William Gardner Hale, professor of Latin in Cornell University
Boston: Ginn & Co., 1887
The method of teaching herein advocated started, many years ago, from a desire to know Latin literature, and an impatience with the actual amount of reading power attained by a college course. At the outset there existed a conviction that the modern mind could not be so degenerate as to be incapable of reading Latin as the Romans read it, that is to say, in the Roman order, in the Roman medium, and at a rate of speed which would not be intolerably slow in the reading of a modern tongue. The nature of the aim dictated the method to be employed; and the employment of the method proved the soundness of the original conviction.
The writer has for some years intended to publish an account of this method, as it has shaped itself in practical experience with successive classes. First, however, he desired to present it orally before a number of gatherings of teachers. As a beginning, accordingly, the address with the pamphlet opens was read before the Holiday Conference of the Associated Academic Principals of the State of New York, held in Syracuse in December last. The interest with which the paper was received was so kindly, and the requests that it be published without further delay were so pressing, that it seemed best not to hold to the former intention.
The pamphlet has not the form which was first intended, namely, that of plain exposition; for in spite of the iteration of the personal pronoun, the form of direct appeal and explanation natural to an address proved to have its advantages. It has been necessary, however, to add to the address a considerable supplement.
Though no explicit suggestions will be found in regard to the teaching of Greek, the substance of the method of course applies alike to either language.
I am under a debt to many of my students of recent years, whose support of the method, though it was taken up by them under the sore necessity of an entire revolution of confirmed mental habits, has supplied me with the confidence that comes from concrete results. But I am under especial obligations to my sister, Miss Gertrude Elisabeth Hale, both for suggestions made earlier as a result of her own experience (the device mentioned on page 13 originated, so far as my own case goes, with her) and for a searching criticism of the proof of the present pamphlet, from the point of view of a preparatory teacher.
ITHACA, APRIL 18, 1887.
The attacks which have been made of late upon the study of Greek and to some extent upon the study of Latin have had at their backs the conviction that the results obtained are very much out of proportion to the years of labor spent upon these languages by the schoolboy and the college student. The danger which threatens classical study to-day in this country is due in large part to the fact that this conviction is a sound one. If the case were different, if the average college graduate were really able to read ordinary Greek and Latin with speed and relish, the whole matter would be on a very different footing from that on which it now lamely stands.
To learn to read Greek and Latin with speed and relish, and then, if one’s tastes turn towards literature or art of any kind, to proceed to do so; to come to know familiarly and lovingly that great factor in the record of the thinking and feeling of the human race, the literatures of Greece and Rome, – that is an aim which we should all set before our students. But, speaking generally, our students, yours and mine, do not come to love those literatures. Perhaps they tolerate them, perhaps they respect them. But to love them and to make them a substantial part of the intellectual life, – that is a thing which many a student, fitted therefor by natural taste and ability, fails to accomplish, and never so much as knows his loss. This seems to me, looking at the long years of study given to Greek and Latin, and the great emphasis put upon them in the requirements for admission to our colleges, a very sad business.
Now the blame of it all must be divided among three parties, – the Greek and Latin languages themselves, the teachers in the preparatory schools, and the teachers in the universities. The first of these guilty parties are out of our reach. They are difficult languages; but difficult languages they must remain. That leaves the practical whole of the responsibility to be divided between the teachers in the preparatory schools and the teachers in the universities, or, to take concrete examples, for the purpose of our conference, between you and me.
Which of us is the more to blame, I will not attempt to say. But so much I will say, and from my sure observation: that the influence upon the formation of intellectual character by the teachers who prepare young men for college is nearly ineffaceable. The boy who comes to college with a thinking habit is capable of learning to read Latin (for I must now confine myself to that topic, though the whole substance of what I have to say applies with equal force to the teaching of Greek) with ease and speed; the boy who comes without the habit has faults that a college course can rarely cure. That the boy should be taught to think before he comes to college is, then, from the point of view of the study of Latin, the one indispensable thing. That it is so from every other point of view as well, makes our case so much the stronger.
But one thing more is also indispensable sooner or later for a high success (and there is in Latin but one success), namely, that the method which the boy is taught to use in his thinking be the right one, – the result of the most careful observation of the practical difficulties to be overcome, and the most careful study of the best ways of overcoming them.
As we group these difficulties, placing them in the order in which they
would be felt by a beginner, we find them to be: –
1. The vocabulary.
2. The system of inflections.
3. The elaborate use of this system of inflections to express meaning, in place of our simpler modern methods of using prepositions, auxiliaries, and the like: or, in a single word, syntax.
I suppose the beginner would think that these three difficulties covered
the whole ground, and that if he had his vocabulary and his inflections
secured, and understood what is called syntax, he could then read Latin
with great ease. But he would be very wrong. The most formidable
difficulty has not been mentioned. The Latin sentence is constructed
upon a plan entirely different from that of the English sentence.
Until that plan is just as familiar to the student as the English plan,
until, for page after page, he takes in ideas as readily and naturally
on the one plan as on the other, until, in short, a single steady reading
of the sentence carries his mind through the very same development of thought
that took place in the mind of the writer, he cannot read Latin otherwise
than slowly and painfully. So, then, an absolutely essential thing
to a man who wants to read Latin is: –
4. A perfect working familiarity with the Latin ways of constructing sentences.
Now we teach the first three things more or less effectively, – vocabulary, inflection, syntax. Do we teach the last?
I turn to the "First Latin Books," in order to find what is said to students at that most critical period in their study of the language, – the beginning. I remember well how I was taught at Phillips Exeter Academy – of revered memory – to attack a Latin sentence. "First find your verb, and translate it," said my teacher. "Then find your subject, and translate it. Then find the modifiers of the subject, then the modifiers of the verb," etc., etc. Well, I had got more than four years beyond Exeter before I learned to read Latin with any feeling but that it was a singularly circuitous and perverted way of expressing ideas, which I could not expect to grasp until I had reformed my author’s sentences and reduced them to English. Since my time, however, better ways may have come into vogue. So I turn to the books of two scholarly gentlemen of my acquaintance, – practical teachers, too, – namely, Mr. Comstock, of Phillips Andover Academy, and Dr. Leighton, of the Brooklyn Latin School. On page 233 of Mr. Comstock’s "First Latin Book," and pages 211 and 212 of Dr. Leighton’s "First Steps in Latin," I find distinct rules, essentially the same, for the operation in question. The former begin as follows: –
Here is a new departure, an entire revolution since my day. I was taught to find first the predicate. A change so radical, a method so exactly the opposite of the old one, ought to lead to results the opposite of the old; namely, to the power to read Latin easily instead of with difficulty. So, with a cheerful heart, I take up a simple sentence in the fourth oration against Catiline, 3.5, and try my new method.
Haec omnia indices detulerunt. I look for my subject. Fortunately, it lies right at hand. It is haec, nom. pl. Next I translate it, these; or, since it is neuter, these things. Then I proceed to find the verb, which, again is obvious, viz., detulerunt, in 3d person pl., agreeing with the subject haec. Perhaps I have caught from somewhere the happy idea of not looking words up in the dictionary until I have tried my hand at them. So, very properly, I set out with the simplest meaning I can think of, viz., brought. Now I am well started: These things brought. Next I look for the modifiers of the subject, and find omnia. I build it on, and have now "all these things" for my subject, – all these things brought. Next I look for the modifiers of the predicate, and I find indices, witnesses, acc. pl., object of the verb. Everything is straight. All these things brought the witnesses. I pass on, and when I come to the class-room, and the teacher calls on me, I read out, All these things brought the witnesses, prepared to parse it to the last word, – only to be told that I am entirely wrong.1
Now, a Roman boy of my age, and much less clever than I, if he could have smuggled himself into the senate that day, would have understood what those four words meant the instant Cicero uttered the last of them, detulerunt. What is the difference between us? Each of us, he and I, knew substantially the meaning of each word, each of us could inflect, each of us knew all the syntax required. Yet I missed the idea, while he got it. Wherein did he beat me? Why, simply here: I, following the direction of my teachers, first found my subject, and settled on haec. The Roman boy did not know whether haec was subject or object. He only knew it as haec. I knew that detulerunt was the verb, and so did he when it arrived. I knew that omnia agreed with the subject haec, while he only surmised that it belonged with haec, whatever that might prove to be. I knew that indices was the object, while he only felt that indices was subject or object, and that it was the opposite of haec omnia (apposition being out of the question), being object if that should turn out to be subject, and subject if that should turn out to be object. Then he heard detulerunt, and with that word everything dropped into place as simply as, in Milton’s sentence following,
the last word resolves our momentary suspense in regard to the relation of orb and artist; which relation would have been precisely reversed, had we found such a word, e.g., as glads.
Let us try the method further. Mr. Comstock goes on (the italics are in part my own): –
But what is the order of their importance, and how am I to start? With the connective, I presume. We will suppose it to be ut. But how shall I translate it? There are some half-dozen or more "meanings": in order to, so that, when, as, considering, although. Which does it have here? I cannot tell. No more could a Roman. But the difference is, that a Roman did not want to tell which one of its forces ut had here, but waited until something in the rest of the sentence, perhaps twenty, perhaps fifty, words away, informed him; while I am bidden, so to speak, to toss up a cent, and start off upon a meaning, with the odds heavily against me; possibly to find my mistake and go back and correct it, more probably to add error on error in order to "make sense," and so to get the whole thing into a hopeless muddle.
Now, all this is wrong. It is a frightful source of confusion to prowl about here and there in the sentence in a self-blinded way that would seem pathetic to a Roman, looking at things without the side-lights afforded to him by the order; and, further, it is a frightful waste of time. Take a sentence such as often occurs, e.g., the opening of the third oration against Catiline, delivered before the people. Imagine, now, two scenes: on the one hand the Roman Forum, on Dec. 3, 63 BC, with a mass of men and boys listening to Cicero as he tells the story of the entangling of the conspirators remaining in Rome; on the other, a modern schoolroom, say in the Syracuse High School (though I hope I am about to slander Dr. Bacon), Dec. 3, 1886 AD. In the former case Cicero has the floor, as we say; in the latter case, Dr. Bacon’s assistant, book in hand, his pupils before him. Both audiences want to get at the same thing, – what Cicero has to say. In the first scene, Cicero proceeds: –
Rem publicam, Quirites, vitamque omnium vestrum, bona, fortunas, coniuges liberosque vestros, atque hoc domicilium clarissimi imperi, fortunatissimam pulcherrimamque urbem, hodierno die deorum immortalium summo ergo vos amore, laboribus consiliis periculis meis, e flamma atque ferro ac paene ex faucibus fati ereptam et vobis conservatam ac restitutam videtis.
