Klingon for humans* is in the Incubator!
The most popular way to learn languages in the world will soon become the most popular app in the… galaxy!
Want to know more about Klingon, and be notified when the course is ready? Sign up here.
And as the Klingons themselves would say, “Qapla’!”
Yes! The first 100 adopters will also get Star Trek: The Original Series on BluRay.
They should also give the first 100 adopters an authentic TriCorder, Beam me up Scotty.
Some of us are waiting for Catalan :/ I can't stop refreshing the incubator, Luis please tell some news about Catalan-Spanish to make us happy :D
This is interesting, I'm wondering where the heck will they get a TTS engine for this. More importantly, aren't there any licensing and copyright issues related to this language?
Oh, I think everybody should grip themselves for the incoming spam of "When will klingon graduate". Assuming this isn't a joke, I'm wondering how the heck will this course be moderated.
I don't know where they're getting a TTS engine from, but at least one TTS engine exists for Klingon. I know this because I wrote it: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.tlhInganHol.android.klingonttsengine
I don't think that's what they'll be using, though, as I would've expected them to contact me if they were.
What's writing a TTS like? As in how does the API for creating sound (assuming it exists) work?
Writing a TTS engine for Klingon actually turns out to be relatively easy since there is an (almost) 1:1 correspondence between the writing system and the spoken language, and the language is "choppy", meaning that there is a natural break between syllables. (The "almost" is for stress, which the TTS engine does not know about at all, so its output is a bit "flat".) All the code has to do is to map from the input to the correct sound files, and stitch them together. The bulk of the code is this mapping, which you can see here: https://github.com/De7vID/klingon-assistant/blob/master/KlingonTtsEngine/src/org/tlhInganHol/android/klingonttsengine/KlingonSpeakTtsService.java
By far the hardest part of the project was to actually record all the sounds.
Having done some research it seems that languages, including conlangs, are un-copyright-able, although dictionaries etc. are protected in the same way as a natural language. I've had trouble finding a primary source though. If I find one, I'll put it here. In the meantime, this [broken link] describes the situation as I understand it, although, as I said, I'm still looking for primary sources.
Edit: Oh, this only applies the the language itself. Using the name Klingon... I don't know? Some things I've read (now) would suggest it, but it's, honestly, really confusing reading all this as a non-expert...
Edit 2: According to this article, which is fairly well sourced, languages cannot be considered under copyright, at least in the U.S., since, to quote 17 U.S. Code § 102, [...] (b) In no case does copyright protection [...] extend to any idea, procedure, process, [...] regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work.
I cut out what I considered the unimportant parts for the issue at hand, but I recommend reading it in it's entirety ^^
Edit 3: Apparently, the first link leads, well, nowhere, so I decided to remove it.
I can try find the link again if you like but I remember reading that in the US it's not a case that's come up in court yet so it currently exists in a sort of grey area.
That would be cool (although I deleted it, so I don't know if that's enough to go on). I read the same thing, but it seems that it might fall outside current copyright (until someone with enough money for lawyers presses the case and sets precedent, of course. Then all bets are off). I think that it has been established in the EU though, but I'm unsure.
... and names of things can't be copyrighted, but they can be trademarked.
some courses don't use TTSes, but human voice recordings, like Irish and upcoming Ukrainian. I suppose that will be the case here too, though finding a speaker able to pronouce the sounds of Klingon may prove to be difficult.
Of course native voice recordings instead of human ones would be better in this case, but they may be harder to obtain.
oh, my bad, you're right. hard as it may be, I believe that Duo loves us and will get us the best voice, even if he would have to fly where no owl has flown before to find it.
Even four years later, I have to point out that while he may make up for it with attitude, Dorn's Klingon pronunciation is not something to emulate. While he did do a tape with Marc Okrand, he had no coaching on the television show. In fact most of the "Klingon" on TNG and DS9 was just made up by the writers, and includes sound combinations not present in tlhIngan Hol. Some of the gibberish was later backfit by Marc Okrand, because he wants it to mean something when people copy the show. A lot of it he just said was no' Hol ancestral language, akin to modern humans quoting ancient Latin because it's part of an old ritual, or to show off their erudition.
Maybe they'll hire an actor such as Worf to do an exclusive voice over. I'm sure the publicity they may gain using an actor's voice may result in considerable monetary gains for Duolingo.
I quoted your question and loghaD answered that he knows that there actually is one TTS engine for Duolingo, but that he also didn't have the chance to test it.
Edit: I have no idea why I wrote for Duolingo, I didn't mean that. Freud, I'm looking at you ;-)
Small correction: There is a Klingon TTS engine out there, but it's not developed by Duolingo. I actually have no idea what they'll be using; it's probably something we'll look into more as the project gets off the ground :)
A couple of people have complained about the inclusion of Klingon while higher-demand natural languages haven't yet been accepted, and instead of replying to each comment, I'll just post a general response here. I don't work for Duolingo and have no special insight into their internal processes, but I have worked on multilingual software and can make an educated guess.
TL;DR summary: the benefits of supporting Klingon may justify the effort of doing so, in a way that may not be obvious to you.
The complaints appear to boil down to two questions.
- Why would someone developing multilingual software prioritise Klingon over some natural languages?
Because Klingon occupies the gap between easy to implement (from the point of view of developing software that supports many languages) and difficult. It's trivial to support English, because technology is biased towards the Latin alphabet (think ASCII). It's easy to extend your software to support other Western European languages: you just need to support extended Latin and be able to handle some forms of conjugation and grammatical gender. Beyond that, there's a gap that needs to be crossed before supporting most natural languages: other writing systems, more complex grammar, etc. Klingon is a rare instance of a language that occupies that gap. It uses Latin, but with unusual capitalisation rules. Its grammar is OVS. It is agglutinative. It has grammatical gender (but the division it draws is between beings, body parts, and everything else). As a software developer, using Klingon is a great way to work out edge cases before tackling more difficult languages.
Because its speakers tend to be tech-savvy. The speakers of Klingons are disproportionately likely to have a technical background. This means that Klingon beta testers give much better bug reports than users of other languages.
Because there is little consequence to offending its speakers. If you do something embarrassingly wrong in, say, Russian, many people will get offended. You'll be mocked in the Russian media and Russian users will write angry rants about you. In contrast, Klingon speakers are very forgiving (contrary to the image of the Klingons on Star Trek). Microsoft launched Klingon support in Bing with a level of quality far below that of the supported natural languages (that's to put it mildly). If they had done that with any other language, they would have been pilloried in the press and that language's speakers would have been outraged. Instead, they received a great deal of positive press, and Klingon speakers, while mildly annoyed, have been working to help Microsoft improve their engine.
- Why would anyone want to learn Klingon?
Different people want to learn different languages for different reasons, and that's also true for Klingon. However, there are some reasons which are specific to Klingon. Some people want to learn it to add authenticity to a character, for example as part of cosplay, in a video game, for fan fiction, etc. The fact that it uses the Latin alphabet, and has a speaker base consisting of only dozens at most who can speak it in real-time, but thousands who are familiar with stock phrases and can decipher simple sentences given a little time and a dictionary, makes it ideal for use as a code. (I originally learned Klingon as a secret language to use with a friend.) The fact that it is much simpler than a natural language, and has no connection to any real-life political entities, makes it an ideal instructional language for teaching linguistics and related subjects. And finally, Klingon speakers are interesting people, due to selection bias (only people who have time and energy to dedicate themselves to unusual hobbies become conversant in Klingon, and they tend to be involved in other interesting hobbies too).
I understand your point of view, but technical challenges should be hosted in another forum. What I don't understand is how do you prioritize the projects? How many will actually learn this fiction language? How many books are written with it? Would you spend your time to learn it? All I see is this fiction language is going to burn a lot of working hours. I am very appreciate what Duolingo team has done so far, but my time on Earth only limited to 100 years old - 'On ne vit qu'une fois', please spend your time wisely.
I wonder if this course will also teach insults because the description of the language says "There are also plenty of insults, as it is considered an art form."
I never watched Star Trek so I'm not interested in Klingon that much but if insults are such an important part of the language you should be able to learn them here on Duo. And if it's ok to learn Klingon insults it should also be ok to learn insults in other languages.
