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  5. Okay, where to go from here?


Okay, where to go from here?

Today I gilded my last two Latin skills. My whole tree is now golden and my XP level is at 16. I don't really have any direction as to where to go from here. I'll keep on rotating through the skills doing timed practice. And you? What are you doing or will you do when you finish your tree?

I hope the contributors are already working on adding new skills. My wish is that they will include vocabulary from ecclesiastical texts such as those that classical composers set to music -- then I would understand what I am singing, instead of just guessing.

November 14, 2019



I've got my tree up to level 3 in most skills. I started using other resources once I went once through the tree (to level 1 in all skills).

My main resource now is Lingua Latina per se Illustrata part 1 (Familia Romana). This book is often used in formal courses, but a number of people here have used it for self-study. The key feature of this book is that it's entirely in Latin. There's no English (or anything else) anywhere. The idea is that you pick up a lot of Latin grammar as well as vocabulary just from careful reading, starting from a very simple chapter where almost all of the meanings can be verified using a map of the Roman Empire, and proceeding to build from there.

That first chapter is pretty straightforward for many people even without any Latin experience, and the next 2-3 cover mostly the same grammar territory as Duolingo (but using different and somewhat more extensive vocabulary). After that it gets more challenging fairly quickly, but a lot of that is vocabulary. Around chapter 6 you start consistently getting into grammar topics Duolingo doesn't cover.

Some thoughts based on what I've encountered so far (up to chapter 12, not quite halfway through), if you go down this route:

  • Go slowly. After 5 levels in Duolingo, the first chapter of LLPSI will fly past, and you might be able to read most if not all of it without stopping to think about it. This experience is a bit deceptive. After that things get information-dense quickly. In particular, there are about 50 new vocabulary items in each chapter (not counting inflected forms), and although the book makes it possible to determine new vocabulary from context, it's not always simple to do so. I've been doing maybe 2-3 chapters a week, and I'll probably need to slow that down a bit as I get farther along.

  • You will need to go back to previous chapters every so often to refresh. Don't feel bad about that: it's really a form of spaced repetition. But do be aware you'll need to do this to get the most out of the book. This is very different from Duolingo, where after a certain point, you hear about drunk parrots and clever weasels often enough that you'll never forget the Latin words for them.

  • Although the idea behind LLPSI is you don't need to translate or refer to non-Latin materials, it really helps to have the basics. You'll want an English-Latin dictionary to look up words you can't quite fully get from context. Wiktionary (or similar) is fine. This page has some very handy vocabulary lists you can refer to if you get stuck on a new word: http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/101/ (look under "Vocabulary Handouts: Lingua Latina"). And at least early on, having a set of noun/pronoun/adjective declensions to refer to is useful until you fully internalize those. Don't feel compelled to memorize it before you start, just have it handy if you run into some word forms that you don't recognize consistently or aren't sure what they are in a given sentence.


That sounds like fun. Someone else mentioned it either in the forum or in an SD (Sentence Discussion) because I checked for it at the local library, and they did not have it. Then I checked on Amazon and found several different versions and was confused which one to buy, so instead I took out three Latin books from the local library. "Collins Latin Concise Dictionary" has a lot, including a grammar section and sections on Roman life and culture. The content is great but the format is not to pleasing for me, as it is contained in a reasonably sized volume with a font so small that I'd be more comfortable reading it with a magnifying glass. (Teach Yourself) "Latin Grammar You Really Need to Know" is a practical course. I found there an explanation of short and long vowels that had previously baffled me. There seemed to be a lot of discussion about this in the DL forums, yet no instruction in the course. Also from that book I learned about Nuntii Latini, a Finnish radio station that since 1989 gives last week's news in Latin, and is now on the web. https://areena.yle.fi/1-1931339. It's wonderful because you can read the written script while listening to expert news announcers reading it out loud.The third book is called "The Everything Learning Latin Book -- Read and Write This Classical Language and Apply It to Modern English Grammar, Usage, and Vocabulary,| by Richard Prior. It sounds promising, but I have yet to look at it.

Now that you explained LLPSI, I did a Google search and found that many chapters are recorded on You Tube, with the text both written and read out loud. Excellent!


I purchased a few books to supplement my Latin learning. Specifically "Latin made Simple" which has exercises in it for practice regarding grammar and some vocab. I also bought two other books, "Latin for all occasions" and "Veni Vidi Didici". This is because my goals for Latin are mostly to learn some phrases, be able to conjugate verbs, read any Latin I found out in the wild on statues or buildings, to be able to read simple texts, and lastly to be able to write short notes in the language. I don't expect to become fluent (if one can even become fluent in Latin), so for me I selected items which were actually interesting to me. I know there are a lot of other more intensive books, workbooks, dictionaries, and literature out there whether it be at a local library, the internet, or for purchase at the bookstore. I'm simply a casual learner.


