https://www.duolingo.com/Gustavo-Faria

Would latin be a good choice for Duolingo?

Latin is a zombie language: not dead nor alive. I keep failing to find resources that won't teach linguistically and gramatically the language, but in a way more focused on use. Latin isn't so "useful" for talking with people, there are no more natives since 468 a.C, but could it be on Duolingo?

March 25, 2015

44 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/SteveLando

There are a lot of books, journals, webpages, on latin. Just buy and read.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contemporary_Latin

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instruction_in_Latin

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accademia_Vivarium_Novum

Latin is the most important language in Europe, of Europe, of all historical times, even today a considerally amount of the new words formed in higher english has a latin base, that is of course also the case for all the romance languages and concern all languages around the globe who today gets an english vocabulary influence.

Even the word 'duolingo' is latinbased, so it is a true shame that Latin is not on Duolingo.

March 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/lingogirl1234

I wish. I think it would actually help a lot of Duolingo users because most of the languages on Duo, have Latin bases.

March 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/GeniusJack

Interesting to think about, user GregHullender wrote about this, in reference to Italian, on another post:

The notion that learning Latin would help anyone understand modern Italian is laughable--the languages (especially the grammar) are too different. (This is true for all the Romance languages.) It is true that learning any foreign language helps with certain cognitive skills, but the students would be better served by studying English in that case.

March 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Tvistnek

I am currently learning both Italian and Latin at school and I can partly confirm it but also say that sometimes I can easily find the root words of Italian words within Latin which helps me greatly when learning Latin.

March 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/GeniusJack

I'm also learning Latin in school. I've learned the 4 main romance languages, also. I would say, that GregHullender is absolutely right. Learn Latin to read Cicero, or something like that. Don't learn Latin to help with the romance languages, it's not worth it.

March 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Tvistnek

I'm not learning Latin to help me with Italian, that would be idiotic, even if we were learning the abomination that is Vulgar Latin from which the Romance languages came. I am simply implying that Italian can help me in understanding Latin at times.

March 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/ijoni

Am I the only one who thinks Vulgar Latin should be a language you could study? I mean the pronunciation, the words and the grammar are pretty close to modern Latin languages. I don't consider it an abomination at all, actually I think it must have been a very beautiful language seeing how Italian, French, Spanish, etc, all have this beautiful musicality in them. While Latin was know by its native speakers to be the language of a barking dog. Even more harsh to the ear than German, according to some accounts.

March 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/ijoni

Hey slogger! A reconstructed form of vulgar latin. It would be a constructed language like Esperanto, so it would have very regular and easy to learn grammar. On the other hand we should use only the root of the word (e.g use apic for apex, apicis) and no noun or verb inflection(just like english not like chinese). The pronunciation should be close to Italian! This is just an idea. I've tried to search for reconstructed languages based on Latin but none of them seems to pleasure me. They've all used Latin as a basis but not actually reconstructed Latin. It would be my favorite World language (yes even more than Esperanto) if it was to be reconstructed.

March 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger

Am I the only one who thinks Vulgar Latin should be a language you could study?

Well, It's something I never considered before. It is an interesting idea. Which variety of Vulgar Latin would you use?

Myself, I would rather know Classical Latin very well--using made-up words for modern ideas and inventions, when necessary. But after that it probably would be fun and interesting to learn some form of Vulgar Latin and speak it.

March 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger

> The notion that learning Latin would help anyone understand modern Italian is laughable

Well, that's one man's opinion. Does he know Latin or enough about Latin to have a well-informed opinion?

March 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Gustavo-Faria

Also, the number of specialists in grammar excludes most of the need for native speakers that already died a long way ago.

March 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/DeanG6

I do not understand.

March 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/TatianaBoshenka

I think Latin is a great idea! People have need to learn scholarly languages, too, not just spoken ones. Otherwise we forget history, and history is too expensive to forget. Then we have to repeat it and suffer the same mistakes and damages over and over again! So dead and zombie languages totally matter too!

I want to learn Homeric Greek and also Sanskrit, just for reasons of scholarship. Then Latin would be next. Come on! All those dead Roman people wrote a ton of stuff that we need to know about. And then later people who were educated learned it too, and so in their excellent vernacular literature they left a lot of allusions that we'll never get if we don't study that stuff too. Don't you feel ignorant when your dear friends, the great-souled writers you love, hint to you across time from the depths of their tremendous feelings and knowledge and you completely miss their allusions?

March 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger

> I want to learn Homeric Greek and also Sanskrit, just for reasons of scholarship. Then Latin would be next.

Maybe you should learn Latin first? Epic Greek, dictionary (et seq.). Sanskrit, or, and dictionary . Just kidding, really. These are of course more than a century old.

