Duolingo has High Valyrian and Klingon but not Latin
Is the interest in Latin really THAT low? I've seen numerous posts around the internet starting years ago of people asking for a Latin course. I understand there are very few people who are able to form a coherent phrase in Latin but then again, there is a High Valyrian and then there's that bloody Klingon course available, how is that possible?
Edit: Apparently this post is at risk of misinterpretation. I merely tried pointing out a paradox by which 2 languages for which a lower amount of interest is shown and have fewer educators managed to crack their way into the language list while a root for most European languages has not. I have absolutely nothing against con languages or those who study them.
Here's a quick rundown on the status of Latin in Duolingo, and some resources for interested learners:
Has Latin been suggested?
Why isn't there a Latin course?
Other Resources for learning Latin:
Lingua Latina per se Illustrata - a book that teaches intuitively, like Duolingo. (Remember, libraries are free! And can get almost any book via inter-library loans.)
https://tinycards.duolingo.com/search?query=latin (Unofficial) Latin on Tinycards, Duolingo's companion site.
https://www.memrise.com/courses/english/latin/ - Latin courses on Memrise.
https://ankiweb.net/shared/decks/latin - Latin decks available on Anki.
https://www.clozemaster.com/languages/learn-latin-from-english - Clozemaster, a language learning game.
https://mangolanguages.com/available-languages/learn-latin/ - Mango, another language learning site.
http://lexicity.com/language/latin/ - An index of resources, courtesy of no.name.42
If you want to learn Latin, there's no need to wait until Duolingo adds it; these are just a few of the available resources out there. Happy learning!
I just got myself that book and I wouldn't have guessed a Latin anki deck existed. Thanks for the tips.
The audio of the mangolanguages course is suprisingly good.
The speaker is a little bit inconsistent with the length of some vowels and she doesn't vocalise the m and so on.
Still, a very good Classical Latin pronunciation.
I'm just gonna say if there ever is a Latin course and there isn't an option to have Duo chastise you for incorrectly saying "Romani ite Domum" I will be as disappointed as I was when there was no Latin course.
Cam, Have a lingot for the snort. Dashing young men having a snort makes a matron like me smile! Have an imaginary snort on me. Bloody good! Your friend, Cat
I agree! I would love to learn Latin : ) Just look at this post: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/1689107
It has many likes and comments on it, seriously the support for Latin is high! We came to this site to learn, we saw many languages being added in, and now we must get Latin-so that we can conquer learning it XD
Maybe a straight-up answer would be nice. At least we would know it is not going to be added because of 'XX' reasons. Furthermore, in knowing we can stop requesting it and just point new-comers to that response.
- Straight-up answer >3 years ago ("We will do it [Latin] eventually, but not within the next 4 months"): https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/2mwe7w/i_am_luis_von_ahn_the_creator_of_recaptcha_those/cm86qmb
- Not so straight-up answer >1 year ago: https://www.reddit.com/r/duolingo/comments/5pr3sv/i_am_luis_von_ahn_ceo_and_cofounder_of_duolingo/dct6e34
Latin may be a "dead" language but, isn't medical terminology based on Latin? I would think it would be very much useful to know. Just saying.
In the wise words of Harry Mount: "The only way forwards is backwards – learn Latin, and history, medicine, law, language and botany click into super-sharp, bang-up-to-date focus." :-)
Not only medical terminology. You need it to study history, archeology, any language, philosophy, biology and so on. You need it for so many majors, it's ridiculous. So I don't get why it hasn't been added yet :(
Just a nitpick- Although Latin can certainly tie into many of those fields of study, it is not a requirement for studying history, archaeology, or “any language”. Many languages have nothing to do with Latin, and no language requires studying Latin as a prerequisite (aside from Latin itself). I know this, because I major in foreign languages and history. It isn’t required.
That being said, Latin is extremely important for many fields of study, and making Latin available on a platform like Duolingo would be a terrific thing. I hope they will add it in the near future, as it is the course I am most looking forward to.
so many of us have been hoping for it for a long time. It would be great and apparently it's in high demand... All we can do it keep bugging them I guess and hope they get there someday
I thought I'd at least find Finnish in the incubator but no. It's the same story with Finnish, it seems.
Just a reminder that the production of High Valyrian came with significant monetary gains for Duolingo because it was released in time for a new season of Game of Thrones. And I doubt that it's taken a ton of resources away from other languages. I don't know the back story of Klingon.