We start with the insults already in the first lesson of the Esperanto course: Vi estas knabo, ne viro. (You are a boy, not a man.) :-D
Can you add an insults bonus skill? It'd be waaay better than flirting or idioms! :)
The insults are more about creative turns of phrase than swearing and blasphemy. Like in Skyrim how an insult thrown your way is milk drinker. I mean... yeah it's an insult, but it's not really offensive in and of itself.
I'm not familiar with the sort of thing I'm seeing here. :P
Sorry, what was the context for these lists again?
A "Warmduscher" (literally "warm-showerer") is a person who avoids danger and discomfort, a "wimpy" person. A "Kaltduscher" ("cold-showerer") is the opposite. So I think some of those "Warmduscher"-insults might actually fit your desctiption of a Klingon insult quite well. Although I don't know anything about Klingon insults, so I cannot say how accurate the comparison really is.
Sorry, I should have provided a little more context. It was late on this side of the planet :-).
"Warmduscher" and its million synonyms are humorous ways to accuse someone of being a bit physically soft or pampered. "Schattenparker" (shade-parker) is another of the best-known. Much of the comedy (at least for me) comes from the fact that mostly they describe pretty normal, sane behaviours, so if you call someone a Warmduscher and Schattenparker you're also humorously implying that you yourself are so tough that you always park in the blazing sun and shower in icy cold water.
I guess that the "Kaltduscher" terms came along later, and they embody exactly the opposite: the kind of bold behaviour you'd expect from some imaginary person who seriously considers "Warmduscher" an insult. Hence: U-Bahn-Surfer, Elektrozaunpinkler, etc.
I'm thoroughly disappointed that this mentions both Harry & Gandalf. facepalm Totally whiffs on the opportunity to have yet another component included.
rolls eyes #LifeN00b
~</sub><sub> ~</sub><sub> ~</sub><sub> ~</sub><sub>~</sub><sub>~</sub>
massive sarcasm detector explosion
~</sub><sub> ~</sub><sub> ~</sub><sub> ~</sub><sub>~</sub><sub>~</sub>
JK but, hey, why not Seven of Nine? #JeriRyanFTW #twoSaturnAwards #BornInMunichTho #IntergalacticPlanetary #NoSuchThingAs2ManyHashTags #OKmaybeThereIs #Should.b.WorkingOnMyDutchTho #HardWorkPaysOff.In.The.End.BUT.Procrastination.Pays.Off.Right.Now
As a pretty serious Trekkie... I about fell out of my chair in excitement over this. You better not be yanking my chain, Duo!
i think making a Klingon course, as useless as it is, is contemptuous with all te users eager to help, and the ones expecting Catalan. There are lots of Catalans in duolingo, willing to help and make the course. I think Duolingo is getting away from its purpose, wich was to educate and give opportunities to people with low resources. How can knowing Klingon help a Centroamerican to get a job? Is there any country that offerseducation in Klingon?
I also checked the Spanish incubator thinking that Catalan had been added, too. Though i don't think Klingon will take many resources from other courses, for example i doubt it'll have millions of learners like the Spanish/German/French courses and i don't think the course will be as large as other courses, but i'd still love to see the Catalan course get announced.
Personally, i think i'll at least check the course out.
Oh my Kahless, I can't believe this is real! I'm so excited!
Of course, now a lot of people will complain about it not being "a real language", when frankly it has the same amount of legitimacy as Esperanto.
Congratulations to those with an interest in Klingon. Personally, whilst I've no interest in the language myself, I'm intensely amused at the petty whining that its addition has inspired, so well done to all responsible. :P
That's how I'm feeling about now. I have no interest in Klingon but I'm pretty happy for those that do. I find it sad that it's so socially acceptable to disparage other's hobbies like this. If it's volunteers making a course then what is it to others?
I guess I'm less amused and more upset than I thought. =P
I think that the problem that at least some people have is that it seems that there are limited resources for developing the courses, and that having Klingon pushes back alternatives that are more requested, popular and potentially useful. I haven't seen any references to the statements by Duolingo that would confirm that this is the state, but I agree that it is an issue if that is the case.
Still, I'm for its (and other conlangs'/artlangs') inclusion, I'm just not sure that this is the time ^^'
This will come in very handy in 2260! Or be very cool (if you have a time machine) in 1966. ;) Well, "Qapla'", whatever that means. :)
Why ? ..... There are so many requests for real languages which people may need to be able to get work and Klingon is in the incubator ..... I just don't understand the logic of this at all. ...... BTW I know I am about to be downvoted into oblivion by Trekkies everywhere but I thought the point was worth making.
Why? Because there were people willing and able to be contributors to the course. It's not replacing another course. This website is largely community-based and the courses are created based on demand and willingness of those able to contribute to the courses. The "logic" behind this is simply that it's a fun language to learn. I know I'll be adding it to my list once it's in Beta. Not to mention, that many people are interested in constructed languages. This does not hinder other languages being added to the incubator, nor does it detract people from using or creating more "useful" courses. If you're not interested in learning a constructed language (for fun or otherwise), then don't add it to your list. Simple as that.
I would agree with you except for the fact that we keep being told that languages have to wait their turn because there isn't space in the incubator, if that's true then it does hinder other languages being added. I am all in favour of fun for the sake of it but this just seems to be displacing languages that people are crying out for.
Klingon shouldn't hurt the displacement of natural languages too much as it should be completed quicker since it is constructed and there are less typographic nuances to bother with. A few examples of languages with typographic nuances are chinese, arabic, russian, polish, amharic, hebrew, japanese, and inuit.
Nonetheless, it is taking up some space and time, unless of course the Klingons have overcome those two factors by some as yet unknown (except to them) quantum type physics but after seeing this, I'm prepared to believe anything.
one could easily say that polish and romanian are guilty of the same sort of issue since progress has been incredibly slow.
[Klingon] has an extremely regular morphology.
In terms of creating a course I think this is probably one of the more important things that that page says. :P
@LegatonMik: I'm thinking in terms of tools that you can use to recognise and convert language strings. I haven't done much with natural languages but I do, every now and then, need to write a parser for files, and have written a compiler in the past, and the rule is: make it regular. If you had to recognise (not always consistent) changes in spelling of instructions based on the variables they declared or were used with (akin to what you might get in natural languages) ... well ... no thanks. :P
Edit: Although, I haven't contributed to a course. Can you have built in inflections?
Apparently in Duolingo's internals each inflection is its own word.
True. I have never really done natural language processing, so I can't speak for it. And I have no idea of how Duolingo's algorithm handles input parsing either
I'm wondering how big an impact it has though, but, once again, it's because I have no idea of how the course creation works.
Edit: I've no idea of how this black box works XD
Maybe XD I've never considered irregularity that big a problem though, especially not in modern languages that have mostly "regularized" ^^
Edit: Although, I haven't contributed to a course. Can you have built in inflections?
may I ask, since when are there typographic nuances with Polish? you mean people with some kind of fear of digraphs and diacritics? just curious.
not really fear, but digraphs and diacritics add complexity to rendering (which has been solved in Portuguese, French, and Turkish already). It was more of a comment on scripts that aren't latin-based.
There are also a lot of people willing to contribute to (just going off of people saying they've applied to the incubator in the forums) Japanese, Maltese, Korean, Finnish, Serbian, Armenian (theres a specific thread), Hindi, Arabic, Indonesian, Amharic, the list goes on. And couldn't it hinder other courses? You have to have DL staff (not contributors) manage them, so that'll take time away from managing real languages, and I remember a big problem they were having is not having enough bandwidth (in resources, not the technology) to support a lot more courses.
MOST IMPORTANT PART: DL is still losing money, how can adding Klingon help this?
I see you have mentioned DL losing money twice in this thread. I have not heard that from anyone else. Can you post a link to this?
Its fairly common knowledge. There was an article a couple of months back saying DL was losing money.
Because there are interested contributors willing to take it on? There are no major technical difficulties in implementing it? It could possibly increase awareness of this whole project? Just a few guesses.
For the record, I share your concern to some degree.
