https://www.duolingo.com/trinacrium

Is Latin possible?

I'm just wondering if it's possible to create a Latin course with the current curriculum/tree format. It's an ancient/extinct language, so we don't know everything about it (common greetings, etc.). Thanks for your answers!

5 years ago

86 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Highlander16
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I'm actually pretty good reading Latin. I can almost fully understand the whole Genesis book in Latin vulgata, but I still have some issues to write it due to its grammatical cases, like the verdammt Vocative jaja!

I can also speak in it in a very basic way.

Anyway, I'll be very pleased to contribute if they ever decide to open development for a Latin course.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HenryHuNing

So awesome! It would be great if you can help to make this course possible! I would really love to learn Latin

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ichilingo

Yes it's possible! For the common greetings, we can use the common greetings found in the poetry that we still have. We can use foods relevant to poetry and the modern world.

Plus I think this is a case where we don't need fluency to make the course. Just high proficiency. Still low, but it's a lot bigger of a number. Don't be so down, as somebody taking Latin at school, there are definitely people pretty good at Latin creating my books, and the teachers that teach it.

It's ancient, but extinct isn't the right word. It's not even dead; just sleeping.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Portofan
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A lot of people are teaching latin, some of them writing latin school books, so I think it should be possible to build such a course.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/trinacrium

Yes. I learn Latin in school. I was just wondering if the current tree structure would be compatible with Latin, as Latin is not spoken as an everyday language.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jheavner724
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Nor is Klingon but it was one of the languages being "advertised", somewhat jokingly, when the Incubator was released. It'll probably take a while but, assuming Duo sticks around, Latin should come eventually.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BrutusOptimus

Yeah, while no one is a native Latin speaker, those who study it are generally the kind of people who would be willing to work to incubate the course on it. I would love to help work on it, personally.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/btalbert
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I majored in Latin at University, my professor often attended Latin dinners where everyone spoke only Latin. It's definitely possible to teach Latin via DuoLingo. The one thing is that Latin is very grammar centered, and DL isn't great for teaching grammar.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sigmacharding
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I wonder if duo can get at least some people actually speaking Latin again. I know it's a long shot but it just might work. I would personally love to get a Latin "speaking" group together making youtube videos and cartoons in Latin and so on. Plus it would help students who study Latin in university

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/cvincoli
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The TPRS and "Where Are Your Keys" groups within the Latin community are making a lot of headway in enabling more spoken Latin in the classroom (at the rate of younger teachers replacing retiring teachers, it seems).

I know a lot of fellow Latin teachers would be willing to contribute to a new course. I applied in the Incubator as soon as it went online, but haven't heard anything since. It'd be wild if Klingon were released before Latin.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/voidlogic

For pronunciation, I think the implementors would have to choose between "Church" and "Classical" pronunciation.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zach1337

I don't see why it wouldn't be possible. The biggest problem though, IMO, is going to be finding people who are actually fluent in Latin. We don't really know how many fluent speakers of Latin there are, but Reginald Foster, who used to work for the Pope as a Latinist, estimates that there are no more than 100 fluent Latin speakers in the entire world.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21412604

Also, we definitely know about Latin greetings. Here is a list.

http://latindiscussion.com/forum/latin/formal-informal-greetings.3942/

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Roberto_Ruiz
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I think that's an understatement. Vivarium Novum alone produces around 20 speakers of both Latin and Ancient Greek yearly.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accademia_Vivarium_Novum

I'd be interested to see if Duolingo could make a better course than Oreberg's Lingua Latina

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MeadowsJosiah

I learned to speak Latin and Greek at Vivarium Novum, I've been there twice. I highly recommend it. Have you been there before?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Athenicuber

really!? i never thought i'd find anyone on duolingo who can speak latin! PLEASE PLEASE PLLLEEEEAAAASSSEEEE contribute to a course! i am a school aged child who would LOVE to learn latin (even more than my fake girlfriend!)!

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Roberto_Ruiz
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I wish I could, but it costs 5k euro each time.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lrke719975
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Is it true that women can't attend Vivarium Novum?

