Why, Yes, That Is A Witcher Reference In Language-Learning App Duolingo

Why, Yes, That Is A Witcher Reference In Language-Learning App Duolingo

The Witcher is a massive IP spanning anime, books, comics, a series of games (and cameos in battle royale shooter Fortnite and 3D brawler SoulCalibur VI), and a television series on Netflix. The franchise’s lead, Geralt of Rivia, has journeyed far beyond the expectations that fantasy author Andrzej Sapkowski might’ve had when he published the first Witcher story back in 1990. Now, the series has even popped up on the language-learning app Duolingo.

You read that right. There’s a Witcher reference in Duolingo, the same app you might use to pick up some French vocabulary ahead of a vacation, or brush up on the Spanish you learned in high school. In the official Witcher subreddit, user GeraltAndYennefer noticed something peculiar about a question they got in the app’s Finnish course. Duolingo asked the redditor to translate the phrase: “The bride is a woman and the groom is a hedgehog.” Puzzled by the specificity of the request, GeraltAndYennefer plainly asked in r/witcher if it was a reference to Sapkowski’s successful fantasy series.

According to IGN, it is. The publication got confirmation from a Duolingo spokesperson that the line points to A Question of Price, a short story Sapkowski wrote in the 1993 anthology collection The Last Wish. It was adapted into the fourth episode of The Witcher’s first season on Netflix, “Of Banquets, Bastards and Burials,” which tells the story of how Ciri became Geralt’s “daughter.”

“Duolingo is somewhat notorious for odd and funny sentences in our courses, but there’s real learning value behind them,” the spokesperson said. “And at times we’ve deliberately inserted anime, gaming, or other pop culture references into our content, to help connect language learning with people’s passions and interests.”

A Question of Price and “Of Banquets, Bastards and Burials,” takes us back quite a few years to before the Lion Cub of Cintra was even born. The story recounts the events of Ciri’s actual parents, Princess Pavetta and Duny. To not spoil too much here, Duny’s afflicted with a curse that transforms him into a hedgehog monster (think of Sonic’s werehog form from 2008’s Sonic Unleashed), which sends him into an uncontrollable rage at night. Being the monster-negotiator and -slayer that he is, Geralt shows up to save the day, and Princess Pavetta and Duny the Hedgehog become happily engaged, which is how Ciri and Geralt’s destines become so entwined.. It’s a sweet love story made even sweeter by the surprising immortalization in a language-learning app.

Kotaku has reached out to Duolingo for comment.

There’s a lot of Witcher currently in the works right now. Some reports suggest that filming for Season 4 of the Netflix series began this month, with Liam Hemsworth replacing Henry Cavill as The Witcher and Laurence Fishburne joining the cast, too. There’s also a new trilogy of games in the oven, with developer CD Projekt Red ramping up production by putting over 400 people on the project. Geralt of Rivia, the ever-busy monster hunter, is getting busier.

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