From what I remember, it was released briefly before the premiere of Star Trek: Discovery, in which the language was spoken pretty regularly.
That was their goal. But the Klingon course had some delays in launching I think like most Duo courses do. Discovery premiered in September 2017 while the Duo course opened for business on March 15, 2018.
I completely agree with you. Latin is so important as the base of languages. Latin is common in medical and legal terminology. Not only that, but I guess many Catholics would be interested in studying Latin, and Classics scholars who want to read/translate written text. Perhaps the problem DL has is that a spoken component for Latin is not important.
I know.....I agree! I would love to study Latin on Duolingo as it's just nice to have all of my favourite languages in one place without having to use different websites and apps. Plus, I love the community feel to Duolingo and the possibility to join groups! I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Latin anyway. :-)
When applying to be a course contributor, DuoLingo asks that one be fluent in the other language to the level of a native speaker. Since that is pretty difficult since even many universities don't ask that their students be able to speak fluent Latin, it would be pretty hard to qualify. Given that this is not the level in which many people want to be fluent, hopefully, DuoLingo would be willing to make an exception since learning an ancient language is a different ballgame than learning a modern one.
There are currently (in 2017) slightly over 150 PhD theses being written in "Classics" in the USA. Given, this includes ancient history and archaeology, and both Latin and Greek, but there must be at least a few dozen of these 150 graduate students who are fluent in Latin. So let's conservatively say that 10 new PhDs, fluent in Latin, are produced every year. (This is based on a PhD degree taking around 3-4 years.) Given that they would have around 40-50 active professional years after that, there have to be at least 400 proficient Latin scholars in the USA right now. And let's not forget the rest of the world. So that gives 1000 as a plausible lower bound on Latin scholars alive today. If you include those fluent in Latin because they specialize in Medieval history/literature, the number goes higher. I haven't included those who teach Latin on the high school level. (BTW, out of a current listing of 394 job openings for high school foreign language teachers in the USA, 15 (or around 4%) were for Latin teachers. Turns out there is a shortage of high school Latin teachers, due to which some schools are being forced to end their Latin program.
That's what happened to a lot of Catholic schools (especially in my area). They teach like vocabulary and religion, both of which teach the tiniest bit of Latin, but there's no dedicated Latin course because there aren't enough teachers. There's even Mandarin Chinese at the school I was nearly going to go to, but no Latin.
I want to learn High Valyrian but I don't think I'm tall enough! Just a frog over here. Thank you, I'll be here all night! :D
But which Latin would you like to see on Duolingo? Classical Latin from the 1st century BC or Vulgar Latin from which Romance languages derives? Ecclesiastical Latin used in Roman Catholic Church or Modern Latin with made-up words for smartphones, slacks and rock-and-roll? Or maybe a mix of all of them?
And who would provide spoken Latin? English, who pronounce certe as sir chay, or Italian, who pronounce it as cher te? Somebody might now tell me that it should be kerte, but why the pronunciation of the 1st century BC should be the one, and not the way of saying this word for the next thousand years? Should we learn Latin as it was spoken or as it is reconstructed by scholars?
There is one more thing. I learned Latin at first on my own, from a Polish book, then I studied it at university in English, then I started using French sources. Each of them explained Latin grammar in a different way. For example English demanded translating every the into ille and use ille whenever they would use the in English. So they would say illud sol because this is a literal translation of the Sun. Also they tended to use some obsolete, grandiose language, so they would't say If I saw a cat... but Had I caught a sight of a feline...; you get an idea.
Classical Latin is the most taught in educational establishments, so that would presumably be the most likely. And it would be perverse to pronounce such a classical course in the ecclesiastical style, so I presume they would go for a reconstructed classical pronunciation.
As far as pronunciation, an easy solution is to have multiple soundtracks among which the user can choose.
As far as which version to use, that would be up to those designing the course. I assume that university classics programs have settled down on a most common version, probably the Latin Roman spoken around 100 BC - 400 AD. Anyway, it can't be more contentious than the whole English vs American debate.
That's only an easy solution until you consider that it means both to create (at least) twice as many soundtracks for the course and also to create the now-nonexisting framework to make it possible for a user to select among multiple audio sets for a single course.
few people know Latin so it would be hard to get contributors and moderators, I'm sure. You could join the Priesthood and learn it there.
Over the course of the last years, I have seen multiple people say they have applied. I think there would be enough contributors to make it work.
That's the thing. People say they've applied to help create a course repeatedly but were ignored. Not even the courtesy of a reply was given from what I've read.