When he has said that, every soul that has heard him knows precisely what he means. Now change to the Syracuse High School. The teacher says, "first find your subject." So we run on, scenting out a subject: –
Rem publicam, Quirites, vitamque omnium vestrum, bona, fortunas, coniuges liberosque vestros, atque hoc domicilium clarissimi imperi, fortunatissimam pulcherrimamque urbem, hodierno die deorum immortalium summo ergo vos amore, laboribus consiliis periculis meis, e flamma atque ferro ac paene ex faucibus fati ereptam et vobis conservatam ac restitutam videtis.
Well, we are through with the entire sentence, and there is no subject! Of course, then, it is implied in the verb, and that is the 2d person pronoun, in the plural. Next we find our verb. That is, as it happens, the last word, videtis. Then we go back, do we, and find the modifiers of the subject, and then the modifiers of the verb? No, I say to all that. We have already, if we have been rightly brought up, understood everything in that sentence by the time we reach the last syllable of it, without having thought meanwhile of a single English word; and we are as ready in 1886 to go on immediately with the next sentence as we should have been if we had been Romans in the Roman Forum on that day in 63 BC. Or, to put it another way, the boy who, reaching that oration in the course of his preparation for college, cannot understand that particular sentence, and a great many much more difficult sentences in the oration, from reading it straight through once in the Latin, nay, from merely hearing his teacher read it straight through once in the Latin, has been wrongly trained, is wasting time sadly, out of a human life all too short, and, so far from being on the direct way to read Latin with speed and relish, and then to proceed to do so, is on the direct way to drop it just as soon as the elective system of his particular college will allow, and, if he cares for literature, to go into some language in which it is not necessary, first to find the subject, and then the predicate, and then the modifiers of the subject, and then the modifiers of the predicate, and then to do the same thing for the subordinate sentence, or, if there are several subordinate sentences, to do the same thing for each one of them in the order of their importance, and then to put these tattered bits together into a patchwork.
Now, it will not do to say that students, by beginning in this way, get, quite early, beyond the need of it. At any rate, I can testify, from my own experience, that, in spite of the admirable efforts of the schools in "sight-reading," they do not, when they come to Harvard or Cornell. I allow myself in my class-room – keeping well inside of what is said to be customary among college professors – one jest a year. When I first meet the new Freshman class (for I could not bear to leave such precious material wholly to the most perfect assistant), I question them: "Suppose, now, you are set, as you were at the examination for admission the other day, to tell me the meaning of a sentence in a book you never say, – say an oration of Cicero, – how do you proceed to get at the writer’s meaning?" There is at once a chorus of voices (for they are crammed for that question, having learned printed directions, as we have seen, in the first books they studied), "First find the – SUBJECT," three-quarters of them say; "PREDICATE," the other quarter. "Now here," I say to them, "is an unhappy difference of opinion about first principles in a matter of everyday practice, and of very serious importance. Which is right?" They do not know. "Which do you suppose the Romans who heard the oration delivered in the Forum first hunted up, the subject or the predicate?" That little jest, simple as it is, always meets with great success; for it not only raises a laugh (of no value in itself), but it shows at once, even to a Freshman, the entire absurdity of trying to read Latin by a hunting-up first of either his subject or his predicate; and so enlists his sympathy in favor of trying some other way, if any can be shown him. But, at the same time, it proves to me that the method taught at the most critical of all periods, the beginning, is still wrong. Only in late years, and very rarely, does some student answer my question with: "First read the first Latin word without translating it, then the second, then the third, and so on to the end, taking in all the possible constructions of every word, while barring out at once the impossible, and, above all, erring, if anywhere, in the direction of keeping the mind in suspense unnecessarily long, waiting, at least, until a sure solution has been given by the sentence itself."
Yet this is the one method that should everywhere be rigorously used, from the day of the first lesson to the last piece of Latin that the college graduate reads to solace his old age. Only, the process which at first is at every point conscious and slow, as it was not with the Romans, becomes, in Latin of ordinary difficulty, a process wholly unconscious and very rapid, precisely as it was with the Romans. Just when the process would become easy for ordinarily simple Latin, if the training were right from the beginning, I cannot say. In my own experience with college students, all whose habits have to be changed, I find a striking difference to be produced in a single term. And at the end of two years, when the elective work begins, I now find it entirely practicable for the class to devote itself to the study of the Latin literature in the Latin alone, having nothing to do with version into English except at the examinations; and I never had so good and so spirited translation, whether at sight or on the reading of the term, as last week, when, for the first time, I held such an examination at the end of a term spent without translation.
To bring the matter into a definite and practical shape, I can best indicate what it seems to me you ought to direct your teachers of Latin to do, mutatis mutandis, by telling you what I myself do from the time when I first meet my Freshmen to the end of the Sophomore year.
After my little jest about the Romans hunting up first the subject and then the predicate as Cicero talked to them, or first the predicate and then the subject, whichever one thinks the Roman method may have been, I assure them that "what we have to do is to learn to understand a Roman sentence precisely as a Roman understood it as he heard it or read it, say in an oration, for example. Now the Roman heard, or read, first the first word, then the second, then the third, and so on, through sentence after sentence, to the end of the oration, with no turning back, with no hunting around. And in doing this he was so guided all the time, by indications of one kind or another in some way strown through each sentence, that, when the last word of that sentence had been spoken or read, the whole of the meaning had reached his mind. The process of detecting these indications of meaning was to him a wholly unconscious one. We moderns, however, of course cannot begin so far along. What we are to reach finally is precisely this unconsciousness of processes; but we shall be obliged, for the first few years, explicitly to study the indications, until we come to know them familiarly, one after another. We must for some time think out, at every point, as the sentence progresses (and that without ever allowing ourselves to look ahead), all those conveyings of meaning, be they choice of word, or choice of order, or choice of case, or choice of mode, or choice of tense, or whatsoever else which at that point sufficed for the Roman mind. And when these indications – which after all are not so many in number – have come to be so familiar to us that most of them are ready to flash before the mind without our deliberately summoning them, we shall be very near the point at which, in Latin graded to our growing powers, we shall interpret indications unconsciously. And the moment we do that, we shall be reading Latin by the Roman’s own method."
I take up now – all books being closed – a sentence of very simple structure, of which every word and every construction are familiar, say a certain passage in Livy2. I tell the story of the context: Two assassins have got admission, on the pretext of a quarrel to be decided, into the presence of Tarquin. One of them diverts the attention of the king by telling his tale, and the other brings down an axe upon the king’s head; whereupon they both rush for the door.
In order that the interpretation shall be done absolutely in the order in which a Roman would do it, without looking ahead, I write one word at a time upon the board (as I will again do upon the board before you), and ask questions as I go, as follows : –3
Tarquinium. "What did Livy mean by putting that word at the beginning of the sentence?" That the person mentioned in it is at this point of conspicuous importance. "Where is Tarquinium made?" In the accusative singular. "What does that fact mean to your minds?"
Here most of them are somewhat dazed, not being used to that word meaning, the very word that ought constantly to be used in dealing with syntax, or so-called "parsing." So I very probably have to say, "May it mean the duration of time of the act with which it is connected?" They say, No. I ask, "Why not?" Somebody says, Because the name of a person cannot indicate time. I say, "Give me some words that might indicate time." They give me dies, noctes, aetatem, etc. Then I ask, "May it mean extent of space?" They say, No, give me similar reasons for their answer, and, upon my asking for words that might indicate extent of space, they give me, perhaps, mille passuum, tres pedes, etc. Then I ask, "May it indicate the extent of the action of the verb, the degree to which the action goes?" They say, No, for a similar reason. But when I ask for words that might mean the degree of the action, they commonly cannot tell me, for the reason that, strange to say, the grammars do not recognize such a usage; though sentences like he walks a great deal every day (multum cottidie ambulat) are even more common than sentences like he walks three miles every day (cottidie tria milia passuum ambulat), and the accusatives mean essentially the same thing in both sentences. Then I ask, "May it mean that in respect to which something is said, – as regards Tarquin, – the accusative of specification?" To a question like that, I am sorry to say that a great many always answer yes, for students get very vague notions of the real uses of the accusative of specification. Somebody, however, may be able to tell me that the name of a person is never used in the accusative of specification, and that in general the use of the accusative of specification, in the days of Cicero and Virgil, was mostly confined to poetry. "What words were used in the accusative of specification in prose?" Here I never get an answer, although the list is determinate, short, and important. So I have to say, "I must add to your working knowledge a useful item; write in your note-books as follows: partem, vicem, genus with omne or a pronoun (quod, hoc, id), secus with virile or muliebre, hoc and id with aetatis, the relative quod and the interrogative quid, are used in Latin prose in all periods as accusatives of specification. Here, then, is a bit of definite information which may enable you, when you first meet one of these words again (you will do so quite early in your first book of Livy), to walk without stumbling through a sentence where you would otherwise trip." Then I go back to Tarquinium. "May it be," I ask, "an accusative of exclamation?" They say, Possibly so. I say, "possibly yes, though in historical narration you would hardly expect such an exclamation from the historian." Next I ask, "May it be a cognate accusative?" To that they answer, No; telling me, perhaps with some help, that the name of a person cannot be in any sense a restatement of an act, – cannot mean an activity. "Well, then, what does this accusative case mean?" By this time a good many are ready to say: Object of a verb, or in apposition with the object. But I ask if one thing more is possible, and some one says: Subject of an infinitive. "Yes," I answer; "and one thing more yet?" Predicate of an infinitive, someone suggests.