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zach1337

I wonder how long those people stay fluent though and I wonder how many of those 20 actually become fluent to begin with.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Roberto_Ruiz
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I don't think you can spend 2 years living in a latin academy where no other language is allowed and not come out being fluent.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zach1337

Well then, I guess you'd be surprised by how many people spend years going to a language school where the only (encouraged) language is their target language, but don't end up coming out fluent. Also, I'm sure those people speak more than just Latin for those two years. That college is in Rome.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MalcolmMcSwain

Believe it or not, I have an aunt who used to be a nurse, and she speaks fluent latin! I didn't realize they were so rare! She can literally say full sentences and stories. Maybe I could get her to contribute to the incubator...

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MeadowsJosiah

Yes, I am fluent in Latin too.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/trinacrium

Thanks! That's good to know.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pctrollbreath
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This is almost certainly a silly question. If so, I am embarrassed in advance.

Do you really need to be fluent in dead language to create an effective course?

Surely, when only at most 100 people actually speak the language fluently, all you really need is to be able to read the language? Because surely all really need to be able to do is understand the Classics to get the bulk of the benefit from Latin?

Wouldn't it be possible for people with a good knowledge of the written language be able to create a course that would give all the benefits that a reasonably rounded modern person would need? Do we really NEED the listening and speaking exercises when it comes to latin?

As an aside, I have a real interest in English history, and would love for someone to create a course in Old English :).... can't imagine a circumstance where I would need to speak it rather than just read it though.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MeadowsJosiah

There must be more than 100 people in the world who can speak Latin fluently. There is an academy in Italy called Vivarium Novum that produces about twenty Latin speakers every year. In order to read the classics with speed and relish, it is necessary to learn how to speak Latin.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/stoner.vellichor

The school sounds like a wonderful opportunity, especially because it is fully funded by foundation donations leaving tuition free. The issue with this school is that it is a highly sexist opperation

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zach1337

"Do you really need to be fluent in dead language to create an effective course?"

No, I don't think so, but as of right now, Duolingo's approach is that they want you to be bilingual in the two languages that you apply to teach. So I just automatically carried over that requirement and applied it to Latin. A lot of people who are interested in Latin would probably like to speak at least a little bit of it though, so I wonder how they could give people the choice between simply learning to read/write Latin and read/write/speak/understand Latin.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/forsty01

The circumstance would be poetry and drama. The sound and flow of the speech sounds adds a further layer to the beauty of the texts. This would seem especially important for text that were originally conceived (and passed along) via spoken rather than written word.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jheavner724
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This is definitely a possibility for the Incubator. Many have expressed a desire to learn such ancient languages as Latin, Ancient Greek, Sanskrit, etc., but I doubt such courses will be released into the Incubator anytime soon (perhaps in a few months or a year).

I have previously said I would not be helping with any language courses, ancient or otherwise, but now I've effectively changed my mind, so Latin may be one of the ones I help out with.

You're right, however, in saying that we don't know everything about it, though we do know an awful lot (more than enough to use it in a way that reflects its status in ancient times quite well, especially in its written form).

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/856pm

Well, if one is to teach Latin, I would personally use the Latin as used by the Catholic Church, as it is the most "updated" version. It is still mutually intelligible with the works of ancient Roman poets and has words for things such as the internet.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jheavner724
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I'm not sure what would be best, in all honesty. The more modern Latin, i.e. that used by the Church and the like, seems a good candidate though.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/856pm

Well, here's what I have in its favor:

  • Modernized (includes many neologisms)

  • Extremely close to Classical Latin (except for w>v pronunciation shift)

  • Well-Documented and Standardized

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ichilingo

I've heard Ancient and Modern Greek are actually really similar, and if you can get past a few archaic words and slightly modified word order, you can understand it. That's only hear-say though.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jheavner724
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This is only somewhat true in my experience. I'm quite proficient with regards to the classical language but my modern Greek is not so good (though, admittedly, I don't have enough experience to say for sure how bad or good my modern Greek is with much accuracy). Perhaps this is because I have never really dedicated any time towards modern Greek and also have had almost no speaking/listening practice.