March 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/ijoni

10 lingots to you too.

March 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger

That is very kind. Thank you.

March 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/ijoni

Homeric Greek?! Now that is an amazing goal! Homeric Greek is so diverse that the majority of words appear only once or twice in the whole text. Even the best of today's linguists keep quarreling about Homeric Greek and proper translation of Homer's epics! (10 lingots for your amazing enthusiams)

March 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/ShrimpCeviche

I would immediately sign up for any course that could teach me Latin on Duolingo.

This is a flash-card game. It could really help for many other purposes than strictly widely spoken languages. And if i could help 'Incubate' Latin even though i would have to learn along the way I would do anything i could.

March 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/carpelanam

I don't see a good reason why it shouldn't be on Duolingo, and people can make their own decisions whether to study it. People study Latin for all sorts of reasons... to make your college application stronger, get a higher SAT score, gain insight on the history of Western Civilization, converse with other Latin learners worldwide, understand the foundations of modern languages derived from Latin, improve knowledge of scientific or medical or legal vocabulary, improve brain function and logical processing... all of these can be fairly practical reasons for wanting to know Latin. I'd prefer not to judge one motive as better or worse than another. It also doesn't really do much good, in my opinion, to spend a lot of time debating which method to use. I think the beauty of the Duolingo interface is it makes learning a language, even the tricky grammar bits, fun and intuitive. So even though there are plenty of complexities in Latin, it could still be a good fit for Duo and there seems to be a real interest in bringing it here. I've been teaching it (to kids ages 10-14) for a number of years now. It's quite possible to learn the basics and beyond using an interface like Duo, and to have fun doing it.

So in that spirit, I'll plan on posting a thread separately with my version of what Latin: basics lesson 1 might look like. Look for it in the next few hours.

March 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/mr.presley1705

I would love to help with a Latin course, but Latin would be a loss for Duolingo financially, as there would be no need for immersion. Until that time when it is available (maybe years), learn it on your own or at school (like I do).

March 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Gustavo-Faria

The problem of learning latin is that courses focus on grammar, different from Duo, who teaches languages for culture and speaking. In Brazil, for me to study latin I would have to have 18 years, be in a Letras school in university and learn all the conjulgations and ethymologies for a language I wouldn't know how to greet it. Seems strange, but why can't I learn practical latin rather than study its grammar rawly?

March 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger

> . . . but why can't I learn practical latin rather than study its grammar rawly?

Because for many years it has not been taught in that practical way, and there are now few people who know it well enough to teach it that way.

The book Lingua Latina per se Illustrata that has already been mentioned can give you a good start, and then you could continue with the book written to follow it, and also start reading one of the several introductory (simplified) Latin readers that can be found online.

There may be a new textbook (Forum), soon published here , that attempts to teach in the way you would like.

Assimil has two courses that teach Latin in the "Assimil" way, which is much like what you are looking for. There is a new course and an old one. The old course is very good, and is still available with instructions in Italian w/ improved recordings (I have heard). The new course is available with instructions in French. Both are listed on this page .

You might look into Summer School courses in Italy. These are said to be very effective, but I cannot say, myself. For several years free scholarships have been offered here, as prizes in a competition, but the conditions for accepting them are rather strict, it is said.

If you want to look at Latin textbooks online that are written in Portuguese, look in this list . Few if any of these teach Latin in the practical way you would like, but they may be of some use to you.

March 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Midnitte

Old religious texts could always be used for Immersion - Catholic church used Latin exclusively for a long time.

March 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger

. . . there would be no need for immersion .

Latin was the language of international scientific communication in Europe and the Americas for at least 5 centuries. It is said that there are thousands of scientific articles and books written in Latin that have never been translated to English. I bet quite a few of them are available online. There is still a need for translation from Latin.

Whether anyone wold be willing to pay to have any of this translated I don't know. But I suspect that Immersion as it exists now is not paying its way, anyway, so Latin might not be different from the other languages here.

March 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/tcgriffin

Well, we have an Irish course even though Duolingo doesn't seem to think there is a market for immersion at the moment, so maybe that is not a showstopper.

March 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Albrechtion

I believe Luis once said that they were planning to make a Latin course, although I don't recall where, and I could be wrong. I would also love to have a Latin course.

March 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/flootzavut

I would like to think it would get here eventually, but I also don't think it should be high on DL's priorities. Given the number of living languages out there, and some of those could really use the boost since they're endangered, I can't see Latin (which isn't going anywhere, it's already dead/evolved into other languages) being a higher priority than giving people a resource to learn actual living languages.

