« AnteriorContinua »
We have hitherto been occupied with finding the word; we will now suppose, after running a dirty finger down many columns, and after many sighs and groans, that the word is found. We presume the little fellow working in the true orthodox manner, without any translation: he is in pursuit of the Greek word Badra, and, after a long chase, seizes it, as greedily as a bailiff possesses himself of a fugacious captain. But, alas! the vanity of human wishes !-the never sufficiently to be pitied stripling has scarcely congratulated himself upon his success, when he finds Barra to contain the following meanings in_Hederick's Lexicon :- 1. Jacio; 2. Jaculor; 3. Ferio; 4. Figo; 5. Saucio; 6. Attingo; 7. Projicio; 8. Emitto; 9. Profundo; 10. Pono; 11. Immitto; 12. Trado; 13. Committo; 14. Condo; 15. Ædifico; 16. Verso ; 17. Flecto. Suppose the little rogue, not quite at home in the Latin tongue, to be desirous of affixing English significations to these various words, he has then at the moderate rate of six meanings to every Latin word, one hundred and two meanings to the word Baadw; or, if he is content with the Latin, he has then only seventeen.
Words, in their origin, have a natural or primary sense. The accidental associations of the people who use it, afterwards give to that word a great number of secondary meanings. In some words the primary meaning is very common, and the secondary meaning very rare. In other instances it is just the reverse ; and in very many the particular secondary meaning is pointed out by some preposition which accompanies it, or some case by which it is accompanied. But an accurate translation points these things out gradually as it proceeds. The common and most probable meanings of the word Baraw, or of any other word, are, in the Hamiltonian method, insensibly but surely fixed on the mind, which,
* In addition to the other needless difficulties and miserics entailed upon children who are learning languages, their Greek Lexi. cons give a Latin, instead of an English translation ; and a boy of twelve or thirteen years of age, whose attainments in Latin are of course but moderate, is expected to make it the vehicle of know. ledge for other languages. This is setting the short-sighted and blear-eyed to lead the blind; and is one of those afflicting pieces of absurdity which escape animadversion, because they are, and have long been, of daily occurrence. Mr Jones has published an English and Greek Lexicon, which we recommend to the notice of all persong engaged in education, and not sacramented against all improvement.
by the Lexicon method, must be done by a tentative process, frequently ending in gross error, noticed with peevishness, punished with severity, consuming a great deal of time, and for the most part only corrected, after all, by the accurate viva voce translation of the master-or, in other words, by the Hamiltonian method.
The recurrence to a translation is treated, in our schools, as a species of imbecility and meanness; just as if there was any other dignity here than utility, any other object in learning languages, than to turn something you do not understand into something you do understand, and as if that was not the best method which effected this object in the shortest and simplest manner. Hear upon this point the judicious Locke. But if
such a man cannot be got, who speaks good Latin, and being • able to instruct your son in all these parts of knowledge, will I undertake it by this method; the next best is to have bim taught as near this way
be-which is by taking some easy and • pleasant book, such as Æsop's Fables, and writing the Eng
lish translation (made as literal as it can be) in one line, and • the Latin words which answer each of them just over it in
another. These lei him read every day over and over again,
till he perfectly understands the Latin; and then go on to ! another fable, till he be also perfect in that, not omitting what • he is already perfect in, but sometimes reviewing that, to keep ! it in his memory; and when he comes to write, let these be
set him for copies, which, with the exercise of his hand, will (also advance him in Latin. This being a more imperfect way ! than by talking Latin unto him, the formation of the verbs « first, and afterwards the declensions of the nouns and pro! nouns perfectly learned by heart, may facilitate his acquaint
ance with the genius and manner of the Latin tongue, which (varies the signification of verbs and nouns, not as the modern
languages do, by particles prefixed, but by changing the last • syllables. More than this of grammar I think he need not • have, till he can read himself. Sanctii Minerva'-with Sciop
pius and Perigonius's notes.'— Locke on Education, p. 74. folio.
Another recommendation which we haye not mentioned in the Hamiltonian system is, that it can be combined, and is con. stantly combined, with the system of Lancaster. The Key is probably sufficient for those who have no access to classes and schools : But in an Hamiltonian school during the lesson, it is not left to the option of the child to trust to the Key alone. The master stands in the middle, translates accurately and literally
the whole verse, and then asks the boys the English of separate words, or challenges them to join the words together, as he has done. A perpetual attention and activity is thus kept up. The master, or a scholar (turned into a temporary Lancasterian master) acts as a living lexicon; and, if the thing is well done, as a lively and animating lexicon. How is it possible to compare this with the solitary wretchedness of a poor lad of the desk and lexicon, suffocated with the nonsense of grammarians, overwhelmed with every species of difficulty disproportionate to his age, and driven by despair to peg, top, or marbles ?
Taking these principles as a basis, the teacher forms his class of eight, ten, twenty, or one hundred. The number is of little moment, it being as easy to teach a greater as a smaller one, and brings them at once to the language itself
, by reciting, with a loud articulate voice, the first verse, thus :-In in, principio in beginning, Verbum Word, erat was, et and, Verbum Word, erat was, apud at, Deum God, et and, Verbum word, erat was, Deus God. Having recited the verse once or twice himself, it is then recited precisely in the same manner by any person of the class whom he may judge most capable ; the person copying his manner and intonations as much as possible.When the verse has been thus recited, by six or eight persons of the class, the teacher recites the 2nd verse in the same manner, which is recited as the former by any members of the class ; and thus conti. nues until he has recited from ten to twelve verses, which usually constitute the first lesson of one hour.-In three lessons, the first Chapter may be thus readily translated, the teacher gradually diminishing the number of repetitions of the same verse till the fourth lesson, when each member of the class translates his verse in turn from the mouth of the teacher; from which period fifty, sixty, or even seventy, verses may be translated in the time of a lesson, or one hour.
