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SUGGESTIONS TO TEACHERS
IMPORTANCE OF GRAMMATICAL REVIEW
A condensed Grammatical Review of the essential forms is presented. The perfect mastery of these forms is a mere means; the constant drill, necessary, but subordinate. The expert accountant knows his number combinations at once, but he does not magnify the mastery of the multiplication table as if its use were his most important function. Secure in this essential, he uses it for larger issues. So in Latin, these forms must be thoroughly mastered and constantly drilled, but as a means, not the end.
A grammatical outline of topics for study is essential for all, but especially for the teacher who is beginning. The field is so wide that unless such directions be wisely given and followed, effort and time will be wasted because misdirected. The aim modifies the method. While not believing in it, the author recognizes the fact that the present day aim is not so much to know Latin as it is to secure the ability to read very limited portions of Caesar, Cicero and Vergil. Therefore, while protesting against this very limited aim, the following outline is offered as a most serviceable grading for the work.
The parts of speech studied the first year should include about seven hundred words and only those used by Caesar in his first twenty-two chapters of the Helvetian War. Therefore, not mensa but lingua and Gallia, not laudō nor
amo but appello should be the first noun and verb learned. The trisyllabic verb tends also to prevent accentuation on the last syllable, a fault harder to correct in a dissyllabic word. All work should be done synthetically, not memoriter. The case endings should be learned immediately after the cases, by name-the letters; by functiontheir sounds. Then the pupil should be led to synthesize these with the stem or base of a noun of the first declension. The meaning of the stem or base, and the meaning of the case as indicated by the termination, must be taught concurrently. Then other nouns of the first declension; then those of other declensions should be learned. A similar method for the verb demands the personal endings with their significance, the characteristic vowels, the meaning of the stem or base, then the synthesis and meaning of the complete word. If vowel changes are adequately taught, it is a great economy of time to teach the same tense and both voices of the four conjugations before a second tense of the first conjugation. From the very beginning the verb must be mastered. The imperatives should be omitted until the second year. Great stress must be given to the infinitives. No person is ready to read Latin before the verb in both English and Latin is of immediate and instant comprehension. The proper words can be easily selected from those text-books designed to prepare directly for Caesar or from the "Lodge-list." In addition, the irregular verbs sum, possum, eō, volō, nōlō, mālō, ferō, fiō, must be mastered.
The extent of Latin grammar is so great that the most important question is to determine what constructions should be studied, and at what time in the course they should be begun. To learn the whole of the Latin grammar before any reading, as our fathers did a generation ago, was a sad waste of time. Similarly, it is not economical
to study a construction in detail before the need for its use has occurred. One of the foremost editions of Caesar constantly makes this error in the detailed study in its notes of the conditional clause, a construction which occurs in Caesar Book I-IV rarely except in the indirect discourse. The wisest use of the pupils' time determines that the conditional clause be studied in connection with Cicero. Therefore, a Topical Outline of Latin Syntax, grouped by half-years for the second, third, and fourth years is given. This is compiled largely from contributions of teachers in The Boys' High School, Brooklyn, and The Central, of St. Louis.
The Groups of Related Words and Synonyms from D'Ooge's Cicero, reprinted with permission, will be found most helpful to all those who have not access to such lists. The list of idioms, though not complete, is valuable for the pupil.
DIFFICULTIES IN SIGHT TRANSLATIONS
One serious drawback in readily securing a working mastery of the Latin language is the pupils' proneness to receive in the beginning illegitimate help from translations, instead of mastering the fundamentals. This evil is fostered by continuous reading of consecutive text. To obviate this tendency, and also to test frequently the growing powers of the pupils, sight, or unprepared portions, of various authors are published. There is a need for such books because if the selections are from the authors studied, so many of the pupils will anticipate the sight translations by reading ahead. Thus the very purpose of such an exercise is defeated.
These selections are distinctive in their length, their very close correlation with the prescribed text already studied by the pupils, and in the concurrent grammatical drill.
Units of thirty words were chosen as the norm, affording passages of such length that they may be easily read at sight without detracting from the regular assignments, or, if preferred, one or more may be given for written translation by the pupils in class in connection with portions of the text containing similar constructions. It is a truism that related syntax and words are retained more easily in mind than isolated ones. Again, meeting the same words or syntax in slightly different relations, vivifies and strengthens the old, while rendering the new of more immediate comprehension.
The correlations in the passages for the second year are all found in Caesar's own writings or that of his legati and are grammatical and verbal. No effort could be made with the pupil's limited vocabulary to preserve the chronological order of events. It is of the greatest aid, never-the-less, if reading V. 51, "Alii vallum manu scindere, alii fossas complere inciperent," for the pupils to have in mind, "Vallum scindere et fossas complere coepissent" of III. 5. One passage helps the other, strengthens the memory and incites interest. The numbering on the left margin indicates the correlated passages. The best results can be secured by reviewing the known passages with the pupils immediately before assigning the new passages for sight work. Unfamiliar words are translated, or hints are given to lead the pupils to deduce for themselves the meaning. On another page are typical questions to illustrate a method whereby a class may be led to read at sight with genuine pleasure and profit.
If Caesar be well mastered, to use Cicero's burning speeches as a corpus vile for grammatical drill is a mistake. The passages indicated for the third year are illustrative of the historical, political, or social conditions of that epoch.