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guarding their faith through the medium of Catholic education. Rev. S. Bortnowski, of Orchard Lake, Mich., emphasized the usefulness of Spanish with a view to the South American countries and our new possessions in the East. Very Rev. B. P. O'Reilly, S. M., of Dayton, Ohio, commended the excellence of the paper, and spoke at length on the disciplinary value of French and German, as well as their practical usefulness in the pursuit of scientific studies.
Rev. Augustine Hickey, of Brighton, Mass., thought that the paper had covered all the points of discussion, particularly in the careful analysis of the different languages, and their adaptability to local conditions.
The following officers were elected for the year:
Very Rev. M. F. McAuliffe, chairman, St. Thomas Seminary, Hartford, Conn.; Rev. J. F. Tuscher, St. Charles College, Ellicott City, Md.
MAURICE F. MCAULIFFE,
A BEGINNER'S YEAR IN FRENCH
A SISTER OF ST. JOSEPH, BOSTON, MASS.
From the title of my paper, I presume you will expect to hear the following points discussed: first, how I introduce the subject; second, how much ground I cover in a year with the plan or method I follow; third, the text-books I have used and the other books I have found helpful. I also take it for granted that you want personal experience, and not theory. Of the many methods which are used nowadays in teaching foreign languages, we hear a great deal said about the "Natural Method"; many think that children should learn French and German as they learned their mother tongue. To my mind that is all very well for a private pupil or for young children who are under the care of a governess speaking the foreign tongue. But, given the existing conditions in our ordinary high schools, boys and girls of varying degrees of capacity, the necessity of having some lesson to prepare at home, the ever-present call for per cents, and the fact that children of their ages have a fair command of one tongue and absolutely refuse to be interested in such sentences as: "What is this? This is the book. Is this the book? Yes, it is the book. Is this the book or the paper? It is the paper." Under these conditions, I do not believe that these natural methods can be carried out successfully in an ordinary high school. "What, then you are an advocate of the old grammar method!" I hear you say. No, my friends, I am not; and you will pardon me, if I go a step farther and say that I have yet to see a grammar that will satisfy me or that will take into consideration the mental attitude of the child as he faces this new study. He wants to learn the language and, I
may as well add, with the least possible amount of work on his part.
Having disposed of the natural method, I am ready for my first point, "How I introduce the subject." I shall suppose that a class of high school children-second year-that is where we begin French-is sitting before me, with writing materials. In the beginning I follow the Berlitz method, but not rigidly. For the first lesson, I always arrange on the board two columns of words, articles found in the classroom; the first column composed of masculine nouns, the second of femine nouns. The following is my list:
Qu'est-ce que c'est?-What is that? C'est-That is
I go over and over these words, calling on the class as a whole, then on individuals-I think it is better to call on the class first, as there is less chance for discouragement. After they have an idea of the words as a whole, I begin to analyze them for their sounds, bringing out the following facts:
First, that there are as many syllables in a French word as there are vowels or diphthongs; second, that every syllable must, if possible, begin with a consonant; third, that unaccented e and final consonants except c, f, 1 and r are silent; and fourth, that there is no neuter gender in French-that every noun is either masculine or feminine. In this analysis I always work backwards; for instance, take the word RIDEAU; after dividing the word into syllables at their direction-RI | DEAU, I bring out eau=0; deau do; ie; ri-re; then with a sweep of the pointer, taking in the whole word, they say "Rideau." When they have done this with about thirty words, they have acquired the pronunciation of the principal French sounds.
If I had time and were sure that you would care to hear, I would give you my plan for the development of the different
sounds. I close the lesson by pointing to the different articles, at the same time putting to the scholars the question, “Qu'est-ce que c'est?" and receiving the answer, "C'est-" (naming the object). For a home lesson I require them to be able to give the French word in answer to the English and vice versa; also the spelling of the French words; in this I do not require French names of letters as I consider that a waste of time; names of letters in French do not give the pronunciation any more than they do in English. For the second lesson, I give them the colors and teach them that the names of colors always follow the noun, and then give practice in such combinations as: le livre rouge; la boite verte; always taking by preference objects as they are found in the classroom. In this lesson it becomes necessary to teach the general rule for the formation of the feminine gender and the two expressions il est and elle est, in reply to the question, "De quelle couleur est le livre? La boite?" Il est rouge. Elle est verte. My third lesson is prepositions; my fourth, adjectives of dimension, which I teach by opposites and in both genders, for example, long-court; épais-mince. In the sixth lesson I give them the different articles of clothing; in the seventh, the parts of the body, and in the eighth, the possessive pronouns.
After this lesson, the children are able to form good French sentences such as: Mon livre rouge est sur le pupitre. Son livre vert est dans le tiroir. All this time I have been using the following drill in pronunciation (years ago I found it in an old French grammar, and lately I heard it strongly recommended by a German professor of a well known College of Languages) -I take the French vowel and diphthongal sounds preceded, first, by those consonants whose pronunciation is the same in French as in English; and, second, by those which differ from the English, for example, (1) bé, dé, fé, ké, lé, mé; (2) gé. When I give them the grammar, as I do now, they are ready to analyze words for themselves quite easily. Next year we expect to use the new Chardenal's; although this is an improvement on the old book, there are still many points which could be changed with advantage to the child; but of books, more later.
The children are now ready for the grammar and here is my method of using it. I have always found, both in Latin and in French, that children dislike to learn vocabularies and yet we all know what it means to have them trying to translate from one language to the other while looking up every other word. I insist on their mastering the pronunciation, spelling, and meanings of the vocabularies of five lessons at a time, if they are of ordinary length. If, as sometimes happens, the class is, as a whole, disinclined to learn vocabularies, I oblige them to write every word two or three times in both languages, excusing from the task those who make good recitations without this extra work. At first, while the two languages correspond in idiom, they meet with little difficulty, and can usually cover two or three lessons at a time; but once the idioms begin to differ, then trouble begins. As for translating English into French, there are many points that occur to me. I agree with Mr. Bennett, author of the Latin texts published by Allyn & Bacon., Let me quote you a few lines from the preface to one of his elementary works; though the remarks refer to Latin, I think they apply equally well to French. He says, "The amount of drill in the forms gained by a written exercise requiring half an hour in its preparation would hardly be as much as can be given in five minutes by the brisk oral questioning of an entire class or by simultaneous blackboard work; nor would it be nearly so effective." Some children are careless and pay no attention to the conditions of the sentence, and many-shall I say the majority?-copy from the few faithful ones. I have found the following plan to work well. When I come to the English-French lesson, I assign the first sentence to a child to write on the board. While that is being done, I am giving out to the class, as fast as I can, the words and phrases that compose the sentence. Suppose the sentence is, "If I had money enough, I would pay you on Saturday." I give out-to have-tense of had-endings-conjugate-I had-if I had-money-money enough to pay-mood of would pay-endings-conjugate—I would pay I would pay you-on Saturday. If a child fails in any point of grammar, the class must find that rule immediately. and review it. Then I turn to the board and criticize the work