You're right though, the two languages aren't all that different. It's somewhat comparable to Middle English vs, modern English, but not as different as Old English and modern English.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/la_flame_97

Certain phrases and words are a bit different, Ancient Greek used the Dative case which has since been eradicated in the modern revival of Greek and become fused with the Genitive case. The Vocative is rarely used anymore but for the most part syntax and words remain roughly similar.

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/856pm

Yeah. As the other people said, if you can find some Latin speakers with time on their hands, and they make a course at incubator.duolingo.com, it's totally possible.

(Note: Obviously, all the fluent speakers, or at least 99% of them, are not native Latin speakers.)

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/856pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:User_la-N

Here are some people who claim to speak Latin as their first language.

5 years ago

[deactivated user]

    Clergymen in the church learn Latin, maybe ask them for help?

    5 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/itastudent
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    Although I think that languages currently spoken should probably be a priority, I like the idea of having a Latin course on here. Many people study Latin in school; I did that too, although I remember just the basics.

    And it would be nice to learn greetings as well, because if I want to practice Latin while talking with friends, I would need them.

    Someone told that it's not important to be able to listen to Latin. I think the journalist who first in the world wrote the news about Benedict XVI's resignation after listening his speech in Latin wouldn't think the same thing about that:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/11/giovanna-chirri-pope-benedict_n_2662975.html


    "A journalist who has covered Vatican affairs since 1994, Chirri was able to break the news under pressure. 'As a person, I was really, really sorry. I admire Ratzinger. I respect him,' she said. 'I knew the importance of the news: I tried to contact the agency, to get the information verified, even though I didn’t doubt my Latin, then they took care of breaking the news. That's how I communicated the information.' "


    5 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/pkldr87

    I'd be very interested in learning Latin!

    5 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/foodfatfathers

    i hope so

    5 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/anano.kaka

    i would be so happy ^^^

    5 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/sknipp

    I would absolutely love to learn latin, please make this happen

    5 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/fliplock

    I would very much like to use Duolingo to learn Latin.

    5 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/Music4Ever15

    I would love to learn Latin.

    5 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/Music4Ever15

    And Greek.

    5 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/aago123
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    Salvete, amici et amicae. Having studied Latin at both undergraduate and graduate levels (including Medieval Latin), I am also enthusiastic about this possibility. At the very least, a Duolingo course would serve as a great support tool for more systematic studies using a textbook, e.g. Wheelock's Latin, and a resource for those who want to brush up on what they once learned at school. Until we have that course, may I recommend a very useful app for all Latin lovers, called SPQR http://romansgohome.com/spqr It contains a substantial amount of classical and patristic texts (some with a parallel English translation), a Lewis&Short dictionary and much more. For all that is included, it is really a bargain (note: I am just a user and have no commercial interest in it) PAX ET BONUM.

    5 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/trinacrium

    That looks like a useful app! As a side note, it's encouraging that I could understand the first sentence of your comment (I'm a first year Latin student).

    5 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/VirusKA

    I'm going to learn Latin in school soon

    5 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/BobbieL
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    I'm sure Latin is going to end up happening at some point. People will be too interested not to do as much as they can to make it work. It might come out kinda clumsy by comparison to some of the modern languages, since it doesn't necessarily HAVE words for some of the concepts that the Duolingo trees encourage you to translate, but I'm sure they can make something work.

    I actually think the people who suggest looking to religious organizations for help building it are onto something VERY good. Since there are so many significant Christian texts written in Latin (given that it was both the official and the only acceptable language of the church for a very long time), it seems like making it easier for people to learn to read those texts would fall well within the realm of something the religious orders would be willing to help do as a project in service of the faithful (and would also be of value to people with a more general interest in history in the period where Latin was the language of trade and education, and with an interest in Roman texts).

    Not that there aren't other people who'd be willing to work on a big "help the world learn Latin" project, it just seems like if there's anyone out there who'd feel obligated to put a lot of work into something like that given the tools to make it happen, it'd be a religious order.

