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Title: The Aural System - Being the Most Direct, the Straight-Line Method for the Simultaneous Fourfold Mastery of a Foreign Language.
Author: Hardy, Charles
Language: English
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Transcribed from the 1895 Thomas Brown pamphlet by David Price,
ccx074@pglaf.org

[ENTERED AT STATIONER’S HALL.]



                            THE AURAL SYSTEM;


                                  BEING

                             THE MOST DIRECT,

                         THE STRAIGHT-LINE METHOD

                                 FOR THE

                      SIMULTANEOUS FOURFOLD MASTERY

                                   OF A

                             FOREIGN LANGUAGE

                        TEACHING SIMULTANEOUSLY TO

                   SPEAK, UNDERSTAND, READ, AND WRITE,

                                    BY

   A Linguist of nearly 40 years standing, and nearly 20 years resident
                                 abroad.

                                * * * * *

                                BRADFORD:
               THOS. BROWN, PRINTER, 311, MANCHESTER ROAD.
                                  1895.

_Respecting the time required to learn a language_, _the writer ventures
to recommend the way he himself took when a boy to solve this question_.
_Having made choice of a known grammar_, _the exercises of which promise
a satisfactory degree of proficiency_, _let the student affix to each and
all of the lessons at the outset_, _the dates when they are to be done
and observe them_.  _Some weeks a little perseverance and determination
may be necessary_, _but let him be inflexible with himself_, _curtail his
indulgences if required and his task will be done with ease_.

_Subsequent studies are pleasant and easy_.

                                * * * * *

Some time ago, a Mr. Wm. Rodger came down from Glasgow for the purpose of
showing how foreign languages should be taught.  He brought on a
gentleman, a clergyman from Leeds, who had gone through Otto’s German
Grammar without being able either to speak or understand German; this
gentleman was able to bear testimony to the merit of Mr. Rodger’s system
because by it he had learnt to do both.  Of course his testimony rested
on one assumption.  It assumed that having gone through Otto’s Grammar
all learnt from it had been forgotten, and that the whole merit of his
success was due to Mr. Rodger’s method.

Mr. Rodger was of opinion, that foreign languages should be learnt as a
child learns its mother tongue.  It seemed to me a strange use to make of
the reason and intelligence of the adult, to cast it aside as useless and
to ask the youth and man to become a child again.  It appeared to me the
most wasteful of methods.  Is language a science, and if so, what would
be thought of a similar proposal for acquiring any other science?  But
are the cases parallel?  Is there any similarity of circumstance?  Can
the youth and man again place themselves in the circumstances of the
child?

The child is constantly hearing the language spoken, everyone around it
is teaching it to speak, everything around it stimulates it to do so.
Nearly everything it learns, comes to it through its mother tongue; at
play it hears, it speaks.  At five years of age it begins to go to
school, and from that time until its fourteenth or sixteenth year,
whatever else it studies, it must study its mother tongue.  All other
knowledge reaches it through this medium.  Every other study compels the
study and practice of its mother tongue and allowing ten hours per day
for sleep, by the time it is fourteen years of age seventy-one thousand
six hundred hours have been spent in such study and practice.

Let us take the case of the youth or man who commences the study of a
foreign language.  He has found that a foreign language will be of use to
him or has become necessary to him in his work.  He begins to study it
and takes the usual one lesson per week of one hour’s duration.  In a
year he has spent fifty hours with the teacher; if he devoted two or
three hours weekly to the preparation of each lesson, he will have spent
150 to 200 hours per annum upon it, or, less absences and omissions,
perhaps 140 or 180 hours upon its study.  This makes fourteen days of ten
hours or perhaps three weeks as against fourteen years spent by the child
upon its mother tongue.  Multiply this amount of fourteen days by two or
three, and grammar is still seen by comparison to have accomplished a
stupendous miracle.  But even this disparity is not complete, for whilst
the child, whether at work or play, never ceases to study and practice
its native language, and this is by far its principal occupation, the
youth and man, on the other hand, devote to the study of a foreign
language, the remnants, the odds and ends of their time, after having
exhausted their energies in their work.

