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Should Latin be on Duolingo? Why?

I would love the idea of Latin on Duolingo and even try to revive it but is it needed? I want to hear your opinion.

July 13, 2015



Yes, while it is in fact a dead language, it is still very important in both a historical and religious manner. It is also the official language of Vatican City.


If it is the official language of the Vatican, then how is it dead? ;)


It is dead because it is no longer in vernacular use. That is the definition of a dead language. Vatican City does not have an official language, but they mostly use Italian. The Holy See, which is technically separate from the Vatican, uses Latin for official written documents, but it is not used as a spoken language.


Oh, I see. Thank you for clearing that up for me!! :D Have a great day! :D


Latin is not currently what people would describe as an "alive" language. It is not the official language of any country whatsoever. However, latin is still taught in schools. Also, it very fundamental when learning a different language. It is immensely helpful to those learning English as a second language. Latin enables those to study and learn a specific language more quickly and easily. For example, I achieved fluency in latin (I am a native speaker to English). Even though I am a native speaker of English, latin taught me dozens of new vocabulary words that I had not known the meaning to before. My opinion is that duo should definitely create a latin course. :)


You don't count the Vatican?


oh. does the Vatican count as a country? I suppose it does:)


You don't need to revive it, it is not dead. It is the official language of the Vatican, the catholic church, a number of schools, academia, and a whole lot of books, poems, et al, is written in the language, it is also a spoken language in the some parts of the church, in some schools, and in some radiostations, besides a lot of other people who like speaking it in latin organizations.


I completely agree:)


If people want to learn and others want to teach, then why not have Latin? The Klingon course is already started (which the nerd in me may be a little too excited about) and that is from a television show.


There is a lot of school children using Duo, to help them study, I think with Latin, which is purely about studying and revising it would be very beneficial to the kids to be able to study with duo. My kids have definitly gotten better in school, since starting duolingo, so I hope that we can get Latin on here before they have to start Latin in school!


I'll play the Devil's Advocate. Is it needed? Realistically no. There's a reason why Italian surpassed Latin in use.

Here's something to consider. A classic case of undersupply Latin and Greek are making a comeback - but can universities provide enough teachers? Chris Arnot reports


Yes - if for no other reason than it's a root language of a large number of contemporary languages, speakers of which would all benefit from learning Latin. I know my high school offered it, but a lot of people didn't have a chance to take it. I didn't, and I would LOVE to learn it now!


Although it's no longer spoken, and it seems very unlikely that it ever will be again, there are still written texts in Latin. Some people might want to read them in the original language. Latin is also the basis for many other languages


Well but latin isnt dead and people do speak it not just in the vatican


Who speaks Latin? The Vaticanites mostly speak Italian or occasionally English, German, Spanish, etc... The Holy See, which is technically a separate entity but occupies the same geographic location as the Vatican, uses Latin as a written language for official documents. However, most Vaticanese are not fluent speakers and cannot hold a conversation in Latin.




Okay. I didn't know that. Latin will come in very handy for anyone wishing to get a job at the vatican. Yes another reason to study it.


What would you do for the immersion part though? And is the speaking part needed?


> immersion

Besides simpler works by classical Latin authors, mentioned by AdamVill, there are many later documents, especially if written after the middle ages, that approach classical Latin in style and syntax that would be great to translate in immersion. Works of literature, philosophy, history, as well as historical documents, accounts of exploration--there is an enormous amount of material. Some of the medieval authors, too, would be suitable. However, it seems that Duo is de-emphasizing immersion.

The pronunciation definitely ought to be Classical pronunciation, instead of the degenerate ecclesiastical/Italian style. :-P

As far as making a course for an inflected language w/ flexible word order, the Slavic languages are similar to Latin in this way, and they are being introduced on Duo. Latin would be possible too.


Immersion could be translation of the simpler Latin texts (e.g., Caesar's works). The speaking part is important to really knowing a language and not just reading it (though that's really all that I strive for when I learn on DL - after all, I don't ever expect to speak Dutch to another person, though I'd love to read some Dutch literature). The pronunciation, however, ought to be ecclesiastical (very close to Italian pronun.) and not that ridiculous Classical pronunciation they teach you at most universities.


Also wouldn't it be hard to make a course with such flexible word order and that much grammer


Yes, it would be quite difficult - that simply can't be avoided. However, the benefits of knowing Latin are great, especially for the many aspiring polylinguists here on DL. Having a good foundation in Latin makes Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and French a snap to learn (not to mention how vastly improved most people's vocabularies are after knowing just a year's worth of Latin).


Is there even enough people qualified to make a course for Latin considering you have to be close to bilingual


I've run into a few here who at least claim fluency. I've studied a good amount myself but wouldn't claim bilingualism as of yet.


I actually asked this earlier. It seems that because it's a "dead language", nobody wants it. Thanks for asking.


Should people learn Latin and does knowing Latin help with learning other languages? Yes, absolutely. Should people be learning Latin via Duolingo? Or rather will people be able to learn Latin via Duoling? No.

I studied Latin in school for seven years (from the age of 11-18, ending up at about 5 hours a week class time and that again in homework by the final two years) and wouldn't consider myself anywhere close to fluent (even in just reading) and I found the real benefit of learning Latin when it comes to understanding new languages is getting so much grammar drilled into you constantly by trained teachers. I don't think Duo's learn by deduction method would work very effectively. I'm not saying I'd be impossible but it sure would be tricky.

I understand Duo tries to make everything intuitive rather than taught with tables and rote learning but I really can't imagine learning Latin any other way. Eventually declining nouns and picking the right endings comes naturally but it took me years of reciting tables to get to that stage. And there's no way on earth I'd fully understand or deduce the difference between participles, gerunds and gerundives or when to use the subjunctive or why a certain preposition takes case A in some instances and B in others purely from looking at example sentences.

Saying that, if Duolingo did create a Latin course, I'd be interested in checking it out and seeing how they manage to teach everything. I think it would probably be most useful for people to use alongside a taught cause just as a refresher or a little extra practice.


Yes please- I will be studying at university and I would love to be able to actually SPEAK Latin. Sure after a few months I would have people to speak it with as they would be doing it on DL too and want to use it!


you could talk to your friends and no one else would know what you are speaking except for you and your friends! :D

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