[Course Forum] CarpeLanam's Duolingo Latin - Sentences by zsocipuszmak

The course:

Missing alternatives? Errors? Suggestions? Post them here!
Thanks for your help :dog: Gratias vobis ago!


In the food lesson there is the sentence « Viri fraga edunt, sed feminae mala edunt. » The sentence « Viri fraga sed feminae mala edunt. » ought to be accepted in keeping with « Pueri sucum, sed homines vinum bibunt. »

1 Like

I’ve added it as an alternative. Thanks for reporting it!

1 Like

Thanks! :slight_smile:

Found another one!

In the sentence « In tabulā sunt jus, panis, cafea et thea. », the classical spelling of « ius » is not accepted. Could you please fix that? Thanks.

Thanks again for reporting, it’s been added now :+1:

1 Like

I found another one. The classical spelling « coniuges » is not accepted in the sentence « Gaius et Lucia sunt conjuges. »

It’s been amended, too. Thanks as always!

Missing macron! « Aqua in olla fervet. » ought to have a macron over « olla ».

Also, there are a few sentences in the first verbs skill which do not accept « i » as an alternative for « j ».

Thanks for reporting, I corrected the missing macron. (But please note that in typing tests the course accepts macrons only in the case of sentences with the original word order, because usually added the alternatives without them.)
I tried to find the sentences in the lesson with the missing “i”-alternatives, but I don’t see any, can you tell me exactly which examples are those?

Macrons are useful for grammatical and analytical purposes, but the Romans, Byzantines, and writers of Medieval Latin really did not use them in writing and other documents.

1 Like

The course items seem to require a fixed word order, which is not the way Latin works. For example, “Sum puer” gets marked wrong and the course insists on “Puer sum.” The Latin I took in school never insisted on verbs at the end of sentences. I hope you can correct the word order problem.

I’m sorry but unfortunately I can’t do that. Firstly, there are over 2000 sentences already in the course, and adding every possible correct translation would be an immense amount of work for one person, even if it’s just the word order that varies. And secondly, I’m not a Latin teacher, and all my knowledge of the language comes from this very course, so I’m not confident enough to decide if a sentence in a specific word order actually is correct and means the same as the original phrase, and I wouldn’t want to “teach” others wrong sentences. :sweat:
At the time being, all this course can do is just provide an opportunity to memorize and practice the example sentences CarpeLanam presents in her weekly Latin lessons on the Duolingo forum, and other than copying those examples to this Memrise course, all I do is add the SOV word order as a “safe bet” alternative answer to every entry, to make the experience just a tiny bit less frustrating for all who want to practice Latin in a “duolingo-esque” way until a real Duolingo course gets developed by a group of experts.


I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to create a lot of work for you. The problem is that the course is marking as wrong responses that are perfectly correct. One of the first I noticed was “Thank you.” The most common way to say that in Latin is “Gratias ago tibi” – that’s what I have usually heard, altho “Gratias tibi ago” is also correct.

Latin quite often uses “SVO” order, just like English. Caesar’s Gallic Wars starts with “Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres…”, which is similar to English except for “partes tres”, where we say “three parts” [All Gaul is divided into three parts…]

In Latin the variations in word order generally just convey differences in emphasis. “Gratias ago tibi” emphasizes thanks as bit more; “Ago tibi gratias” emphasizes “I do” a bit, and “Tibi ago gratias” emphasizes “TO YOU”.

Thanks for your extensive work on this course. I do hope the eventual DuoLingo course has a way to handle Latin’s flexible word order.

1 Like

Here is one item you might like to check: the Help Me Memorize thing for “habeo” translates “Habeas corpus” as “You have the body”. “Habeas” is actually subjunctive mood, and the sentence means “You may have the body.”

Yes, the course in this format is very far from an ideal tool for learning Latin, but still better than nothing for the most determined students :slight_smile: I’m sure it will be a tremendous work even for a group of Latin teachers to put in all the alternatives in the future Duolingo Latin course, but if nothing else, the existense of the Hungarian course (my native tongue, another language with just as flexible word order as Latin) is proof that this can’t be an obstacle to bringing it to the Incubator.