"Now," I ask, "what have we learned from all this? Given the name of a person or persons in the accusative with no preposition, how many and what constructions are possible?" All are ready now to answer, Object of a verb, or subject or predicate of an infinitive. "Good," I say. "Keep those possibilities always fresh in your mind, letting them flash through it the moment you see such a word; and that having been done, WAIT, and NEVER DECIDE which of these possible meanings was in the mind of the Roman speaker or writer until the rest of the sentence has made the answer to that question perfectly clear. Now tell me what constructions are possible for an accusative like hiemem." They answer, duration of time, apposition, object of verb, subject or predicate of an infinitive. "For an accusative like pedes?" They answer, extent of space, apposition, object of verb, or subject or predicate of an infinitive. "For an accusative like multum?" Extent of action, apposition, object of verb, or subject or predicate of an infinitive. "For an accusative like vitam?" Cognate accusative, apposition, object of verb, or subject or predicate of an infinitive. Now I ask, "Can any one tell me what constructions we may expect if the verb turns out to be some word like doceo or celo?" They all give the answer, and therewith I have already passed in rapid review practically the whole matter of the accusative constructions; and, what is more, – and this is vital, – I have done it from a very practical standpoint. I have not asked a student to "parse" a word after seeing its full connection in the sentence (an exercise which loses four-fifths of its virtue by this misplacement), but I have demanded anticipatory parsing, – I have put my questions in such a way that my students have learned for all accusatives what instantaneous suggestions of the possible parts a word is playing in the sentence they may get, at first sight of the word, from the very nature of the word.
Then I pass on. "We have our King Tarquin before our eyes, as the person on whom the interest of the sentence centres, and we know that he is the object of an action, or the subject or predicate of an infinitive action; or, possibly, in apposition with such an object, subject, or predicate. To proceed, the next word, moribundum, is what and where made?" Adjective, nom. sing. neut., or acc. sing. masc. or neut. Don’t smile at all this. The habit of getting a young student to think all these things out, even where he could not go astray if they were not asked of him, saves many a getting lost in difficult places. "What is probable about moribundum, as we have it in this particular sentence?" That it belongs to Tarquinium. "Right. Now keep that picture in mind: Tarquinium moribundum, the King, breathing his last, acted upon or acting. Now for the next word: Tarquinium moribundum cum. What is cum?" Some say, with perfect readiness, preposition, some say conjunction.4 "But," I answer, "if you are used to the right spelling, you know with an instant’s thought that no Roman that ever lived could tell at this point whether it was preposition or conjunction. In order to tell, you must wait for – what?" Ablative or verb, they answer. Then we go on, "Tarquinium moribundum cum qui. What does qui at once tell us about cum?" Conjunction. "Right. What do we know now, with almost absolute certainty, about Tarquinium? What part of the sentence does it belong to?" Here, I grieve to say, a chorus of voices always answers, Main verb; for, in some mysterious way, students arrive at the universities without having learned that the Romans delighted to take out the most important word, or combination of words, from a subordinate introductory sentence, and put it at the very start, before the connective, – a bit of information worth a great deal for practical reading. That habit of expression I now tell them, and then ask, "Given a sentence beginning with mors si, what do you know?" That mors is the subject or predicate of the verb introduced by si. "Given a sentence introduced by Hannibali victori cum ceteri?" That Hannibali depends on something in the cum-sentence.
Now we go back to our sentence, and the word qui. "What part of speech is it?" Relative, they say. "Or what else?" I ask. Interrogative. "Where is it made?" Nom. sing. or plur., masc. "If it is a relative, where in the sentence as a whole does its antecedent lie?" They should answer, Inside the cum-clause. The cum serves as the first of two brackets to include the qui-clause. "If, on the other hand, it is an interrogative, what kind of a question is alone here possible?" Indirect, and in the subjunctive, they answer. "In that case, what kind of a meaning, speaking generally, must the verb introduced by cum have?" It must be able to imply asking of some kind. "Rightly said; perhaps we may have such a sentence as, When everybody inquired who these men were – Cum qui essent omnes quaererent; or perhaps we shall find that qui is relative. The next word is circa, – Tarquinium moribundum cum qui circa. What part of speech is it?" Adverb. "What then may it do?" It may modify a verb, an adjective, or another adverb.
We proceed: Tarquinium moribundum cum qui circa erunt. "What, now, about circa?" It modifies erant. "What was the number of qui?" Plural. "Was it relative or interrogative?" Relative. "How do you know?" Because erant is not subjunctive. "Right. Now qui circa erant is as good as a noun or a pronoun, – an indeclinable noun or pronoun, in the plural. Think of it in that way, as we go on. Tarquinium moribundum cum qui circa erant excepissent. I don’t ask to-day the meaning of the mode of excepissent, because the world is in so much doubt about the question of the history and force of the cum-constructions. But what was Livy’s meaning in writing the accusative Tarquinium?" Object of excepissent. "Yes, and what was the subject of excepissent?" The antecedent of qui. "Yes; or, looking at the matter more generally, the subject was qui circa erant."
"Before going on, what picture have we before us? What has the sentence thus far said? This: See Tarquin, dying! See the bystanders! See them pick him up! Our curiosity is stimulated by the very order. The next word is illos, – Tarquinium moribundum cum qui circa erant excepissent ... What does the position of illos, first in the main sentence proper, tell us?" That the people meant by it are of special prominence at this point. "Who do you suppose these illos are, these more distant persons, thus set in emphatic balance against Tarquinium, each leading its clause? The assassins, the whole class say. "What do we know about Livy’s meaning from the case?" Now they all answer in fine chorus and completeness, Apposition, object of main verb, or subject or predicate of an infinitive.
We proceed: Tarquinium moribundum cum qui circa erant excepssent, illos fugientes ... "What part of speech is fugientes?" Participle. "Which one?" Present active. "Then you see a running-away going on before your eyes. What gender?" Masc. or fem. "What number?" Plural. "Then you see some two or more men or women running away. What case?" Nom. or acc. "On the whole, do you feel sure you know the case?" Yes; accusative. "Belonging to what?" Illos. "Why?" Because of course the assassins, the illos, would run away. "Yes," I say; "but it cannot possibly mislead you to wait until there isn’t a shadow of a doubt. We will go on: Tarquinium moribundum cum qui circa erant excepssent, illos fugientes lictores ... Here you have another set of people, the king’s body-guard. In what case?" Nom. or acc. plural. "Which?" They do not know. "Well, then, can illos agree with lictores, if you consider forms alone?" Yes. "In that case, fugientes would have to go with illos lictores, wouldn’t it?" Yes. "But would the lictors run away?" No. "Would the assassins?" Yes. "Certainly. Then fugientes does not belong with lictores, and does belong with illos; and illos seems to be, just as we suspected at first sight of it, the assassins. However, we must ask ourselves one more question, Is apposition possible between illos and lictores?" No; for they are very different people. "Is any relation of a predicate possible between them? Can the one be the predicate of an infinitive of which the other is the subject?" No; because, as before, they are very different people. "Still it is possible that lictores is accusative. If it is, it may be object, in which case illos is necessarily subject, for, as we have seen, they cannot be in apposition; or, it may be subject, in which case, for the same reason, illos must be object. In either case, they must be in direct opposition to each other, one of them (we don’t yet know which) being subject, the other, object; while, if lictores is nom., you still have the same relation, only you know which is subject and which is object. In any event, you see they are set over against each other, together making subject and object. Now keep the results of this reasoning ready for the countless cases in which such combinations occur. Given two nouns like bellum Saguntum: what are the constructions?" One is the subject of a verb, and the other the object, and we can’t yet tell which. "Right. Now I will give you a still more involved combination, but of a very commonly occurring kind, – quae nos materiem. What do you make out of that?" Some clever boy will say, Nos must be the subject of a verb, either finite or infinitive, and quae and materiem are object and predicate-object. "Good. Then what kind of meaning does the verb probably have?" One of calling. "Right. The words are from Lucretius, and the verb he used was vocamus. Treasure up that combination and the meaning of it."
"Now we go back to the assassins who are running away, and the king’s body-guard. I will inform you that there is just one more word in the sentence. What part of speech is it?" Verb. "Active or passive?" Active. "Right. What does it tell?" Tells what the lictors do to the assassins. "What mode, then?" Indicative. "What two tenses are possible?" The perfect and the historical present. "Right. Now the situation is a pretty dramatic one. Which of these two tenses should you accordingly choose, if you were writing the story?" The present. "So did Livy. Now tell me what you think the verb is." Interficiunt, somebody says. Capiunt, says another, hitting the idea but not the right word, which is comprehendunt, get hold of them well, – nab ’em; or, as our tamer English phrase might put it, secure them.
"Now let us render into English the sentence as a whole, translating not merely Livy’s words, but the actual development of the thought in his mind. Tarquinium, there’s Tarquin; moribundum, he’s a dying man; cum qui circa erant, you see the bystanders about to do something; excepissent, they have caught and supported the king; illos, you turn and look at the assassins; fugientes, they are off on the run; lictores, there are the king’s body-guard; we hold our breath in suspense; – comprehendunt, THEY’VE GOT ’EM! So, then, that Latin order, which looks so perverted to one who is trained to pick the sentence to pieces and then patch it together again, gives us the very succession in which one would see the actual events; weaves all the occurrences together into a compact whole, yet keeping everywhere the natural order; while any order that we may be able to invent for a corresponding single sentence in English will twist and warp the natural order into a shape that would greatly astonish a Roman."
"Finally, with the understanding and sense of the dramatic in the situation, which we have got by working the sentence out as Livy wrote it, compare the perversion of it, which we get by working it out correctly on the first-find-your-subject-of-the-main-sentence-and-then-your-predicate, etc., method: the lictors secure the assassins as they run away, when those who were standing by had caught and supported the dying Tarquin. The facts are all there, but the style, the soul, is gone."
Then I at once bring what we have learned to bear by giving a piece of blank paper to each student and starting out upon a new sentence, which shall involve what we have just seen, together with some fresh matter. The questions are carefully studied and written out in advance, and the place of each is indicated to me, in my prepared manuscript, by a number attached to the Latin word concerned, as if for a foot-note. As each question is put, the number is at once written down by each student and his answer written out. Afterwards my assistant carefully goes through every paper, and with a colored paper marks every error, for my own guidance, and for the subsequent study, penitence, and profit of the writer. The following is an example actually used, from Livy 21.53. The answer that should be written is given with each question.
