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Latin for Duolingo: Animals, Lesson 2

Avete omnes!

We continue with animal nouns and vocabulary this week. For previous installments in the Latin series and other links of interest, see these:
- Directory of Lessons
- Vocabulary List
- Memrise course

New Vocabulary

We have more animal nouns today, but since many of the Latin animal names are also constellation names, we’ll learn the word for constellation. Also note the various words for cattle: cow and bull are more gender-specific, whereas “bos” works for either gender or bovines in general. “Pecus” means a herd of cattle, or any livestock in general and is related to “pecunia”, money... indicating that livestock was probably the earliest form of currency.

bestia, ae = beast, wild animal (frequently used of the ferocious kind that gladiators fought)
vacca, ae = cow
cancer, cancri (m.) = crab
delphinus, i = dolphin
taurus, i = bull
ursus, i/ ursa, ae (m./f.) = bear
anas, anatis (f.) = duck
bos, bovis = ox, bull, cow
leo, leonis (m.) = lion (lea or leaena, ae, f. = lioness)
papilio, papilionis (m.) = butterfly, moth
pecus, pecoris (n.) = cattle, herd, domesticated animal, beast
sidus, sideris (n.) = constellation, star (or more broadly, anything to do with the sky, the night, the heavens, or weather)

New Sentences

Ego sum papilio. = I am a butterfly.
Canis anatem videt. = The dog sees the duck.
Vacca aquam bibit et herbam edit. = The cow drinks water and eats grass.
Bos est pecus. = The ox is a domesticated animal.
Agricola magna pecora habet. = The farmer has large herds.
Ursus et leo sunt bestiae. = The bear and the lion are wild animals.
Anas est avis. = The duck is a bird.
Puella anatem habet. = The girl has a duck.
Taurus vaccam videt. = The bull sees the cow.
Cancer et delphinus in mari sunt. = The crab and the dolphin are in the sea.
Nautae delphinos vident. = The sailors see dolphins.
Cancri piscem edunt. = The crabs are eating the fish.
Leo et vacca in terrā sunt. = The lion and the cow are on land.
Sunt multae bestiae in vivario. = There are many animals in the zoo.
Vivarium multas bestias habet. = The zoo has many animals.
Ursa Major est sidus. = Ursa Major (the greater bear) is a constellation.
Ursa Minor, Leo, et Cancer sunt sidera in caelo. = Ursa Minor (the smaller bear), Leo, and Cancer are constellations in the sky.
Currus bovem trahit. = The cart drags the ox. (Latin proverb, cf “The tail wags the dog”)

Spero hanc lectionem tibi placere (I hope you like this lesson)! We will have more animals next time. It is the beginning of the school year, so please understand if it takes a little more than a week for me to post it. However, I am enjoying writing these lessons and see no reason to stop. Those of you who are here because you’re also studying Latin formally, I particularly recommend the lessons on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd declensions. .. and let me know in a comment if there is anything you are confused about. Sooner or later, Latin will come officially to Duolingo, but for now, I hope this unofficial series is the next best thing. Bonam fortunam habeas!

Next Lesson: Animals 3

September 7, 2015



Wow! I did not know you were doing this. Thank you so much. I took Latin in High School but that was a long time ago and I do not remember anything. I'd like to learn it again because I enjoy learning the romance languages. Also, I'm Catholic and it would be nice to understand what's being said during the Latin mass.


Thank you, it's my pleasure! I hope the lessons help you refresh your Latin knowledge.


I was wondering, do you know why Latin isn't in the incubator? Is it because not enough people have volunteered to help create the course? Or is there another reason?


I have no knowledge of the Duolingo team's plans beyond what is in the wiki. However, there have been numerous applications to help create the course that I personally know of. I don't think it's a shortage of qualified volunteers! There are probably other priorities right now, and that's fine. It was in response to constant chatter on the forums (fora) six months ago about Latin that I decided to make this course, so that people on the discussion boards would at least have something. But I'd be happy if it leads to me being chosen to help with an incubator course someday!


Thanks for answering my question. I did not see your disclaimer that you do not "have any inside information about how, when or whether Latin will be added." until after I posted.

It's great that you are doing this work. I'm sure many people appreciate it. A couple years ago when I decided to study languages, Latin was one of them. There were no courses that I could find but there seemed to be several good books available. I didn't actually do any language study until I discovered DuoLingo. (It's the first method that worked.) I used it to relearn Spanish, then study Italian and Portuguese. In time -- when I have time -- I would like to also study Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. So thanks again for making this information available..


you forgot to link to the next lesson ;)

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