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Bocher-Otto grammar which you probably all remember; then I had Gastineau's Conversation combined with Sym's First Year in French; then the Berlitz followed by Sym's; then Grandgent's grammar and reading manual; then Chardenal's grammar and Contes et Légendes. I have tried the pure grammar method; then the conversation method where the scholar takes an imaginary trip through France in the röle of a traveller; then the Berlitz method; then the pure grammar again coupled with French exercises based on reading; then the ordinary grammar with French reading; now I use the method which I have outlined for you in the preceding pages.
Among the many books which I have used I have found the following especially helpful: (1) Gastineau's Conversation Method; (A. B. Co.) this contains well arranged vocabularies and a concise account of French literature sufficient for the ordinary scholar; (2) Introductory French Prose Composition by Victor Francois; (A. B. Co.) this contains excellent verb-drills and very sensible English-French exercises based on French readings; (3) How to Think in French, by Charles Kroeh, of the Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, N. J.; (4) the Berlitz 'Premier Livre,' which contains some fine work on object pronouns and also some very pleasant conversational work, both readings and questions.
And now, dear fellow-laborers, I shall close with the request that if my paper has brought to you the tiniest suggestion, you, in return, will whisper a few kind words for me to the Master in whose vineyard we are all laboring-for whom we are still striving to win and keep souls.
SHOULD ANOTHER MODERN LANGUAGE BE SUB-
A SISTER OF ST. JOSEPH, ACADEMY OF MT. ST. JOSEPH, BOSTON, MASS.
"Should another modern language-for instance Portuguese, Spanish or Italian-be substituted for French or German in our school curriculum?"
Viewing the question in a large way, the substitution if made should be, I take it, over the country as a whole, or at least a good part of it, and not merely in a city or locality here or there. Now, the reasons favoring any such substitution are usually based on commercial and social grounds. Let us consider each of the three languages and see what may be said in favor of substitution. Take in the first place the study of Portuguese. The Portuguese are not given to immigration; they are to be found in numbers only in a few large cities as Boston, Fall River and New Bedford, where they seek employment in the textile industries, or are engaged as sailors or fishermen. Outside of Massachusetts the settlements in the various cities are not extensive. Then why substitute that language? Not for social reasons, because outside of a few large cities the people are not to be found. Not for commercial reasons, because we have very little to do with Portugal or its people in a business way.
Next, as to Spanish. Here the case is somewhat different. The Spanish people are not migratory, but we have gone to them and made them part of our nation. Of late, our commerce with Cuba, Porto Rico and the Philippine Islands has become of considerable importance and is destined to increase more and more. And the same is true of South America, whose people are mostly of Spanish descent and use the Spanish language. Spanish, then, has its importance in the commercial world, and in the future when North and South America and our recently acquired possessions will be brought into closer communication, the knowledge of that language will prove even more useful.
Finally, as to Italian. I see no reasons to consider that language from a commercial point of view, because our commerce with Italy is not large. The case is different, however, when considered in the light of social intercourse; here much is to be said in favor of the study of Italian. The recent immigration of Italians is phenomenal; in the fiscal year ending June 30, 1909, 183,000 came to the United States. This is a subject of great interest to American Catholics, and the religious needs of these new recruits must be considered.
Here and everywhere we ought to draw nearer the Italiansthey, like many others, think this is a Protestant country, and
we by knowing Italian would be able to make them realize the importance of the Church, and that Catholics, here at least, are as important as anybody else. Then in the very start we should get them to become practical Catholics.
In New York, Philadelphia, and Boston non-Catholic settlement work has assumed great proportions; every inducement, from a worldly point of view, is held out to these poor aliens, and large numbers have fallen away from the Faith. It behooves us, therefore, to exert ourselves to the utmost, thereby offsetting these evil influences.
Is it not time that we Catholics should take a stand? Can we not do our part in the settlement work? Keen minds foresee the future loss to the Church if we do not attend to the needs of these immigrant souls. The importance of this field of work cannot be overlooked, and just here I might mention the grand work to be done by lay missionaries in our large Eastern cities especially.
