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For those Beta testers who have previous Latin experience


I'm one of the contributors who runs through each section, adding or rejecting sentences. This post is for those of you who have a bit of Latin experience, both to explain a couple things, and also to open up a (very limited AMA about my decision making process).

First off, a couple things I won't be accepting

I do not accept completely omitting the verb

I know forms of sum, esse can be omitted, you know they can be, anyone who's taken Latin for a semester knows they can be. But new learners do not, this course is not for experienced Latinists to learn the language, it's for beginners. New learners will omit verbs, nouns, and adjectives on accident all the time, and we have to ease them into the natural language later on. So please, include the verb. In sentences which have the forms of sum repeated (tu non es femina, sed puella es) You can drop one of them.

I do not accept every single possible translation for every single word

There are 39,589 Lexical Entries in the Oxford Latin Dictionary. Over twenty thousand of those have more than one sense, within each sense there can be five to six definitions (on a good day). If I sat with a dictionary pulled up, entering possible alternative translations, the course would be finished about the same time as the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae.

With that said, I don't ignore every possible translation, I try to be accommodating. However you must remember as well that this course is largely geared toward beginners. They will not have fifteen possible correct definitions for servare memorized, or know you can use conservare instead. When a specific definition isn't accepted, it isn't because we hate that definition, or would never use it, or want it burned from the pages of dictionaries everywhere, but more that it may be less common, or not ideal for the sentence it's contained within. I will very seldom add a new word (that hasn't been taught in the course) to a sentence, like salvo -are in sentences with servo -are.

I do not accepted outdated, archaic, or very specific translations

I have not to this point accepted dwell, thou, art, or at Rome. I have looked into at Rome, and honest to God, all that comes up is "the British school at Rome" which is not worth accommodating. Including things like thou would take days to weeks in order to implement course wide, so it's not coming.

I do look into (almost) everything you report.

When I go into the incubator, I look at the type of reports. If I see 9 reports of bad audio, I listen to it myself. If I hear issues, I may rerecord it. I look at the list of suggested sentences and begin ruling out every one which has obvious typos. If I see one which could be correct, I typically add it (with a few exceptions).

When I see in free-write reports notes about how and when a verb can be used, I usually look it up in the OLD, L&S, Bennett's Grammar, Wheelock's and the Oxford Latin Course (as well as wiktionary, wikipedia, the DCC grammar pages, and PHI) So if a particular thing isn't added, it's because I checked and either couldn't verify it, or found it to be proved false.

I know as Latinists we expect and want Duolingo to be our shiny new toy, but always try to keep in mind, it's not for you (yet). This first tree has got the training wheels on. You've got to be patient and know eventually we'll get to the high-speed, low-drag stuff you're craving.

Gratias vobis ago,


September 29, 2019



Whew! I'm glad someone understands there are absolute beginners in this course!


Yes! And this should help cut down on the nagging complaints by people who seem to think the course contributors don't know what they're doing - or at least seem to think they know better than the course contributors what the course contributors should be doing. :P

Volgav vitsenanieff nivya kevach varatsach.


Thank you Colin! I'm a beginner in Latin, so I appreciate your efforts to keep everything consistent for now. At this point, it's hard enough to understand the cases and why Marcus can also be called Marce.


Marce and Stephane are part of a case called the vocative. Which is used in direct address. Here are 3 examples:

Salve, Marce Hello, Marcus.

Marcum salvere iubeo I bid hello to Marcus.

Marcus salvere iubet Marcus bids hello.

Each sentence should highlight the difference between the Latin case ending and the English meaning.


I suggest that you "Sticky" this post so that is doesn't get lost in the forums.


We mods don't have the power to sticky posts. If we did I would have nailed all of Colin's posts to the top myself.


ex themate (off-topic):

It seems laudo/laudare is introduced but used in just one sentence ("Livia inscriptionem laudat"); at least I don't recall seeing another one in my 11k XP.


It's used in a few, I know someone praises a book, and I think the learner also praises something.


Thank you for your hard work in making the Latin course a reality! It's been fun to jump back into the language I stopped studying in high school over 10 years ago :)


My feelings exactly. It was nice to revisit the language I last used some 15 years ago at the university :)


Understood. Thanks for the update

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