I can see your point about increasing awareness of the project but does it show Duo as being the serious language site it claims to be or, a gaming platform ? If Duo wants to be a gaming only site then it makes sense but if, in addition to my points above you (Duo) want to encourage schools to join and commercial translations to grow this doesn't seem like a good way to go.
Indeed. It concerns me too. I never meant to endorse the points I mentioned, I just tried to think of conceivable reasons as to why it would be added ^^'
Yes, I realised that :-)) but I was just putting the counter arguments. I gained the impression from your other posts above that you were interested in languages which have a real life use as opposed to just fun and games. Not that there's anything wrong with fun and games but it seems as if Duo can't decide whether it's a serious language site or a game ...it leaves me bemused :-)
Why does it have to be either/or? After all, Duolingo is designed around the concept of gamifying language - it's supposed to be both a game and a serious language learning tool. That is a false dichotomy.
The fact Duolingo is fun is a good thing, but it doesn't stop it being a serious language teaching effort, and the addition of Klingon doesn't stop the site being good at giving us the basics in a whole bunch of "real" languages.
I really don't see where this "serious language site/game" dichotomy comes in. Those two things are not mutually exclusive.
I wouldn't say that. I have an interest in languages of all stripes and colors, I was even kept awake for several hours thinking about a conlang I wanted to develop for a game concept XD Interestingly, it had some grammatical features in common with Klingon #^^#
I have the same feeling as you though. Duo at least seems to want to be a serious learning tool, and I don't know if this move will reflect that well... oh, well, only time can tell XD
I asked the same question about Yiddish, since it was stagnant (though, of course, it's a natlang, unlike Klingon). I've also seen people mention that this has been planned for quite some time, and since there is a contributor, I say "Why the hell not!"
Wow. I don't think I can express my disappointment in words. I may not always want to learn the languages that are put into the incubator but I can at least feel happy that they're getting that spot. Right now? Almost got tears in my eyes, like is it a ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤ joke or what?! I don't understand how KLINGON can make it before other languages. For those of us who want to learn languages to communicate with actual people and learn about more cultures this feels like such a betrayal. Some people are going to find this a bit exciting, but how many are really going to actually learn Klingon in the long run and if they did learn it what would they honestly even use it for?
Dessamator said something really interesting about this topic and the languishing of courses that have been selected for the incubator:
"Polish and Romanian where given preference over many other languages, and they still haven't even completed half the course after more than a year."
I'd rather see Polish and Romanian uncompleted and being worked on than this, though I must say that the thought has definitely struck me that other languages could use the incubator spot better than these two...
All languages are built independently by volunteers so none can be said to hold any others back.
There are limited spots in the incubator, and now Klingon has gotten one of those rare spots! They could easily have added another language and give it a spot and a chance, but they chose this certain one instead of them. It's pretty obvious language courses can hold others back.
BaconChomper, I can't reply to your comment from your comment so I'm replying on mine instead. So, which language deserved the spot in my opinion? I'm gonna say... pretty much anything but Klingon (or any other conlang). Seriously. I of course have my own languages that I wish could come to the incubator, not gonna lie about that. When you wait and wait and wait for "your" language to be added, a language I want to learn because of my heritage and that I wasn't taught in my life from my family... and then one day you get KLINGON... honestly, it felt (feels) kind of like an insult. Anyway, I don't care about the languages I would like to see added, anything except Klingon (or any other conlangs) would feel like great and positive news for me.
OK. Specifically which language do you feel deserved the spot? There are already 64 language programs in some level of completion.
DavidStyles, they have said something like they don't have that much ''bandwith'' and therefore can't put up as many courses as they would like to. So, if that's the case it angers me that they chose Klingon over many other languages at this point. I have no problem with a Klingon course sometime in the future, I'd love to see every language on Duolingo, but as many other people have already said I think that now is not the time. It's too early, other languages should be prioritated at this point according to me.
As lennonmacca said, basically any natural language would have been better but if you want concrete examples, how about Finnish, Icelandic, Czech, Afrikaans, Swahili, Catalan, Indonesian or Welsh. And those are just some of the languages that use the Latin alphabet. I get that Klingon has to come at some point, but in my opinion that is after at least 50, preferably more, natlangs, not as the 23rd language (it may be the 64th course but there are many cross courses and courses teaching English).
And concerning your other post in this thread, you should know that Finnish and Icelandic are the most distinct of the five major Nordic languages. Finnish to the point that it's not even an Indo-European language, which is part of the attraction for many people.
I'm sure that the volunteers are the ones hosting server space and implementing the programming to support, say, Klingon's weird capitalisation, or (hypothetically) Hindi's devanagari.
This is awesome! I hope one day High Valyrian and Dothraki will be on Duolingo, despite their lexicons not being fully fleshed out yet. That said, I am completely astonished at the amount of hate for conlangs other than Esperanto on this website. It is unreal. This community is for the most part toxic to any language that isn't deemed "useful", whatever that really means, because the usefulness of a language varies from person to person.
While I'm not interested in learning Klingon, I do agree with your point. Duolingo is about learning languages, whether they are "real" or not. I understand the frustration of some people about "real" languages not being approved, while Klingon has been, but I feel that this community should support the addition of Klingon. I feel that if you are passionate about a language or its culture, even if it is a conlang, you should be able to learn it, and, especially in this community, you should feel supported by other learners, even if they aren't learning the same language as you! I realize this also justifies the frustration of those who want to learn languages that have not been "approved" yet. I mean, learning any language, regardless of how "useful" it is is a noble undertaking. And contributing to a course for a language, especially a language spoken by few is also something to be proud of. That said, sure, I would love for languages such as Hindi, Arabic, and Maltese to be approved, because that's where my interests lie. However, I don't think we should be "attacking" any language because it isn't "real" or "useful," rather, we should be supporting the contributor(s) of the course, and we should also be happy for those who want to learn it! Also, sorry for the long post, I hope my little speech makes sense :)
Prefer Elvish. But good on you for starting the trend of nerdy all-inclusion!
after some thought, I'm not so sure... There are better choices, even in the artificial languages, in my humble opinion. Odd bonus--tons of virginal, '2 liter of cola in mom's basement' types will have an extra incentive to communicate, perhaps mate, and then proliferate their nerdy race.
I am so excited!!! Hopefully it won't take that long for it to graduate into beta :)
Those criticising its addition and asking for natural languages to be given precedence... You realize this course has one contributor so far, and, I don't know his language set, but he probably wasn't going to be spending all his time contributing to Tagalog, Finnish, Icelandic, etc.
It may be irksome to notice a considerably "niche" language getting ahead of, say, Japanese, a major world language in hot demand, but courses require volunteers with language specific skills.
Don't blame the Klingons :p They didn't invade Barcelona and vaporize the Catalan course. Instead, start sending love to the Catalans and see if there's any amount of positive cheerleading that can get your preferred course rolling.
It's not a zero-sum game when there are so many potential contributors, all with different language skillsets.
(Someone mentioned there are limited spots in the incubator. This may be contingently true, I don't know, but it's surely not a necessary truth, as any such limit seems quite arbitrary).
I cannot believe this day has finally come. Speechless right now to say the least....
I mean, I don't care if it's there, I have no "preference" for natural languages. It's just funny to see it here after it being tossed around for so long, I thought it was a long way off yet. But then again, I figured Duolingo was going for another home run (last April it was Duels), so this might be it.
At first I thought it was a joke, but I'm actually quite happy for it being added :) It may open the way for more constructed languages, maybe even Tolkien's? But I'd love to see Toki Pona even more. That'd be a best thing ever! :D
I've just imagined writing a CV, with fluent Elvish and Toki Pona in it. That's a key to success in life :D
I feel silly including intermediate Welsh, I'm guessing that would probably be similar but even more embarrassing. :D although things like that can sometimes draw employer's attention and get you the job.
you kidding me? When I'll speak Welsh (which I kind of treat as an obvious fact that I will :D) I'm going to write it in the first place, in capital letters, possibly highlighted :D
But honestly, I think it's a good thing. I mean, it kind of shows that you're interested in learning new things, not only the necessary ones. I would surely hire myself for speaking Elvish :P
Can you imagine how this job interview would look like? I once thought about one with Ainu. (Which is another language I'd love to speak, but unfortunately resources are really hard to find)
I see you speak Ainu? Can you communicate freely in it?
