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Ancient Greek

I am interested in getting a corpus together for Ancient Greek. I would like for it to be included in the Duolingo platform. Any interest? Does anyone know anything about create an Ancient Greek project based on crowdsourcing?

August 9, 2017



If you already know Ancient Greek very well, you can apply to the Incubator. I guess you can apply if you don't yet know it very well, too, but you will be wasting your time and the time of those who may one day get around to reviewing Incubator applications for Ancient Greek.

  • 1984

Memrise has at least 100 different Ancient Greek courses. Why would you want to start another through DL? You could 'easily' add your own in Memrise...


Where it will be course #101, compared to 1 Duolingo course, which will probably have as many users as all the Memrise ones combined in a month, if not a week ;)

  • 1984

Hi Adam, Yes, numbers would seem important to many!


A critical question about developing an Ancient Greek course is which Ancient Greek. It is not the same problem as developing Latin. Because Classical Latin cover a short period of time, the classic writers or Latin literature. The writers in Greek are extended for more than 8-10 centuries,starting from Homer and continuing in the period of Greek Koene . It is almost a single branch of one language, just the Ancient dialects United, or better extincted under the influence of Attic dialect. So as Homer who wrote in a mixture of Ionian and Aeolian dialect needs a special chapter.

What do the teachers do to introduce the students to Ancient Greek? They start from simplified texts very close to Greek Koene, from writers of that period of texts made by Modern writers for this purpose. So they have a corpus of texts to build Grammar teaching and forms of Syntax. The second step is to use prose texts from the Classical period, not very difficult for a beginner. Gradually they go further to poets and to more difficult. It needs devotion, try and a good schedule to reach to a level to understand literary texts of Classical period and more to Homer, with the help of a good dictionary. To reach to a level to speak like Plato,oh, you need an effort of many years, I guess it is 20, I never managed it. But to understand Greek Koene is less difficult, supposed you have mastered the Modern Greek, or being a native speaker.

What should one do in case he wants to learn Ancient Greek. Should be start a Duolingo tree for Ancient Greek if there would be any? Duolingo can teach just a few elements of Ancient Greek, not very different from the Modern one, just some more Ancient forms in Grammar and Syntax, close enough to Katharevousa and Greek Koene. Duolingo should choose which form is better to teach. And since Grammar is a difficult part a large part should be grammatical phenomena. I think this tree should be similar to the German one, tedious and hard. And demanding.


I would love to learn Koine! It is the only reason I am learning the modern Greek; thought it would make it easier to teach myself Koine.


Self-studying ancient Greek is widely acknowledged to be a very hard task, espeically if you don't know Latin already (what with all the declensions, weird tenses, etc.). Not having any speaker to practice it with makes it quite a challenge.

Nonetheless, it can be done if you are very motivated. I recently looked into some resources, and many teachers recommend using the "Reading Greek" series of books by Cambridge University Press for self-study (https://www.amazon.com/Reading-Greek-Association-Classical-Teachers/dp/0521698510). There is a vocabulary/text book with readings drawn from classical sources, a grammar book, a self-study auxiliary book, and even a CD with examples of ancient Greek pronunciation (which is anyone's guess, of course, but there is a traditional way of pronouncing ancient Greek). The books were very successful and are widely adopted at college-level. They basically cover one year (two semesters) of instruction. Indeed, they have been so successful, that the authors have produced a series of sequels that would keep you busy for quite some time...

Moreover, there are auxiliary Memrise courses for the series that people have put together including a fairly complete one: https://www.memrise.com/course/393012/jact-reading-greek-hardcore/

Hope it helps!


I've started a Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/AncientGreekforDuolingo/) and a Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/329731891074896/) dedicated to promoting a new Ancient Greek course for Duolingo.


You'd be a human god! We NEED this. Ancient(attic) greek would be huge!


Having by now spent three years studying Ancient Greek both on my own and in university classrooms, I do not think that that language can be usefully taught on Duolingo. The grammar and syntax are too complex, and the vocabulary too rich, for the platform's bite-size lessons to encompass adequately. Any attempt would likely send the learner's head spinning at the irregularity and byzantine (heh heh) convolution of it all. I don't even know how one would go about presenting principal parts, or the uses of participles, or the functions of prepositions, to name a few of the main challenges, in addition to what would already need to be included in the tree following a standard template. Since the only real reason for learning Ancient Greek is to read ancient texts, skipping or simplifying any of these elements would only defeat the course's purpose.

Latin, on the other hand, would be a much more reasonable proposition, and I am at a loss to explain why there is not even a Latin course in the incubator when Esperanto and High Valyrian have already been released for mobile.

That said, using the current Greek course as a supplement to studying Ancient Greek is not a bad idea. In fact, it is my main motivation for studying MGreek on Duolingo, and I am finding the approach quite rewarding. The language's vocabulary and roots have remained largely the same to a surprising degree, and even the differences between the two can be very instructive.


so maybe you can you give me the two possible interpretations of the following: ἣξεις ἀφήξεις οὔκ ἐν πολέμῳ θνήξεις. (nb. In case you can, it will be really great if you can also tell me if you looked up any vocab/grammar and what references you use for the translation.)


Assuming that ἥξω is the future of ἥκω, and without looking anything up, I can offer 'you'll be here, you'll be away, you won't die in war/you'll die [but] not in war.' Presumably this means that one can dodge death in war by running around, but also that one will die anyway, whether one tries to avoid war or not. What about it?


Awesome! You got one meaning, with negation taking scope over the lower clause. Notice the literal meaning is: 'you will go (home) you will come back NOT in the war you will die'. So there is a second possible interpretation: 'you will go you will not come back, [because] you will die in the war'.

This sort of thing is a very systematic relation. Ancient Greek is a literary language (for the most part), and formal grammar rules help a lot, but reading it well takes practice of a similar kind to other natural languages.

Learning a bit of Modern Greek is a really interesting idea. I think that my speaking Modern Greek (natively) helps me learn Ancient Greek. I actually improve more dramatically in Modern Greek (spelling, complex syntax, etc.) when I practice reading Ancient Greek.

Also, the user data from a platform like duolinguo on an experimental curriculum would be super interesting/useful to get statistics about syntax/vocab acquisition.


Im in for either Koine or Ancient Greek

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