I feel the same. I just would like enough to get the gist of things and also be able to use Latin as my own "lingua sub rosa." I don't expect to read Virgil or Seneca in the original. The thing is, what I have heard, is that Latin is a very logical language... and you really do have to do the legwork to learn all the genders of nouns and cases in order to be able to understand the meaning of sentences (such as those on buildings, which normally don't involve verb tenses outside the present indicative). Even these "concise" grammars seem overwhelming. I am hoping to be able to "assimilate" these cases by doing fun exercises on Duolingo and therefore learning like a child does, through pure exposure, rather than have to memorize charts and think about what declension something is by looking at the genitive ending.


I think it's still going to be many months before the Latin course here is extended, and I believe they're concentrating on Classical Latin, not Ecclesiastical Latin. However, the grammar is basically the same, so it's just a matter of learning the additional relevant words.

Satisfy my curiosity, if you don't mind: surely if you're singing in Latin, you are told the meaning of the words? I mean, how can you put the appropriate feeling into the way you sing if you don't know what it means? And isn't that even more important with ecclesiastical stuff than ordinary singing?


You are quite right, as the course is still in Beta, we can't even begin to work on the next section yet. And we're not opposed to maybe an Ecclesiastical skill somewhere down the road, but yes the focus is currently on Classical.


Could one of the team keep us updated on the world via the updates section on the incubator please? https://incubator.duolingo.com/courses/la/en/status


Thank you Colin for adding your voice to this discussion, and for considering adding an Ecclesiastical skill. I will start thinking of the vocabulary that would be helpful and perhaps compile a list. :) How many new words generally appear in a skill?


Yes of course they tell us the meaning of the words, and I usually can guesstimate them before they do, since I know a couple of Romance languages. However, it would be nice to be the local expert.



Congrats on your achievement and I am glad to hear that you, and so many others, are taking on Latin!

Let me tell you where I am at, and how I wish I would have gone about this process of learning Latin.

Two years ago I purchased "Wheelock's Latin" and spent fifteen minutes every day at work going through the chapters and most of the exercises. It has been a slog but I definitely feel like I have the bones of the language, even if I don't have it all memorized. I have a sense of the scope of Latin.

What I wish I would have done is this: Duolingo Latin, then Lingua Latina, then "Wheelock". I think this is a good path because it starts with the most fun method (Duo is so cute!), followed by a real grounding of experience with the language, then a wonderful clarity on everything you have previously learned through trial and error.

Having finished Wheelock, I am now completing Duolingo Latin, and then moving on to Lingua Latina. Per your question about Lingua Latina, the first one is "Familia Romana Pars I".

You have already done the first step, Duolingo; I highly recommend avoiding the academic method as your next step. Dive into the lived language in Lingua Latina, and then move onto "Wheelock" or an equivalent textbook after you have enough Latin in your ears.

Thanks for reading!


Thanks, that sounds like excellent advice. After reading slogger's and lectroidmarc's comments above, I really don't feel like going through Wheelock on my own, memorizing and writing out the exercises. If I were enrolled in a Latin class and that was the homework, sure. But as it is I feel I need to prioritize things in my life and dedicating so much time to learning Latin unfortunately is not near the top of this list. Lingua Latina sounds less intimidating and more fun, so I might find time to make it a habit.


They have a course on Udemy that goes through each of the chapters in 'Wheelock's Latin' so you don't have to go it alone.


I don't know how to help you. I just found out that duolingo actually has Latin, so I started it today... Long time ago that I had to study it, I am curious to see if I can remember some words!


I'm sure you're going to have a lot of fun!


Nowadays there are quite a few ways to continue--online, offline, by studying books, etc.

How do you like to study?

[Added] For some study suggestions, see my other comments on this post, especially the comment about relevant links.


Keep looking in the discussion forums. There were discussions about Latin long before there was a Latin course. Here's a good example: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/8053459


Ah, nice one. I see I had been there before and upvoted it. Now I have bookmarked it. Notice the link given by the first commenter - they made a version in Memrise.


When I finish the tree, I am going to work through Wheelock’s Latin. I’ll probably get the workbook that accompanies it, too.


I picked up Wheelock's and I'm not sure I like it. I mean I want to like it, but the way it's organized isn't super conducive to me as a self-learner.

The chapters give info as one would expect and then there are some exercises that you have to flip to the back to do (which is a bit of a pain as it's a big book). Then there are sentences for you to translate, but no answer keys for them, so you kinda have to hope you did them right. Then some readings, again with no key, and then some questions about the reading, with no answers.

I'm not sure, book-alone, that this is the best resource for self-study.


Forty years ago I learned to read Latin by working through Wheelock's grammar (3rd ed.) and then following up w/ other books. It is definitely possible but is a long hard grind. If you work through it, I recommend (FWIW): memorizing all the paradigms as you go along, doing all the "Optional Self-Tutorial Exercises" (in the back of the book) for each chapter from questions to answers and then from answers to questions.