These were the considerations that occurred to me on thinking over Mr.
Rodger’s prospectus.  Nevertheless, it was impossible to regard as
satisfactory a method of tuition or study, which left the pupil unable to
understand or speak a language after having gone through a grammar like
that of Otto.  The Grammatical Method being one which does not seek to
render easy and simple at the cost of efficiency, by eluding and evading
the difficulties and peculiarities of a language, but being the one which
fairly meets and masters them: there can be no question of dispensing
with its valuable assistance.  The wise course is to adopt that method of
using it, which will enable us to derive most benefit from its teachings,
and ensure success.  It is for this purpose the following has been
written.  It follows from this, that if the pupil’s time admit, the most
complete Grammar is the best.

We have been amongst the most backward in this branch of study, but our
grammars since then have been largely borrowed from our more successful
competitors; from those who excelled as much in modern languages as we
ourselves in industry.  They are in many instances the work of foreign
specialists and experts, they are the very instruments of success used by
our most successful rivals, how then can they be inadequate?  Translation
has put us into possession of the best works used by our foreign rivals,
and if we are less successful than they, it is due, as a Swiss
correspondent of the “Manchester Guardian” recently stated, not to the
superior aptitude, but to the superior application of the foreigner.

The writer first commenced studying foreign languages nearly forty years
ago, and has resided for nearly twenty years in various foreign
countries.  His experience with regard to those who learn foreign
languages has been that those who commence the practice of a foreign
language with a previous knowledge of its Grammar, learn to speak it with
an ease, confidence and correctness never attained by those who try to
dispense with such preparation and study.  On the other hand those who
have learnt to speak without such study, contract vicious and faulty
locutions, and rarely if ever make good the deficiency.  They are
compelled of course to form a rough Grammar of their own, upon incomplete
information, and have to do so hastily and imperfectly.  For writing,
where precision and accuracy are required a knowledge not based upon
Grammar is next to worthless.

Most pupils have a fourfold object in studying a language; they wish to
be able to read and write, to speak and to understand it.  By what method
could this be most easily achieved?  If this work could be performed
simultaneously, it would effect a saving of time and labour, as well as
impress what was being studied more deeply upon the memory.  The memory
for sound, form, music, figures, spelling, etc., appears to be distinct
and to vary in each one.  If the memory for sound could be brought more
into play, it must help to retain more tenaciously what was learnt.

Of course, the pupil can only expect to be master of the language so far
as he has studied and learnt.  He cannot expect to reap where he has not
sown.  Within this limit he learns to read, in preparing the lesson, and
to write, in writing out the exercises.

But Mr. Charles Sauer says in the preface to his Italian Grammar 5th Ed.,
page iv., “Everyone who has occupied himself with study of modern
languages knows, that by far the more difficult task is to _understand_
the foreign language,” (_i.e._, when spoken.)

That cannot be called a success which leaves the most difficult part of
the task unaccomplished, nor can it be wise to allow difficulties to
amass and accumulate, if they can be mastered in detail as they present
themselves.  The task is the education of the ear and tongue and this can
only be done by practice.

To learn to understand the language when spoken, one must hear it spoken;
to learn to speak it, one must speak it.  It may even have its advantages
if such conversation keep within the range of the pupil’s knowledge.  He
thus feels that he ought, must, and can understand, if he try.

If the pupil speak to himself both these results are attained.  This he
can do by studying aloud.  His tongue will educate his ear and
familiarise it with the new sounds, whilst the ear will correct the
tongue.  I assume, of course, that he is under the guidance of a teacher;
in this case with attention to the teacher’s pronunciation and care, and
a little effort on his own part, he should soon pronounce correctly,
easily, and well.  By translating the exercises aloud, from five to
twenty times, they should become as familiar to him as English.  But
whether translating into or from English, the foreign sentences should
always be uttered _aloud_ clearly and distinctly.  It is, of course, a
drawback, that in this translation aloud and alone of the exercises, the
eye should anticipate the ear in conveying the words to the brain, but,
when full allowance has been made for this, the gain for the pupil is
still immense as compared with the silent method of study.

The learner should not be satisfied with being able to translate the
exercises, he should aim at being able to use his new tongue with the
same ease, readiness and fluency, as his native language.  At each
successive translation, he gains in this respect whilst engraving his
newly acquired knowledge more deeply on his memory.  The exercise which
the first time required fifteen minutes to translate, the fifth time will
probably take but three.