Hannibal1 cum2 quid3456789 optimum10 11 12 foret13 hosti14 cerneret,15 16 vix17 ullam spem18 19 habebat20 temere21 22 atque23 24 ---–––––25 –––––26 consules27 28 29 30 31 –––––.32
Subject of a verb, either subordinate or main.
2. Part of speech?
Preposition or conjunction.
3. Cum was what part of speech?
4. Construction of Hannibal?
Subject or predicate nominative of verb introduced by cum.
5. Quid is what part of speech?
6. Construction of the verb to which quid belongs?
Subjunctive of indirect question.
7. General nature of meaning of verb introduced by cum?
Some meaning that can imply a question.
8. Case of quid?
Nom. or acc. neut. sing.
9. Construction of quid?
Subject, predicate, or object of finite verb or infinitive; or acc. of specification, the so-called adverb.
Nom. neut. sing., or acc. masc. or neut. sing.
If neut., agreeing with subject or object of verb, or in predicate. If masc., agreeing with object or verb, or with subject or predicate of an infinitive.
12. What constructions may follow to complete the meaning of optimum?
Dat. of the person for whom something is optimum, or abl. of that with respect to which something is optimum. (It is worth while to have those two possibilities pat, for the great class of words of which optimum is a specimen.)
13. Where made?
Imperfect subjunctive. (Reason already given under 6.)
Dative after optimum. (Reason given under 12.)
15. Where made, and introduced by what?
Imperfect subjunctive, introduced by cum.
16. Construction of Hannibal?
Subject of cerneret.
17. Vix, hardly, has a negative feeling. In such a connection, what would be the pronoun meaning any, and what the adjective? (Probably nobody knows.)
Acc. sing., object of verb, or subject or predicate of infinitive.
19. Spes, just as much as spero, indicates a mental activity, and we shall probably find something else, completing its meaning, the object of the spes. What will be the case (a) if the completing word is a noun?
(b) if the completing word is a verb?
Objective genitive of gerund or of gerundive with noun, or future infinitive.
20. Subject is what?
A pronoun, repeating Hannibal.
21. Part of speech, and simplest meaning?
Adverb, meaning blindly.
22. Bearing in mind that, in the ordinary Roman habit, words were placed in anticipation of those which they modify, not after them, what do you feel about temere?
That it modifies the expected object of spem, which, consequently, is a verb.
23. Probably introduces what?
Another adverb, corresponding to temere.
24. Write an adverb to mean not looking ahead.
25. Write nom. or acc. neut. sing. meaning anything (in one word).
26. In what case is that word here, and with what verb is it connected?
Acc., connected with a verb, which verb must depend on spem.
27. Where made, without reference to context?
Nom. or acc. plur.
28. Where made, with reference to context? and how do you know?
Acc., because habebat is sing.
29. Meaning of this accusative?
That consules is subject, object, or predicate of an infinitive.
30. Relation of quicquam and consules to each other?
One the object, the other the subject, of the infinitive.
31. Complete the sentence, using a verb meaning do.
Acturos, with or without esse.
32. Write, in the best English you have at your command, a translation of the sentence.
"Now," I go on to say to my students, "you are to commit this sentence to memory, and be ready to give it fluently in the Latin when we meet next. And in the same way you will commit to memory every passage we so use in the year; and at each term examination you will find yourselves called upon to write one of these passages, still from memory. Further, and still more important than this, never again pick out your subject, your predicate, etc.; but, in preparing your daily lessons, do just what we have been doing this morning, except that you are not to translate any sentence, or any part of any sentence, until you have gone through the whole lesson in the Latin, and got all the meaning in your power out of it. I give you a short lesson, and I shall call upon one man and another to take up a sentence and go rapidly through it as Latin, word after word, as we have just now done, telling us precisely how it should be thought out. In preparing your lesson, in order to be sure that your eye does not stray and run ahead, cut out a piece of flexible pasteboard, or, until you can get pasteboard, a piece of stiff writing-paper, as long as twice the width of your printed text, and two or three inches wide. Cut a strip from the top, running along half the length, and deep enough to correspond to precisely one line of your text, including the space that belongs with it.5 Use this piece of paper in such a way as to expose just one word at a time, together with which, of course, will also be seen all the words preceding; that is to say, as you think about one word after another, pushing your paper on, you will constantly see all of the sentence thus far traversed, without being able to look ahead."
At the next meeting, the class, thus prepared, recites as described, a number of students attempting to show precisely what mental processes one should go through in taking up the sentences of the lesson. At the next but one, and thereafter throughout the Freshman year, all books being closed, the instructor reads the review lesson aloud, with all the effectiveness possible to him, one sentence at a time, calling for a translation of it from one and another student.6 As a preparation for this exercise, each student is urged to read the review aloud a number of times in his own room, doing his author as much justice as possible.
At every exercise during the year, except the special weekly exercise, a number of sentences, prepared by the instructor, and based upon the text under reading at the time, are given out to students, to be written upon the board, in the English and in Latin, while the rest of the class are engaged upon translating the review as the instructor reads it; and when the work upon the review is over, these Latin sentences upon the board are criticised by the class. I touch upon a very serious defect in most of our preparatory schools when I say that from beginning to end there should never be a recitation in a foreign language without written or oral translation into that language.
For the special weekly exercise described above, there can be no considerable preparation beyond incessant faithfulness in the daily work. The time thus left free is utilized in the preparation of a considerable piece of English based upon the Latin recently read. (It will be seen that no textbook in composition is employed.) The exercise handed in by each student is afterwards looked through, and returned to him at the next meeting of the class, with all errors marked.
The writing of the Latin sentence, one word at a time, upon the board in the special weekly exercise which has been described above, gives place in a few weeks to the corresponding dictation of one word at a time, to be written upon his paper by the student, the questions being, of course, given as before. The exercise changes constantly in character by the dropping of questions with which the students have become familiar, and the bringing in of questions involving new principles. Meanwhile, the examination of the papers written shows, from week to week, just where each student’s weakness lies. In no long time all the constantly recurring constructions have become familiar as practical, working affairs. Then (and this time properly comes somewhere near the end of the first third of the year) I cease entirely to have the Latin written, and give my passage (which may now be of respectable length) orally, still asking occasional questions for written answers, here and there, at points dangerous or otherwise instructive. After the whole of the passage has been gone through in this way, it is taken up again, one sentence at a time, and a written translation is made by each student. The passages are commonly selected from the book which the class is reading, and not very far in advance of the place reached in the other lessons of the week. The attempt is always made to select a passage with a dramatic or otherwise striking close. Each week, as already said, the whole of the exercise of the previous week is memorized, and repeated by several students, with great attention to the effective conveying of the meaning, by the throwing together, as in all spoken languages, of a number of words making a group in the sentence as a whole, by the careful balancing, in the delivery, of words clearly meant to be balanced, etc., etc.
All this time each student is gaining a working knowledge of syntax regarded from the true standpoint for the first purposes of college work, namely, as a mechanism for conveying meaning from one mind to another; is learning to bring that knowledge of syntax to bear at the most economical point; is gaining familiarity with Roman tricks of order; and is laying up a steadily growing vocabulary.7 And throughout, in order to keep constantly in sight the idea that the aim of the whole business is to learn to read Latin, occasional examinations in translation new passages from a text or printed paper are held during the term (as of course they should be upon any system), and at the end of each term the first exercise at the final exam is translation at hearing, the second exercise is translation at sight, the third exercise is translation at sight from English to Latin, the fourth is the writing of one of the passages memorized during the term; and not until this is done does the student proceed to an exercise in translating and commenting upon passages read during the term. Moreover, the greater part of the grammatical questions of the paper are set, not upon passages read during the term, but upon the passages given for the first time at the examinations; namely, the passages to be translated at hearing and at sight.
In the second year, the aim of gaining in power to read at sight is constantly held up before the students, and occasional written exercises in reading at sight are given through the term, while the first exercise set at the examination at the end of the term is always translation at sight. A proper supplement to this is an elective in the speaking and writing of Latin. In the second and third terms of the second year, which are now devoted to Horace, considerable quantities can be read, with a good deal of memorizing; and the treatment can be made almost wholly literary. That carries us through the Sophomore year, and to the beginning of the elective work, taken by Juniors and Seniors together. Here translation at the daily lesson ends, except in those rare cases where the meaning of a difficult passage cannot be given by explaining the grammatical structure, or by turning the passage into some other form in Latin.8 Translations are written at occasional exercises held for that purpose during the term, and always make a part of the final examination, so that every student feels bound to understand his author. But the students are urged not to have anything to do with English in preparation for their daily lessons or for the final examination, but to read the Latin as literature, with the utmost skill in rendering their author that they can acquire.
In all my teaching, two exercises stand out from the rest, as giving me special delight through the interest and mental activity of my students: first, the exercises with the Freshmen, which I have described as carried on weekly by myself; secondly, an exercise such as I carried on with an elective class recently, when, at the end of a term spent upon Plautus, I read a new play straight through in the Latin (the students following me in their texts), without translation, and with very little comment, moving at about the rate at which one would move if he were reading a new play of Shakespeare in a similar way; and felt my audience responsive, even to the extent of occasional laughter that checked us for a moment, to nearly everything in our author that would have been intelligible, without special explanation, in an English translation.
Finally, if you ask me whether this method which I have been describing
does not take a great deal of time, I shall answer that the amount of Latin
read in the first term is much smaller than in the ordinary way, but that
the power to read increases rapidly, and that the total quantity read in
the first year is somewhat greater than on the common system, considerably
greater in the second year, and in the elective years absolutely greater;
to say nothing of the much juster understanding of, and more intimate feeling
for, his original, and the much keener delight in reading, gained by the
student who pursues this method. But there is one thing more to be
said about this kind of work, this training of the student to read Latin
rapidly. It is not the work of the universities at all. In
the universities, men should not learn how to read Latin, but should read
it. It should be my office, for instance, to make them acquainted
with the body of the literature, to make them know it, at any rate, and
love it, if possible. But the office of preparing them to do this
by training them to read ordinary Latin with ease and speed belongs to
no college instructor, but to the schools of which you have charge.
I wholly believe that the application, from the very first day of reading
a Roman sentence of one word, of the method here described, would, without
adding a day to the length of time given to preparation for college, make
a young student able, at the beginning of his Freshman year, to read Latin
with more ease and speed than are my students at the end of it, – to say
nothing of the greater pleasure which they would have in their work.