PDF's of other older Latin primers can be found here under "Latin School Books" and "Latin Books with Keys." And there are other excellent primers that are more modern, besides Wheelock.

Grammar-translation texts are not the only way to go. You might find this essay, "Driving with Dido" worth reading. And there are good study suggestions in the articles on this website (among many other sites).


Ah, you are a brave soul. You might find someone on conversationexchange.com who is expert in Latin and wants to learn English, so you'd get some pronunciation practice. I found that if I only read a language, I am unable to speak it (that is my experience with Portuguese - I finished the DL tree but am mute in Portuguese!).


When I have finished the Chinese tree, I will concentrate on reading other materials, conversation by way of speaking in mandarin as well as English when speaking to family, I have an understanding family and listening to Chinese films. When I can read the Tao Te Ching in mandarin I will be happy with my reading and when I can comfortably understand a Chinese movie I will be happy that I am reasonably competent in the language. From then on I will practice through the skills on Duolingo regularly and continue speaking and listening so that I don't suffer from skill fade. By the time I get to China, I will hopefully be reasonably fluent, that's the plan anyway.


Daodejing and other philosophical texts are in Classical Chinese, which is a entirely different beast from modern Mandarin.


Thanks for the information, I was referring to a mandarin translation, I think I would need several lifetimes to become fluent in mandarin and classical Chinese...... and I'm no spring chicken now!


Well, I am learning Latin since last year and I completed the whole course in a week just for fun. To be honest and rather unexpectedly, the vocabulary in this course provided serious help. This year we are reading Cicero's letters, and they include many words from daily life.

I guess they will focus more on adding new lessons and vocabulary for classical Latin, rather than ecclesiastical. I am judging this on what is present in the course up to now.


Relevant links found when replying to EllingNelson's comment:

These tend to be repetitious (they're from my links), but there are also many other discussions out there with more variety--dozens of them.


Thank you slogger. Also for your comment above regarding Wheelock, which I referenced when responding to iamrian's comment.


You're welcome, jayrapetyan. I feel rather bad about, perhaps, turning you away from Wheelock's grammar, which is a book near to my heart, you might say. The thing is, any way of learning Latin that I know of will at some point(s) be a long hard grind, including using Lingua Latina per se Illustrata.

That said, iamrian's suggested plan of attack sounds excellent. If you have not already, read the "Driving with Dido" essay that I linked to in another comment, which gives some good suggestions for using LLpsI. You may find some useful advice for using the book in my comments in this old post, How Do I Immerse Myself In A Dead language?, especially the links.

Also, do not neglect the paragraph in those comments that deals with the Assimil Latin primer. If it is still functioning, there's a site that offers to guide you through the book (and audio) at one lesson every three days. The lessons are brief, but there are 100 or 102 of them--what I found to be especially neat was that after lesson 50 or so of the online course, all the class explanations were in Latin. It is best (IMHO) to follow only one course of study at a time and dip into other textbooks only as a diversion, once you're settled upon a method to use; the Assimil book is suggested only should you decide not to use LLpsI.

If you would like to join a friendly e-mail group, maybe for working through a primer with others at the rate of a lesson every one or two weeks (they usually use Wheelock's grammar, but not always) or just for fun discussion of Latin, try The LatinStudy List.

Anyway, best of success with your Latin!


I've been enjoying working through the 6,950 Latin sentences on Clozemaster.


Thank you Kris, I went to the site and found out I already had an account, but forgot about it. I tried it and had a great time! Suddenly went from a vocabulary of about 500 words to one of probably 3,500! And, with just a few peeps at Google Translate (I am too lazy to pull up a good dictionary) I was able to get through the first two rounds with only one mistake. Well, being multiple choice it's easy, but the fact that you get them correct is really satisfying. Definitely will continue! Thanks so much.


Try simple readings for children/very beginners, like Fabellae Latinae, Ora Maritima, Cornelia, etc. You should be able to read it with a dictionary now.


You wanna whine about the inclusion of LGBT sentences, and then ask them to add ecclesiastical sentences? https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/34338413 Seriously! You actually whined in a thread where the exercise allowed LGBT users to have some representation, because they got representation, and downvoted it into oblivion. And now you're asking for representation? Reprehensible. Absolutely reprehensible


There are Helen Waddell's books on medieval Latin. This thread has encouraged me to have a look at Lingua Latina. My own favourites are the Cambridge Latin Project books - each book in the series provides a story arc from various places around the empire, including Roman Britain. There are audio recordings as well. For me this is the path to reading Latin Lit as the original can be quite daunting. It's good to find out about parrots in everyday Latin before meeting one in Catullus. I also liked Civis Romanus back in the day which is a graded reader that goes from very easy to something approaching Caesar by the end. I'm really glad Duolingo does Latin.

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