A chief difficulty being the education of the ear, and the time spent
with the teacher being the pupil’s best opportunity for this, the lesson
for the pupil so far as possible should be aural, the exercises being
spoken by the teacher to the pupil for translation and the pupil’s
translations likewise being spoken.  The pupil’s book should be kept
closed during the translation.

Supposing the pupil to be studying French.  The teacher should first
speak the French exercise in French, the pupil translating each sentence
as spoken, into English.

2.  Then taking the English exercise, the teacher should translate it
aloud into French, the pupil retranslating each sentence, when spoken,
into English.

3.  The teacher should then speak each sentence of the English exercise
in English; the pupil translating each sentence in a distinct voice into
French.

4.  The teacher should then translate aloud sentence by sentence, the
French exercise into English; the pupil retranslating each sentence into
French.

This will double the exercises, which are usually rather scanty.  As we
see, this part of the lesson is for the pupil exclusively aural and oral;
he works through the ear and tongue only, his book being kept closed.

In working alone at the preparation of his lesson, there is the
disadvantage for the ear, that, before the sound reaches it, the eye has
conveyed the meaning to the brain, but when working with the teacher as
above, this drawback is obviated.  The test is indeed a more severe one
than actual conversation would be.  When conversing, the subject is
known, and the question suggests the reply; but with disconnected
sentences, no such help is forthcoming.

The pupil can much hasten his own progress by varying the exercises,
forming of them question and answer, changing tenses and moods of verbs,
varying them so far as he can trying how far he can make conversation out
of them.

This method has further the advantage of showing the pupil plainly, week
by week, the progress he is making and the remedy being in his own hands,
he becomes responsible for his own failure.  If he cannot translate
freely and easily, when with the teacher, he cannot expect later to speak
freely and naturally, when he comes to engage in actual conversation with
foreigners.  His remedy is to translate his exercises alone, until he can
do so, as readily, as if they were English.  The shyness and diffidence
that so frequently accompany first attempts to converse are not
experienced under this method.

One reason why pupils in conversation fail to understand readily is
because they do not know the verbs well; do not know their grammar; a
sentence does not convey to them at once a definite meaning, and whilst
engaged in puzzling out the meaning of what has already been said they
cannot give their undivided attention to what their interlocutor is just
saying.

I have described the manner in which on Mr. Wm. Rodger’s visit in March
1891, I was led to this method.  Theoretically it seemed to me sound, and
after having since tested it practically, I do not think its merit
exaggerated.  In April last 1894, a French Grammar by Mr. Paul Baume was
brought under my notice.  Mr. Baume recommends a similar method between
teacher and pupil, but omits to state how the pupil can best prepare
himself for it.  Mr. Baume, will, I think find the difficulties he
mentions to disappear, if the pupil prepare himself as I have prescribed.
I have never encountered such difficulties, and attribute this to the
fact, that I always recommend pupils to prepare themselves by studying
aloud.  Mr. Baume says he has practised his method with considerable
success during twenty years.  I was not very much surprised at having
been partially anticipated by Mr. Baume, for, while error is infinite,
the truth is one; there can be only one straight line between two points,
and this seems to me the most direct, the straightest way to the
_simultaneous fourfold acquirement_ of a language.

With a Grammar like that of Otto an expeditious mode of learning words is
desirable.  Perhaps the quickest, is to transcribe the words to be
learnt, into parallel columns and covering up each column in turn, to run
down them ten or more times.  Whilst doing this the foreign words should
always be pronounced aloud.  The transcription impresses the spelling on
the memory, and where the written alphabet differs from the English
affords valuable practice.  Arminius Vambery thought it a matter for
congratulation when having begun by learning ten words daily, he was able
to reach sixty.  The column of twenty foreign words can be mastered in
about one quarter of an hour, and I have myself done over 200 at this
rate on some days, though I do not say they can be retained without
repetition.

Lord Dufferin says that in a work of about 600 pages, there will probably
be three thousand words of which the meaning will be unknown to the
student.  A list should be made of them, and they can be conveniently
mastered at the rate of forty daily and thus all learnt in three months.
With each successive work, the process should be repeated, until it
becomes unnecessary.  He adds that this has the advantage that, if
necessary, after a long interval, by preserving such lists, the words can
be relearnt with little trouble.

An able Swiss authority recommends the pupil to learn from 10,000 to
12,000 words of each language, dividing them into three or four classes
according to their usefulness or frequency of occurrence.  He recommends
their periodical repetition.