Sure thing, with all the other 10 speakers of this language!
 no, for real, I actually started learning Danish to make my CV look more grown-up. I didn't feel too serious applying with skills such as mentioned Welsh, fencing or Irish dancing, apparently these are not enough to get invited to an interview. XD in case you wondered. perhaps Ainu might be better-off not mentioned too. they could think you've made it up. ;p
Good that I've already got English, German and Spanish. Now I can learn whatever I want :D You're right... Elvish sounds more credible :D
The only reason I even know what Catalan is, is due to my GF planning a trip to Spain that fell through. How big of an area is Catalan spoken? We were looking at Barcelona, Madrid and San Sebastian. I know in at least one of those areas Catalan was mentioned.
I have to be honest about this. I will accept that they have added Klingon to the Incubator when they add Maltese, Tagalog, Icelandic, Arabic, Japanese, Finnish, Serbian, Croatian, Amharic, Catalan, Cantonese, Farsi, Basque, Afrikaans, Latin, Welsh, Swahili, Luxembourgish, Hindustani, Quechua, Bulgarian and the mountain of other languages that the community really wants.
So far, I have seen a lot more people complaining about Klingon coming out than I have seen who are happy. I realise I'll probably get downvoted for all this because people don't want to hear it, but Duolingo should be for the community, and the community want all the languages I listed and more more than they want Klingon.
Please note, it's not that I have anything in particular against Klingon as such. I just feel that the languages of the world that the community wants should come out first. I am very disappointed indeed with this choice.
To be fair, people who have something negative to say tend to more readily take the opportunity to say it than those who have something positive to say. Despite the negativity, the announcement has a sizable number of upvotes (especially taking into consideration the number of downvotes it's likely receiving based on the posts we've seen).
I think the community needs to rein in its sense of entitlement. Not everything is going to go the way parts of the community wish it would, and we shouldn't expect it to. None of us know the circumstances that coincide with this development taking place (nor is it our business), and even if we did and the result was that some people would have to wait a while longer for their preferred course... so what? So be it. We're not petulant little children; we should be able to stomach such things and move on maturely.
I don't think you can really reasonably say "far more people complaining about Klingon coming out than who are happy", AND say "I realise I'll get downvoted for all this".
You can't have it both ways. Either the majority is in favour, or against. I see that in the OP, the upvotes outweigh the downvotes by 140. I'd say the people have spoken, there.
This isn't to say that Arabic wouldn't be more popular, but is there really a reason to hold up the Klingon course to wait for all those others to come out, when the volunteer workforce for Klingon is ready to roll and the volunteer workforce for those other languages isn't?
You're correct, the community certainly has spoken. What does the most popular comment on this page say?
The reason this post is so popular is because of the original poster. That's how things tend to work, if someone who is well-liked (especially a moderator or a staff member) posts a discussion, no matter how good it is, they get upvoted. Please note this is not an attack on staff members/mods, for the most part I am incredibly grateful towards them. I'm just saying that this is what happens.
There is a reason to hold up Klingon. I can't remember the term for this, but a short while ago Duolingo was unable to release any more languages. It was something to do with it being too full, or something like that, but if languages like Klingon come out before languages the more people really want, and that would be infinitely more beneficial, then Klingon is just going to be unnecessarily clogging up the website, and the same problem will occur again.
Totally off-topic, looking at your medals, I can't wait till you reach level 10 in Irish and Turkish.
Edit: I remember, it was called being 'out of bandwidth'.
Yeah, I guess I'm just haven't seen yet what the finite resource is that's causing the conflict. Bandwidth has been suggested, but DL surely can't have high overheads, and it's always getting a steady stream of translations to sell. Of course, there is perhaps the argument that ConLangs are a bad business option if money is tight, since nobody will pay for ConLang translations as they will pay for the other languages.
/end on topic begin off topic/
Regards Irish and Turkish, thanks, working on it. Trying to get them all on the same level, so I can just do a hit of each of them daily, to gradually build and maintain them in an ever-upwards crunching grind. I'll take up Turkish when I've Irish at least near the level of the others, I think. Looking forward to some of the other near-completed courses, too :) Norwegian I'll surely be able to "test out" most of the lessons as I already speak that fluently and will just do it for completeness' sake, and Russian when it arrives at least the early lessons will be skipped, but the others that are out soon will be all learning from scratch or nearly from scratch (as Irish and Turkish are for me).
That seems a neat and tidy way to end the debate! (:
It would be great to see so many 10s after your name. Are you going to try to keep them all at 11 (as in, when one gets to 11, you'll make sure the rest get to 11 soon afterwards?).
Yep. Right now, everything except Irish is at around 2570 XP, and when I study them, I just do the bottom language in the queue, then the language that becomes the bottom after that, and so on, so it pretty much maintains itself evenly.
Presently I just divide my DL study time between topping up those, and doing a few power-up sessions on Irish (and hopefully soon, Turkish).
Haha! That's a very amusing (and possible quite effective) way to learn multiple languages simultaneously.
Klingon for Humans :D
"Users can except to see Klingon for Dogs and Klingon for cats in the incubator after the course reaches phase three"
Klingon shouldn't be considered as a "language". It was never meant to have a sizeable speaking population. Why would one devote time to learn a language that has almost no speakers? Also, how will they make a Klingon course if there aren't many everyday words in Klingon?
No, Duo has a rule against implementing "from English" first. We first need the English from Klingon course completed :P
sorry if this offends anyone, but what is Klingon? This is a really stupid question, please don't judge me
I really hope that in the future you guys will consider offering languages of the Star Wars universe, e.g. Galactic Basic (Aurebesh/Aurekbesh), Huttese, Mandalorian, etc.
Galactic Basic is just English, or whatever language you watch Star Wars in, and Aurebesh is simply the written form of said language. There are no Star Wars conlangs that have been fully developed. Mando'a, the most complete one, was abandoned a long time ago. The creator of the language quit working on Star Wars material period actually.
It's a language, it can be used for communication (even though it's not).
Trust me, I get your frustration.
It's a language. People can learn it and convey ideas to one another with it. That's my criteria for language. And by your standards, is Esperanto a language? Because that was also created.
Even though I really don't like the extreme hype that's been going around lately about other conlangs (as far as I know, Klingon is the most widely used one, more than Sindarin or Quenya), this will certainly be interesting. Will it be in Latin or will it utilize one of the other two Klingon alphabets?
I think they meant "most widely used of the conlangs that get mentioned a lot as possibilities" which doesn't include Esperanto anymore since it's already in the Incubator.
Yeah, this. Also, Esperanto was made with the purpose of being used in real life communication. Quenya, Sindarin, Klingon, Na'vi? Not so much, I'd say.
True, however I would wager that more people in the US have heard of Klingon than Esperanto.
Probably true. And I suspect there are more people who can say a couple of words or phrases in Klingon than Esperanto (ignoring the friendly words in Esperano such as "Jes"). But when we come to how many people can have a conversation in these languages the ratio is probably 1:1000 in Esperanto's favour.
The interesting thing about this course will be, when it is released, how many will finish it. Klingon is hard. Really hard. Designed to be hard.
This is quite a fair treatment of both Esperanto and Klingon.
Many conlangs are meant to be spoken in real life. Normally if you want to talk about a conlang that's just meant for a book, TV show or movie you can say artistic conlang.
WTFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF This is insane!!!!!!!!! OMG, please, there are only 12 speakers of this language in the world (according to the Wiki), this is truly insane, Luis xD
there are only 12 speakers of this language in the world
It's clearly a language in danger of extinction that needs help then. :P
Maybe only 12 FLUENT speakers. I'm sure there are many more who speak Klingon at some lower level.
