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understood. And we may note here that not only did this training fit Cicero to accomplish so much not merely in practical life, but in literature, especially in those marvelous closing years of his life, but that, when his hour of sorest trial came, when there was no longer any outlet for his activities on behalf of the country he so dearly loved, and when this blow was followed by the cruel loss of his beloved daughter, this training made it possible for him then to live, and to give us so glorious a demonstration of the truth of those words of the Pro Archia, already cited, “Haec studia . . . . adversis (rebus) perfugium ac solacium praebent.”
Here, then, is a sketch, manifestly imperfect, of the attitude of the Romans towards liberal studies, and a demonstration that, hostile as the Romans as a whole were for centuries to such studies, they owed, none the less, to liberal training, their brightest achievements in divers forms of intellectual endeavor. In this sketch all lovers of liberal studies may find unfailing encouragement. The fight against culture is as old, I take it, as the world itself: yet culture survives. It heartens me, as I hope it will hearten you, to recall this thought. Even the Dark Ages could not destroy the Classics and the power of the things for which they stand. Greek had all but perished from the face of the earth; yet the knowledge of Greek, and the love of Greek had their glorious resurrection and proved for centuries a quickening force. At the end of the eighteenth century Greek was studied as never before by the Germans: to this study of Greek, and to nothing else, must we trace the intellectual dominance of the Germans in the nineteenth century, and the birth of a true German literature. 4
3 With the establishment of a virtual empire by Augustus that attitude changed greatly; but into that matter there is no room here to go.
* Lest this statement seem extravagant, I refer to the vigorous presentation of this idea by the distinguished German Latinist, Friedrich Leo, in his Die Originalität der Römischen Literatur (Göttingen, 1904). See also my paper, “The originality of Latin literature,” The Classical Journal, Vol. 3, p. 251–260, 299-307.
It is our duty, then, as it is our privilege, as lovers of liberal studies and above all of those best of liberal studies, the Classics of Greece and Rome, to keep our courage unfaltering. We are custodians of things of priceless value -things to whose value the world will never be wholly dead. Whenever our imperfect survey of the whole field leaves us for the moment inclined to lose heart, we should fight the good fight of faith in the Classics with greater vigor and with surer effectiveness. And we may remember with profit that, tho in religion we can not win salvation by good works, the fruit of good works is preeminently demanded of the supporters of liberal studies. It behooves us to show always that the studies whose value we assert have indeed been of service to ourselves, that they have entered into the warp and woof of our being, that they have made us richer men and women, with minds and souls enlarged by communion with the great writers of the Classic past, and so capable of giving more to others of the things worth while. This we can do in divers ways-in one way particularly-by thinking always with logical accuracy and penetrating force, and by expressing our thoughts unfailingly in language which shall show to all that our claim that study of Latin and Greek makes for control of our mother tongue is not an idle formula, but an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual fact.
WHY THE DIRECT METHOD FOR A MODERN
"QUOUSQUE TANDEM" Before taking up the subject in detail, we must agree on two points: (1) on the fundamental principle, and (2) on the aim of the direct method. To state the two issues briefly, yet clearly, we may safely say: The direct method implies a direct appeal to the learner thru the foreign language; that is, it teaches the language, and not merely about the language, as is done by an indirect procedure. The aim of the reform method is: Reading ability developed by means of oral facility. In this wise both aspects of language, the literary and the spoken, are considered. To make my position perfectly clear, I shall enunciate once more the five cardinal points in the reform of modern language teaching, i. e., insistence upon good pronunciation, oral work, inductive teaching of grammar, real reading, and so-called realien. Could you, indeed, conceive of effective modern language instruction if the teachers were not to lay great stress upon accuracy of pronunciation, if they should not vitalize and vivify their teaching by work in speaking, if they were not to bring their pupils into possession of usable grammatical facts, if their students could not read without translating, and if the foreign nation thru a study of its literature, of its people and its customs, were not brought into sympathetic view and appreciation? In short, not the dead letter but the living word must be placed in the foreground of modern language instruction.
To show you the dire need for a reform in modern language teaching, I can not do better than quote a paragraph on modern languages from the Annual Report of the President of Columbia University, 1914. Dr. Butler writes there as
1 Paper read at the Modern Language Section of the Michigan State Teachers' Association, Annual Meeting, in Saginaw, October 29, 1915.
follows: "Elaborate arguments are made by men of weight and of authority to the effect that the ability to speak French and to speak German is much less important. than the ability to read those languages and the possession of some general knowledge of their literatures. This is a sadly perverted point of view. The man who is able to read a page of Taine, or perhaps of Anatole France, and who finds himself in a French business house or a French drawing room without the ability to express his wants or his thought in a single well-formed and intelligible sentence, feels like a fool, and he deserves to feel like a fool. The man who can not speak and write French and German does not know French and German, and it is sheer nonsense to suppose that this lack of ability to use a great educational instrument and a vitally important tool in business and social intercourse is compensated for by a more or less superficial knowledge of the classic literature of the French and German peoples or by the capacity to read a French or German book with more or less constant dependence upon the dictionary. Indeed, it would be highly advantageous if all instruction in the French, German, Spanish or Italian languages and literatures were conducted in those languages after the first year of college work in them. The asphyxiation of Greek and Latin as school and college subjects which began a generation ago was in no small part due to the industrious but misguided efforts of school and college teachers of those subjects. It would be in the highest degree deplorable if the modern European languages were to suffer a similar fate and for a like reason.”
President Butler again voices a similar opinion in the New York Times of Sunday, July 25, 1915, when he asserts: “Our secondary schools are particularly weak in general history and in English history and in practical instruction in French, Spanish and German College admission examinations show that secondary school teaching in the modern European languages is painfully inefficient. There should be no trouble in teaching a pupil of high school age to read, to write, and to speak fairly well
at least one of these languages. Too often, unfortunately, nothing of this kind is accomplished, altho the time devoted to French and German is not inconsiderable."
If you think that President Butler is too hard on us, let us listen to what a European scholar of international repute has to say on this question. Professor A. Rambeau of the University of Berlin, who taught in this country for many years, writes in Die Neueren Sprachen, June, 1915, on modern language teaching in America as translated:
“The so-called scientific method, as this worthless method was proudly named, gradually sprang up in the college and then in the high schools and schools that prepare for the college entrance examinations. It rose to high honors when American teachers in large numbers took over the modern language instruction in those institutions, without having mastered in any way the foreign languages orally and in writing. These teachers looked down with contempt upon the achievements of foreign 'Sprachmeister.' Soon even foreign-born teachers, when they understood English somewhat, began to adapt themselves to this scientific method, i. e., translating, reading, translating, a little grammar, and again translating. They likewise wished to instruct scientifically and felt themselves in this wise to be able best to satisfy the requirements of entrance and final examinations with their notorious, long examination papers.
"In this procedure there have appeared in modern language teaching marvelously strange phenomena which affect the visiting philologist and the educated foreigner who listens to class instruction in his mother tongue, both tragically and comically. But there have always been praiseworthy exceptions among the native-born as well as the foreign-born modern language teachers."
Ladies and gentlemen, it is high time for us to act. Selfcomplacency has no justification in our ranks: the evidence is against us. Olympian academic aloofness is altogether out of place. But, fortunately, the ambitious teacher need not be fearful of the future of modern language instruction in this country. Just two things must be done: first of all,