And I am not judging from my experience in university teaching alone;
for this very method of teaching has been used by students of my own upon
young pupils, of varying ability, in preparation for college, and with
results that fully confirm my belief. Nor are the young pupils the
only gainers. The teacher himself will be surprised to see how much
more pleasure he feels in his work; and, if he keeps up his reading
of the Latin literature, as all teachers of course endeavor to do, he will
be surprised to find how his rate of speed will increase. And the
method itself will give him no trouble to learn; for in the very
act of preparing papers for examinations of this sort, or, at the worst,
of conducting oral exercises without preparation, the teacher will very
soon have taught himself the whole art.
To the preceding address – long, and yet too brief – I wish to add two things: further specimens of papers actually employed by myself with a Freshman class, and suggestions for the application of the method in the preparatory schools.
At this point, I should advise the wearied reader, if he feels some confidence in the method, to lay the pamphlet aside and make experiment himself with a class, returning to the reading after he has come to feel an interest in further suggestions of detail. As for the wearied reader that does not feel this confidence, he will readily lay the pamphlet down unadvised.
SPECIMENS OF PAPERS
In giving in this way details of the system on which my own work is conducted, I do not feel that I owe an apology. One who proposes a method must have a very solid basis for his proposal. This basis must be an experience of the efficacy of that which he is urging; and this experience should be given with the greatest clearness and definiteness. It is to be wished, indeed, that teachers of a given subject throughout the country, in colleges and schools, might regard themselves as forming one body with a common purpose, and that a constant interchange of experience and opinion might go on among them, alike in matters of investigation and matters of pedagogy.
It should be remembered that the papers printed below were used, early in the Freshman year, with students who had prepared for college upon the familiar and thoroughly un-Roman system. If students were prepared upon the right method, not one in ten of the questions here indicated would need to be asked, and the exercise of translating at hearing would be a rapid and attractive affair.
These papers were given to the Freshman class in succession, at intervals of a week, in the autumn of 1885; at which time the work of the other recitations of the week was in Livy. The constant aim – and the class were so informed – was to find for these papers, as given week after week, passages which would demand of them a practical power of handling constructions which had been discussed in the other exercises of the week, so that their progress should be one of constant acquisition without loss; and it was promised them that in this way they should in a short time possess a ready and available familiarity with all the commonly recurring constructions of the language. I further told them that, since I should not give them at these exercises in translation the meaning of any word which they had ever seen before, they had a very strong reason for laying up for themselves a vocabulary through securing in their memory every Latin word occurring in their daily work, and a very strong reason for paying extremely careful attention, both at and after the other recitations of the week, to any explanations of meaning of this or that word, alone, or in connection with others related to it in meaning (e.g. to alius, in connection with alter and ceteri), which might similarly be given to them at the ordinary recitations. Nor was I content with this; for, in order that there might be no escape, I prepared a partial syllabus of definable points emphasized in the work of the term; and one of these was purchased, from the office that printed it, by each student in the class.
At the beginning of the term, the work of the advance lesson was largely done in the class-room, instructor and instructed working together. It will be rightly inferred from this that the class moved slowly at the outset. I am a devout believer in the reading of large quantities of the classics; indeed, that is, in this present business, my particular and precise aim; but I am also a believer in what is called "the long run," and "in the long run" only a soundly trained man gets very far. In the preliminary training, it is necessary at first to take a good deal of time in probing to the quick, sometimes with considerable distress to the would-be athletes, a class of new students who have been carefully trained to distort and mangle the Latin sentence; who have necessarily failed to acquire the alert and self-watchful habits of thought and of suspended judgment to which the received method, with its resulting impatience to "make sense," is practically strongly opposed; whose knowledge of syntax is of a back-handed kind, good for very little except to "parse" with, more or less mechanically and ineffectually, after the whole sentence has been dug out, but worth nothing as yet for the current interpretation of the syntax of word after word in situ in the progress of the sentence; and, finally, some of whom have been trained to pronounce Latin on the English method, others on the Continental, and others on one or another of that great variety of methods passing current under the general appellation of "Roman," and many of whom, accordingly, find it very difficult to understand a word of one syllable as pronounced by my assistant or myself, – to say nothing of a word of two syllables.
Up to the fourth week inclusive, the Latin was written upon the board at these weekly exercises, one word at a time, the questions being put, as indicated by the footnotes in the papers given below, at one point and another as the sentence progressed. For several weeks after that time, the Latin sentence was written by each student, one word at a time, as pronounced by the instructor, the questions being set and answered as before. After this, the writing of the Latin was forbidden, and the passages used were interpreted only as heard from the instructor’s reading.
At the first interview, the class had worked out, as it was put upon the board, one word at a time, the sentence in Livy I.1.5.
Ibi egressi Troiani, ut quibus ab immenso prope errore nihil praeter arma et naves superesset, cum praedam ex agris agerent, Latinus rex Aboriginesque, qui tum ea tenebant loca, ad arcendam vim advenarum armati ex urbe atque agris concurrunt.
As we reached the point ...ut quibus, they had made out, under questioning, that ut might be (1) a conjunction, in which case quibus could be (a) an interrogative introducing an indirect question depending on the ut-verb, or (b) a relative referring to something connected with the ut-verb; or that, on the other hand, ut might be (2) an adverb, in which case the quibus-clause must be substantially an adjective modifying Troiani; in other words, a characterizing clause. In this connection, they had been told, for the sake of having the whole matter secured for their repertory of combinations of this kind, that what was essential in this latter case was the characterizing clause itself, and that in strictness no introductory word was necessary; if one was used, however, it might be either ut, utpote, or quippe; and it was also pointed out that, while there were three possibilities for a combination like ut quibus, there was only one possibility for a combination like utpote quibus or quippe quibus.
As we reached superesset, it was pointed out, against the practical habit of thought of nearly all the class, that, since in Latin the common practice was to put a modifying clause or phrase before the thing modified, the chances were that the quibus-clause, if it should turn out to be a characterizing clause, would bear, not upon egressi, but upon something which we were still to wait for. (This something turned out to be cum ... agerent, – the natural thing for destitute men to do.)
As we reached ...cum praedam, at which stage it was sure that cum was a conjunction, the point was made, though again against the sentiments of the class, that Troiani was the subject of the verb introduced by cum, since the Romans were fond of taking out a conspicuous word or phrase belonging to an introductory temporal sentence, and putting it before the connective.9
The passage chosen for the first written exercise turned out to be a
little too difficult in the reasoning at the et cui point, though
it had a certain and considerable usefulness in displaying to the class
a sentence of which some of them, though knowing the meaning of each word,
and though able to "parse" it from beginning to end if it were once translated
to them, would yet fail to comprehend the meaning, through a lack of a
working knowledge of the constructions involved.
[Tanaquil has been urging upon Lucumo, who lives in Tarquinii, that he would have better hopes of rising in some new city, and points out that Rome has special advantages.]
Facile1 persuadet23 ut45 cupido67 honorum et89 cui10 11 Tarquinii12 materna13 14 tantum15 16 patria17 18 19 –––––; sublatis20 itaque rebus21 22 commigrant23 –––––24.
1. May be either of what possible parts of speech;
and where made?
Adj. in nom. or acc. neut. sing.; or adverb.
2. In what way will the person who is persuaded, if there is one, be expressed?
By the dative.
3. In what way will that to which the person is persuaded be expressed, if it proves to be (a) a pronoun? (b) a verbal idea?
(a) By the accusative.
(b) By the infinitive, if it is a statement of belief, etc.; by a substantive purpose clause, if it be an act desired to be brought about.
4. The suspense about facile is now probably how resolved?
The writer meant it as adverb, modifying persuadet.
5. What constructions will probably follow ut, if it is meant (a) as conjunction? (b) as adverb?
(a) A substantive purpose clause.
(b) A noun (appositive), adjective, or adjectival phrase, belonging to the personal subject or object of persuadet, and so nom. or dat.
6. May be either of what possible parts of speech, and, in either case, in what construction?
Noun, nom., subject of substantive final clause introduced by the conjunction ut; or, adjective, dat., agreeing with personal object of persuadet and introduced by the adverb ut.
7. Does it call for anything to complete its meaning, and, if so, what?
An objective genitive.
8. What three uses has the word et?
(1) Connecting two words, = and; (2) as the first of two ets = both ... and; or (3) as bearing upon a single word, = also, even.
9. What uses may et have, in each case, in the present passage?
It may connect cupido, or honorum, to something yet to come; or it may be the first of two balanced ets; or it may emphasize a word or phrase to follow.
10. What is now the probable meaning of et, what its office, and what light does it throw upon cupido? Mark the quantity of the i in the last.
And; connecting the cui-sentence to cupîdo, which is an adjective.
11. If this surmise is right, then what part of speech will the cui-sentence be equivalent to, and by what mode will this meaning be expressed?
An adjective; expressed by the characterizing mode, the subjunctive.
12. Is name of town in nom. pl.? What three possibilities of construction?
Subject, predicate, or in apposition with the one or the other.
13. Part of speech and possible cases?
Adjective, nom. sing. fem., abl. sing. fem., nom. or acc. neut. pl.
14. Meaning of its position before its noun?
That it is emphatic.
15. Possible parts of speech, and corresponding meanings?
Adjective, meaning so great, or adverb, meaning to such a degree, or to such a degree and no further, i.e. only.
16. In the last sense, what are its synonyms?
Solum and modo.
17. What part of speech was tantum, and what did it modify?
Adverb, modifying materna.
18. Probably construction of patria and of Tarquinii?
Tarquinii is probably subject of the cui-verb, and patria is its predicate.
19. Write the verb.
20. Where made?
Participle, dat. or abl. pl.
21. Possible cases?
Dat. or abl.
22. Probable construction?
Ablative absolute with sublatis.
23. The place they go to is Rome. Complete the sentence in two ways, using urbs in one, and Roma in the other.
Ad urbem; Romam.
24. Translate the passage.
[Romulus has enclosed a great space with his fortifications, and gathered a crowd of refugees into his new city.]
