Hale, The Art of Reading Latin, notes.

1. If the example chosen is not a happy one, any teacher of young pupils -- any college teacher even, I fear -- could, with a few days' watching of a class, come up on examples that will satisfy him that the habitual method, no matter how high the teacher's aims, tends to bring about a laxity of scrutiny which constantly leads into blunders as bad as the example here given

2. I.41. [Tarquinium moribundum cum qui circa erant excepissent, illos fugientes lictores comprehendunt.]

3. The sentence grows upon the board by the addition of one word after another. To obtain the same result in print, with each new word the whole of the sentence thus far given will be repeated. And, for the sake of greater clearness, answers will be distinguished from questions by the use of italics.

4. The fact that it is possible for students, without a moment's reflection, to plunge at things in this sadly well-known way shows how thoroughly ineffective the prevailing method of teaching beginners is in developing a sharp and self-suspicious observation. That charge, it will be seen, cannot be brought against the method advocated in this paper.

5 At the meeting of the Philological Association at Ithaca last summer, Professor Gildersleeve, in the course of some remarks upon the reading of Greek and Latin, expressed himself with great severity in regard to the habitual way of doing the thing, and suggested that it would be desirable, in order to force students to accept the order of the original, to require them to read through a hole in a piece of paper, or with a notched card. The method urged in the present pamphlet is practically so identical with the results that would flow from Professor Gildersleeve's suggestion, that nothing but the fact that this method was already substantially in print in the Cornell University Register for 1885-6, and in the special announcement of courses in the classics, could save this pamphlet from the suspicion of being merely an expansion of Professor Gildersleeve's hint. The same thing holds in regard to the admirable injunction in the preface to the new edition of the Allen and Greenough Cicero, published in May, 1886. As it is, however, it appears that the essential aim of the method of this pamphlet (not necessarily, of course, its details) has strong and express confirmation.

6 For this very helpful feature of the work under description, I owe my thanks to my assistant, Dr. A. C. White. I know of no piece of work more charming and cheering to listen to, excepting the translation of a new piece of Latin in the same way.

7 To vary the exercise, a continuous story of several pages in length is occasionally read through without stopping and without repetition, and each student then writes as complete a résumé of it as he can produce.

8 The preparation indicated has been leading for some years toward the dropping of translation at the daily recitations, and, indeed, I have always endeavored to secure time toward the end of the hour in which to read on in advance to my students, without translating. But I should not have had the courage in the present year to break with translation in the class-room in advanced reading, had it not been for the assurances given me by Professor Greenough, founded upon his own experiments in doing this precise thing. My experience in the past term has been so gratifying as to lead me to desire greatly that Professor Greenough might set forth, in accessible form, the great advantages of the system for students properly trained for it. Meanwhile, let me premise that the delight of this method of dealing with a literature -- the charm of direct communication with the author, of feeling, in fact, the very untranslatableness of diction and style -- cannot be fancied by one who has not made the experiment; always supposing, of course, that the class has been trained in advance and brought to the point at which such reading is made possible.

9 It must already be apparent that I do not regard the "Sauveur method" as sufficient in dealing with a language so difficult as the Latin, and in a community where no amount of exertion will make Latin the habitual medium of daily speech. But I feel, nevertheless, that we owe a great debt of gratitude to Dr. Sauveur and his followers for their insistence that the language should be treated as living, and as intelligible to the ear. On aura compris que je ne considère pas que la "méthode Sauveur" soit suffisante dans le traitement d'une langue aussi difficile que le latin, et ceci surtout dans un milieu où aucun effort, si grand soit-il, ne fera de cette langue le véhicule habituel de la conversation de tous les jours. Mais je pense néanmoins que nous devons toute notre gratitude au dr. Sauveur et à ses disciples pour leur insistance à vouloir que le latin soit traité comme une langue vivante, et comme compréhensible pour l'oreille.

10 It would be a practical convenience if there were an adjective bearing the same relation to the words noun and pronoun that verbal bears to verb. For my own use I have employed the adjective nominal in this sense. Il serait pratique d'avoir un adjectif qui ait la même relation aux mots "nom" et "pronom" que celle qui relie "verbal" à "verbe". Pour mon usage personnel, j'ai utilisé l'adjectif "nominal" en ce sens.

11 It is of course unadvisable, for class-work of this sort, to cover at the beginning all the possibilities of the indirect interrogative sentence. I have given such of them as are easily grasped and are most important.

12 The teacher who uses the Roman method should be fastidious in his pronunciation, for his own example will tell far more than precept. Now that every method-book has every syllable marked, there is no possible justification for incorrectness. Yet many teachers, coming to rêgina and amîcitiam in Lesson XIV, will pronounce them regîna, amicitiam; not a few will read vocant as vôcant; and, I sadly fear, nearly all, while teaching their students that final a is long in the ablative and short in the nominative, etc., will pronounce fâma and fâmâ precisely alike, namely as ablative, -- though the sound of short final a is very well represented to us in English in such familiar words as California, Nevada, Cuba.

13 I find teachers to be sceptical about the possibility of doing this. But it is not even difficult, if the young student begins rightly and is rightly helped throughout. The apparent difficulty goes back to the false habits of mind produced by making translation the constant method of getting at the meaning of the author, and, so to speak, the ultimate end of study; whereas the true end of study, precisely as in the case of modern languages, is to get the power to read the original. It is to be feared, even, that, in the pressure produced by the long hours of their working day, many teachers in the preparatory schools do not themselves read the authors they teach, but only make preparations to correct the students' translations at the recitations. If they would devote five minutes a day to reading their Caesar, Virgil, and Cicero aloud, as before an imaginary audience, and five minutes more to doing the same thing before a real audience in their class-room, they would find their faith to grow apace.

14 I question whether it would not be better to use a smaller vocabulary in the first few lessons than some of the books employ, aiming rather, by the varied repetition of a comparatively few words in the simple constructions of subject, direct object, indirect object, and predicate, at giving the student a real facility in the grasping of meanings and the conveying of meanings through inflections. It is hard for the young mind to get this facility when dealing with things so new if it is encumbered at the same time with having to handle a large vocabulary.

15 Here lies the answer to the question, What is the good of going through the extra difficulty of understanding Latin without seeing it, when all that we aim at is to be able to read the printed page? Without saying anything about the greater sense of reality, and the greater interest which this way of dealing with the language brings with it, one might make the matter clear by supposing the case to be reversed. If English were a dead language, and Roman boys were learning to read it under Roman teachers who had mastered it, it would obviously be a very slow proceeding to pick it all to pieces and rearrange it into the Roman order as a means of understanding it. The most courteous ghost among us would laugh in the teacher's face if he were to visit a Roman schoolroom and find that sort of thing going on; just as undoubtedly the most courteous of Roman ghosts must laugh -- unless, perhaps, his sense of grief over the waste of opportunity gets the better of his sense of humor -- if ever he visits a modern schoolroom when a class is reading an oration of his great countryman. Just as he would surely say to us that this was precisely the way never to learn to read Latin, so our English-speaking ghost would beg the teacher to give all that business up, and to use some means to make it absolutely inevitable that the student should accept our English order of expression, to the end that he might really learn to read the language; and this means would necessarily be the trying to understand at hearing, first sentences of graded difficulty, then continuous passages of the literature.