo to develop the course and describe its grammar rules.
“Haitian Creole is a language filled with beauty, nuance, breadth and depth. While developing this course, we wanted to honor the history of the language and implement the patterns and rules used by Haitian Creole speakers that we saw over time and across regions,” said Dr. Andre. “We are thrilled that Duolingo’s platform will allow more people to learn this unique language and engage with the rich Haitian culture.”
To further increase cultural awareness of this lesser-known language to a diverse audience, Duolingo partnered with many Haitian Restaurants. These restaurants across the country promote the course by giving away a free month of Duolingo Plus, the app’s premium subscription service, to customers.
Duolingo’s mission is to develop the best education in the world and make it universally available. The platform offers over 100 courses across over 40 distinct languages, from Spanish, French, German and Japanese to Navajo and Yiddish. Now, Haitian Creole is added to the mix.
In New York City, five restaurants are participating in the Promotion. These restaurants include Bonbon Lakay, BK9 Restaurant, Zanmi, Grandchamps and Kreyol Flavor. Learners can now learn the unique language of Haitian Creole while also experiencing the good dishes of Haitian cuisine.
Bonbon Lakay, one of the participating restaurants located in Park Slope, Brooklyn, launched to share a piece of Haiti with others. Proudly Black and Women-Owned, Bonbon Lakay offers a menu of novelty Haitian treats that will enhance one’s learning experience.