I mean, Korean only has 4 contributors and I've heard of at least 5 people who are willing to do Latin.
Most priests don't know Latin anymore. One of the few Latin speakers in the world estimates that fewer than a 100 fluent Latin speakers exist in the entire Catholic Church.
Edit: I should have added that also most of them are probably old men like him because learning Latin tended to be a thing of the past. When that older generation is gone, there might be no Latin speakers left in the Catholic Church at all. We are looking at that possibility probably in the next twenty years.
There are still young/younger priests who studied Latin. I needed to know how to decline our Bishop's name in Latin for something we were singing at church and was able to go to my pastor for it. Also, despite the unfortunate recent history of the past 50 years or so of Latin being neglected, it is still the official language of the Catholic Church. New documents are still written in it in Rome in the Church.
There is a difference between what your priest did for you and being fluent in a language.
I would love to know who is writing the Latin documents for the church. How many people under 40 can do it I wonder?
Well, I never said he was fluent in Latin, only that he studied it and knew enough to give me the correct declension/ending for the Bishop's name for some music. He's 41.
I don't know all the specifics, but new Latin documents are made all the time in the Vatican (even if, admittedly, they are first written in other languages and translated into Latin). It would be interesting to know who all the Latinists are over there.
The Pope generally speaks Italian.
The Catechism (which is constantly being edited) Is always in Latin. (and translated obviously) Mostly they don't translate it unless some gigantic change is made to it-- mostly because selling a whole new edition every time the Pope said something would be such a hassle lol. Probably after Pope Francis is done there'll be a new edition because he's already said a lot of stuff, but that's hopefully a while away. :)
He is surely talking about the Vatican II Catholic Church. There are about 600 priests in the Society of St Pius X who are all fluent in Latin, plus another 400 or so religious and seminarians, most of them also fluent or partially so. Same goes for Priestly Society of St Peter, about half the size of SSPX. Additionally most of the laity who attend the Traditional Mass can recite many prayers, long and short, in Latin. By the way exorcists, of the old or new rite, use Latin.
Almost all of my friends are learning Latin... I'm not because I hated my book with a passion, but I used to.
Ha! That's true and funny.
I have dreams about Duolingo sometimes. Last time I dreamt that our levels got expanded up to the 40s. I was very upset because I just reached level 25 and I would have to do a lot more work, lol.
I know some Latin and would love to know more as long as any audio is as close as possible to how it was spoken, like the ancestor to the romance language that it is, and not something excruciating that incorrectly sounds like English with different words, when it shouldn't at all.
That is like saying Italian is being incorrectly pronounced by Italians because of some theory about how Dante may have pronounced it. All languages other than Esperanto, Klingon, etc. are organic, the effects of which are mitigated by standardization at some point in their history. Latin has been spoken by priests for 2000 years. How they pronounce it is the true pronunciation, whether it has evolved over time or not... not the theory of some group of university professors who are guessing at the pronunciation of some bygone time.
Love me some thrones but i would still much rather learn Latin than any conlang fwiw.
Is it really that lacking in commercial value? Seems to me there'd be a lot of interest from, for example, students, due to the prevalence of Latin in older scientific works, classic literature, biological nomenclature, etc.
I would far rather learn the ancient language many of the European languages are derived from or have borrowed heavily from than a language that has little to no bearing on linguistic history. On the other hand, I do think I will learn Klingon some day :D
I would far rather learn the ancient language many of the European languages are derived from or have borrowed heavily from..."
As someone else has pointed out, this is just flat out wrong. Only the romance languages and English have extensive Romance vocabulary.
You might see Latin words in other languages, but that's either because a) Latin is used a lot in specific fields and they are "borrowing" those words, or b) the Russian language has been influenced by other European languages that are derived from Latin.
In pure sense, Slavic, Germanic, and many other languages families are NOT "influenced/derived from" Latin.
And how would a Latin course help anybody? How would learning "The boy eats an apple" help decipher old texts? I'm just a little confused.
Possibly it's because having "Klingon" and "High Valyrian" is an effort at marketing, and HOPEFULLY the people in charge at Duolingo relied on volunteers, (and didn't PAY anyone,) to make these modules, so as to make learning a new language hip and cool to people who like Star Trek and Game of Thrones. The hope might be to get people to say to themselves:
OH MY GEE! They have a place where you can go and learn High Valyrian, for FREE! ! I'm totes gonna DO that!
