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COPYRIGHT, 1881,

BY

SIGMON M. STERN.

PREFACE.

THERE are at the present time prevailing in this country two systems of teaching modern languages. While in one the mother-tongue of the pupil is used as the medinm by which the instruction is given, in the other the foreign language that is to be studied serves at the same time as the only medium of communication between pupil and teacher. Professors of either system may employ this volume to the best advantage. In classes of French where English is spoken, “Etude progressive de la langue française” may be taken as a progressive reader, and, according to the judgment of the teacher, either after having finished the whole or a part of the grammar. In classes where French only is spoken, this book is to the professor a guide for his preparations, and to the students a first reader.

Speaking of methods, it is worth mentioning here that it is now just doe hundred years since book for teaching French made its åppearance, which caused a great chănge in methods, not only at the time of its appearance, but the influence of which is felt this very day'in all schools where foreign languages are taught, although it was intended by the author for French classes in the bigher schools of Germany exclusively.

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“ Praktische französische Grammatik, wodurch man diese Sprache auf eine ganz neue und sehr leichte Art in kurzer Zeit gründlich erlernen kann," is the title of the book, by which its author, Johann Valentin Meidinger, 1783, inaugurated that system of teaching modern languages which mainly aims at practical results (writing, reading, speaking). The books of Ploetz and Ahn followed the same principles ; branches of this very school, in which Seidenstücker stands highest and Ollendorff lowest, are the methods of Hamilton, Jacquotot, and Robertson (interlinear system).

Another way of treating modern languages was instituted when men began to teach who were trained in the schools of modern philology (Grimm, Humboldt, Becker, etc., or Reynouart, Fallot, A. von Schlegel, Diez, Fuchs, etc.).

Their system is still to-day in great favor, and although it is by far better than the older one, it being more systematic, more scientific, higher in its aspiration and more according to principles of education, it is characterized by the Minister of Education of a country that is, justig: proud of the high standing of her schools and qịversities, as “abstract and subtle dogmatic tēšaling The same Minister of Education of Saxony) bittery complains in his latest report that the present esėhool “destroys the enjoyment of the pupils in the great literature of

the past.”

To combine the systematic scientific treatment of

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the language of the later system with the practical aims of the older; to give full scope to the individuality of the pupils, and to allow the teacher to unfold his personal powers; to preserve all that has been proved valuable in all methods, and add all results of modern sciences of philology and education—that is the task undertaken by the method originated by Prof. Gottlieb Heness, of New Haven, Conn., which system has been named by Ferdinand Bocher, Prof. in Harvard College, Cambridge, Mass., "The Natural Method," which name is to-day generally accepted, and is widely spread through the Eastern States by the efforts of the enthusiastic Dr. Lambert Sauveur. However much has been done in these ten years to develop and systematize the Natural Method, much more remains to be done, and a great field is still open for the best talents among teachers.

It is beyond the limits of this preface to speak at length about this system, and only a few of the most important features can be noticed here. It being the aim of a teacher of languages to enable his pupils 1. To receive the thoughts of others : a. Thoughts which are communicated to us in

writing, the literature of the languages (also

in letters) ; 6. Thoughts which are communicated to us by

the spoken word ; 2. To communicate his thoughts correctly to

others in spoken or written words;

-he has to seek and to prepare for the pupils the most direct and the most pleasant way to reach this result.

Every lesson onght as a rule to comprise Conversation, Reading, Writing, Gramınar, and Questioning by the teacher and by the pupils. How to adapt himself to different circumstances (duration of the lesson, number, age, and ability of the pupils, etc.) must be left to the judgment of the teacher.

Only text-books which contain knowledge that is worth gaining and keeping, and ideas which are valuable, should be given into the hands of the pupils, while in the oral exercises it is admissible and even sometimes advisable to treat upon common things of everyday life. The teacher should, as soon as the circumstances will permit it, introduce the pupil into the best literature of the language, and should induce him to read as many books as possible. For beginners, poetry is not advisable.

It is not worthy of a good teacher, and it does not come within the proper limits of teaching languages, to use pictures for explaining. Kindergarten and object lessons are good in their time; students of languages generally have left that age behind. Pictures were used by E. Dröger, author of an Elementary French Grammar, twenty-five years ago, to give pupils occasion to make oral descriptions; and, as every good teacher should endeavor to give his lessons a new feature as often as he can, he may,

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