At the seventh lesson, it is invariably found that the class can translate without the assistance of the teacher farther than for occasional correction, and for those words which they may not have met in the preceding Chapters. But, to accomplish this, it is absolutely necessary that every member of the class know every word of all the preceding lessons ; which is however an easy task, the words being always taught him in class, and the pupil besides being able to refer to the key whenever he is at a loss—the key being translated in the very words which the teacher has used in the class, from which, as was before remarked, he must never deviate.-In ten lessons, it will be found that the class can readily translate the whole of the Gospel of St. John, which is called the first section of the course.—Should any delay, from any cause, prevent them, it is in my classes always for account of teacher, who gives the extra lesson or lessons always gratis. It cannot be too deeply impressed on the mind of the pupil, that a perfect knowledge of every word of his first section is most important to the ease and comfort of his future progress. At the end of ten lessons, or first section, the custom of my Establishments is to give the pupil the Epitome Historia Sacre, which is provided with a key in the same manner. - It was first used in our classes for the first and second sections ; we now teach it in one section of ten lessons, which we find easier than to teach it in two sections before the pupil has read the Testament. When he lias read the Epitome, it will be then time to give him the theory of the verbs and other words which change their terminations. - He has already acquired a good practical knowledge of these things; the theory becomes then very easy.—A grammar containing the declensions and conjugations, and printed specially for my classes, is then put into the pupil's hands (not to be got by heart, nothing is ever got by rote on this system,) but that he may comprehend more readily his teacher who lectures on grammar generally, but especially on the verbs. From this time, that is, from the beginning of the third section, the pupil studies the theory and construction of the language as well as its practice. For this purpose he reads the ancient authors, beginning with Cæsar, which, together with the Selecta e Profanis, fills usefully the third and fourth sections. When these with the preceding books are well known, the pupil will find little difficulty in reading the authors usually read in schools. The fifth and sixth sections consist of Virgil and Horace, enough of which is read to enable the pupil to read them with facility, and to give him correct ideas of Prosody and Versification. Five or six months, with mutual attention on the part of pupil and teacher, will be found sufficient to acquire a knowledge of this language, which hitherto has rarely been the result of as many years.'
We have before said, that the Hamiltonian system must not depend upon Mr Hamilton's method of carrying it into execution; for instance, he banishes from his schools the effects of emulation. The boys do not take each other's places. This, we think, is a sad absurdity. A cook might as well resolve to make bread without fermentation, as a pedagogue to carry on a school without emulation. It must be a sad doughy lump without this vivifying principle. Why are boys to be shut out from a class of feelings to which society owes so much, and upon which their conduct in future life must (if they are worth any thing) be so closely constructed. Poet A writes verses to outshine poet B. Philosopher C sets up roasting Titanium, and boiling Chromium, that he may be thought more of than philosopher D. Mr Jackson strives to outpaint Sir Thomas ; Sir Thomas Lethbridge to overspeak Mr Canning; and so society gains good chemists, poets, painters, speakers, and orators; and why are not boys to be emulous as well as men ?
If a boy, were in Paris, would he learn the language better by shutting himself up to read French books with a dictionary, or by conversing freely with all whom he met ? and what is conversation but an Hamiltonian school ? Every man you meet is a living lexicon and grammar - who is perpetually changing your English into French, and perpetually instructing you, in spite of yourself, in the terminations of French substantives and verbs. The analogy is still closer, if you converse with persons of whom you can ask questions, and who will be at the trouble of correcting you.
What madness would it be to run away from these pleasing facilities, as too dangerously easy-to stop your ears, to double-lock the door, and to look out chickens, taking a walk, and fine weather, in Boyer's Dictionary-and then, by the help of Chambaud's Grammar, to construct a sentence which should signify, Come to my house, and cat some • chickens, if it is fine?' But there is in England almost a love of difficulty and needless labour. We are so resolute and industrious in raising up impediments which ought to be overcome, that there is a sort of suspicion against the removal of these impediments, and a notion that the advantage is not fairly come by without the previous toil. If the English were in a paradise of spontaneous productions, they would continue to dig and plough, though they were never a peach nor a pine-apple the better for it.
A principal point to attend to in the Hamiltonian system, is the prodigious number of words and phrases which pass through the boy's mind, compared with those which are presented to him by the old plan. As a talkative boy learns French sooner in France than a silent boy, so a translator of books learns sooner to construe, the more he translates. An Hamiltonian makes, in six or seven lessons, three or four hundred times as many exchanges of English for French or Latin, as a grammar schoolboy can do; and if he loses 50 per cent. of all he hears, his progress is still, beyond all possibility of comparison, more rapid.
As for pronunciation of living languages, we see no reason why that consideration should be introduced in this place. Wę are decidedly of opinion, that all living languages are best learnt in the country where they are spoken, or by living with those who come from that country; but if that cannot be, Mr Hamilton's method is better than the grammar and dictionary method. Cæteris paribus, Mr Hamilton's method, as far as French is concerned, would be better in the hand of a Frenchman, and his Italian method in the hands of an Italian; but all this has nothing to do with the system.