A small number of people are capable of conversing in Klingon. Arika Okrent guessed in her book In the Land of Invented Languages that there might be 20–30 fluent speakers.//////Around a dozen fluent speakers (1996) (wikipedia)
Yes, you can discuss almost all topics that are not super-technical or require special vocabulary. Chemistry and physics might be a bit hard, as the words for elements are missing. But there are words for pretty much everything you'll need for everyday conversation. And many missing words can be constructed of existing material.
Klingon has a rather limited vocabulary (ca. 3000 words) which is mostly focused on life in outer space... There are many words that Klingon just doesn't have but some of them can be replaced when you are a little creative (and call the sun "day star" for example). There have been whole books (including a lot of Shakespeare) translated into Klingon while others are troubling because of the limited vocabulary.
I think you should be able to discuss a lot of topics in Klingon but also would encounter some trouble.
The space focus of Klingon is often exaggerated, though it is certainly true that there's a higher density of such terms in Klingon than in any modern-day natural language.
And you're quite right that we do sometimes run into trouble when discussing certain matters. "Recasting" - that is, finding new ways to describe things we don't have words for, or that don't mesh too well with Klingon sentence structure - is a highly esteemed art form among klingonists ;)
However, one should also note that Klingon has grown quite a lot in the 30 years since The Klingon Dictionary was published. For example, a few years back we finally got a word for sun: jul
Also, last year we got dozens of new terms to help with various projects that different klingonists were working on, such as the Klingon localization of Facebook, Kaspersky's password checker, the German translation of The Klingon Art of War, and others.
Oh, and we FINALLY know that the Klingon word for "knit" (or "weave") is nIq, and that knitting sticks are called Hut'Inmey tIq ;)
Thanks for your explanations! I'm not really Klingon-savvy (yet) and only did a bit of online research (mostly a few years ago when I did a presentation about conlangs in class) but tried to answer a few questions =)
And knowing how to refer to knitting needles in Klingon is definitely useful! I'm a bit more into crocheting though. If nlq refers to "knit" and "weave", could it be used for "crochet" too?
Thanks to those who are putting this course together. I'm not really planning to take it myself, but wish those well who do, and might even do the intro lesson. After all, I've heard that you have never really experienced Shakespeare until you have read it in the original Klingon.
Real people DO speak Klingon! It's the most popular fictional language on the planet. Sure, it's not widely spoken, but still, many are excited.
This news is fricking INSANE -- and I'm LOVING IT!
C'mon Quenya, anytime now...
I'd love to see Quechua. That would be brlliant. But as for artlangs, I'd rather have Quenya; as for auxlangs, I'd rather have Lingua Franca Nova.
Cant wait! :D
No, English is simply the first the link to the Klingon language. Eventually there will be courses for all human languages to Klingon.
Here, For Humans means For Earth Inhabitants . As humans are said to be inhabiting this planet. Everyone knows Klingon is not spoken anywhere on earth and this langauge is from outer space.
It's Klingon for humans, I guess that doesn't mean it's Klingon for all humans.
In Star Trek the language of Earth is English, therefore the human language would be English.
No, English just seems to be the working language for the majority of the internet, as well as the 2nd most commonly known language (after mandarin). I think that is why English is the first human language chosen.
The emergence of the Klingon course is appropriately timed to honor the passing of Leonard Nimoy (original Spok). He would have been proud. I, for one, am definitely excited for the Klingon course and hope this ushers in other popular conlangs (Tolkien's languages, Dothraki, etc). #LiveLongAndProsper
I wont be learning this language (well i will definitely look inside tree) but this is SO AWESOME! All thumbs/lingots up @Luis
Awesome! This will be the first and for a long time also the only course on Duolingo with breathtaking ZERO reports per user. :D
Not sure about that. The normal way reports start is with the base language, the one a user is more comfortable with. It may not even be an awkward sentence, just a possible alternate missing from the list of possibles. At least, in my Spanish learning, most of the initial reports were for the English sentences. After I had some grasp of Spanish and could confidently stitch the words together that I started reporting any oddities in Spanish.
Of course. I was exaggerating. It would be kind of sad if there were no reports at all.
hebrew (no way to subscribe yet): http://incubator.duolingo.com/courses/he/en/status
greek (no way to subscribe yet): http://incubator.duolingo.com/courses/el/en/status
I thought Duolingo was for people who want to learn actual useful languages... I feel like if you're going to be creating these pointless languages you should make a completely new website for that!
Many people are learning languages here merely because they enjoy learning them. They may not even use them. So it can be about enjoying learning a new language.
It's not pointless. If anything, this will bring Duo more users in the form of Trekkies excited to learn the language of their fandom AKA the most popular fictional language there is, as there's no other effective way to learn it.
Theres no effective way to learn it.... how do you know Duolingo will be anymore effective than other sources??? As i say Duolingo is not a social media site it is a learning website. So it is not a website to attract "Trekkies", it is a website created to attract people who want to learn the worlds languages.
Literally the only other sources are a dictionary and a postal course from the Klingon Language Institute. I doubt the postal course is effective, and I don't really know anyone who learned a language from a dictionary. I never said Duo was social media, and while learning Klingon, the new users can learn other languages. Klingon can act as a hook to get more people in, and once in, they can also learn Portuguese or Swedish or whatever they want. Also, Esperanto is a constructed language, yet I don't see you complaining about that. You don't need to learn Klingon, and it being here doesn't effect the progress of other language courses, so stop complaining.
If the only sources are the dictionary and the KLI course, and you're saying neither of them actually allow you to learn the language, how does anybody know the language?
And the dictionary isn't just a dictionary. It's a grammar guide too.
I didn't mean they were ineffective. I meant they aren't AS effective as without Duo. Also, I know the dictionary has a grammar guide (I own a copy of it), but I don't think using that to learn would work well with me and many others.
This might be a great way to test Duolingo. It's for the same reason that Bing Translate added Klingon.
Also, I don't think this will take any effort away from developing other courses, as those are being made by different people.
Duo has said that they have limited bandwidth before, so it might take away resources from other languages. I believe that courses also have to be managed by a non-contributor.
That's about the amount of people that can connect to duolingo at the same time, rather than how big its content can be.
Sorry for not knowing the correct technical term? This was given in response to people asking about the limit on the number of courses in the incubator. I'm just repeating what I've been told.
Why wasn't a post like this made about Yiddish or Hebrew? Why wasn't a post on Twitter made about those languages?
Ahaha! I was wondering when someone would use the flag and make a course! I have no need for it, but it certainly makes me smile. :D
I have to say to everyone who is complaining at Klingon being prioritised over anything for any reason: give it time. In the timescales course incubation operates, you cannot make a strong argument of urgency.
As much as I like Star Trek, I have to say that this is a little insulting. I know, learning a language is fun and Klingon is something that a lot of people do want to learn. But I feel like a lot of more languages are in higher demand (Latin, Arabic, Japanese). I do know that it's hard to continue to create new languages.
I have nothing against Klingon and I know that I can't stop it from being created. I really don't have a problem with the language itself.
All I'm really saying is that it would be nice is Duolingo would listen to the people. Because mostly everyone I've seen want a real language that is used and applicable (Even though I suppose Klingon might be used in some areas).
I just wish someone from the staff would listen to the people and make a language that we need, not one that is made up.
I agree, but it's being made by users. If you want to help with Latin, Arabic, or Japanese, I would appreciate it! I would help too, if I were better at those languages.
It seems like there are other languages which are a little more pressing coughLATINcough to put out first but kudos to you. :-D
I find it nice, but I would have prefered if other natural languages in high demand, such as Arabic, Latin or Hindi, were given preference over it.
I understand where you're coming from. :)
I don't think this course has taken the spot of another, though (rest assured!). This is because I've been hearing about the possible addition of a Klingon course (from inside the incubator) for over a year. It therefore has been planned for a while.
There have also been rumors that among those willing to contribute are great experts, which is so very important.
This is why I think we should rejoice about Klingon having been added to the incubator!
Welcome loghaD and thanks for contributing! :)
In a way there is a "spot" that it takes up. Since the duo staff consist of a relatively small team, they can only handle a few courses at a time so they aren't flooded with notifications from course contributors. I do love that they are allowing artificial languages, but I personally believe this shouldn't be a focus yet.
