Latin for Duolingo: Basics, Lesson 1
Salvete omnes! (Hello everyone!)
If you are one of the many interested in learning the ancient and beautiful Latin language but sad because it's not on Duolingo yet, here is a starter lesson for you. I've been teaching Latin to middle-school kids for 15 years now and I would love to see it added as well. I took the basic questions from Lesson 1 of the Italian tree and adapted them.
You'll have to imagine the images, bell sounds and any clever technical things that I can't figure out how to put in. I should probably add the disclaimer that I'm not doing this for Duolingo, just as an interested member of the community, and I'm not taking a position on how or when Latin should be added. If there's enough interest I could follow this up with other "lessons" in the future.
girl = puella
woman = femina
boy = puer
man = homo, vir (either is acceptable; homo has a more universal usage (human) as opposed to vir (biologically male human).
puer = the boy, a boy (no article adjectives in Latin)
unus puer = one boy
una femina = one woman (introducing the adjective unus,a,um to mean one, modifying a masculine or feminine noun)
illa puella = that girl, THE girl (again, Latin doesn't have article adjectives but may use demonstrative adjectives/pronouns for a similar purpose, adding emphasis -- this could easily be reserved for a more advanced lesson, though)
ille homo = that man, the man
ille vir = that man
Sum femina = I am a woman/I am the woman/I am woman ("hear me roar!" later, maybe in imperatives).
Ego femina sum. = I am a woman/ I am the woman. (introducing subject pronoun Ego = I and the flexible word order of Latin sentences).
Vir sum = I am a man/I am the man.
Ego sum puer (Sum puer) (Puer sum). = I am a boy.
Puella sum. = I am a girl.
Ille homo sum. = I am that human being/ man.
Sum illa femina = I am that woman.
Sum una puella (Una puella sum) (Ego una puella sum) (Ego sum una puella) (Ego sum puella una). = I am one girl.
As you can see if you made it this far, Latin has an incredibly flexible word order within sentences. It makes up for this flexibility with a very rigid and absolute requirement for the correct grammatical endings for nouns and verbs, as becomes very obvious within the first few days of study. This is precisely why I think it would be a good fit for Duolingo; turning grammar-learning mistakes into a game automatically makes it fun and would be a fantastic resource to add to any learning situation.
Thanks for reading and... Habeatis bonam fortunam!
Note: as of March 2019, this course is available on Wikiversity. All are welcome!
Nah I think it's an interest thing. Plus you have to have enough experts willing to put in the time. You should be happy to know however that Latin is now in the cooker! It just went in a few weeks ago with an estimated release of about a year from now. That could go faster if the single person working on the project gets help. I wish I could help but sadly I can only wait and hope for a speedy completion.
Update.. I just checked again and there are now 17 contributors so that's good. They haven't updated the estimated time of completion though.
It would be great if Duolingo would include Latin, especially as it is the foundation of all Latin based languages. All of which are offered by Duolingo. And I believe they also offer Greek so why not Latin. I wish I knew How to start a petition requesting them to include Latin.
Latin, would be fascinating and moreover it would increase their business because here in the EU it is a required language for students to learn. We need a petition, but how does one start an online petition. Unfortunately, I’m not compute savvy, at least not enough to start such a project. But that’s what’s needed.
As of today, Estimated Completion Date: September 15, 2019 for Phase 1 incubation, and moving into Phase 2. https://incubator.duolingo.com/courses/la/en/status
Word order is very flexible in Latin, because of all the word endings, which specify how the words form a sentence. For example, "Thank you" is "gratias ago tibi", but the three words can be in any order. The main reason for any particular order is sometimes emphasis, like putting the most emphasized word first.
Salve, o Catherina, optima Latinitatis fautrix! Optimum consilium cepisti, cum linguam Latinam ad alias linguas in Duolingo praesentes addere decerneres, nam ut videtur, nonnulli sodales huius Interretialis loci eam pulcherrimam linguam discere volunt. Utinam mox et aulam Latinam virtualem hic habeamus. Interim, vale quam optime!
Hi, thank you for posting these lessons ! I would like to see some excercises in the end of them so that we could practice a little bit for ourselves. Would you recommend any Latin workbook from Amazon while waiting for Duolingo to add it? -Grateful and anxious about Latín from Buenos Aires!
Thank you so much for doing this. Every time they do a survey for languages for the incubator, I vote for Latin. It's been 40+ years since I took Latin in high school. I can't say that I enjoyed studying Latin, but it helped with English, and my attempts at learning Spanish and French. And, I still remember some of the basics.
I was under the impression that Latin word order is flexible, but not quite as willy-nilly, loosey-goosey as you imply. In prose, there are few sentences that do not conform to Subject-Object-Verb, i.e., "The dog eats the man" = "Dog man eats" = Canis virum edit. Poetry word order can be a little (sometimes MUCH) more fluid, usually for some kind of rhetorical or poetic effect.
DOMINUS ANCILLAM AMAT is not the same as ANCILLA DOMINUM AMAT. Those of you who have studied LATIN ( as I did many years ago), know that,as with all languages with declentions, you MUST know grammar.. If you don´t know it, it will be very difficult to learn the language. ( same for German,Russian,Greek, etc ) In LATIN, since there are NO articles, it is the ENDING of the words which indicates their grammatical function in the sentence. My exemple is very simple. DOMINUS ANCILLAM AMAT means THE MASTER LOVES THE SERVANT... ANCILLA DOMINUM AMAT means THE SERVANT LOVES THE MASTER. ) i can change the position of the words in the sentence and the meaning remains exactly the same because, in Latin, it is NOT the position of the words in the sentence which indicates their function, IT IS THEIR ENDING. I wish - though my mother tongue is French, that DUO would start a LATIN course. I would take it with pleasure. I am still reading CAESAR's DE BELLO CIVILE, VIRGIL's ENEIDA, CICERON 's ORATIO IN CATILINAM...etc.
