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which we want first, but a few familiar locutions, the phrases for asking, for asserting, for denying, for enquiring; into which phrases nouns and adjectives soon fit themselves as fast as they are known. Mr Quick quotes from Marcel's Study of Languages a very significant sentence, “Half the knowledge with twice the power of applying it is better than twice the knowledge with half
the power of application." Latin for
To recognize the meaning and understand the gramFrench for
matical forms of words as they are printed in a book the ear.
suffices in learning Latin, and is itself a considerable achievement. It is the eye through which you want to approach the understanding in this case. The ear and the voice have little or nothing to do with it; for scarcely anybody ever has occasion to use a single sentence of spoken Latin, or to listen to Latin and interpret it at the same time. But in French or German it is the ear and the voice we want to cultivate quite as much as the eye, and much therefore of every good French lesson
should go on with the books closed. Audition. It is especially important to use many exercises in
what may be called audition--the listening to French sentences and rapidly interpreting them. In most schools, there is not even enough of dictation in French, which is obviously a simple and necessary exercise, and which of course you will not neglect. But even this does not suffice, for the measured careful utterance proper to a dictation lesson is very unlike ordinary speech, and many scholars will write a very good exercise from dictation, who would be quite unable to follow a conversation or even a sermon or oration delivered in the ordinary way. Is it not the painful experience of many of us who may be very familiar with book-French and able to read the language fluently; that when we
once cross the Channel, and hear it rapidly uttered we are confused, and cannot follow it fast enough. Here and there a word which happens to be the key-word or significant word in the sentence wholly escapes us;
and this causes the entire sentence to be unintelligible. We wonder why people will talk so fast, forgetting that our own habitual speech is often just as rapid, just as full of contractions and elisions; and that after all we do not know a language for speaking purposes, unless we can think in it as fast as a person usually talks. Now the true remedy for this is constant exercise in listening either to reading or to speech, uttered at the rapid rate of ordinary conversation. And the power to make a right use of such an exercise is far more easily attained when very young, and when the mind is unencumbered by thoughts of analysis and grammar, than in later life. It should not therefore be postponed and treated as an advanced exercise, but frequently adopted from the beginning.
Mr Bowen, in an excellent paper read at the late Head Masters' Conference, recommended that with advanced scholars the occasional use of a French book of reference as an alternative for an English one is useful. He recommends reference to a good French gazetteer or dictionary, or to the Biographie Universelle, in addition to books of the same kind in English. To this it may be added that some of the scientific manuals by Guillemin or Papillon are as easily read by an elder boy who has learned French as English manuals, and often excel our books in style and in clearness of arrangement. The sooner you can make a French book of use for reference, or for learning a thing at first-hand, the more rapid will be the progress of your pupil. Some exercises in invention and arrangement are Exercises
in inventa given in most of the books, but not, as it seems to me,
tion and enough. There are French sentences to be translated into composi- English and English into French. But there are not enough
exercises in which learners are required to make sentences of their own. These however are very important. At first a noun, and a verb, and an adjective may be given, in order that two or three little sentences may be made out of them; afterwards a few nouns may be given, and the pupil told to put at his own discretion appropriate verbs to them. Then verbs or adjectives may be added and required to be added to suitable nouns. Afterwards particular idioms, or phrases may be given, and the pupil asked to construct sentences containing them. Thus at first you give the material for such sentencesbut little by little, less should be given, and the scholars should be required to discover and supply words for themselves. And whether the required words are supplied from memory, or are hunted out and selected from a book, the exercise is equally valuable.
But although we thus dwell chiefly on the importance of the better cultivation of the ear and voice in teaching a modern foreign language, since these are just the points we are most in danger of forgetting, book-work being always more easy and seductive to teachers than the kind of oral practice which makes constant demands on your skill, your promptitude, and your memory; we must not of course overlook the fact that the language has also to be written, and its grammar thoroughly understood. You cannot therefore dispense with written exercises, especially in grammar and in composition, of the same kind as you would find necessary in teaching Latin. These however, are precisely the things which
good modern books supply in great abundance. The
Lastly, a word may be said on the subject of the choice of teachers.
teachers of foreign languages. It is generally considered Teachers of foreign languages.
indispensable to have a Frenchman to teach French, and a German to teach German. But experience shows us that the power to speak French does not always coexist with the power to teach it; that French ushers as a ciass are without the general liberal education which you look for in English assistants; and that as specialists, whose position renders them unable to look on the school work as a whole, they often fail to secure authority, or even to secure full knowledge for their own subject. It is obvious too that most of them are at a great disadvantage in the explanation in English of the meaning of the rules, and especially in comparing French idioms with English. Accordingly, in some of the best schools the modern language masters preferred are scholarly Englishmen, who have lived for a time abroad, and who have learned French or German well enough to think and converse well in it. And where such teachers are to be had, I should be disposed to prefer them. The objection to this is that the pronunciation is not likely to be perfect. But it is very easy to over-rate the importance of what is often so much vaunted in ladies' schools, the purely Parisian accent, and to pay too heavy a price for it. After all, this accent is not the first thing an Englishman wants. He will acquire it, if he goes abroad; and if he never acquires it, the power to express himself and to derive pleasure from reading French or German literature is much more important.
IX. THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.
We have tried to elucidate in the last lecture these lation of general truths, That all study of language is in itself English to other disciplinal, and helps greatly the development of one linguistic particular class of mental power; That some of the studies.
reasons which justify the teaching of Latin and Greek, are identical with those which make us teach French or German, but that others are wholly different; That Latin is to be learned as a literary language, and with a view to grammatical and logical training mainly, and not för purposes of expression or intercourse; but That a modern language is learned mainly for the sake of expression and intercourse, and only incidentally and in a subordinate sense as a linguistic discipline. The questions arise now—Why and how should we teach English, our own language? What place in a complete scheme of instruction should the vernacular tongue as a separate study be made to occupy?
The answer to this question depends of course on the width and extent of your course, and on the nature of the other provision which that course affords for prosecuting the study of grammar as a science. It has been said that the true perception of that science is the result of the synthesis and comparison of two languages, and is well-nigh unattainable in the learning of one.