Asher’s German Correspondent and Booch-Arkossy in the “Eco de Madrid”
recommend the translation of a good idiomatic work into English and its
translation into the language of the original, carefully comparing such
retranslation with the original and noting mistakes.  With the teacher,
such translation may be made by word of mouth, the teacher translating
into English and the pupil retranslating each sentence when uttered into
the language of the original.

Another method is to read and translate some idiomatic foreign work.  At
the end of the paragraph, the teacher forms questions from each sentence,
to which the pupil replies.  So soon as able, the pupil, in turn,
questions.  This is I believe substantially the old “Robertsonian
method.”  The pupil can prepare his lesson by framing both question and
answer himself.  It is excellent drill.

Good practice in speaking is also to be obtained by the pupil’s narrating
to the teacher in the language of the original, the contents of each
paragraph.  He need not of course attempt to recite by heart the words of
the text, but merely repeat the sense.

Mr. Chardenal recommends the pupil to translate mentally an increasing
number of sentences daily and to repeat them as frequently as possible
during the day.  The sentences should illustrate important rules.  His
object is to induce mental work, personal labour on the part of the
pupil.

Arminius Vambery’s method was to enter into imaginary conversations with
himself.

All these methods do not mean discordance but agreement.  All methods
which concurrently with Grammar, mean practice or induce it, are good.
This is the pith and secret of all successful systems: _practice with
method_ often, much, and aloud but by all means master the Grammar as
quickly and thoroughly as possible, and thus practice strengthens
grammar, while grammar guides and illumines practice.

Dr. Abercrombie in his work, “Intellectual Powers” chapter “Memory,” says
the depth, the permanence of an impression on the mind depends upon the
distinctness of the perception, the intensity with which it is
contemplated, the length of time during which it is kept before the mind,
the impression being very much strengthened by being repeatedly brought
before the mind.  This labour must be a voluntary act on the part of the
individual.  He adds: “The habit of listless activity should be carefully
guarded against by the young, and the utmost care should be taken to
cultivate the opposite, namely, of directing the mind intensely to
whatever comes before it in reading or observation.  This may be
considered as forming the foundation of a sound intellectual character.”

Lord Macaulay attributed his marvellous memory to a very simple method,
adopted when a boy.  When reading, at the bottom of each page, he
required himself to give an account of its contents.  At the outset, said
he, he needed to reperuse the page three or four times, but he ended by
being able almost to recite a book from beginning to end after having
once read it through.  This is also the essential feature recommended by
Dr. Abercrombie in his “Intellectual Powers” chapter on memory.  Such a
method of summarising each letter, order, invoice, or conversation at its
close would also give good results to the Merchant, Clerk, or Traveller,
both in leaving a clear impression and in strengthening the memory.

It certainly seems to me an excellent way for mastering the rules, and
would admit of their recapitulation each time the exercises are gone
through.

Reading aloud is also an excellent practice.  It improves the
pronunciation and trains or keeps the ear in practice.  Its benefit is
not to be measured by what is retained by the memory.  It confers also a
benefit similar to that which is derived from a course of arithmetic.
Grammatical peculiarities may be noted at the end of the book, and the
page added.  As the limbs are invigorated and strengthened by suitable
exercise, so the powers of the mind are strengthened and developed by
following a great mind at its best, following its train of thought, of
reason.

Mr. John Cryer in his school board electioneering address, 1894, ranges
promising pupils in the order of workers, plodders and bright ones.  The
last are frequently overrated, the memory more quick than retentive.
“Wie gewonnen, so zerronnen,” “Lightly come, lightly go,” mere quickness
may prove a will o’ the wisp, and may be peculiar to one subject, but the
capacity for patient, honest, painstaking work is a vastly more valuable
quality, which can be applied with fair success to any pursuit.  It gives
earnest of the sense of duty, of responsibility, and that capacity for
self-sacrifice, which peculiarly fit and qualify their possessor for
positions of trust and responsibility; it is a pledge that the amount of
labour will be forthcoming to render equal to the position.  “Practice
makes perfect” says the proverb.  “Habit becomes second nature” and the
facility and aptitude which nature sometimes bestows as a free gift can
be acquired at the cost of application and diligence.

Whilst mastering the first language the pupil is also learning how to
learn languages, each successive one becomes more easy.

