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Duolingo helps history nerds learn Latin

Romani ite domum.
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rarrarorro via Getty Images

Duolingo is usually focused on teaching languages that are immediately relevant, even if they're only useful at sci-fi conventions. This, however, isn't one of them. The service has introduced a Classical Latin course that, with the help of the Paideia Institute, will help you learn a language that hasn't been commonly used for centuries -- it's not even the Ecclesiastical Latin still used in churches. The learning process works much like it does in other Duolingo courses, although Latin's complexity could pose a serious challenge. It'll be a while before you're translating ancient murals.

There is some method to Duolingo's seeming madness. This is most useful for history buffs who'd like to read Cicero or Ovid in their original formats, but it could also be helpful for improving language as a whole. Duolingo claims it will help you understand romance languages like French and Italian, and may even help with the intricacies of English. If nothing else, you can flaunt your linguistic street cred by knowing what legendary phrases like "e pluribus unum" or "si vis pacem, parabellum" mean without looking them up.

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