Iam res1 Romana2 adeo3 erat45 valida, ut cuilibet67 finitimarum8 civitatum bello9 10 11 par12 13 –––––; sed penuria14 15 mulierum hominis aetatem16 duratura17 18 magnitudo19 20 –––––, quippe21 quibus22 23 24 25 26 nec27 domi28 spes29 prolis nec cum finitimis conubia30 –––––31.
1. Possible cases?
Nom. sing., nom. or acc. pl.
2. Probable case and construction of res?
Nom., subject of main verb.
3. Commonest meaning of adeo? and how must its meaning, if completed, be completed?
To such a degree; by consecutive ut-sentence.
4. Meaning of the tense?
State of affairs at the point at which the story has reached.
5. What two parts of speech are capable of completing the sentence?
Adjective and participle.
6. Part of speech? what other word is substantially equivalent?
Indefinite pronoun; cuivis.
7. How are we to think of the meaning of case?
As some aspect of the indirect object.
8. Suggests the beginning of what construction?
9. Possible cases and possible constructions?
Dative of some aspect of the indirect object, or ablative in some instrumental aspect.
10. Can cuilibet go with bello, and why?
No; for the partitive genitive shows that cuilibet refers to a civitati.
11. Then is bello more likely to turn out to be a dative, or an ablative?
12. What suspense about Livy’s meaning is now resolved?
Cuilibet is the dative of the indirect object to which the quality of par is directed, and bello is the ablative of respect for par.
13. Write the predicate from sum.
14. Possible cases?
Nom. or abl.
15. If the idea is completed, by what case?
16. Possible meanings of the case?
Duration of time, appositive, object of a verb, or subject or predicate of an infinitive.
17. Probable meaning of aetatem?
Duration of time.
18. What two possibilities for the government of duratura?
That it belongs (1) to penuria, or (2) to something not yet arrived.
19. What do we now feel about the case of penuria, and the meaning of that case?
That it is an ablative, expressing the cause of duratura.
20. Write predicate from sum, choosing the tense with care.
21. Conceive of quippe as an adverb, meaning indeed, in fact.
22. What is the probably nature of the quibus-sentence, and what its construction?
Adjectival, i.e., a characterizing sentence in subjunctive.
23. What must be the underlying relation between the condition of affairs which we shall find expressed in the quibus-sentence, and the condition of affairs expressed in the main sentence?
24. What is the antecedent of quibus?
The people to whom the magnitudo belonged, the inhabitants of the town.
25. Possible cases?
Dat. or abl.
26. Quibus indicates persons. How does that narrow the possibilities of an ablative construction?
It can be only abl. absolute, or ablative dependent on a comparative or some word like fretus or contentus, or ablative of source with some word like genitus, ortus, natus.
27. What is sure about nec?
That it balances a later nec or et.
29. What must follow?
Objective genitive or future infinitive.
30. Complete the sentence by writing the proper form from the verb sum.
[The Alban and Roman kings have proposed that the war between the two peoples shall be settled by a battle between the Horatii and Curiatii.]
Nihil recusatur. Tempus et locus convenit. Priusquam12 dimicarent, foedus ictum3 inter Romanos et Albanos est his45 legibus6, ut cuius78 populi cives9 eo certamine vicissent10 is alteri11 12 populo cum bona pace13 –––––14.
1. What ideas may one have in mind when he writes
antequam or priusquam, and by what mode will these ideas
be respectively expressed?
He may mean to give the idea of an act anticipated – i.e., looked forward to from the time of the act of the main clause – by some person mentioned in that sentence; and he will express this by the idea-mode, the subjunctive. Or he may mean to state the actual occurrence of an event, as a boundary point beyond which the main event took place; and he will express this by the fact-mode, the indicative.
2. In the light of the situation, which of the two ideas is it more probable that Livy is going to express?
3. Is anything sure yet about the case of foedus, or the part of speech of ictum?
4. What should be kept in mind as possibilities for all demonstrative pronominal words, like is, hic, ille, ita, etc.?
That they look backward to something already mentioned, or forward to something which is yet to be mentioned.
5. Which is the case here?
6. What construction do you think is coming?
A substantive final clause, telling what the his legibus were.
7. In general, what have we found to be the two possibilities when one meets the combination of ut and the relative?
Either (1) that ut is the conjunction, and the qui-clause looks forward to an antecedent to be given later in the ut-clause; or (2) that ut is the adverb, the qui looking backward, and the relative statement forming a characterizing clause which stands in a causal relation to the main clause.
8. Bearing in mind his legibus, which of the two possible meanings of the combination ut cuius do you suppose to have been in Livy’s mind in this particular case?
9. Probable meaning of case of populi?
Possessive, depending on cives.
10. Meaning of tense?
Future perfect from a past point of view.
11. Probable nature of combination?
Subject and indirect object.
12. Differs how in meaning from alius?
Refers to the one other out of two, while alius means another out of any number.
13. Surmise, if possible, what the final verb is; and at any rate tell where it must be made.
Imperfect subjunctive; imperaret (imperaret is likely to be written rather than Livy’s frequentative imperitaret; but the word is admissible).
[The year following the defeat at the Trasumene lake. Dissatisfaction with the policy of Fabius. The people have carried the election of one consul, Varro, the nobility of the other, Aemilius Paullus. The two are about to march out for the summer campaign.]
Contiones1 priusquam2 ab urbe signa moverentur3 consulis4 Varronis multae ac feroces fuere, denuntiantis56 bellum789 arcessitum10 in11 Italiam ab nobilibus mansurumque12 in13 visceribus reipublicae, si14 plures Fabios imperatores haberet, se15 quo die16 hostem vidisset17 perfecturum.18 19
1. Possible meanings?
Meeting, and speech made before a meeting.
2. What meanings may follow, and by what constructions indicated?
Action anticipated at the time of the main act, expressed by the subjunctive; or actual event, back of which the main act lies, expressed by the indicative.
3. What was the special shade of meaning in priusquam ... moverentur?
That the contiones were held, or made, in anticipation of the expected marching.
4. What is it now clear that contiones means?
Means speech, language.
5. Belongs with what?
6. Denuntiare means to make an announcement. How will the object be expressed if it is
(a) a noun or pronoun?
(b) a verb, conveying a statement of fact?
(c) a verb, conveying action desired?
(c) Substantive final clause.
7. What construction occurs to you at once for bellum?
Object of denuntiare.
8. Is there any certainty that this is what Livy meant?
9. What else may Livy have in mind?
A subject or an object for an infinitive depending on denuntiantis.
10. What possibilities for arcessitum?
Participle agreeing with bellum, or part of an infinitive perfect (with esse to come) or future (with iri to come) having bellum for its subject.
11. What case do you expect to find following, and why?
Accusative, because arcessitum includes the idea of motion.
12. What is the only thing that you know surely about mansurum?
That its construction is the same as that of arcessitum.
13. What case do you expect to find following, and why?
Ablative, because mansurum includes the idea of rest.
14. What indication have you of the probable nature of the condition, and how will it be expressed?
It looks as if it were the condition for mansurum. In that case it will be a future or future prefect from the past standpoint, expressed by the so-called imperfect or pluperfect subjunctive.
15. Probable construction of bellum and arcessitum, and grounds of your opinion?
Se is acc. or abl. It cannot be abl. absolute, since it refers to the subject of the sentence; and it is probably not the ablative of source, for we are not likely to find a word meaning born of here. It is therefore probably accusative. In that case, bellum is either the subject or object of an active infinitive which we are to have, and of which se is object or subject. Arcessitum, which is passive, is therefore not an infinitive, but a participle; and, besides that, mansurum, which is in the same construction with arcessitum, is not transitive.
16. Where is the antecedent of quo die, and what do you know about it?
Yet to come, and in some way connected with the coming infinitive which we have found to depend on denuntiantis.
17. Meaning of tense and mood?
Future perfect from past point of view, in indirect discourse.
18. What suspended constructions are now resolved?
Perfecturum is infinitive, se is its subject, bellum its object, with attached participles arcessitum and mansurum, the latter having a future condition dependent upon it.
[The passage here used was employed in the address. It is given again in its place among the present set of papers, partly to show that the minute questioning with which a teacher of an untrained Freshman class must begin may give place early to a more rapid movement, after the habit of watchfulness and a willingness to hold the mind in suspense have been established.]
Hannibal cum quid1 optimum foret hoste cerneret, vix2 ullam spem3 habebat temere45 atque improvide6 ––––– consules78 –––––; cum alterius ingenium, fama9 prius deinde re10 cognitum, percitum ac ferox sciret11 –––––, ferociusque factum prospero cum praedatoribus12 suis certamine crederet, adesse gerendae rei fortunam haud diffidebat.13
1. What must be the construction of the verb of
the quid-sentence, and why?
Subjunctive of indirect question of fact, or of indirect deliberative question.
2. In such a connection, what would be the pronoun meaning any, and what the adjective?
3. What would be the completing construction (a) if nominal?10 (b) if verbal?
(b) Genitive of gerund or of gerundive, or future infinitive.
4. Does temere, judging by the order, probably modify habebat, or something yet to come?
5. Then what do you surmise about the completing construction for spem?
That it is a verbal construction.
6. Write the neuter pronoun meaning anything, in nom. or acc. form.
7. General construction hereby indicated, and construction of consules and of the word you have just written?
The verbal for spem is an infinitive, with quicquam for subject and consules for object, or vice versa.
8. Write the infinitive, meaning to do.
Nom. or abl.
10. Case of fama, and proof.
Abl., because the phrase prius deinde makes it parallel with re.
11. Write verb required to complete the clause.
12. What is indicated by a combination like prospero cum praedatoribus?
That cum connects with praedatoribus a noun, yet to come, to which prospero belongs.
Adversus1 ea2 oratio3 consulis haud sane laeta fuit, magis fatentis4 ea5 quae diceret vera quam facilia6 –––––7 –––––: dictatori magistrum89 equitum intolerabilem fuisse; quid10 11 consuli adversus collegam seditissum ac temerarium verium atque auctoritatis12 –––––?13
1. What part of speech is adversus?
Participle or preposition.
2. What is possible for ea?
Object of preposition adversus, or agreeing with an abl. sing. or acc. pl.
3. What do you know now about adversus and ea, and how?
Oratio is nom. fem., so that adversus is not participle, but preposition, ea being its object.
