« AnteriorContinua »
book is translated, must not be confounded with translations made according to Locke, Clarke, Sterling, or even according to Dumarsais, Fremont, and a number of other Frenchmen, who have made what have been and are yet sometimes called literal, and interlineal translations. The latter are indeed interlineal, but no literal translation had ever appeared in any language before those called Hamiltonian, that is before my Gospel of St John from the French, the Greek and Latin Gospels published in London, and L'Hommond's Epitome of the Historia Sacra. These and these only were and are truly literal ; that is to say, that every word is rendered in English by a corresponding part of speech, that the grammatical analysis of the phrase is never departed from ; that the case of every noun, pronoun, adjective or participle, and the mood, tense and person of every verb are accurately pointed out by appropriate and unchanging signs, so that a grammarian not understanding one word of Italian, would, on reading any part of the translation here given, be instantly able to parse it. In the translations above alluded to, an attempt is made to preserve the correctness of the language into which the different works are translated, but the wish to conciliate this correctness with a literal translation, has only produced a barbarous and uncouth idiom, while it has in every case deceived the unlearned pupil by a translation altogether false and incorrect. Such translations may indeed give an idea of what is contained in the book translated, but they will not assist, or at least very little, in enabling the pupil to make out the exact meaning of each word, which is the principal object of Hamiltonian translations. The reader will understand this better by an illustration : A gentleman has lately given a translation of Juvenal according to the plan of the above-mentioned authors, beginning with the words semper ego, which he joins and translates, “ shall I always be ”—if his intention were to teach Latin words, he might as well have said, “shall I always eat beef-steaks?"-True, there is nothing about beef-steaks in semper ego, but neither is there about “ shall be ;" the whole translation is on the same plan, that is to say, that there is not one line of it correct, I had almost said one word, on which the pupil can rely, as the exact equivalent in English of the Latin word above it.-Not so the translation here given.
• As the object of the author has been that the pupil should know every word as well as he knows it himself, he has uniformly given it the one sole, precise, meaning which it has in our language, sacrificing every where the beauty, the idiom and the correctness of the English language to the original, in order to show the perfect idiom, phraseology, and picture of that original as in a glass. So far is this carried, that where the English language can express the precise meaning of the Italian phrase only by a barbarism, this barbarism is employed without scruple—as thus: “e le tenebre non l'hanno ammessa."—Here the word tenebre being plural, if you translate it darkness, you not only give a false translation of the word itself, which is used by the Italians in the plural number, but what is much more important, you lead the pupil into an error about its government, it being the nominative case to hanno, which is the third person plural ; it is therefore translated not darkness, but darknesses.
To make these keys perfect, we rather think there should be a free translation added to the literal one. Not a paraphrase, but only so free as to avoid any awkward or barbarous expression. The comparison between the free and the literal translation would immediately show to young people the peculiarities of the language in which they were engaged.
Literal translation or key-Oh ! Queen, thou orderest me to renew grief not to be spoken of.
Free - Oh Queen, thou orderest me to renew my grief, too great for utterance.'
The want of this accompanying free translation is not felt in keys of the Scriptures, because, in fact, the English Bible is a free translation, great part of which the scholar remembers. But in a work entirely unknown, of which a key was given, as full of awkward and barbarous expressions as a key certainly ought to be, a scholar might be sometimes puzzled to arrive at the real sense.
We say as full of awkward and barbarous expressions as it ought to be, because we throughly approve of Mr Hamilton's plan, of always sacrificing English and elegance to sense, when they cannot be united in the key. We are rather
sorry Mr Hamilton's first essay has been in a translation of the Scriptures, because every child is so familiar with them, that it may be difficult to determine whether the apparent progress is ancient recollection or recent attainment; and because the Scriptures are so full of Hebraisms and Syriacisms, and the language so different from that of Greek authors, that it does not secure a knowledge of the language, equivalent to the time employed upon it.
The Keys hitherto published by Mr Hamilton are the Greek, Latin, French, Italian, and German Keys to the Gospel of St John, Perrin's Fables, Latin, Historia Sacra, Latin, French, and Italian Grammar, and Studia Metrica. One of the difficulties under which the system is labouring, is a want of more Keys. Some of the best Greek and Roman classics should be immediately published, with Keys, and by very good scholars. We shall now lay before our readers an extract from one of the public papers respecting the progress made in the Hamiltonian schools.
• Extract from the Morning Chronicle of Wednesday, November
16th, 1825.—Hamiltonian System.We yesterday were present at an examination of eight lads who have been under Mr Hamilton since some time in the month of May last, with a view to ascertain the efficacy of his system in communicating a knowledge of languages. These eight lads, all of them between the ages of twelve and fourteen, are the children of poor people, who, when they were first placed under Mr Hamilton, possessed no other instruction than common reading and writing. They were obtained from a common country school, through the interposition of a Member of Parliament, who takes an active part in promoting charity schools throughout the country; and the choice was determined by the consent of the parents, and not by the cleverness of the boys.