And then while they're here, and getting into it, learning to conjugate "valar," maybe they might find themselves thinking "oh, yeah, and I've always wanted to learn Polish..." or whatever.
I agree they should totally have Latin, and I would take that course myself, but there are possibly ulterior motives for putting silly stuff like Klingon and High Valyrian.
OH, that reminds me, Duolingo... where's LOW Valyrian? What if you're NOT having conversations with Danyeressses or whatever? What if you want to talk to the common people who speak the LOW stuff? (Or whatever... I'm not a big enough fan to care about their silly made-up languages. Hell, I'm not even impressed with Esperanto, also a made-up language, but a real one, (not made specifically for TV).
The BIG question is: when are they going to add whatever language Chewbaca's gargling noises, and R2D2's beeps and whistles are supposed to be? :-D
"there is High Valyrian and then there 's that bloody Klingon course..."
Uh, why is Klingon worse than High Valyrian?
What is wrong with Duolingo offering Klingon? Because it isn't "real"? People who say that are the most likely types to read more fiction books than they do nonfiction books in my experience. Guess what, "Harry Potter" isn't real, Mortimer. Do you enjoy Harry Potter or other types of fiction? Well, by your standards, you should be very disappointed in yourself because it isn't real. You should write to all of the book publishers in the world and tell them how disgusted you are that they are publishing fiction books when there are so many nonfiction books that they are choosing not to publish. You should be quite disgusted that a not real book like Harry Potter was not only published but is being read by so many people when really they should be reading physics textbooks or something like that instead.
Constructed languages have their own worth from an academic standpoint. People who can't see that are being myopic. Adding: Constructed language are a mark of what we are as a species. We study ourselves and the universe around us. We like to understand, create, imagine, and even at our best engage in introspection. These are the sorts of qualities that we would consider to be signs of higher intelligence in any other creature. And yet the activities that reflect these characteristics that some of us would argue are us at our best are only things deserving derision in the eyes of certain types of people This is same attitude that I am sure many people had about Napier and his logarithms or any number of other esoteric pursuits that baser people usually consider to be worthless endeavors. All those odd people with their worthless hobbies are the only reason we have airplanes, the internet, computers, television, radio, electricity, vaccines, machines that take us into space, and any number of other things which I doubt you or most people would want to live without.
Oh dear, your interpretation of my post is off. First off I have nothing against constructed languages or those who choose to study them. I am not refuting their usefulness. In the part you have quoted I tried pointing out a paradox by which 2 languages for which a lower amount of interest is shown and have fewer educators managed to crack their way into the language list while a root for most European languages has not.
There are other Duolingo courses which apparently have fewer interested in them as evidenced by the user numbers. 7 are less popular than High Valyrian. 2 are less popular than Klingon. And that does not even consider the unfortunate fact that many Duolingo users have refused to take Klingon because there is no audio provided for the course. It is the number one reason I have seen by people who said they wanted to try it but decided not to. With audio, who knows how many languages would be beneath Klingon in popularity.
But aside from that issue, I don't think popularity should necessarily be the only standard used to decide which courses are added.
I apologize if I misinterpreted you. But you did call it that "bloody Klingon course" which certainly sounds very hostile and dismissive of it. That seems the equivalent of calling it that f'ng Klingon course, which is hard to interpret as anything but hostile and disrespectful of it.
I could have been kinder in my response to you. I reacted emotionally because it really hurts my feelings when I see people on Duo constantly disparaging Klingon. This language is one that I really love and I feel quite badly when people laugh at it or indicate that it is stupid or such. I will take this as a chance to learn to not be bothered by such things. Thank you.
phuvtuo, You are definitely going to get a nickname . My computer changes your name to something I would get my mouth washed out with soap for saying aloud. So,anyways, your feelings are important . Klingon is no less important to me than any other foreign language. I have been watching Star Trek since the first episode. BTW, Klingons were the bad guys in those days. I shy away from constructed languages, because they do not flow naturally for me. As an American, I am often ashamed that we expect everyone to conform to our language. On a curious day, I will experiment with Klingon. Everybody rich that I know is fluent in Klingon. Go figure. Love, Cat
Everybody rich that I know is fluent in Klingon.
You must know an incredibly-specific subset of the idle rich...
Can you tell me more about the Klingon speakers? There are few fluent ones in the world.
How does your computer change names?