4. Construction to follow (a) if nominal? (b) if verbal?
(b) Infinitive statement in indirect discourse.
5. Possible constructions?
Object of fatentis, or subject or predicate of an infinitive depending on it.
6. Write Latin for to do, completing the idea of facilia.
7. Write in Latin whatever is still necessary to complete the sentence.
8. Meaning of the position of dictatori and magistrum?
9. Probable general construction of sentence?
Indirect statement, in the infinitive, magistrum being its subject, and dictatori being the indirect object of the infinitive, or of a predicate adjective.
10. In the present construction, what modes possible after quid, and with what meanings respectively?
Subjunctive of indirect question, either deliberative or seriously asking for information, or infinitive, in rhetorical question practically amounting to an assertion.11
11. If a partitive genitive is to follow, in what part of the clause have we learned that we are likely to find it?
As far removed from the word on which it depends as the other points of style will allow.
12. Decide, in the light of the whole passage, what kind of a sentence this necessarily is, and write the Latin for would there be.
Fore, or futurum esse.
It will be convenient to refer, in these suggestions, to some one of the books commonly employed by beginners in Latin; e.g. Dr. Leighton’s "First Steps in Latin." The application can of course be made with ease to any other book of the same scope.
First and most important is it that the beginner should accustom himself from the very outset to the sound of the Roman language. In Lesson XIII, e.g., the learner, having prepared himself upon the sentences regina laudat, scribae portant, puellae laudant, laudas, laudamus, reginae donant, etc., should not open his book to translate them. His book should be closed, and he should give the meaning of regina laudat, etc., as his teacher delivers the sentence to him. To translate regina laudat at hearing, after having studied it, is not beyond the mental power of the modern boy. Neither is it beyond his power, with possibly a trifle of patience on the part of his teacher, to translate at hearing a new sentence of the same scope, e.g. laudo; scriba laudat; scriba donat; scribae donant. But if this is true, a very important truth at once follows. There is, it will be admitted, no greater jump in any first Latin book than that from nothing at all to the first lesson in Latin sentences of one and two words. If, in taking that step, the boy can successfully prepare himself to translate the set lesson at hearing, and to translate in the same way new sentences of the same vocabulary and the same scope, then he can prepare himself, as he progresses by carefully graded steps, in any of the books in common use, to translate any previously studied Latin at hearing, and to translate at hearing any new sentences of the same scope, framed for him by the invention of his teacher. Before the book is opened by any one but the teacher, the exercises of the class-room should be (1) the translation at hearing of the review, (2) the translation at hearing of the advance, and (3) the translation at hearing of new sentences of the same scope. And no one will venture to say that a boy who had been carried in this way through an introductory book would not begin Caesar as a better Latinist than a boy who had not been so started.
In Lesson XIII, as we have seen, the boy has learned that the subject of a verb is expressed by the nominative. In the next lesson he is told that the direct object of a transitive verb is expressed by the accusative. For the present, that is the sum total of his knowledge about accusatives. Of course the teacher will narrow his own knowledge to his pupil’s horizon. Accordingly, he will start upon a sentence beginning with an accusative, e.g. scribas, and ask the learner what, without hearing the rest of the sentence, he learns from the case, with regard to the relation of the clerks to the rest of the sentence; in a word, what the meaning of the case is. The boy will answer "object of the verb," and the teacher will accept the answer. Then he will give the beginning of another sentence, containing a nominative and an accusative, say regina scribam, and ask the learner what the two cases mean to him. The learner will answer subject and object. The teacher will then give a number of combinations of subject and object, e.g. scriba puellam, nauta agricolam, employing the full vocabulary provided in the lesson. Then, retracing his steps, he will give complete sentences of which the combinations just used may be supposed to be the beginning, repeating each of these combinations in connection with as many as possible of the various verbs provided; e.g. regina scribam laudat, regina scribam vocat, regina scribam exspectat. Then another combination, e.g. scriba puellam, should similarly be repeated with various verbs. In all this, the Latin should be given deliberately,12 so that the pupil may be able to form his mental pictures easily, as he hears one word after another. He should be urged, too, to form these pictures without thinking of the English word. The word regina should bring a regina before his mental vision, instead of bringing, first the word queen, and then a mental vision of a queen.13
In these exercises there should be no translation into English (it will be remembered that the Latin of the review and the Latin of the advance have already been translated at hearing). Next should come an exercise like the following: "How, in Latin, can you present to my mind a queen as acting upon somebody?" By saying regina. "How a girl as being acted upon?" By saying puellam. "How a clerk?" By saying scribam. "How a letter?" By saying epistulam. "Now put before me a queen as acting, and a girl as being acted upon." Regina puellam. "A farmer as acting, and a sailor as being acted upon." Agricola nautam. After a number of these combinations have been given, "Now tell me in Latin that the queen is waiting for the clerk," then "that the queen is waiting for the letter," etc., etc. Variations of the tense of the verb should also be employed. I must confine myself, however, to showing the method of dealing with the cases.
In the next lesson, XVI, the pupil will learn one of the simple uses of the genitive. He should then be asked what the cases tell him in liber pueri (being made, of course, to see that, though pueri might be nom. pl. so far as form goes, it cannot be so here, since liber must be subject), in magister reginae filiam, etc.; and should then be carried through various exercises similar to those suggested in connection with the previous lesson. He will also learn in Lesson XVI about apposition, of which more anon. In Lesson XVII he will learn about the way of expressing the indirect object of a verb, and should now be asked what the cases mean in combinations like agricolae nautis viam, nauta agricolis viam, scriba puero librum, scriba pueris reginae libros, agricola puero scribae viam, etc.; and should then have whole sentences given him, and English combinations and sentences to be put into Latin, as already described.
So constructions are taught one after another, the simplest meaning of each case being alone given when the case is first dealt with. Later, other uses of these same cases are taught, and the certainty which the pupil at first felt in regard to the speaker’s meaning when he heard a given case (say the accusative) now passes away. As early as Lesson XVI he learned, as we saw, that "a noun used to describe another noun or pronoun, and meaning the same thing, is put in the same case." At this point, consequently, he recognizes that there is a double possibility for a given accusative. Supposing us to take up a sentence beginning (say) with legatum, the accusative word may turn out to be either of two things, namely, the object of the verb, or in apposition to the object of the verb. These two possibilities, and these alone, should, for a number of weeks, flash through the beginner’s mind at sight or hearing of an accusative. Later, however (Lessons LI and LII), he will find that certain verbs are of such a nature as to take two objects, and will have specimens given him. At this point an accusative has for him three possibilities: it may be, to the speaker’s thought, object, it may be second object, or it may be an appositive; while if the meaning of the words is such as to exclude all possibility of the last of these, as, e.g., in a sentence beginning with me fraudem, the meaning of the combination is seen at once to be that me is the first object, and fraudem the second object, of some one of the verbs that need two objects to complete their thought, e.g. celo. Not long afterward, he will learn (Lesson LXI) about the accusative of duration of time and extent of space, and he now must recognize still another possibility for any accusatives like annos or pedes, but not for a word like Caesarem or me. Still later, he will add to his repertory an understanding of the cognate accusative, of the accusative as subject of an infinitive, etc.
The teacher will keep clearly before the learner’s mind that, while any accusative may be a direct object, or the subject or predicate of an infinitive, only words of a particular meaning can be used in the expression of duration of time, etc., and only words of another and an equally particular meaning can play the part of a cognate accusative, etc. The teacher would do well to make for himself, as the book progressed, a collection of short sentences illustrating all the possible kinds of accusatives (as yet known to the pupil) in which a given word, like Caesarem, annos, vitam, may occur (and, of course, similar collections for the other cases); and to run through one of these collections frequently, perhaps daily, with the class, using no English. Throughout this progress, it will be noted, nothing has been allowed to lapse. The way described of looking at all the possible meanings of (say) an accusative, seen or heard, constitutes a continual review of the sharpest nature, and, furthermore, of that very persuasive and pressing kind which looks toward immediate and constant practical use.
Following these methods, the pupil will surely, if the exercises of translating at hearing and understanding at hearing without translating are kept up, have obtained, by the time he reaches the end of the book, the power to catch the force of the accusative constructions, in short and simple sentences, with correctness and without conscious operations of reasoning. For his very familiarity with all the possibilities of accusative constructions for words of one and another meaning will have brought him into a condition in which, on the one side, he will WAIT, OPEN-MINDED, for the word or words that shall determine which meaning the speaker had in his own thought (if, as mostly, those words are yet to come); and, on the other, will, by a tact now grown unconscious, INSTINCTIVELY APPREHEND, when the determining word or words arrive, what that meaning was; in short, he will have made a good beginning of understanding the Roman language as it was understood by Roman hearers and Roman readers.
The sketch here given for the treatment of the accusative constructions suggests the way in which any set of constructions should be managed. I append a few specimens of the results for this and that class of words in a number of cases. I grant that the enumeration for the ablative, and even for the genitive, is of provoking sweep; but this is only equivalent to saying that the number of meanings of the ablative and genitive cases which a young student must learn, under whatsoever method, is great.
The genitive of any pronoun may be found to mean the possessor of some thing or of some activity (the activity being expressed in a verbal noun), or the object of some activity (expressed in a noun, an adjective, or some one of a certain list of verbs), or the whole of which some other word expresses a part, – may be, then, either subjective, or objective, or partitive; or it may simply belong to some noun, just as an adjective does. The genitive of any noun (say civitatis) may prove to be either subjective, or objective, or partitive, or in apposition with some other genitive. The genitive of a noun like periculi may prove to be either appositive, or subjective, or objective, or partitive, or (if modified by a noun or participle) qualitative. The genitive of a noun indicating an act or mental state of a bad nature may be either appositive, or subjective, or objective, including a crime charged or a penalty adjudged, or may be partitive. A genitive magni may agree with a noun, or may mean the value of something.
The dative of any word may mean the person or thing indirectly concerned in an act or state expressed by a noun or an adjective or a group of words. The dative of the name of a person (say Caesari) may have this general meaning, or, in one or another special phase of it, may mean the person concerned in an obligation indicated by a gerundive (the agent), or the possessor of something. The dative of a word like dolori, laudi, etc., may mean, in a general way, the thing indirectly concerned, or, with a special phase of that idea, may mean the end served.
