Add Latin?

I'd like to suggest Latin as another language to add to Duolingo. Spanish and English as well as a couple of other languages have their roots in Latin. I think it would be a good learning experience for those interested in the history of our main languages as well as those who like learning some of the old languages (Like me.).

September 12, 2012


There is more Latin on the web and more Latin speakers than one might think. Latin has continued to be (at least in part) a conversational language within the institutions of the Catholic church, and in recent years there has been quite a renaissance in teaching Latin in schools as a spoken language. There is a Latin Wikipedia, and quite a lot of other web material in Latin, if you look for it. Whether including it on Duolingo would fit their business model is another matter entirely, of course. But the Duolingo format could work well for Latin, I think, provided that adequate grammatical explanations were provided (which is not Duolingo's strength in other languages).

I do Latin at school, and I believe it would be one of the best ways to keep upto date :P

While this may be a good idea in itself, it does not fit well into Duolingo's business concept, as there hardly is any latin text that has not been translated into other languages and there are hardly any actual speakers, and since Duolingo is based around translating the web they would be at a loss here.

The Catholic seminaries, Ecclesia, and scholars would disagree.

Yes, English is descended from the Germanic languages, which is evident in its basic vocabulary and in aspects of its grammar (although this has been heavily modified). But a very large proportion of its vocabulary is derived from Latin, either directly, or via French. The huge influx of French-derived vocabulary, beginning at the time of the Norman Conquest, is evident in Chaucer. The most helpful comparison here is between the still almost entirely Germanic Old English of Beowulf (which native speakers of English can't read without special training) and the much more modern looking Middle English of Chaucer, which a modern native speaker can at least recognize as English, even if it takes special training and dictionaries to learn to read it fluently.

French, italian and spanish have deep roots in latin. English does too, but not as much. Anyway I'm interested on learning latin!

I concur, and it would be quite useful for seminarians or others from traditions where Latin texts are widely read in study. European history, Catholic religion, and other fields would benefit greatly from a Latin duolingo. I would be one of the first to start that program.

I agree. I'd love to learn latin on duolingo

I would also love to learn Latin,

This would be a pretty nice addition to Duolingo. Personally I have always wanted to learn latin.

Although, it doesn't fit the business model of Duolingo it is still a good idea since all the European romance languages have deep roots in Latin as does English. If I am correct more than one fourth of English is directly from Latin another fourth is French and the rest is Germanic/others.

With the new Incubator this may be possible if we can find enough contributers.

"A COUPLE of other languages"? ALL of the romance languages have their roots in Latin. Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian and all of the deratives of those languages come from Latin either directly or indirectly. If you master Latin, you'll be able to at least read some of each of those languages. The word "romance" has reference to the language spoken in ancient Rome (Latin). A huge portion of the English vocabulary is Latin based, even if the scholars tell us it is a Germanic language.

It was my understanding that English is not a Latin derivative as are French and Spanish, but rather has a Germanic origin. Read Chaucer. See:

I would love to have Latin on duolingo. Latin's influence on English is via French. I have a few years of university latin, and it really upped my ability to intuit other languages. I don't think of it as dead, but sortof as having been sublimated into other languages! It's the mitochondria of romance language. Duolingo is so ridiculously efficient, It would be an ideal tool to host Latin. Hopefully DL will get around not only to it, but to other ancient languages such as Greek and Hebrew. And there are massive amounts of texts yet to be translated. I'm excited at this idea!

In reply to another user: Latin's influence on English is both direct and indirect. Many many words have come unaltered into English without having been filtered through French or another Romance language.

[deactivated user]

    My Latin teacher, just by knowing Latin, knows how to speak, read and write in Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese and can speak English better than the English teachers can themselves! I would understand why Duolingo would stall, or objectify, this idea, because learning Latin root words isn't too hard; it's the grammar and context for the endings of the words that makes it seem nearly impossible to learn Latin. To learn what context the endings of these words are supposed to be, my Latin teacher has something called the "Synopsis of Paradigms". A book of all reference points that are needed to configure, write and/or speak the language correctly. Keyword: BOOK. there are so many endings for each and every word, that a BOOK is required to know how to form a sentence. This is the main reason why Latin is so hard to learn: it is the endings. So if there is some way to make learning Latin easier, that would be nice, but all in all Latin is a language that should be taught on a website that teaches languages, mostly Western, which will give more insight on how sentences are formed and learning more words in different languages too. So Duolingo, I ask you in favor of all people, including me, to teach Latin on your website. Thank you.

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