@phuvtuo, jupwI', I've had one or two similar reactions since starting the Klingon course. It really is remarkable how often people -- especially people here in Duolingo who appreciate learning languages -- feel themselves entitled to belittle or disparage the language and the time and effort spent by those who try to learn it (and, of course, to berate Duolingo for offering the course instead of Latin, Finnish, Afrikaans, Persian, Lower Sorbian, or any one of the myriad other languages that people regularly cry out for in the forums).
This said, I've come to realise (perhaps a bit belatedly) that getting defensive doesn't help matters. I think we enjoy ourselves more, and make ourselves better ambassadors for the language and the Klingon-speaking community, if we just stay upbeat, recognise that Klingon language study is first and foremost about having fun, and accept with equanimity the fact that most people are simply not going to get the appeal of learning a bizarre looking and sounding language constructed for a fictitious, sometimes goofy, warrior race from a TV show -- even if it does hook you into a small but vibrant community of brilliant and creative people. What can we say....it's their loss! :-)
In that spirit, when I see people bash Klingon in the forums, I think it's better to just remind them and others that Klingon is, by far, the most fun language I have ever studied. That includes Latin, by the way -- where after a whole year of study, I never learnt how to say "The space station obliterates the tribble home world!"
jIlugh jupwI'. I am trying to learn a new outlook for these situations.
It is the most fun language I have studied for me as well.
Without audio, the Klingon course is pretty much useless, since most Klingon words are unpronounceable.
Many people feel this way. Many people have not tried the course because of it. Myself, I did end up going outside Duo to learn the pronunciation before returning to the course. But I can understand that is an inconvenient option for many people.
The lack of audio in the Klingon course is a major limitation and like many, I look forward to the day when it is added. This said, I have found the course to be a lot of fun even without it and still quite effective in giving a workable base in the language. And even though the pronunciation is half the fun of Klingon (I think I have figured out the Q, but I am still lost on the gh), there are some paedagogical advantages to starting off Klingon with just reading and writing, since the grammar, while different from what we are used to, is not really that complex and it doesn't take long to learn enough to be able to effectively communicate. Speaking just for myself, I have learned enough from just the Duolingo Klingon course to be able to participate (with the help of the boQwI' dictionary ap) in the "Klingon Only" section of the KLI Discord Server (which I did for the first time two nights ago, making some new friends in the process!)
I think I have figured out the Q, but I am still lost on the gh
'gh' (/ɣ/) is merely the voiced counterpart of /x/ (as in Klingon 'H' or German 'Ich'), so just make a /x/ sound whilst activating your vocal chords as if you were setting out to make the sound of a 'g' rather than a 'k'.
@garpike: Yeah, I get that gh is "simply" the voiced version of H, and I can produce the sound in isolation, but I can't seem to get the sound out properly in actual words (especially in words that also include H, r or Q).
I also have difficulty distinguishing the sound in conversation; when experienced Klingon-speakers speak, I always hear the gh as an r.
I am hoping that that will change with increased listening practice (which is why it would be great for Duolingo to add audio)!
I didn't really get the hang of producing /ɣ/ until I started familiarising myself with Modern Greek, so perhaps it might help you to try a little Greek.
Klingon is intentionally difficult to pronounce and consists of lots of sounds deliberately chosen for being very rarely found together in natural languages, so I dare say encountering the less-familiar sounds in a natural language first is useful.
Isn't Klingon 'r' supposed to be trilled, anyway? I can understand hearing 'gh' as an approximant, but if the true 'r' is a hirrient that ought to remove a lot of the ambiguity.
@garpike: Thanks for tip about Greek; I was wondering if there were any other languages on Duolingo featured the "voiced velar fricative" that I could use as a model for the Klingon gh. I'll check it out!
I agree that there should be Latin on Duolingo. Even though Latin is no longer spoken as a native language, it is still more useful than Klingon or High Valyrian. Honestly, I think it was a waste of time to make those courses, but if someone wants to spend their time doing that, I don't care. As far as I know, Latin is only really ever used in the Catholic Church these days, but I could be wrong. There are approximately 1.3 billion Catholics, and I think that at least some of them would like to learn Latin, as well as people of other religions, of course. Additionally, there are many words in English that come from Latin, and several Romance languages have Duolingo courses. If you know Latin, you should apply to be a contributor for its Duolingo course.
I would honestly believe that more people speak Klingon than Latin at this point...
I agree! Latin would be cool to learn-and since most English words have Latin roots, it also expands vocab
It's not a problem that Klingon is being added. It's just a few developers working on it. The problem is that they should add Latin. Latin is a great language, and it is the basis for many languages.