Really it’s CarpeLanam who deserves all the thanks for the hard work, I’m just her virtual student merely copying his examples to Memrise.

The item you mentioned must be a “Mem”, a feature of the site. These little helping notes and pictures are created and shared by other users, independent of the course itself, so if some of them are incorrect, I can’t do anything about it. Try selecting another mem for the word in question, or you can even create your own mem with custom content.

It seems to be the “Complete DuoLingo Vocabulary: Latin” that has the issues I mentioned. I started a topic for the course since I couldn’t find one for messages. There are a number of problems. It gives “duis te” as Latin for “You’re welcome” but I have never seen that anywhere. It’s not in the Wiktionary. We used “nihil est” and “libenter”. The course gives “uva” as “grapes”, which is actually “uvae” (plural). It gives “bibo” as “drink”, but that’s really “I drink”, a verb, but no indication of that. Sometimes it gives two English words for one Latin, or one English for two Latin, and always insists on the two in the original given order. I could go on and on.

I’m just trying to hone my Latin skills. I had six years of it in high school and college, including just enough for a major, which we called a “bastard major”.

I may give up on this course—too many distractions.

Hungarian! I had a high school classmate from Hungary, who taught me the only two words I know: szerbus, and Istvan (my middle name, Steven).

Cheers and thanks.

—Robert Steven

Thank you for your kind words, and also your hard work transferring all my sentences to the Memrise course! It is precisely because of the vast number of acceptable variations that I didn’t want to take that task on. I know it can be frustrating to be marked “wrong” for an answer that a human teacher would accept. It’s just one of the weaknesses of Memrise, but there are many strengths to make up for it. I did add some variations for some of the sentences Robert noted, but it would be impossible to add every possible one. I prefer to focus on writing new content to teach the new concepts. Someday, in the best-case scenario, if I am asked to be one contributor to an official Latin course, I would have to confer with other team members to decide which sentences to keep. Then there would have to be a great deal of picky work in the Incubator to make sure each sentence is as perfect as we could make it, with acceptable alternatives also distinguished. Then if the course finally goes “live,” there would be many user reports needing attention and correction, enough to keep a whole team quite busy. There are a lot of “ifs”, even in the best case. My request for everyone is to be content with the platform we do have here on Memrise, even with its weaknesses, and view the course on Duolingo as a rough draft for what will, I hope, eventually enter the incubator.

Duolingo is going through some growing pains of its own right now and so I am holding off publishing another lesson for a bit… at least another week or two. I am a little concerned that if/when they overhaul the discussion forum, my previous posts may be taken down. It is difficult to interact with students without the Activity stream functioning. Also, having finished the perfect tense, it’s a natural pause point, and I need to take a little longer to research each new lesson. I certainly never expected to be making Latin lessons for two years, with no official course in sight. I have learned a lot in the process. I’m very pleased and grateful to have so many dedicated students and followers.

Gratias omnibus vobis ago.

Katherine Chapman

1 Like

Is this thing with the Duolingo forum already happening?! Just the other day I decided to put together another Memrise course with the principal parts for the verbs you presented, and I used your Classified Vocabulary list, but now I cannot load it anymore, only an error message displays, saying the page doesn’t exist :open_mouth: Do you have the full texts of your posts saved on your computer, so that you can reupload them if needed? It would be such a shame if they gradually disappeared and lost forever because of this coming interface overhaul.

(Thanks for the heads-up about the few week’s pause before the release of the next lesson, I can now stop compulsively checking the forums every 2 hours to see if it’s up yet :smiley: )


Having seen the inside of the Duolingo incubator, one of its strengths is the ability to include alternatives within one sentence.

So you could have something such as “The [big/large] [box/chest] is [under/underneath/below] the [couch/settee/sofa]”, and that would expand into 2×2×3×3 = 36 separate accepted sentences.

In Memrise, to the best of my knowledge, all 36 resulting sentences would have to be added one by one. Which would be a royal pain in the next.

So Memrise and its system of alternatives might be reasonable for single words (big/large are just two alternatives), but really breaks down for sentences where you can have not only variable word order but also several different places in the sentence that can each have word alternatives.