Duolingo, we know you can make a #LatinCourse

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Dear Duolingo Staff,

Please make a Latin course.

For years, the Duolingo community has requested a Latin course. Although considered a "dead language", its legacy is extraordinarily foundational and influential to the modern world.

In fact, on April 14 and November 20, 2014, the CEO of Duolingo stated that he would add Latin. [1][2] After nearly 4 years, it has not been fufilled; however what has been fufilled would have to be fictional pop culture languages such as High Valyrian and Klingon. The excuse of it not being practical is not an excuse.

By signing this petition, you give awareness to the Duolingo team that the Latin language should be implemented.

Five Fantastic Reasons for Studying Latin

1) Latin provides the root words for all of the modern sciences.

  • "About 80 percent of the entries in any English dictionary are borrowed, mainly from Latin. Over 60 percent of all English words have Greek or Latin roots. In the vocabulary of the sciences and technology, the figure rises to over 90 percent. About 10 percent of the Latin vocabulary has found its way directly into English without an intermediary (usually French)." [3]
  • Examples of Latin within the sciences would be Homo sapien for wise man / humans and ignis for fire. For more examples, click here for Latin used in common systematic names, click here to see Latin used in medicine, and click here to see Latin used in mathematics. 
  • "All of the modern sciences began their development at the time of the Renaissance (about 500 years ago) when all educated people knew Latin and Greek.

    A new science means a whole new set of words, a whole new vocabulary. Think of all the new words that came with computer science. Think of all of the big words in biology, chemistry, astronomy, psychology, sociology, and economics. The first task in learning a new subject is to learn the vocabulary. Learning the vocabulary is half the battle." [4]

  • Some famous works that are written in Latin include Sir Isaac Newton's Mathematica Principia and René Descarte's Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy.

2) Latin is the language of law, government, logic, and theology.

  • "All legal terms are Latin. The Romans excelled in the practical arts of law and government, and it is from them that we derive our legal and political language. How many of these words do you know the meanings of? (Figure 1) Latin is invaluable for the business and law student. And although logic was first explained by Aristotle in Greek, it was really developed and systematized by the schoolmen in the Middle Ages—in Latin, of course." For a list of Latin legal terms, click here. [4
  • "And in the West, even Christian theology was worked out in Latin. Many of the original words were Greek, but they were all filtered through the Latin language. In fact, everything that has come down to us from the ancient world was filtered through Latin. Jesus said, “Behold I do a new thing,” and thus Christians needed new words to describe these new things. Sometimes they grabbed existing Latin words and gave them new meanings, like grace which meant favor or thanks. Christians gave grace a new spiritual meaning—the undeserved favor of God, Christian grace. And sometimes they created new words, like the Latin word Trinity, a word not found in Scripture but one needed to express the doctrine of the three-in-one God. Tres, tria is three and unus is one, Tri unity. Trinity. Both three and one at the same time." For a list of Latin theology terms, click here. [4]

3) Latin makes you more prepared for academics and the world.

  • "The study of Latin also provides training in logical thinking, boosting cognitive processes essential for math, science, and engineering. Latin has been said to cultivate such mental processes as alertness, attention to detail, memory, logic, and critical reasoning. Not surprisingly, Latin boosts SAT and GRE scores (out of 270 fields, Classics scored the highest mean Verbal GRE)." [5][6]
  • It has also shown to increase your SAT score compared to studying other foreign languages. [7][8]
  • "Your mind takes on the qualities of the subjects that it dwells on. The formative aspect of subjects is as important, if not more important, than the information they provide. For instance, the subject of literature teaches insight, perception, and compassion for the human condition. The subject of history develops judgment, discernment, acumen, and wisdom; The subject of math teaches accuracy and logic. Those qualities of mind are priceless and what differentiates the educated person from the uneducated. Likewise, the mind of the student that has been educated in Latin takes on the qualities of Latin: logic, order, discipline, structure. Latin requires and teaches attention to detail, accuracy, patience, precision, and thorough, honest work." [4]
  • Thomas Jefferson, Friedrich Nietzsche, J.K. Rowling, and Bill Gates and so much more studied Latin. [9][10]

4) Latin is the most efficient way to learn English and the Romance languages.

