Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/805

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LANGUAGE AND BRAIN DISEASE.

ices of a good teacher is at a great disadvantage; but he may still, if he has had a fair start, do much toward the cultivation of the auditory and motor memories of the foreign words with their proper associations, and thus greatly improve his ability to read. He should attend carefully to pronunciation, and practice reading aloud. When a new word occurs, the first thing is to get its correct sound, and the next to associate it with some actual experience, if possible; if not, then with as vivid an idea as can be recalled. The English equivalent must be dropped from consciousness as soon as the idea is present, so that the association may be a direct one. It is an advantage to use a dictionary with words and definitions in the same language. Reading on subjects in which one is specially interested is much better than general reading. The memorizing and frequent repetition of interesting passages will pay abundantly for the time and trouble.

The great difficulty in working alone is to hear enough of the language to keep the auditory center familiar with its correct sounds. To this end, every opportunity should be taken to converse, or to hear a sermon or a play, in the foreign tongue. In many American cities such opportunities are not rare, especially as to German.

For this purpose the phonograph will no doubt be made of great service. With its aid choice passages in literature or scientific exposition, as rendered by a good reader, can be repeatedly heard and pronunciation and accent imitated at the pupil's convenience. I have no doubt that some process of cheaply multiplying the phonographic cylinders or ribbons will, before very long, enable us to enjoy whole books in this way, thus saving our weary eyes and economizing the energy of the brain, while giving a greater pleasure.

I see no reason why Latin and Greek may not be taught to advantage by some such method as the one that has been outlined. The uncertainty as to what the original sounds were, though embarrassing, is not nearly so great as one would naturally suppose. Philological science has reached such perfection that at least a close approximation to the correct sounds could be agreed upon and registered by the phonograph.

As Hamerton suggests, a phrase-book could doubtless be made for teaching each language by the natural method. A student once fairly started in this way could not fail to make greater progress in grammatical and philological knowledge, as well as to find the classical authors more interesting.

In conclusion, it may safely be said that the reader who has given his assent to the deductions here made from the facts of disease will not hesitate to go further and concur in the opinion that pedagogy will in the future find a scientific basis in a