On a recent occasion the Most Reverend William H. O'Connell, D. D., Archbishop of Boston, on hearing that a German class existed among the members of an association of young women affiliated with our Academy, requested that a class in Italian be formed, with this end in view; that with a knowledge of that language an immense amount of good could be done in the juvenile court alone. With his usual rare insight and readiness to assist his fellowmen, His Grace foresaw the grand work to be accomplished, and the part that we as Catholics should take in it.
I must not omit to speak of the great value of Italian from an educational point of view. In this language has been written many of the great masterpieces of literature. By some scholars Italian is put in the first place-and no wonder when we consider the writings of such men as Petrarch, Dante, Tasso, and Ariosto -we may readily concede it the first place after our own English. So much for Italian; I am loath to say: "Do not include it in our curriculum."
What has been said is, I think, a fair presentation of the case (showing what may be said) in favor of each of the three languages. Are the reasons strong enough for substitution? As
suredly not for the Portuguese; this has the least in its favor. For the other two much may be said; the Spanish for business reasons, and the Italian for social and religious reasons. But these reasons, strong though they are, are not, I think, sufficient to substitute Spanish or Italian in our schools throughout the country. In our large cities where the Italians are in numbers, Italian may be wisely substituted; in the seaport cities where there are commercial houses engaged in foreign trade, Spanish may be put in, but these cases are after all exceptional. Would it not be enough to offer these two as electives or alternatives, giving to pupils who may have some use for these languages the opportunity of studying them?
On the other hand consider the advisability of retaining our courses in French and German.
There are in the United States 2,913,000 German, and 1.500,ooo French, of whom nearly 1,200,000 can be classified as of French-Canadian extraction. These latter people have made. their influence felt throughout the Eastern States in all walks of life. Observe the progress of the French-Canadians and their devotedness to the Church and to their adopted country; the energy shown by them in erecting churches and convents; in grouping themselves together, and in organizing flourishing congregations, supported within by all that nourishes Christian piety, protected without against pernicious influences by the strength of association and a press generally well inspired.
The patriotism of the French-American element is undisputed; they possess those true civic qualities desirable and necessary to promote the best interests of the republic; "their splendid conduct and magnificent spirit have won the respect which mankind acknowledges as due, and never fails to grant, to men of talent, industry, generosity and patriotism."
In our public and private secondary schools, there are about 600,000 pupils; approximately 15% study German and 10% French.
Our secondary education must be recognized as having its own functions, its own aims and ideals. Aside from the general disciplinary value common to all linguistic studies, the study of French and German in the secondary schools is profitable in
three ways; first, as an introduction to the life and literature of France and Germany; secondly, as a preparation for intellectual pursuits that require the ability to read French and German for information; thirdly, as the foundation of a graceful and very useful accomplishment that may become useful in business and travel.
The first and greatest value of the study of the modern languages must be looked for, then, in the introduction of the learner to the life and literature of the two great peoples who, next to the English stock, have made the most important contributions to European civilization.
The ability to read French and German has also another value not directly connected with the study of belles-lettres. In nearly all branches of knowledge at the present time, a large part of the best that has been written is to be found in the German and French languages.
One who wishes to study anything thoroughly, no matter what, finds it highly convenient, if not absolutely necessary, to be able to read these languages in the pursuit of information. The high school graduate who brings this ability with him to college has a great advantage, in that he can at once begin to use it as a tool in prosecuting his studies. Of those who do not go to college, it is fair to presume that a considerable portion will continue some line of private study, if not as a vocation, as an avocation. For all such the ability to read French and German will be of great service.
It is next in order to remark briefly upon what is popularly called the "practical" value of French and German; that is, their utility as a means of intercourse. The practical command of a foreign language has a potential value that is at once perceived by every one; it is a recognized factor of commercial value, and its use in scientific research is unquestionable. The French say that their great authors truly represent the national life, and that in their literature has been drawn a faithful portrait of the ideal Frenchman and the Frenchwoman. No other modern tongue is so much studied by aliens. German is studied by a larger number of Americans, owing to the pressure of a German population in our country and to the influence of the German