You're right, the SOV word order is fairly conventional in Latin, with the glaring exception of poetry. But since English speakers are so conditioned to a specific word order and need to be trained repeatedly to observe the word endings rather than word order, most Latin teachers emphasize that difference by highlighting it. ❤❤❤❤❤-trapping a sentence by placing the direct object before the subject is the oldest trick in the Latin book, and most students fall for it repeatedly before wising up. It's a different way of thinking about sentence structure than we are used to.
I think that Hans Ørberg’s 'Lingua Latina per se illustrata' is the best series of textbooks etc for learning Latin via the Natural Method. Students first learn grammar and vocabulary intuitively through extended contextual reading and an innovative system of marginal notes. It is the only textbook currently available that gives students the opportunity to learn Latin without resorting to translation, but allows them to think in the language. It is also the most popular text for teachers, at both the secondary and collegiate levels, who wish to incorporate conversational skills into their classroom practice.
I hope Duolingo will follow Ørberg’s example!
Okay, if it were up to me, I'd drop the pseudo-articles unus,-a,-um and ille,-la,-lud, considering they will never be found as articles in real Latin texts. If I remember correctly, their adaptation into articles by the Roman citizens outside the city was one of the reasons that it was called "Vulgar" Latin.
I agree, those qualifiers should probably be introduced later. That and many other decisions would be the call of the Latin team, if and when it is added to the incubator. But I'm a plebeian myself and have no problem with Vulgar Latin being offered to the masses. It was a common language for more than 2 millennia, and there are bound to be a lot of variations in usage over that time.
I myself am very interested in learning Vulgar Latin, but I agree that it would be better to teach standard Classical Latin, that is, the language spoken around the Augustan Age. For most students, the goal of learning Latin is to read unabridged texts, and to do so, one needs a mastery of the Latin standard to the major authors such as Virgil, Ovid, and Catullus.
I am teaching standard Classical Latin in this (unofficial) course, adapted as close as I can get it to the Duolingo format. But like any teacher, I make choices in method that reflect my own training and style, and not everyone will agree with them. I do have confidence that you could learn Latin to the intermediate level with this course (presuming I am able to keep posting lessons regularly, or it eventually gets put into the incubator), though I don't think I would or could take it all the way to the advanced level of Virgil. For that, I would recommend a more traditional Latin course at university level, or the equivalent in independent study. Bonam fortunam!
Both are acceptable for "woman," even if mulier was used more commonly in classical times... but femina has the advantage of being a 1st declension noun and therefore easier to tackle in the first lesson. For a fascinating, but NSFW scholarly discussion of the Indo-European roots of femina see this link: http://www.europaic.com/Etymology%20of%20L.%20femina%20and%20L.%20fellare.htm
Thank you! Just from this short lesson I feel like I learned a lot... lately I've been learning more about indo-european languages and now I'm getting why Russian, like Latin, doesn't have articles but has "this" and "that" (apparently every language does, but not all have definite and indefinite articles), but I can clearly see how these developed into uno, una, un, il, and la as articles... very cool.
BTW, does your username mean "seize wool"?
I've just realized there are two seemingly similar Latin courses on Memrise based on these postings.
1) https://www.memrise.com/course/748509/latin-for-duolingo/ by CarpeLanam 2) https://www.memrise.com/course/906792/carpelanams-duolingo-latin-sentences/ by zsocipuszmak
I had initially found (2) and so have been working through that for the past 2 months.
How do the two memrise courses relate, if at all?
CarpeLanam's own Memrise course (1) focuses on the vocabulary used in the example sentences, and the one I created (2) contains the sentences themselves. (The lessons are always first posted here in the Duolingo forum by CarpeLanam, I just copy them into the Memrise course and add some alternative word order solutions, so that we can actively practice them in a Duolingo-like manner there.)
huh? since when? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin_spelling_and_pronunciation#Letters_and_phonemes. is quite well known
I think this is not as big a decision as all that. Essentially, the pronunciation is the accent that the computer-generated voice will have. We recognize and adapt to variations in regional accent in our native languages without much trouble, and spoken Latin picks up the regional accent of wherever its speakers are from. The biggest differences in pronunciation between Classical and Ecclesiastical are the sounds for V, AE, C-before-I/E. No one is a native speaker of Latin, but the Classical pronunciation comes closest to the ancient sounds, we think. So it should probably be chosen. I still prefer the Ecclesiastical because of my background in choral singing; I just think it is beautiful. But when speaking Latin my own pronunciation is a mash-up of Classical, Ecclesiastical, and Anglicized. I just hope we get to the point on Duolingo where this becomes a real question! At the moment, I can only offer written, non-interactive lessons.
Latin has been in the incubator since Jan 2019. https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/30201028/Latin-coursed-has-entered-the-incubator
A course based on carpelanam's excellent lesson sketches is over here on memrise: https://www.memrise.com/course/906792/carpelanams-duolingo-latin-sentences/