Let the pupil make it a rule always to do his best.  He will naturally
take a pride and a pleasure in work well done, and by continually
striving and studying to do better, he cannot fail to improve in it.
This is the road to honest success, to happiness and to self-improvement:
this will continually enlarge his capabilities and strengthen his natural
powers, and, even if he fail in accomplishing all he aimed at, there can
be no better consolation than that of knowing that he has nothing to
reproach himself with that he has manfully done his best, and that he is
the better for the effort.

In their desire to disparage and discredit the already existing system of
learning Foreign Languages by means of a Grammar, the exponents of the
“Natural Method” and “Method of Nature” choose to ignore the existence of
the large number of Linguists who have acquired their knowledge through a
Grammar.

Mr. GOUIN is of opinion that one can learn a language perfectly in 900
hours, or 300 lessons of three hours each, one can know enough French to
feel at home in France, to understand what is said in street, cafe, or
railway, to read a French newspaper with ease and to talk French with a
French accent in six months lessons of 2 hours each, five days per
week—_see_ “_Review of Reviews_” 1892, _page_ 512, _and January_, 1893.

Most teachers under the Grammatical Method have to achieve success or
make the best of one lesson of one hour weekly.  This is one-fifteenth,
or one-tenth of the time per week mentioned by Mr. GOUIN.

The saving of time shown by the Grammatical Method is due to
generalisation.  It distributes words into classes, defines the laws or
rules that govern their use, and regulates the construction of sentences.
Sentences are thus taught in groups and not singly.  The pupil learns to
construct sentences, and does not simply learn by heart to repeat them.
He can thus supply himself at will with an infinite number.  If he fail
thus to apply his knowledge, only his own lack of diligence is in fault.

The writer first commenced the study of languages nearly forty years ago,
and during this time he has spent nearly twenty years abroad, in various
foreign countries, but he never met with a case where a pupil had
continuously, daily, earnestly, and honestly devoted one-fourth of the
time mentioned by Mr. Gouin to the study of a good grammar of a foreign
language who could reasonably complain of failure, nor indeed a shorter
space of time applied under the same conditions which did not meet with a
proportionate measure of success.

The titles of the new methods have been adroitly chosen, they claim to be
those of nature and by implication stigmatise the Grammatical method as
unnatural.  They profess that they teach a foreign language as a child
learns to speak its mother tongue.  A very high classical authority
coupled “ratio et oratio” reason and speech as complements and
indubitably speech can only improve and develop as the mind unfolds and
matures.  Those who adopt the new method appear to think the limitations
imposed by the immature child’s mind worthy of imitation when dealing
with the riper adult.  Rule of Thumb has the advantage that being born of
and acquired by practice it can be applied and put into practice, but it
is certainly rather late in the day to revert to it in the acquirement of
languages.  We have had some experience of Rule of Thumb in this town.
The Grammatical Methods of teaching languages are those of teaching any
science in a thorough manner.  They classify the various parts of speech
for the purpose of reducing them to rule, these are studied in detail and
the rule defines the conditions and limitations under which they can be
used in construction.  This rule teaches us how we can correctly form
thousands of sentences on the model of one, instead of regarding each as
so many distinct phenomena.  One Grammarian, Lennie, 47th Ed., defines
Grammar as the art of speaking and writing the English Language with
propriety.  I venture to say that in dealing with a foreign language one
cannot express one’s self with accuracy, nay one cannot be confident of
expressing one’s own meaning at all without a grammatical knowledge of
it.  But, of course, speech means practice, and no amount of theory can
become a substitute for this.

Mr. Gouin was a youthful unmarried student of Caen University
distinguished by a capacious but not very retentive memory.  He was sent
by the Professors to attend lectures at Berlin University and Hamburg and
proceeded to master German.  He learnt the German Grammar in ten days.
But being unable to understand the lectures he learns the 1000 German
roots in four days, and again tries the lecture room with the same
ill-success.  He then decided to learn the German Dictionary by heart and
did so in one month, but on again attending the lecture room, he was
still unable to understand.  He passed ten months in similar efforts and
states that on one occasion he attended the lectures for a whole week,
without understanding a single sentence.  He subsequently states, that
his previous ten months work, so far from being useful to him in a new
effort was detrimental.  He had a wrong pronunciation, and there was not
a single verb in the whole language to which he did not attribute a
meaning other than the true one.  He had to unlearn, then relearn.  After
ten months labours he returned to France unsuccessful.  Under a teacher’s
guidance, with much less labour, he would have achieved an unqualified
success.