    (I'm sort of curious if we might someday see specially themed vocabulary lists for Duolingo related to particular books... I mean, if someone stepped in and made Duolingo lessons focused on something like... "The special French/Spanish/Russian/whatever words you need to know to read Harry Potter chapters 1-3" type extra lessons you could buy with lingots, I would think that would have the potential to translate into better book sales. Someone seeing that such a lesson is available would probably be willing to sink some money into buying a foreign language copy of the book to use as a learning tool...)

    5 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/Kalogrenant

    Salvete! I am learning Latin atm via a course that uses Lingua Latina by Orberg, and that is very good, but I would be really excited to have a duolingo Latin course. Honestly, it was one of the first things I thought about and it's really encouraging that more people think so. I know some people who are fluent in Latin, so yeah, there definitely are fluent Latin speakers ^^ I am determined to become one myself actually, if only because it's just annoying to constantly have to look up words whenever I'm trying to read it - and also because it's just cool ;). Anyway, would love a Latin course! If Klingon is an option, and Esperanto, surely Latin should also work!

    3 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/Keegster1

    I use that too. I used Minimus to begin with, then Ecci Romani, then Lingua Latina, then Vergil's writings.

    2 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/3091252

    I take Latin and my teacher is fluent in Latin, Greek, English ( duh ) and Spanish... its possible because there are people out there who keep the language alive :) <3

    2 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/ramirezethan

    This is obviously way too late, but I volunteered to start a Latin course, and it may actually happen. Best of luck to you

    2 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/benjaib
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    Latin has been spoken for a long time, so we know everything about it, and there are people who are fluent in it, it's just hard to find them.

    5 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/jheavner724
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    <<"Latin has been spoken for a long time, so we know everything about it">> This just isn't correct. Nobody knows everything about any language. Entire linguist committees specializing in English don't even know close to everything about the language, as there are so many speakers and so many subtle complexities. With a dead language like Latin we know even less. Heck, we aren't even 100% sure how it was spoken, we just use linguistics (i.e. phonology and whatnot) to make an educated guess as to how the Romans and others would have sounded. Sure, we have a good understanding of the written language (i.e. grammar and the like) but we don't even know everything about that aspect of the language, let alone the spoken part.

    You are, however, correct in saying "there are people who are fluent in it". I don't know what you mean by "fluent" exactly, but there are people who can function in it (i.e. write, read and maybe even speak a bit).

    I'm not sure if they are so "hard to find" though, at least not with the internet. I've never met anyone personally who speaks Latin (even students of Latin tend to only know a few words, grammar points and phrases), but I have conversed with some online (including Latin teachers and professionals but also self-taught people, like myself, and students or former students) without even looking for such people.

    Let me put it like this: there are enough people with a semi-decent understanding of Latin to have dozens of sites devoted to learning the language, as well as many sites like http://la.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vicipaedia:Pagina_prima that are actually written in Latin..

    With the internet it almost appears to me that Latin is somehow not so dead anymore. Of course, it is and it will never be what it was, but there's a modern form of the language that is fairly active, which seems, quite frankly, weird, yet exciting.

    Anyway, I've gone on long enough. Now I leave you with this little Latin quiz for fun http://mentalfloss.com/node/13211/take (don't be tricked by the last one!).

    And remember: sola lingua bona est lingua mortua.

    (Joking of course – this will likely be readable to someone speaking a Romance language, by the way)

    5 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/Roberto_Ruiz
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    This guy is fluent by any definition of the word http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OyhWKTmJBo

    5 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/MeadowsJosiah

    Yes, Luigi Miraglia is considered to be one of the best Latin speakers in the world. He taught me Latin.

    5 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/jheavner724
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    He is very good. There are quite a few Latin speakers though. The Vatican, for example, still uses it to an extent (it used to use it a lot until recently). Also, as of late, there has been a huge Latin surge, or at least it appears this way to me.

    5 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/trinacrium

    That's quite impressive. I'm excited that I could understand a few words (quamquam, potestas, etc.).

    5 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/sigmacharding
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    I am fascinated by what you have to say and agree with most of you wrote about pronunciation. We will never know for sure as to what accent the Latin speakers had (my guess being the pronunciation varied much on the region) but we can tell how Latin speakers "pronounced" words. There are some old documents from roman schools and so on explaining how to pronounce the words.