  • "The study of an inflected language with a very different sentence structure than English is an excellent introduction to how languages work. Latin students have a huge advantage in learning other inflected languages, such as Russian or German. Conversely, speakers of Romance languages (Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Rumanian) have an edge in studying Latin: Latin is the source of 75-80% of all words in these languages." For English, half of all words have a Latin origin. [5]

5) Latin gives access to ancient Roman culture and preserves it.

  • "You should study Latin if you want a liberal education. Latin and Greek traditionally formed the core of a liberal education, which was so named because only "free" ("liberal" from liber, meaning "free") people could afford to study disciplines that did not teach them a trade but which enriched their minds." [11]
  • "You should study Latin if you want to know more about life in ancient Rome. There is no real English equivalent for Latin words like forum, patronus, and imperator. When you learn these Latin words, you also learn about the Roman political and social realities behind them. Language is an integral part of culture, so by learning Latin, you will learn about Roman culture and society." [11]
  • "Latin prepares you to read the great masterpieces of Roman literature: Virgil, Cicero, Horace, Ovid and more." "A translation of the Aeneid can give you only a second-hand idea of what Vergil was trying to communicate; to fully appreciate the poem, you must read it in the language in which Vergil wrote it." [12] [11]
  • "Even the best translators cannot properly convey the artistry of the original author. Latin is a notoriously succinct language, and Latin poets are extremely economical; they can squeeze shades of meanings out of a few nuanced and powerful words. A translation can never reproduce all the creative skill of the original. A picture of the Sistine chapel will awe you, but it cannot give you a sense of the space that the painting takes up, the colors as they really are, or the thickness of the strokes. You would have to be there physically to “feel” it, and to get all the beauty out of Latin poetry, you must read it in Latin." [4]

 

"Latin is the mother tongue of Western civilization. The original thinkers in the ancient world were the Greeks and the Hebrews, but it was the Romans that summarized, synthesized, codified, and handed it down to us—in Latin. It could have been Greek or Hebrew, but it wasn’t. In the providence of God, it was Latin. And now Latin has spread over the world in all of the sciences, law, five Romance languages and one hybrid: English. Latin is the most influential language in human history. Latin is not dead; it’s immortal." [4]

 Thanks,

The People Who Signed This

Evidence of Demand for Latin

  1. https://www.duolingo.com/comment/8053459/Latin-Lessons-Directory
  2. https://www.duolingo.com/comment/8484175
  3. https://www.duolingo.com/comment/9699611
  4. https://www.duolingo.com/comment/4565729/Do-You-Want-To-Learn-Latin
  5. https://www.duolingo.com/comment/9569703
  6. https://www.duolingo.com/comment/9537069
  7. https://www.duolingo.com/comment/9143362
  8. https://www.reddit.com/r/duolingo/comments/34xyx1/whos_interested_in_a_latin_course/
  9. https://www.reddit.com/r/duolingo/comments/2ga600/i_know_that_latin_is_not_a_spoken_language_but_it/
  10. https://www.reddit.com/r/duolingo/comments/8a32bx/vote_for_new_languages/
  11. https://www.reddit.com/r/duolingo/comments/3nafiw/what_are_your_thoughts_on_a_latin_course/
  12. https://www.reddit.com/r/duolingo/comments/5hf86v/are_there_plans_for_latin/

References

  1. https://www.reddit.com/r/duolingo/comments/6h6007/why_is_latin_still_not_added/
  2. https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/2mwe7w/i_am_luis_von_ahn_the_creator_of_recaptcha_those/cm86qmb/
  3. http://www.dictionary.com/e/word-origins/
  4. https://www.memoriapress.com/articles/top-10-reasons-studying-latin/
  5. http://www.classics.illinois.edu/programs/latin/why/
  6. http://www.razib.com/wordpress/?cat=887
  7. https://www.brainscape.com/blog/2018/01/latin-help-your-sat-score/
  8. https://www.bolchazy.com/Assets/Bolchazy/extras/LatinAdvantageandSATscores.pdf
  9. https://blogs.transparent.com/latin/famous-people-who-studied-latin/
  10. https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/2tzjp7/hi_reddit_im_bill_gates_and_im_back_for_my_third/co3qg4y/
  11. https://www.iwu.edu/classics/courses/whylatin.html
  12. http://www.csus.edu/indiv/r/rileymt/course1/whystudy.html

 

 

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Last Updated April 6, 2018



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