By observing a young nephew of four years he is led to his present
method.  He returns to Germany, puts it into practice, and is speedily
and eminently successful.  He banishes Dictionary, Grammar, Roots,
Ollendorf and Robertson.

Mr. Gouin appears to have thought that since a language is made up of
grammatical rules and words, it was only necessary to commit them to
memory to have mastered the language.  His mistake was that of the person
who should suppose that since strength is derived from food, the more
food he swallows the stronger he becomes.  He exceeded his capacity of
mental digestion and assimilation.

Another cause of Mr. Gouin’s failure was that of supposing that a
knowledge of the theory carries with it the ability to practice.

Mr. Gouin states that his memory was in his eye not in his ear, and that
a month’s interruption of his labours proceeding from disease of sight
brought on by overwork was sufficient to efface from his memory Grammar,
Dictionary all previously learnt.  Dicken’s Yorkshire schoolmaster, Mr.
Squeers recognised that knowledge acquired, ought speedily to be put into
practice.  Mr. Gouin would have found in Paris, many young Frenchmen
engaged in commercial pursuits who speak Italian or Spanish or
Portuguese, and even English or German, well, who have never been in any
country where these languages are spoken.  This was the case so far back
as 1866.

_Review of Reviews_, 1892, _page_ 88.—Professor Blackie says that after
five months in Germany, he knew German as well as his mother tongue.  He
attended Professor’s lectures, took regular lessons in German.  He added
to this the text-book used by Professor, daily intercourse with students,
and the constant reading of easy German books.  By this combination of
social intercourse, primary training of the ear, and secondary use of
relative books both in reading and writing, he spoke German like English
in five months.  Memory depends upon force of original impression and
frequency of repetition.  He says that at the University pupils did not
learn to speak Latin.  A new professor came who spoke it, made a speech
in it, and called upon the pupils to reply, Blackie was the only one who
ventured to do so, and had learnt by “spouting” Latin speeches of Cicero
etc. in his room.  He used Italian vowels.

Dr. Hanes says it is impossible to learn a language by the translation of
disconnected sentences, referring to the usual exercises of the
Grammatical Methods, and by learning lists of words.  The sentences are
only disconnected in that they do not always form question and answer,
but this the student can easily and profitably remedy.  Besides all
speech is not dialogue.  _See page_ 7.  They are no more disconnected
than are so many soldiers of a regiment, moving at the impulse of one
mind, and marching to the attainment of one object.  The connection is
that all the soldiers act in unison in execution of the command of their
officers.  The connection between the so-called disconnected sentences is
that they have been selected to illustrate and inculcate the rule under
study.  This is the true connection that unites and harmonises them all,
that each leads the pupil directly to the attainment of his object—the
mastery of the rule.  The illusory connection of some insipid narrative
is only delusive.

What can a method be which, from the beginning excludes the mother tongue
of the pupil when he knows no other? it is necessarily confined to dumb
show and practice.  It is no more to be compared for thoroughness to the
Grammatical Method than would be instruction in weaving by a weaver, with
the instruction of Master of the Technical School in constructing a
piece.  Doubtless a person can learn to weave a piece in a Factory but no
one will compare such an acquirement with the course of instruction in
manufacturing, in the construction of a piece, imparted at the Technical
School, under the guidance, of Mr. Ashenhurst’s text books.  Grammar, in
the study of language is such a text book, it imparts order and method to
the study.

We have suffered from the divorce and the dissociation of theory and
practice.  Until recently our universities, or seats of learning, catered
only for the aristocracy, the land-owning class, and the clergy: science
was neglected.  Originating in the natural advantages of an abundant
supply of easily-worked coal and iron, an extensive coast line, and a
favourable geographical situation, we had achieved an undeniable
pre-eminence in industry and manufactures, which was supported by
abundant cheap capital and a spirit of enterprise; it was backed by
workmen possessed of natural ability, and such skill as practice and
highly sub-divided labour can impart.  All this was found insufficient to
enable us to hold our own, our supremacy was passing away, and when the
cause of our inability to maintain it was investigated, our deficiency
was declared to be the lack of a systematised higher education.  Public
Spirit founded our Technical Schools to supply the remedy and they have
been found effective.