    Let us not forget that Latin remained important longer after the fall of Rome and "acceptable pronunciations" have growth up over time. Namely Latin with Italian pronunciation ecclesiastical pronunciation and a constructed "classical pronunciation"

    I hope these videos helps a little in conveying what I am trying to say http://youtu.be/jgFz9FP5tDY

    http://youtu.be/oJiYIA_OZyw

    http://youtu.be/UNpDor5Iubo

    5 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/jheavner724
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    I get what you're trying to say :)

    Latin's survival is actually pretty amazing. It's great that we have so many resources from its heyday to look at and analyze to learn more.

    5 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/nateVONgreat
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    I would like to learn Ancient Greek. I have a book to help teach it along with a New Testament in the original greek. But I lack motivation to sit and read it and practice :(

    I also want to learn Finnish :P (if you could hurry and get that into the beta)

    5 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/trinacrium

    I also really want to learn Finnish.

    5 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/Lilithly
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    I was wondering about that as well. in my old school the latincourse was different from other language courses: Since nobody actually knows how the words were really pronounced back in the good old days, the students were only taught to read and understand latin, not speak it.

    5 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/Hamish88
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    Been having fun reading Hobbitus Ille this holiday. Very straightforward, sometimes quite incorrect Latin, using English verncacular expressions often directly translated, but it's very easy to read.

    5 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/kirlll
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    Latin would be awesome, I wonder if there are Text To Speech engines for Latin...

    5 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/MeadowsJosiah

    I would love to help create the course for Latin. I've spent two summers at an academy in Italy called Vivarium Novum, where I was only allowed to speak in Latin or ancient Greek.

    5 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/MiriamHC
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    While I'd certainly love to learn ancient languages on Duolingo (I've studied a little Latin and Ancient Greek in school), I'm not sure how it'd work with Duo's translating the web setup. Is there much writing in ancient languages online? I can't be certain, but I would guess what is online already has translations online as well.

    5 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/trinacrium

    Yes. We wouldn't really be able to do many translations, and that could be an issue. Maybe there could be a different setup in the future for some languages where translating the web would be impossible.

    5 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/Collins.James

    I took 6 years of Latin and now I'm jumping into the more applicable Italian language. It was a fantastic learning experience for me, and I'm sure users could benefit from at least some basic Latin.

    5 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/-Alessja-

    I'd like to see a Latin language course. Is this going to be an actual thing?

    5 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/koebey22
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    Lots of people speak it... we could maybe bring it back...

    5 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/rdcreek
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    I would love to see Latin added.

    5 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/koebey22
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    I know salwe means Hi and walle is goodbye but that's abt all

    4 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/trinacrium

    That's salve and vale, but that's the right idea.

    4 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/GabrielDayot
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    Yes, that would be amazing to revive the dead language. :)

    3 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/16antoney
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    If we can get people who have studied Latin cough cough myself cough cough and bring all of our knowledge together, we could create a Latin course. So it wouldn't be impossible it will just take time to create it.

    3 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/Keegster1

    It's not a dead language. It is the official language of Vatican City, although they speak in the ecclesiastical pronunciation, and not the Classical one. However, I know two people who are fluent (or close) in Latin. Both of them were teachers of mine. Also a dialect of Latin, Ladin, is spoken in remote parts of Switzerland and Northern Italy.

    2 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/RebeccaFlo664889

    Hi, I am semi-fluent in Latin and there are MANY other Latin speakers.

    1 year ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/penrose6
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    someone should definitely help create a latin course... i'd love to be able to read it/understand it

    8 months ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/pizzaluver

    I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT LATIN, SO WHY IS IT EXTINCT, WHAT HAPPENED. ALSO IN MY SCHOOL WE HAVE A LATIN TEACHER. SHE SPEAKS LATIN FLUENT. SHE CAN WRITE, READ, AND SPEAK.

    5 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
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    @pizzaluver,

    Please, do not type in caps, and please do check your activity feed. I have written a message for you. Thank you :)

    5 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/HollowStats

    Justice?

    1 year ago
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