The accusative we have discussed already. The vocative takes care of itself, when the form is unmistakable.
The ablative is a case to be dreaded. In general, it should, like other cases, be cut up as little as possible. Something can be done by proceeding from the three ideas of the starting-point, the means, and the place (true ablative, instrumental, and locative), as in Dr. Leighton’s table on p. 290, and the table on p. 254 of the Allen & Greenough Grammar; but the best intentions on the part of grammarians and teachers have not yet made the matter easy for the learner. The suggestions to be given here must go beyond these three divisions.
Nearly all ablatives can be absolute, or can depend upon a comparative, or on a word like dignus or contentus. Beside this, a proper name (say Caesare) may be in the ablative of source, after some word like genitus, though such a form of expression is naturally rare in the prose read before going to college. Of course such a word cannot be in the ablative of means (in the narrower sense), or of specification, or of time, or of degree of difference. A word like die, however, beside the general possibilities, may indicate time, or the degree of difference, a word like auro means or price, a word like capite description, etc. I shall not attempt here a complete list of suggestions. In general, in spite of the complexity of the uses of the ablative, the learner is less likely to go badly astray in dealing with this case in actual practice than in dealing with the genitive or the accusative.
One point not yet touched upon is of the gravest consequence. when a form occurs which may be in either of two cases, or even possibly in any one of three or four cases, the pupil should not allow himself to suppose that he knows the case, even if a probability presents itself at once. E.g., a student reading in B.G.1.3, and passing by ea (his rebus adducti et auctoritate Orgetorigis permoti constituerunt ea, quae, etc.), may easily suppose ea to be the object of constituerunt, instead of waiting until conviction of some kind is forced upon him by the remainder of the sentence; which conviction will prove to be that ea was the object, not of constituerunt, but of an infinitive which is not reached until the quae-clause is finished. The direction to the student should be: Have your eyes open, but keep in doubt as long as possible; in a word, THINK, and WAIT.
Verbal constructions should be dealt with in a similar way. The possibilities after conjunctions should, in particular, be entirely familiar. Given a quamquam or a quamvis, the student should be able to tell instantly what is coming. Given an antequam, he should know precisely what the two ideas are, either one of which may possibly be in the speaker’s mind, and by what mode each was expressed by the Romans. Given an ut, he should know the full range of ideas possible for the speaker to have when he so begins a clause, and by what construction each of these ideas is expressed. And in particular it will be found useful to set before the class the whole range of verbal constructions that are capable of serving as the object or the subject or a verb (substantive clauses), and to ask them which and how many of these a given verb or phrase may take. These substantive clauses are as follows: –
Most of the things thus far mentioned will be familiar to the student before he leaves his introductory book and begins Caesar. At this point, he takes up sentences more complex, and yet in the main containing no new principles. His teacher can now do him a great service by reading aloud both familiar and new sentences, in such a way as to throw the parts into masses; and by teaching the student to do the same in what he has already read. E.g., in B.G. 1.8, the words ea legione quam secum habebat form one idea and should be given without separation; the words militibusque qui ex provincia convenerant form another, connected, after a slight pause, with the former group; the sentence qui fines Sequanorum ab Helvetiis dividit should be delivered as a single mass, and in such a manner as to show that it is a piece of parenthetical explanation. In this way, the teacher can make his hearers feel that this longish sentence of five lines, with its verb held up to the last place, is really entirely simple. He should also call attention to the very common pointings-forward to an explanatory sentence, which are effected by pronouns and pronominal adverbs, as, e.g., in id in 1.31.2 (non minus se id contendere) which, as the meaning of contendere tells us, must be explained to us later in a substantive purpose clause; as in hoc in 1.32.4 (respondit hoc esse miseriorem et graviorem fortunam), which must be explained later either by a quo in a sentence containing another comparative, or by a quod-sentence containing a statement of fact; as in haec in 1.40.11 (haec sibi esse curae), which must be explained by a substantive final clause, or by an infinitive; as in an ita, looking forward to an ut- or si-clause, or an infinitive; etc., etc.
The teacher will all the while know very well what things his class is familiar with, and what it is not familiar with, and will accordingly drop questions upon the former and continue them upon the latter. But up to the very end, there should be stated exercises in translation at hearing, say once a week, with careful questions upon points critical for the apprehension of the meaning; the passages themselves to be committed to memory later. This is the most effective engine of the method, – the surest way of developing and keeping up the habits of watchfulness and of willingness to wait.
And now a brief summary of suggestions, in which I will address myself directly to the teacher.
At the outset, make the student feel that the Latin language was once an every-day tongue of men, women, and children; a tongue in which people not only wrote books, but dined, and played tennis; a language spoken, and understood as spoken. Direct him, therefore, to aim to associate meaning with the sound of the word, not merely with groups of letters on a page. Tell him, as he commits his vocabulary to memory, to lift his eye from the printed word, and repeat again and again, in imagination, the spoken word, so that when he hears it from his teacher, he will feel its force immediately.
Throughout the introductory lesson-book, conduct the translation of the review and of the advance at hearing, and, in the same way, have the student, his book being closed, put the printed English sentences into Latin as you deliver them to him. If you do this from the first, he will be able, by the time the lesson-book is finished, to express a sentence of considerable length in Latin, grasping it as a whole, instead of turning one word into Latin, and then another, and so on, in piecemeal fashion.
If you can get time for preparation, aim at repetition, making for your own use, in connection with each lesson in the book, a group of sentences which, employing the vocabulary already acquired, shall proceed from change to change with but a slight difference each time. A simple example of what I mean may be recalled from pp. 25-26.14 In this matter, – the insisting upon the value of repetition, – the Sauveur method is quite right.
As the student learns one new use after another, say of the accusative, help him to get a clear and practically serviceable idea of the possibilities of range of one and another kind of word, as Caesarem, mille passuum, annum, multum.
In a similar way, help him to classify ideas that are expressed by verbal constructions, especially in subordinate clauses. Let him, for example, know with perfect familiarity what two kinds of adversative ideas exist in the nature of things, and by what mode these are respectively expressed in Latin (of the period which he is dealing with), and with what introductory particles. Let him know familiarly what two ideas one may have in mind in using an antequam-construction, a dum-construction, and so on, and how these ideas are expressed.
By the time he has finished the introductory book, he will in this way have made the intelligent acquaintance of very nearly all the constructions of the language, and should have them all in working order, like familiar tools.
When you come to Caesar, do not let your class make the first plunge alone, but for a number of days carry them through the advance yourself, avoiding translation on your own part as far as possible, reading the Latin to them in your very best and most helpful manner, and pointing out order and construction. Throughout the Caesar and Cicero (I should say precisely the same thing of the Anabasis) have the review of each day prepared to be translated at hearing. Encourage your students to learn to deliver the Latin well by appointing a promising reader, from time to time, to prepare himself in advance to read the review to the class in your stead. Let him stand at your side with his eye upon his fellow-students; and as he finishes a sentence, or such part of a sentence as shall be best to give in a lump, do you yourself name the student who shall translate.
Be sure that you constantly treat constructions as means of expressing certain ideas, not as mere exemplifications of rules. And, to enforce this view, as well as for many other reasons, watch constantly the development of ideas in dealing with sentences which your students have not seen before, and, in your questioning for written answers, or for viva voce answers, call attention to point after point in the gradual unfolding of the meaning, demanding all the time what I have elsewhere called anticipatory parsing. And have a good deal of memorizing and reciting of these selected passages.
Aim to go a little beyond the lesson every day, having your class read on, not at sight, but at hearing, this additional ground being understood to form a part of the review at the next meeting.
The disadvantage of reading on at sight is twofold. The student is too apt to look ahead while some one else is up, preparing himself to make a good showing if he is called upon. And even if he does not do this, he is too ready to run his eye to and fro in the sentence, not really accepting the Latin order, but doing a more or less clever piece of patchwork. It often happens to me, in dealing with students who have been well practised in sight-reading before coming to the University, to read aloud a sentence containing only familiar words, every one of which they catch as it is delivered, yet fail to get any meaning from the sentence as a whole; and I commonly find that, if I will at once put the sentence in the very same words, but in the English order, they will comprehend it instantly and without difficulty. That experience proves that one may do a deal of sight-reading, yet never come to know the Latin order in any practical way.15
Finally, no day should pass without composition. The writing of Latin is one of the most dreary of intellectual occupations, or one of the most delightful. Pretty uniformly it is the former for a boy who has not written a Latin sentence from the time he finished his elementary book and began his Caesar till, only a few months before going to college, he took up his special book in composition for the bare purpose of preparing for the examination in that subject. The object of writing Latin in the preparatory schools is not to get one’s self ready to pass an examination, but to get one’s self ready to read Latin; and if that aim be intelligently pursued, the examination in writing Latin will take care of itself. The pursuit, however, should be incessant. Every day a number of sentences based upon the author in use at the time should be written by various members of the class, sent to the board for the purpose. Time can easily be obtained by having the writing going on while the class is reciting upon the review; after which, corrections should be called for from the class in general.
Throughout the work of the preparatory school, the teacher should insist upon it that what the pupil is primarily aiming at is to learn to read in a great literature, with as slight a barrier as possible between him and his author; and he should make himself regard cases, modes, and tenses, and make his students regard them, as keys to the literature, as direct conveyors of thought from mind to mind. How the last may most effectively and rapidly be done, I have tried to show. This is all that strictly falls within the scope of the present pamphlet. But I cannot forbear to add that the teacher who is conducting a class through Caesar, or Cicero, or Virgil, should never lose sight of the fact that his work is not wholly preparatory, – that he is already dealing with a great literature. The more he can make his students see that it is a great literature, through the virtue of his own enjoyment of it, and, in particular, through the power with which he can read it to them in the Latin, and the power with which he can train them to read it themselves, the easier will be his task, and the richer its palpable rewards; and the greater will be his contribution to the sum total of the classical education.
This brings us to the university, with its manifold aims, – the study
of the literature and of the history of its development, the comparative
study of the forms and the syntax, the study of ancient history from the
sources, the study of ancient life, of ancient art, etc. All these
various pursuits, however, rest ultimately mainly upon the
power to read Latin with ease and speed.