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Context / framing / purpose of course

Hello. Enjoying this course, but I feel I and maybe other learners might benefit from a little framing information about goals to set expectations - I couldn't find it here on the forums - have I overlooked this?

If not, it would be useful to clarify the 'Latin' on offer here (classical, medieval, ecclesiastical, um... modern?), the expected uses to which it might be put, and the intended scope. Other DL languages can reasonably assume that they are dealing with the modern language, that most learners' goal is conversation etc but Im not so sure these go without saying in this case.

For example, the vocabulary taught encompasses specifically classical concepts ('cliens', 'patronus'), and Roman deities, but also... 'Novum Eboracum'. I can't reconstruct the logic of this.

Moreover, I do appreciate that there's a tried and tested DL formula, but... Im not sure I foresee ever needing to ask how somebody is in Latin, or to need listening comprehension, or for that matter composition, though I see there's pedagogical use for the latter. Clearly Im missing the point, but I can't really find my bearings here if I'm honest.

August 30, 2019



According to Duolingo's blog, they partnered with the Paideia Institute to create this course. The Paideia Institute teaches Latin and Ancient Greek as living languages. This is an increasingly popular approach. As such, while this course does teach Classical pronunciation, it also includes more modern vocabulary. This Duolingo course is far from complete but I am sure it will improve over time. The goal for me and an increasing number of people is indeed to actually read, write, speak, and understand spoken Latin.

Relevant links:





Thanks that's very useful information indeed, which DL would I think be well advised to put upfront somewhere because the course makes greatly more sense in this light, and I have the impression from other forum postings that I'm far from the only learner who hadn't picked this up. In fact, I'd even go as far as to suggest that 'Living Latin' would make a better name for the course.


A language is meant to be used in multiple ways. It was only relatively recently that for some reason people decided to start to teach Latin as a language which is only used for reading and nothing else whatsoever. Though that is now starting to change. The course name Latin makes perfect sense. This is Latin, through and through.


It's a big world! :-)

To me, any single monolithic 'Latin' is going to misrepresent a language with 2,000+ years' evolution: as you know, there are Archaic Latins, Classical Latins (of several periods), Medieval Latins, Ecclesiastical Latins, and, I'm sure, many others besides (Milton's for example). To me, it makes no sense to insist on the primacy, definitiveness or universal appeal of any of them really - mine was a request for clarity, nothing more. Given the course's free admixture of both Neo-Latin and the resolutely Classical, I don't believe the scope of the course goes without saying. Or at least it failed so to do in my case.

In any case, I hope Fortuna smiles on your learning. :-)

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