Okey, with the information that there are very great experts on the language in question that has contacted Duolingo and are willing to put their time at it, then I forgive Duolingo for putting the amount of energy in this language, before more important once, like latin, hindi, bengali, navaho, japanese, catalan, occitan, chinese, swahili, frisian, et cetere et cetera et cetera. No experts on those or other languages?
I will not do a Klingoncourse, but many will who might otherwise not have done a language course, that is good, funny, and increasing peoples language abilities.
I know Japanese and Chinese are in high demand and the world inside DuoLingo offices is something of a black box, but I could imagine that the staff are working on implementing the foundations that those courses will require before they can even start being built. Alphabets and suchlike, and that would apply to other high-demand courses too.
If Klingon uses plain-old-latin-chars then they might have considered it a freebie. Of course that argument suggests actual Latin would be in the same boat. Maybe they've been given a generous grant from the Klingon Language Institute.
Well, while the KLI is stable enough, I really don't think it has the finances to bribe anybody ;)
Anyhow, the course will indeed be using the Latin alphabet. And using only keys found on an English keyboard, to boot, without any diacritics or anything. I also believe that may have been an important factor.
Anyhow, they currently have English for speakers of Arabic, Japanese and Mandarin in the Incubator. While I don't have any particular insight into what goes on, I kind of suspect they'll want to have those finished before they go the other way around. In part because they'll probably get some useful data and experience in the process, but also because I suspect there will be some overlap between the groups contributing to those programs.
Yes! I'm in grade 5, and this is my last year learning Chinese. I would like to make my last semester more fun by using DuoLingo, but unfortunately I cannot, because DuoLingo has not released (or started ) a Chinese course.
One way of writing in Klingon does use plain old Latin chars, but the fact that 'q' and 'Q' (:^) are separate letters could mean that the entire system would have to be redone as far as parsing input goes.
Edit: Good point. I wasn't thinking about that.
Forget about Latin even, Indonesian/Malay is actually spoken today by some 300 miliion people, it is written in Latin script with absolutely no different letters or diacritics. Its grammar is notorious for its simplicity.
Why you would prioritize the invented language of fictional space brutes over Indonesian is beyond me.
This I would love to see!
Edit: I think maybe the sandhi (I don't know if that's the word used for Malay, but it seems appropriate) would present a problem though.
jjd1123 - why does it have to be "English for ____ speakers" first on all these new courses? Didn't Duolingo start out with courses for English speakers (which also includes all those who has English as an L2) first?
I speak those languages, I could help arrange that if someone else handles the computer stuff
but, you have to understand that the new languages can only be released, even into beta, only with the support of native speakers or contributors, the duolingo team isn't a relatively large team so you cant expect them to know all of the languages themselves, but i do agree that we should have more emphasize to languages that can help your career
Yeah. Nothing against Klingon itself, but as someone waiting for Spanish to Catalan (twice we've been told that it would be entering the incubator later that week, and twice we've watched something else be added instead), this is actually kind of depressing.
That's a good way to put it. People are saying that it doesn't affect natural languages since the course is voluntary; but in my opinion it does, because the other teams depend on Duolingo to officially launch the course before they can work with the incubator tools, and the fact that Duolingo does not do that for those languages, even when those languages do have seemingly capable volunteers, as the Latin teacher in this discussion seems to be. So, in a way, Klingon being released before natural languages IS bad news for those, as the longer they have to wait, the later will be the date when the team member's will formally begin work and subsequently release the beta course.
I think this could be really good for Duolingo. The internet could go crazy over this, attracting a lot of attention to the site. The more people learning any language, the better. It's been over a year since the launch of the incubator, I don't think it's too early for a "fun" language.
I kinda understand this logic, but I think focusing on languages that are higher in demand would attract even more users. I just don't think Klingon should be a priority (yet).
The addition of Klingon won't interfere with other courses because it's totally volunteer made, so it doesn't expend much time from the Duolingo team
Although, the course is volunteer made it still takes a fair amount of work and time from team Duolingo. This is why they are twenty three courses in the incubator, not a couple hundred.
Give it time. In 5 years you may have to eat those words. One can hope. I will play with Klingon for fun. I have almost a full year before comicon returns :)
Good to hear that Klingon isn't interfering with real-language courses because we might get them in five years...
Well preference does mean much. Polish and Romanian were given preference over many other languages, and they still haven't even completed half the course after more than a year.
Those and Russian and Hungarian. It's almost as if they gave up. People who are upset about Klingon being added should remind themselves that the people building the courses ARE NOT PAID. So don't whine so much.
It all depends on who's willing to put in the time to create the course. Plus possibly limitations based on the alphabet itself, though we've got Hebrew and Russian coming, so it's obviously possible to do non-Latin alphabets.
...but Russian and Hebrew are far easier to implement than Chinese or Japanese. I guess that Latin will incubate before Chinese and Japanese.
Oh definitely; I was thinking more about the Hindi and Arabic that Oloak brought up.
What's up with adding Hebrew though anyway, how many native speakers are there of that language anyway? And it's not like it is any easier to implement than for example Thai which is another phonetic script system. Chinese isn't that hard to implement either, there is something called pinyin input and it is already available on your computer if you add it through control panel settings.
Doesn't Klingon use its own alphabet. I would imagine that it would be easier to implement a natural language's alphabet than Klingon's. However that might be other things that make a Klingon course easier to make, like the limited vocabulary.
There are really only two writing systems currently in use by Klingon-speakers: Romanized tlhIngan Hol, and KLI pIqaD.
Romanized tlhIngan Hol is the most common, however, and it will be the primary writing system for this course, both for technical reasons (extended unicode and custom keyboard layouts across multiple platforms ... potentially tricky) and to avoid making the learning curve too steep for beginners.
This makes it possible to write using just the 26 letters found on an English keyboards plus the apostrophe, without any diacritics or special characters.
Fair enough. It's to bad though, I really like KLI plqaD >< Though I can understand that the technical issues would be... significant.
I believe it's likely that the Star Trek series is paying for this course, and likely contributing to it as well. The suddenness of the announcement, the immediate use of copyrighted material, and the statement of a 2-3 month timeline for its creation (which is absurdly optimistic for a volunteer made course, especially given that they'll have to manually record everything), all point to a high level of coordination between Star Trek and Duolingo.
It's great advertising for both Duolingo and Star Trek. One hand washing the other, as the Germans say.
..and if Paramount Studios (which owns the Star Trek copyrights, including Klingon - see http://boingboing.net/2004/03/08/klingon-is-copyright.html and http://languagehat.com/copyrighting-a-language/ ) is paying Duolingo, then Duolingo could broaden its bandwidth for endangered languages. :)
Exactly. The people who create the Incubator courses are volunteers working for free.
Let's not miss the point of including Klingon as a Duo language. Duolingo is fairly well known, but it could always use more publicity, just as you could always use more money. Like it or not, the addition of this imaginary language will cause some buzz among the journalists, bloggers, and the social media world. Remember the old adage "There is no such thing as bad publicity." Attention attracted by this harmless stunt will result in more learners and more contributors. Viva Duo!
There is no 'preference'.
All languages in Duolingo are developed separately. It isn't like they can only work on one at a time.
I understand your pain. I really do. But this will help Duolingo gain popularity and therefore, money. I want them to have food on their tables so why not just deal with it? Keep in mind, they are doing this FOR FREE. This website is FREE. I know Lingots cost money, but who actually pays for them? So, imagine how much money someone who works at Duolingo gets. Not much, huh? Imagine how much more money they would get if they added a popular language like Klingon. So, think about it, Duolingo can't give us /everything/ we want, but they are giving us a lot. Let's just all be grateful that they have done this much for us, whether you want to learn Klingon or not.
I don't believe it's a matter of preference. If a certain person knows a certain language pair, they can begin developing. It's fair to assume that the ones developing the course don't know Arabic, Latin or Hindi, so it wouldn't make sense for them to develop those instead.
Adding Klingon will be nothing but good for DuoLingo and all of us to use it, simply because of the press coverage and attention that it will bring. There are so many Star Trek fans that it isn't even funny.
You complain that living languages like Arabic and Hindi (each with a billion+ speakers) haven't rounded up enough volunteers to build a course only underscores my point.
