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Word order in Latin

I think this is more difficult to implement, but as far as I know, classical Latin has a more free word order than that presented in the course. For example:

I can omit the pronoun "ego" because of verb "sum", that already contains information about first person (and singular number), but the course does not think so...

And another example:

As I know, in Latin I can change positions of words like "Marcus vir est" instead of "Marcus est vir", but course again does not think so!

Please answer, was that what you intended, or are you planning to fix it?

Thank you in advance

August 27, 2019



Agreed. Additionally, the lessons want the verb at the end of the sentence most of the time, then randomly they say you are wrong when you construct given sentence as such. Oh well, its now in beta, so we'll see. Perhaps there's a reason for our concerns. In the meantime, i am so happy to have this course ! :)


das lateinische ist eine der einfachsten (ältesten reichsten und schönsten) sprachen der welt und kann von den meisten sprecherinnen europäischer sprachen vermutlich schneller gelernt werden als jede andere fremdsprache..dafür muss man das lateinische den schülerinnen aber ganz anders vermitteln als es dieser duolinguo kurs tut.auch die fehler die im lateinunterricht an humanistischen gymnasien gemacht werden sollten vermieden werden. das auswendiglernen von deklinationen und konjunktionen ist nicht der beste schnellste und einfachste weg sie zu erlernen.man sollte sie nach dem studium ihrer grammatischen funktionen durch die praxis erlernen,und diese schon den anfänger*innen ermöglichen indem man ihnen eine jederzeit abrufbare datenbank zur verfügung stellt,die alle konjunktionen und deklinationen auf knopfdruck präsentiert
es ist viel leichter zu verstehen was ein akkusativ ist und wofür er verwendet wird,als zu lernen wie der akkusativ jedes einzelnen nominalen wortes gebildet wird ein virtuelles keybord dass alle funktionen der lateinischen grammatik verfügbar macht zu konstruieren wäre nicht schwer .und ein solches angebot wäre eine grosse hilfe für alle anfängerinnen. sie könnten sofort mit dem komponieren lateinischer texte beginnen im hinblick auf den wortschatz wäre es empfehlenswert mit den vielen worten lateinischer herkunft zu beginnen die es in den modernen europäischen sprachen gibt.

die beispielsätze mit denen die schüler*innen üben könnten zum teil der langen tradition der lateinischen literatur entnommen werden. ausserdem wäre es sinnvoll aus anderen duolinguo kursen
beispielsätze von möglichst grossem praktischen nutzen zu extrahieren und sie ins lateinische zu übersetzen


Definitely agree, but that's what beta is for.


It's more like they just didn't have time to get all the alternative sentences in before it was released to Beta. Just report 'em where you find 'em. No biggie. :)

Volgav vitsenanieff nivya kevach varatsach.


The default word order in Latin was Subject-Object-Verb. It is true that one could put the parts of a sentence in any order but it was done either for emphasis or to fit a metre in poetry.


Interesting! Gratias tibi valde.


I agree. There was even a multiple choice question with two of the three possible answers that were correct. I chose the one with the verb at the end because I figured that the creators were SOV biased.


es ist meiner meinung nach eine ganz schlechte idee in den multiple choice tests grammatisch falsche alternativen anzubieten.die angebotenen alternativen sollten inhaltlich falsch aber grammatisch richtig sein,gerade die anfänger*innen die noch durch nachahmen lernen sollten nicht gezwungen werden grammatisch falsche sätze lesen zu müssen.


Just make sure to report it when they don't accept sentences with alternative word orders. I have reported some, and they have already been fixed.

Just remember that you can't mess around much with prepositions. 'in urbe' for instance, should be considered a single unit. This you can move around, but not the 'in' alone.


This is true, but if "urbe" has a qualifier, that adjective can definitely be moved around. I'd even guess that "magna in urbe" is the most literary way of saying "in the big city".**

Most people will recognize this syntax from the academic terms "summa cum laude" (with highest praise) and "magna cum laude" (with great praise), where "cum" is the preposition "with".

** Though everyday Latin probably had word order much closer to that of modern Romance languages.


True, that is a very common and stylish construction.

And you know, if you're Virgil, you can even put the preposition after the noun, as in

'...spemque metumque inter dubii, seu vivere credant,

sive extrema pati nec iam exaudire vocatos.' (Aeneid 1.218-19)


Latin teacher here.

This is a real problem in this course currently. In so many cases, answers should be accepted with (nearly) any word order in these simple sentences, yet they are counted wrong. Also, sometimes subject pronouns are counted wrong when you use them and other times when you omit them?! It is always acceptable to omit, and there needs to be some consistency in the course.


I think this is the point of the beta release ahead of schedule. The software isn't equipped to deal with the syntax of inflected languages efficiently, and these gaps will be filled in more quickly with user corrections than if the contributors were to write out each sentence every which way manually before releasing the course. Duolingo was originally designed for languages with fixed word order where a few alternative options here and there would cover all of the possibilities.


Just started the course. It gives alternate translations when both are correct. Like your examples above are both correct. It even teaches you both ways, probably so you get used to them.


As a few people have mentioned, I would say that the problem is not so much a restrictive word order - which is to be expected given the difficulty of programming - but inconsistency. This is my principal frustration with the Latin course.

Take for example the formation "[x] is in the market" which comes up a number of times.

For some subjects, "[x] in foro est" is the accepted version, which aligns with the SOV order used in a lot of classical writing and with most of the exercises on the course. However, in some cases, it will only accept "[x] est in foro" and "...in foro est" is marked as wrong. There is no apparent reason why this should be different.

This goes right the way through the course. There appears to be no consistency to what word order will be accepted, which must make it a nightmare for new learners, and mean that they are focussing on the wrong things.

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