Podcast: Meena Viswanath on How the Duolingo App Became an Unwitting Arbiter of Modern Jewish Identity

With its new Yiddish course, the language-learning app Duolingo sparked major disagreements over Jewish identity. One of the course developers joins us to discuss what happened.

In Germany, a student takes part in a course taught as part of the Yiddish Summer Weimar of 2018, a summer institute and festival focused on Yiddish, while a Yiddish alphabet hangs on the wall. Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images.

In Germany, a student takes part in a course taught as part of the Yiddish Summer Weimar of 2018, a summer institute and festival focused on Yiddish, while a Yiddish alphabet hangs on the wall. Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images.

Observation
April 15 2021
About the authors

Meena Viswanath is an engineer, a Yiddish expert, and one of the developers of the Yiddish course on the language-learning app Duolingo.

A weekly podcast, produced in partnership with the Tikvah Fund, offering up the best thinking on Jewish thought and culture.

This Week’s Guest: Meena Viswanath

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More about: Duolingo, Hasidim, Jewish identity, Jewish language, Yiddish