Owing to the neglect of modern languages by our Universities and a system
of higher education which took no cognizance of industrial needs we were
amongst the most backward in this branch of study, but when interest was
aroused our grammars were largely borrowed from our more successful
competitors from those who excelled as much in modern languages as we
ourselves in industry.  They were often the work of foreign specialists
and experts they are the very instruments of success used by our most
successful rivals, how then can they be inadequate?  Translation has put
us into possession of the best works used by our foreign rivals, and if
we are less successful than they it is due as a Swiss correspondent of
the “Manchester Guardian” recently stated not to the superior aptitude
but the superior application of the foreigner.  He is less sensible to
the attractions of football and out-door sports or at least they are not
of such an all-absorbing irresistible temptation.  With a mother tongue
compounded of the Teutonic and Romance languages, no other people than
the British enjoys such a natural facility for acquiring both the German
and French and their sister tongues.

In 1893 the Scotch Education Department issued a report to the Lords of
the Committee of Council on Education for Scotland, by Professor Herbert
A.  Strong, L.L.D. on

             METHODS OF TEACHING MODERN LANGUAGES IN BELGIUM.

Belgium was selected as a field for investigation, says Professor Strong,
because, from force of circumstances it has paid particular attention to
this branch of instruction, the necessity of learning modern languages
being there felt, much more strongly than in Britain.  It is a small
country, thickly populated, with an extensive commerce, for which as well
as for its literature, it is compelled to look to countries larger than
itself.  It embraces three languages within its borders—Flemish, spoken
by more than three millions; Walloon by over two millions, and French the
language of literature and commerce.

In the Primary Schools, French, the language of their Literature and
Commerce is studied six years.  Every child must study one language
besides its mother tongue.  This is compulsory.

          1st       2nd       3rd       4th       5th       6th
                                                            year

Girls     2         2         3         3         3         3 hours
weekly

Boys      2         2½        4         4         3         3 hours
weekly



It is understood, it is no part of the duties of the primary school to
teach the literature of a language.

In the Athénées, or Secondary Schools, French or Flemish compulsory
courses comprise six lessons a week during first two years, and three
lessons per week in following years:—



German six years, page 11.              7 years, page 12.

1st       2nd       3rd       4th       5th       6th       7th
                                                            year

          2         4         3         3         3         3 hours



The degree of proficiency of the pupils is also stated page 17.  In these
schools the method of teaching from objects is not anti- but simply
ante-grammatical as is apparent from the classes in which the two methods
are respectively in use.  In the two lowest classes of a primary school,
ignorance of their own language, and their unripe mental powers would not
admit of children of such tender age learning otherwise than from
objects.



Supplement.


The following French Numerals are differently pronounced according 1st—as
they stand alone, or are joined to Noun or Adjective beginning, 2nd—with
Vowel.  3rd—with Consonant.

Compound numbers as simple ones.

Practise the sounds given                   with _the words_

              alone                       ans             livres

       un                un            un n’arbre           un

      deux              deu               deuz              deu

     trois              troi             troiz             troi

     quatre            quatre            quatr’           quatre

      cinq              cinq              cinq              cin

      six               siss              siz               si

      sept              sèt               sèt               sè

      huit             huitt              huit              hui

      neuf              neuf              neuv              neu

      dix               diss              diz               di

 17 diss-sett,      18 diz-huit,              19 diz-neuf,

     vingt              vin               vint              vin

 quatre-vingts       quatre-vin       quatre-vinz       quatre-vin

      cent              san               sant              san



In ils étaient neuf a diner, neuf en tout, the f keeps its natural sound.

No tie is ever made before onze

In 21 to 29 the t of vingt is sounded, 22, vint-deu, 23 vint troi etc.
From 80 to 99 the t of vingt is everywhere mute, and the n is sounded
nasal.  Quatre-vingt-un is sounded quatre-vin-un.

Cent un is sounded san un; but 200 deu sanz hommes.

Mille, thousand has no plural form.  deux mille 2000; deux milles means
two miles.  Mil is used in Christian era, l’an Mil huit cent, 1800.

In pronoun Tous, the  is never silent and always pronounced like ç or ss.

In Belgium for 70, septante, for 80, octante, for 90 nonante are used.

“The Aural System” Supplement.





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