March 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/ConorHoughton

I learned Latin in school years ago; mine was the last year that did it and even then it was a hang over from when schools where I was from were supposed to encourage children to become priests and Latin was considered important for entering the priesthood. It was great; it is a reasonably easy language to learn, or at least learn a reading knowledge of. After only three years we could read, very slowly, Caesar and Ovid and that was a real thrill because they wrote so long ago, you felt somehow close to an utterly alien consciousness, a completely different world view. That's not to say it is useful or should be a priority here, but it was certainly fun.

March 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Paul.Morris

I also learnt Latin in school for five years in the early '70s. In our case it was taught only to top stream pupils and was pitched as a way of improving logical thought rather than language skills. I'm not sure, in retrospect, that I really buy into that but it's nice to have a little oddity in the learning locker!

March 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Midnitte

Might be a nice addition for those in scientific fields - many terms come from a latin base or meaning. Binomial nomenclature uses latin grammatical structure and even latin names.

March 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/TP602

It would be a great choice, even better since there are so many students who use duolingo.

March 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/jjd1123

I keep failing to find resources that won't teach linguistically and gramatically the language, but in a way more focused on use.

There is a book that teaches Latin in Latin and with some focus on pronunciation: Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata. Is something like this what you had in mind?

Anyway, I think that Latin (like most or all other languages) should be on Duolingo. I think it has even been said by Luis that it eventually will be. And while it's true that there aren't really any native speakers, there can be many other reasons for learning a language (e.g. it could be useful for students learning the language at school or university, historians, theologians, linguists, or just people who are interested in the language).

March 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/spangineer

I keep failing to find resources that won't teach linguistically and gramatically the language, but in a way more focused on use.

Try Linney's Latin Class (http://www.linneyslatinclass.com/). He uses a textbook that is designed to teach you what you need to know to be able to read a key piece of Latin literature, the commentary on the Gallic Wars by Julius Caesar. The textbook, audio lectures, and answer keys are all free.

March 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Lydusha

Sounds like a great idea! Learning Latin or Greek is great for scientific or medical terminology. It has helped me in nursing school, especially in pharmacology or pathophysiology. It doesn't help the nerd factor, however... ( "Well, actually, the term 'nadir' comes from the Arabic for 'opposite', so when used in oncology it is used to refer to period where the patient's white blood cell count is at its lowest point...")

March 25, 2015

[deactivated user]

    It would be great. Perhaps a wealthy individual could sponsor the course? (I know you're reading this Bill). In the meantime, check out the entertaining, very educational podcasts of Fr. Reginald Foster at http://frcoulter.com/latin/latinlover/index.html .

    March 25, 2015

    https://www.duolingo.com/cherub721

    I really hope they do but I imagine they would have to change the format a bit. The language isn't used in every day life, so we don't need lots of lessons on eating and household objects, except to the extent they teach us grammar concepts. Most everything we could want to read in Latin is in the public domain, and it would be so wonderful if they would use sentences from the classics to teach us, at least further in the course. Obviously there are other ways to learn Latin, but lots of us enjoy duo's method of intuitive learning.

    March 25, 2015

    https://www.duolingo.com/EllieBermudez

    Latin is an amazing language. But I don't think much people are contributing to this.There are users that already speak seven diffrent languages and have to go to one of their learned languages to learn another. Turkish>English>Spanish (something similar)

    March 25, 2015

    https://www.duolingo.com/m.tastic

    I think Latin would not be the best choice for Duolingo. It does not have a lot of practical use compared to present-day languages.

    March 25, 2015

    https://www.duolingo.com/idril81

    The fact that hundreds (thousands?) of European secondary schools and many universities teach Latin (it is compulsory in many countries if you study humanities, history or romance languages) shows that there would be considerable interest in it. I think there is more interest in (more students who learn) Latin than many smaller living languages (Hungarian, Norwegian, Romanian, Danish, etc.).

    March 27, 2015

    https://www.duolingo.com/oldpaintchick

    I used Latin to teach my oldest son how to break down words and improve his spelling (not even phonetically correct). Of course we studied Greek root words as well. It helped create a love of history and much improved his grammar. "Artes Latinae" is the name of the program we used, but Duolingo could make it so much more useful!

    March 28, 2015

    https://www.duolingo.com/lizsue
    March 26, 2015

    https://www.duolingo.com/Meowma5

    Defiantly!

    March 26, 2015

    https://www.duolingo.com/sabisteb

    This question arises every few weeks again. Yes, Latin is extremely usefull as you still need it for many subjects if you want to study in Germany. Latin courses are very expensive, if you have to learn Latin on your own just to passt your orientation exam. The same is true for old greek which you still need, if you want to study latin.

    March 27, 2015
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