• They have been employed in learning Latin, French, and latter. ly Italian ; and yesterday they were examined by several distinguished individuals, among whom we recognised John Smith, Esq. M. P.; G. Smith, Esq. M. P.; Mr J. Mill, the historian of British India; Major Camac; Major Thompson ; Mr Cowell, &c. &c. They first read different portions of the Gospel of St John in Latin, and of Cæsar's Commentaries, selected by the visitors. The translation was executed with an ease which it would be in vain to expect in any of the boys who attend our common schools, even in their third or fourth year ; and proved, that the principle of exciting the attention of boys to the utmost, during the process by which the meaning of the words is fixed in their memory, had given them a great familiarity with so much of the language as is contained in the books above alluded to. Their knowledge of the parts of speech was respectable, but not so remarkable; as the Hamiltonian system follows the natural mode of acquiring language, and only employs the boys in analysing, when they have already attained a certain familiarity with any language.
• The same experiments were repeated in French and Italian with the same success; and, upon the whole, we cannot but think the success has been complete. It is impossible to conceive a more impartial mode of putting any system to the test, than to make such an experiment on the children of our peasantry.
Into the truth of this statement we have personally inquired, and it seems to us to have fallen short of the facts, from the laud. able fear of over-stating them. The lads selected for the experiment were parish boys of the most ordinary description, reading English worse than Cumberland curates, and totally ignorant of the rudiments of any other language. They were purposely selected for the experiment by a gentleman who defrayed its expense, and who had the strongest desire to put strictly to the test the efficacy of the Hamiltonian system. The experiment was begun the middle of May 1825, and concluded on the day of November in the same year mentioned in the extract, exactly six months after. The Latin books set before them were the Gospel of St John, and parts of Cæsar's Commentaries. Some Italian book or books (what we know not), and a selection of French histories. The visitors put the boys on where they pleased, and the translation was (as the reporter says) executed with an ease which it would be vain to expect in any of the boys who attend our common schools, even in their third or fourth year. I
From experiments and observations which have fallen under our own notice, we do not scruple to make the following assertions. If there were Keys to the four Gospels, as there is to that of St John, any boy or girl of thirteen years of age, and of moderate capacity, studying four hours a day, and beginning with an utter ignorance even of the Greek character, would learn to construe the four Gospels, with the most perfect and scrupulous accuracy, in six weeks. Some children, utterly ignorant of French or Italian, would learn to construe the four Gospels, in either of these languages, in three weeks; the Latin in four weeks; the German in five weeks. We believe they would do it in a class; but, not to run any risks, we will presume a master to attend upon one student alone for these
periods. We assign a master principally, because the application of a solitary boy at that age could not be depended upon; but if the sedulity of the child were certain, he would do it nearly as well alone. A greater time is allowed for German and Greek, on account of the novelty of the character. son of mature habits, eager and energetic in his pursuits, and reading seven or eight hours per day, might, though utterly ignorant of a letter of Greek, learn to construe the four Gospels, with the most punctilious accuracy, in three weeks, by the Key alone. These assertions we make, not of the Gospels alone, but of any tolerably easy book of the same extent.
We mean to be very accurate; but suppose we are wrong-add 10, 20, 30 per cent. to the time, an average boy of thirteen, in an ave. rage school, cannot construe the four Gospels in two years from the time of his beginning the language.
All persons would be glad to read a foreign language, but all persons do not want the same scrupulous and comprehensive knowledge of grammar which a great Latin scholar pos
Many persons may, and do derive great pleasure and
| We have left with the bookseller the names of two gentlemen who have verified this account to us, and who were present at the experiment. Their names will at once put an end to all scepticism as to the fact. Two more candid and enlightened judges could not be found.
VOL, XLIV. NO. 87.
instruction from French, German, and Italian books, who can neither speak nor write these languages—who know that certain terminations, when they see them, signify present or past time, but who, if they wished to signify present or past time, could not recall these terminations. For many purposes and objects, therefore, very little grammar is wanting.
The Hamiltonian method begins with what all persons want, a facility of construing, and leaves every scholar to become afterwards as profound in grammar as he (or those who educate him) may choose; whereas the old method aims at making all more profound grammarians than three-fourths wish to bé, or than nineteen-twentieths can be. One of the enormous follies of the enormously foolish education in England, is, that all young men-dukes, fox-hunters, and merchants—are educated as if they were to keep a school, and serve a curacy; while scarcely an hour in the Hamiltonian education is lost for any variety of life. A grocer may learn enough of Latin to taste the sweets of Virgil ; a cavalry officer may read and understand Homer, without knowing that inect comes from s with & smooth breathing, and that it is formed by an improper reduplication. In the mean time, there is nothing in that education which prevents a scholar from knowing (if he wishes to know what Greek compounds draw back their accents. He máy trace verbs in ipes, from polysyllables in iw, or derive endless glory from marking down derivatives in arw, changing the : of their primitives into iota.
Thus, in the Hamiltonian method, a good deal of grammar necessarily impresses itself upon the mind (chemin faisant), as it does in the vernacular tongue, without any rule at all, and merely by habit. How is it possible to read many Latin Keys, for instance, without remarking, willingly or unwillingly, that the first persons of verbs end in o, the second in s, the third in t?that the same adjective ends in us or a, accordingly, as the connected substantive is masculine or feminine, and other such gross and common rules ? An Englishman who means to say, I will go to London, does not say, I could go to London. He never read a word of grammar in his life; but he has learnt, by habit, that the word go, signifies to proceed or set forth, and by the same habit he learns that future intentions are expressed by I will; and by the same habit the Hamiltonian pupil, reading over, and comprehending twenty times more words and phrases than the pupil of the ancient system, insensibly but infallibly fixes upon his mind many rules of
grammar. We are far from meaning to say, that the grammar thus acquired will be sufficiently accurate for a first-rate Latin and Greek scholar; but there is