At one point that was in the Incubator sign up drop-down list but nobody had volunteered. It might still be there. Dunno.
I think it's a good idea to bring more people to Duolingo no more. Good luck guys
So I applied to start a Latin course and I received no reply, but this gets started?
Don't get me wrong, I am giddy with nerd glee for this, but I teach Latin in school and would love to help build this for another classroom resource. My SPanish teaching coworkers love it.
Can't wait for Latin ! It has a big influence in all Indo-European languages (445 in total) with almost 3 billion native speakers.. so teaching it seems to be a priority in my opinion.
I have a memory of an article describing why learning Latin wouldn't be a huge benefit in learning even closely related derivative languages, such as Spanish, Italian etc. Can't remember of the top of my head where I saw it, but it's actually in agreement with my personal experience, in that the effort of learning a language before you see major benefits aren't worth it. You are probably better off learning a modern language with similar genetics, getting you most of the benefits in addition to giving you the ability to, depending on the language, communicate with millions of (some presumably interesting) people!
This is not to say that it wouldn't be cool to learn Latin though. I studied it ages ago, and I would love to get into it again ^^ It and Sanskrit XD
Well, as an English speaker, 65% of our vocabulary comes from Latin learning it, at least when I teach it :P, you will also get a better hold of the grammar in your native language.
These are just the most practical uses of the langauge. Knowing it also opens up the ability to read some of the great ancient authors, use in church if you are Catholic, as well as the numerous phrases we have in English law and medicine.
True, but I'm doubtful that it would entail as many benefits as many people think. Except some basic Latin structure that I think most people are at least somewhat familiar with, you probably won't got enough to really help you that much. It's true that you'll get a better grasp of the grammar of your native language, but you get that benefit learning most languages, since it helps you mostly by forcing you to think about it at a more fundamental level (Latin doesn't really have that much in common with English, grammatically).
It's true that you'll be able to read some ancient authors, but, generally, in order to see great benefits from reading the works in their original language, you would need, for most works, more than a basic understanding. You can get the meaning, but rarely the nuances. And, in my opinion, if we are talking about ancient works of literature, Ancient Greek, Ancient Arabic and Sanskrit would be more interesting.
As I said though, I would love to learn it, it's just that I often see what I see as gross exaggerations of the benefits ^^'
I like your interest in Sanskrit! ^_^ There's the difference between Latin and English, and Sanskrit and numerous Indian languages. When you learn Latin, you might get some help in English, maybe more in Romance Languages; but when you learn Sanskrit, you learn almost 80% of Hindi from there. The grammar is something which we would say ctrl + c and ctrl + v. This is because the sentence structure is the same (s-o-v), the nouns are mostly the same, the adjectives are also very similar and so on. The difference which comes in Hindi is in verb endings and their conjugations. After that some other things are different. But Sanskrit is the mother language of almost all popular Indian languages (Hindi, Bengali, Marathi etc) and has influences on Indian languages from different language families all together (Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Tulu etc). So Sanskrit helps you a lot. When I started learning Sanskrit, I was able to relate so many grammar rules of Hindi which I never understood! And here you go! ;) PS, ignore the message if you want to learn. It's in the website.
Adding to what @Aadit said, Similarity of Indian languages and Sanskrit is huge. But the amazing fact is that Latin is much more similar to Sanskrit than English. Words, cases, conjugations, genders, voices etc are very much same. Latin is so similar with Sanskrit that you can say Latin as similar as to Sanskrit as any other Indian languages.
I do this for a living, so I admit bias, but if we are talking utility, the only language more "useful" than Latin for a US citizen is Spanish. There is a large population here which speaks Spanish and plenty of opportunity to make use of Spanish.
Otherwise, if you do not plan on leaving the US, the utility of other foreign languages is MUCH lower. Now I do love learning languages, and I would never dissuade someone from doing that, BUT the utility is rather low for an American who does not plan on leaving.
Re: "Latin doesn't really have that much in common with English, grammatically" Since Latin isn't primarily spoken, we approach it a bit differently than a spoken language. Immersion is not as much of an option (at least in my opinion) so an intense study of grammar is in order. When I teach German (I teach an intro level) we do not study the grammar in the same detail simply because of it being a spoken language. In my Latin classes, I study English grammar with them more rigorously than their English teachers, and I do not mean that as a slight against the English department.
Even if I were never leaving the US, I'd still put Latin pretty far down the list on "utility". Knowing the etymology of 65% of our vocab certainly doesn't help us learn much about our grammar, though it is neat. Grammatically, English is closer to German than to anything Latin based. Some of the main "grammar" rules (which should have never become rules in English and only did because of someone who thought that English should sound more like Latin) one can understand after learning Latin is why people think you shouldn't end a sentence with a preposition (because you can't in Latin, even though it's perfectly fine to do it in English), and that to boldly split infinitives is wrong (which, of course it is wrong in Latin, it is impossible to do so).
I agree with LegatonMik that most any benefits one can gain from studying Latin can be gained by studying most anything. Yes, one major approach to teaching languages these days is to focus on input and production of the language itself and not focusing on the grammar, but there's something to be said about understanding, say, what direct and indirect objects are so that in Spanish, for example, you know what pronouns you are going to replace with clitics and what order they go in, etc. I learned/relearned more about English grammar when I learned Spanish than I ever did in school, and then learned even more when I took German in my undergrad. It's because of Spanish that I understand the difference between when you can say "my friend and I" and "my friend and me", it's because of German that I know that it is perfectly natural to end sentences with prepositions, and so on. A study of Latin would probably also have provided some of the same, and some different, insights...
...but then, an English speaker who will never leave the US doesn't need to be burdened so much with the extensive case system of Latin either.
You will noticed I said that I teach extensive English grammar in my class, rather than suggesting the Latin grammar itself was the main utility for English.
I could go on and on about the utility of my job, but this is not really the forum for that, so I shall just say I respectfully disagree with you.
I must admit that I have had different experiences regarding the intensity of study of grammar of living languages, but it may be because I have an interest in the subject. Although the same depth of study can, in my opinion, be achieved without necessarily learning another language, but it requires interest (which, frankly, I think is required anyway).
What I have found for myself is that if I study a language with grammar that is very different from the one I'm familiar with from other languages, I learn more about all their grammars, simply because I have to study it more.
I did notice. What I meant to imply/say, particularly with the Spanish example, was that sometimes teaching another language is facilitated by reinforcing grammar concepts from English that students have long since forgotten about from grade school, etc. As a Spanish professor, I teach English grammar as well.
I am interested in Etymology & linguistics, so i found it fascinating to know the origin of each word and how it evolved into modern usage. As for learning in general i still believe it's very useful. [e.g.] just by knowing a few (Greek) words i am able to understand a consequent number of new words that i never heard before. So i think, learning the origins of words can also help in understanding derivative forms used in modern language!
I understand your concern though, but i never studied it before so i can tell for sure if it's going to be useful, nevertheless it's influence in all these languages is undeniable.
I studied it long ago, and I do understand what you are saying. I'm not saying that there is no benefit, but I think it's a mistake to learn Latin in order to facilitate the learning modern languages. As I said, you get some benefits, but you get many of them by studying modern languages as well, especially descendants of Latin since, as you said, large parts of the vocabulary can be traced back to it, albeit often, and excuse my language, bastardized by having come through languages such as Old French, with the added benefit of, especially if you are a younger learner, having an easier time finding people with similar interests to practice with.
Wanting to study it with another goal, such as increasing ones understanding of etymology or reading ancient roman literature, is something quite different.
Don't get me wrong, I strongly encourage people to learn Latin, it's really very interesting, but learn it because you want to learn it, not because of some ethereal downstream benefit that, likely, won't materialize, at least not to the degree you want.
Now that my fifteen minutes on the soapbox are over, let me just add, maybe once again, that I would love to learn ancient languages, Latin (well, relearn, I guess is more apt) among them (but mostly Sanskrit at the moment, actually) ^^
Thanks for your comments :)
& Yes, I'm already in the process of learning modern languages. I only hope (in a near future) being able to learn Greek & Latin in the same way i am learning other languages, here on Duolingo!
