Drunk parrots and clever weasels: Just finished the Latin course
I just completed the Duolingo Latin course. Overall, I am impressed with the time the contributors put into this course, and to them I extend a huge thank you. There are still a lot of alternate sentence translations missing, but I understand that that will continue to get fixed as the beta stage progresses.
As suggested by the title, weasels and parrots (particularly drunk) show up a lot throughout the course, for whatever reason. It's a really fun course to do nonetheless.
Thanks to all Latin contributors, and I look forward to the course being expanded in the future!
I hope the word intervenio to makes an appearance in the next tree. I found the parrots and weasels entertaining, but I want to know more. Are they in league with one another? Are they enemies? Also, why all the poo, didn't the Romans master plumbing? I also am already looking forward to more Latin!
I just completed the first level tree in Latin, and I have to say that I'm a little disappointed.
Don't misunderstand me: I really do appreciate all the hard work that has gone into it so far, and anything is better than nothing, but I don't think it goes nearly far enough - even for a beta version.
I last studied Latin at school, more than 40 years ago. and I'm sure I remember all sorts of other sentence constructions, idioms, grammar etc etc. which, having completed all the skills, even though not all the levels in each skill, I should surely have come across by now in the course? Also, in most of the other languages I've looked at here, the language learning gives a little of the "feel" of the native speakers and their country, yet there is very little here that gives any sort of feel for Ancient Romans, Ancient Rome or its empire.
Could I now pick up a book written in original Latin and - with the assistance of a Latin-English dictionary to fill in the gaps I'm missing in vocabulary (which I fully expect to need to do at this stage in any language learning) - read and understand it? I don't think so, but in most other languages here I could do just that.
As Julius Caesar might have said:
Veni, Vidi... vici parum. O me miserum.
(Civis Britannicus sum)
Congrats on finishing! I‘ll keep plodding along in it. I‘ve never studied Latin and it already seems very grammar-heavy. I like it though. Hopefully they will update the course and quadruple the amount of words in it. I read somewhere that there are only 500-something new words in the course, which is way low considering the other courses.
The wicked weasels may refer to the villainous weasels who (along with ferrets and stoats) occupy the Wild Wood in Kenneth Grahame's "Wind in the Willows", a childhood classic I never read. However, recently, watching a "Midsomer Murders" Detective Inspector Barnaby made a reference to WITW and weasels, which clued me in the the connection. According to Wikipedia, the Wild Wood is governed by the great god Pan, so there is a slight classical connection there. Presumably (if my thesis is correct) one of the designers of the Latin course is a fan of WITW. Here is a link to the Weasels' song (performed by many of Monty Python fame): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_TbgMUx9OA (I have no clue about the parrots, though...)
Parrots: from Petcentral -
As the Roman Empire came to prominence, talking parrots, apparently Psittacula parrots from India, were all the rage among the upper classes, professional parrot teachers were employed to teach the birds to speak Latin. Early writings (Pliny the Elder, 77 A.D.) contained instructions for teaching parrots to talk by hitting them on the head with iron bars.
I was going to do a lengthy post about "why weasels", but I got sidetracked into the "Eboracum" thread, which took time, and I really want to do a bit of language learning.
Suffice it to say that you can probably blame Pliny the Elder for this too, and no doubt he would have had a lot more to say about them if he hadn't been so over-enthusiastic with finding out about nature and gone to take a look at the Mount Vesuvius eruption in 79AD when Pompeii was destroyed...
According to Pliny the Elder, author and naturalist who lived in Rome in the 1st century AD, parrots that were kept as pets became particularly talkative after a sip of wine.
However, as I just found out on the Internet, it was roughly 2014 years later that anyone wrote a serious study looking at how parrots tend to slur their words when drunk.
Probably a very good funding bid writer, who was able to emphasise that no learning is ever wasted! It is amazing what us academics can get funding for. My observation is obscure topics are often easier that mainstream studies - less competition perhaps?
I wonder if anyone has thought to investigate if dogs that go with their masters for a pint at the pub slur their barking or bark more on the way home?