Thursday, October 29, 2015


A Very Good Method of Learning a Language

W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965), "The Human Element," Collected Short Stories, Vol. 2 (New York: Penguin Books, 1992), pp. 314-345 (at 336):
Finding that she could not get on with her history without such a knowledge of Latin as would enable her to read the medieval documents with ease, Betty had set about learning the classical language. She troubled to acquire only the elements of grammar and then started, with a translation by her side, to read the authors that interested her. It is a very good method of learning a language and I have often wondered that it is not used in schools. It saves all the endless turning over of dictionaries and the fumbling search for meaning. After nine months Betty could read Latin as fluently as most of us can read French.

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