The thing about Latin is that the grammar of that language encompasses many things that you will find in the Indo-European languages. Let's say you learn Dutch. That'll help with the Germanic languages, Spanish helps with Romance, etc. But Latin helps with most of the languages of Europe. I find it helping me in my own studies of Russian, not in vocabulary but in grammar, which takes more effort to internalize for most people.
I agree, however, I think that this is (at least somewhat) true for most languages, even if they are not directly related to the language you intend to learn. I don't have a problem with learning Latin because it's interesting, but I question the utility to learn it mainly to get a grasp on grammatical structures, and, maybe more significantly, learning Latin tends to, in my experience, be promoted as something of a holy grail of language learning.
Some people are down for studying it, others are not. I hear some people learn Esperanto before anything actually. It all depends on your time and willingness to learn it. I had always been interested in learning Latin anyway. I'll probably do Ancient Greek, Sanskrit, Old English, and Old Norse for fun too. If I was told I had to learn Czech or something, then I would just go for that. I wouldnt do Latin first as a gateway
And I'm all for it. If I ever have time, I want to learn... well, all languages, really, but I would settle for 30 something, including Latin (and all others you mentioned, especially Sanskrit. I would love to read some texts of ancient Indian philosophers, especially Aryabhata's Āryabhaṭīya. Seems so cool XD). Anyway, my point is and has always been that learning Latin solely to facilitate the learning of other learning is, likely, a waste of time that you could have spent learning the language (e.g. Spanish, any Latin derived language really), gaining both the ability to communicate with a huge amount of people that were previously inaccessible to you and an understanding of the linguistic principles of many related languages, which may or may not share them with Latin anyway, with the added benefit of more opportunities to practice (although from personal experience, from both sides of the issue, if you are trying to practice a language, and you share a language with the person you are speaking to, it's really easy to fall back to it.)
Essentially, if you (general you) want to learn Latin, do! It's interesting, and I wish I had time to take up my studies of it again.
By the way, if I misrepresented (misunderstood), your opinion, I'm sorry. I'm slightly inebriated at the moment ^^'
I know that this is not a fantastic way to handle the situation, but I had to wait for more than 15 months until my application for the DE<->EN courses has been accepted. Before that, there were no noise at all.
Luis stated some weeks ago that Latin will definitely come eventually. If you applied properly and they consider you as a course moderator, you will get notified and they'll figure everything out with you. Since I both learned Latin in school and studied it at university a few years ago (but forgot almost everything since then), I'd love to see it here as soon as possible. Let's keep our fingers crossed that the wait will be over soon!
Good to know that a response may indeed come. One of the things I didn't like about the application process was how vague it was.
Should I make sure and use as many grammatical constructions as possible so they can see I know the language? Should I do that with vocabulary too? Etc.
Glad to hear Latin will come eventually. I hope I can contribute, but even if not I welcome the addition.
alexinIreland wrote a great post concerning the application: click
I only disagree to his sentence "You could technically write 10 words but still really impress the team :P"
If you ask me, what really matters is this:
- Knowing both languages fluently
- Other languages you have been learning (especially on Duolingo)
- Believing in Duolingo's mission (free education a.s.o.)
- Knowing the community
- being very helpful in the forum
- Having the time to contribute
- Willing to work in a team
- Skills to teach a language (not mandatory, but of course very helpful)
- and, most importantly: Being honest.
You can find some more useful tips here in the forums if you search thoroughly. You can also write a second application that is more elaborate than the first one =) Good luck!
Thanks for the post. I believe I will resubmit, since his outline is much more specific than the application itself.
Oh, and: There is a character limit. I don't know the exact limit, but keep that in mind in order to write your application accordingly =)
Knowing both languages fluently? That seems to go only one way... A lot of the "English for X speakers" courses have only native X speakers as contributors and if you look at "X for English speakers" courses they also have mostly just native X speakers as contributors.
At this point, Latin and Esperanto are probably the only other languages I'd think about adding. Just because I suck at languages, and they take a ton of effort.
Thank you, I hope You recieve an answer soon, because without Latin, Duolingo could diseppear out in the outer space:)
I've applied as well! I'm not perfect, but I did very well taking it in school (last year). I got to Latin 2, but my teacher wanted to put me onto the Latin 3 certamen team.
NOPE! ITS A MIRACLE! (Especially since April 1st was more than a week ago)
Excuse me, but Klingon is a REAL language anyone can learn. Sure, it was made for a TV show, but so what? I'm excited, and if anything this will make more people join Duo.
Okay so it is a real language. Why and where would you ever use this language at??? There is no country that speaks this language and you cant walk down the sidewalk and hear people speaking it. So i guess the only real reason for this language to be on DL is for the joy that "trekkies" get from learning it...
The first thing that comes to mind are conventions, like Comic-con. Many people cosplay as Klingons during these conventions, and the many would like to speak the language while cosplaying. Same applies for people cosplaying as Elves, Dothraki, or Na'vi. Also, liking a language and getting joy from learning it is a perfectly good reason to learn it.
There is no country that speaks Esperanto eeither, but you people aren't rioting about that.
Esperanto was used to communicate between European countries, Klingon is used for geeky cosplay.
This renews my hope that someday there will be an Al Bhed for English speakers course.
Ys e dra uhmo uha?
It ain't the community. It is one very angry user lol and I am trying to balance him out with upvotes. I can see how some people do not consider Klingon as a proper language because it emerged out of a TV show... but there is nothing wrong with people learning a constructed language. Learning it contributes to the variety and diversity of the language spoken by humans as much as learning any other language, if not more, given that it quite unique and has few speakers... Some decades ago people found 'weird' native speakers of Esperanto but now it is anything but... What's more, Duolingo does not have full control over which languages go to the incubator, there are way too many variables involved. I can also see why adding say Chinese or Arab would be cool, but it is not like Klingon is standing on the way... if anything the more the better.
and of course, I am getting downvoted too lol bring it on secret Klingon admirer.
Yes, but leaning the language is a bit harder than that. For example when you hear the word "rammu" knowing only how the letters switch will not immediately tell you that the person is saying "hello".
It is no language if it's just English with switched letters. Given enough time, you can understand EVERY text once you've got the table with the switched letters. It would take quite some practice to become fast enough to give the impression of fluency... But actually, pig Latin or just speaking backwards are more complex than this.
Al Bhed is not a language, it's just a really simple monoalphabetic cipher.
Ok, I see what you mean. I was meaning along the lines of spoken language mostly. I have noticed a small degree of what you are talking about when I was reading the in game text.
I probably will get to at least level 2 in Klingon once it comes out, but it is not something I am that excited for as I didn't grow up with Star Trek or Lord of the Rings as many people have. As for Game of Thrones, I find the series boring. I wanted to contribute to a course that would be interesting to me, thinking that it would be interesting to other people as well, but since no one else seems to be interested I won't make it.
How much did your own dignity go down with this comment of yours? Two or three levels?
It's worth learning about. Elvish would be awesome. You should watch Star Trek. I would recommend Star Trek Deep Space 9. The character development, cultural innovation, and political systems are fascinating!
I do not get all the hate for this. Right after I saw this, I quit learning German and watched all of the Star Trek stuff to learn about Star Trek, I spent countless hours on their wiki, and bought a book about Klingon. I am very excited to be able to learn this. And Duolingo isn't the one that is making this; 2 private contributors are. You can apply to start your own language if you want that more than this, but I don't. This is my highest priority right now.
I know how it would feel if a native speaker of certain countries sees a fictional language instead of his/her language listed on Duolingo...but it's okay to introduce invented language such as Esperanto(check)...and Toki Pona...because these languages are made by experts to simplify the usage of grammar by comparing the grammatical rules of all languages...anyway...all the best to Klingons!
Wow. Just...wow. Kudos to you, you devoted trekkies!! The only problem I can really see in the future is that some people might have different, not necessarily wrong translations as this might not be a language spoken by a large enough people group to be called an "official" language. Still, can't wait to learn this for fun on the weekends when (not if, I have faith) it comes out. Thank you for making this language be available to the masses!