In 2019, the language-learning website and app Duolingo released a Latin course that currently has almost 1.5 million learners. Despite its potential, Duolingo has already received several criticisms regarding other languages for what are considered unrealistic goals. Furthermore, it was pointed out that the proposed method might be helpful for vocabulary but only in addition to an immersion environment. However, preparing lexical activities for the Latin language is particularly complex due to the need to find the proper criteria for an adequate organisation of the terminology. In fact, it cannot be subdivided only by topic, as this would mean not taking other important factors into consideration (e.g. phono-linguistic criteria). I completed the Duolingo course for Latin and carried out a qualitative analysis of how vocabulary was organised and taught, evaluating the pros and cons of the types of exercises and the didactic methodology and techniques chosen. Notwithstanding the immediate advantage coming from the use of gamification (i.e. learning without perceiving the workload), the results of my work consist of a series of recommendations that could significantly help the creators of Duolingo make the most out of the resource they provide, considering that the course still needs to be perfected and it probably cannot be used autonomously yet.
Andrea Consalvi, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy