1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Duolingo
  4. >
  5. Latin for Duolingo: Basics, L…


Latin for Duolingo: Basics, Lesson 2

Salvete Omnes!

Please note this course is now available on Wikiversity

Since there seems to be a consistent desire to see a bit of Latin on Duolingo, I've decided to post a series of lessons at the beginner level.
- Here is the previous lesson
- Here is the Directory
- There is now a course on Memrise that you may find helpful.

Here is a second lesson for those of you interested. I'm taking some of the basic structure from the Italian tree, but the grammar concerns are slightly different. On the advice of some comments last time, I'll leave determiners for a later lesson. Latin has no article adjectives. Also, I don't want to start an argument one way or the other whether Latin belongs on Duo or which methods should be used... I'm doing this as a member of the community who also happens to be a Latin teacher for middle school grades. Enjoy!

New vocabulary:

malum, i = apple (for simplicity I am not using macrons. Macrons are long lines over vowels, and there is technically one over the "a" in malum).

is, ea, id = he, she, it (as subject pronoun)
tu = you (singular, as subject pronoun)
edit = he eats/ she eats
es = you are
est = he is/ she is/ it is

Review vocabulary:

puella, ae = girl
puer, i = boy
femina, ae = woman
vir, i OR homo, hominis = man
sum = I am


Malum = apple/ an apple/ the apple
Puer est. = He is a boy.
Edit. = He eats./ She eats.
Is puer est. = He is a boy. (nota bene - Subject pronouns are infrequently used in Latin, since every verb contains an ending that indicates person and number. But it's probably useful to introduce them at this point as an optional part of a sentence, especially when used with nouns that are gender-specific.)
Is edit. = He eats.
Puella est. = She is a girl.
Puella edit. = The girl eats.
Ea est puella. = She is a girl.
Femina es. = You are a woman.
Tu es femina/ Tu femina es. = You are a woman.
Es vir. = You are a man.
Est vir. = He is a man.
Ea femina est. = She is a woman.
Is est vir. = He is a man.
Vir malum edit. = The man eats an apple. (nota bene - This is our first sentence with a direct object, but we dodge the difficulty of inflecting nouns into the accusative case for now, since neuter nouns like "malum" are the same in both nominative and accusative case. Also note that conventional Latin word order is SOV, with the verb at the end, but this is by no means a rule of syntax and is frequently ignored. The real trick is to learn to pay close attention to the endings of nouns and verbs).
Femina malum edit. = The woman eats the apple.
Homo est. = He is a man. (remember there are two commonly used nouns for man).
Puella es. = You are a girl.
Puella edit malum. = The girl eats an apple.
Malum est. = It is an apple.(It can also mean "It is bad," and "Malum malum est." means "It is a bad apple," but let's wait for a future lesson for that!)

I hope you've enjoyed this basic Latin lesson, and I'll plan on putting another one out in the next week. Gratias vobis ago!

April 2, 2015



You really need to include the gender along with the noun, for obvious reasons.


I think I'll leave that for a later lesson. For now, the Natural Gender Rule means femina and puella are feminine; vir, homo and puer are masculine. The only other noun introduced so far is malum, i = apple, a neuter noun. We can get into greater detail in the classifying of nouns (there are 5 different declension groups and each has its own rules of gender as well as endings) when there are enough nouns introduced of each declension to be able to observe the patterns.


I know, and as soon as you get to the 3rd declension you will have to get to genders so it might be better to start mentioning them now, so that the learner understands that knowing the gender is very important. Also, there are of course nouns such as Catilina, -æ, m. and agricola, -æ, m. which go against the usual f. of the 1st declension, but those are not really that likely to be mentioned much during an actual course.


I agree with the teacher; I think it is conventional not to bother specifying gender for all the obvious nouns in the 1st & 2nd declension. In this, I think it is similar to Spanish, in that the normative cases can be inferred even subconsciously at first.


How nice of you to do this!!! Thank you! :)


Thank you for the lesson!


First and foremost: thank you for doing this. I am only just picking up Latin, and this helps a lot.

I noticed that this lesson states at a certain point: "Femina es. = You are a woman," and "Tu es femina/ Tu femina es. = You are a woman." Shouldn't that second line be "Tu est femina/ Tu femina est", since the lessons also states "Est vir. = He is a man".


This is the concept of grammatical person; "I am = sum" is in the 1st person, referencing the person speaking. "You are = tu es" is 2nd person, referencing the person spoken to. "She is = est" is 3rd person, referencing a person spoken about. This is a concept we rarely think about when speaking our native language, but when learning a complex new language we have to study it.
Imagine Paula and Lucia having a conversation. Paula says to Lucia, "Femina sum. (I am a woman, 1st person viewpoint.) Femina es. (You -Lucia- are a woman, 2nd person viewpoint.) Maria femina est. (Mary -that other person- is a woman, 3rd person viewpoint)."Three different women, three different verb endings to reflect viewpoint.
You might want to study the concept of grammatical person
Here is a simple explanation of the personal endings in Latin. Hope this helps!


Yeah. I like to think of it this way: if you use "Tu femina es" that will be 'You are a woman" but if you use "Tu femina est" that will be like "You is a woman" which is just wrong.


Thanks, this is great. You may want to introduce early on that word order is largely arbitrary, especially in creative writing or poetry from a grammatical perspective as the noun declensions fill in the missing information


You have done an excellent job. The first two lessons are super. A good start.

I have been working on a Latin textbook, and I have toyed with leaving out the macrons myself. I know why they matter, but a beginning student doesn't need to know it--as long as the syllable stress is indicated in the lessons.


Maybe add direction's as a lesson such as north south east west left right etc.


These posts are so helpful. Thank you for putting them together! I've been meaning to get back into studying Latin for ages, and now I'm finally starting to find the motivation. :D

Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.