Excerpt from Practical French Grammar: For Schools and Colleges
The chief merit claimed by this Primer is its incomplete ness.
It seems to have been forgotten that grammar - like examinations - is a means, not an end. Grammar-books generally aim at being complete 3, ... hence books that are fit for masters and savants are put into the hands of school-boys and girls, and children are plagued with words and forms which are only to be found in grammars and dictionaries, and which will never be seen again during many years of reading. Public examiners add to the evil by setting papers upon the grammars in use; the new grammars are written to contain the odd words and rare exceptions which are asked in public examinations; and so, generations of boys and girls are led over this weary round, with the result that they spend eight or ten of their most valuable years, trying to master French gram mar, but never succeeding, and bearing towards French grammar in particular, and French in general, an unmixed hatred for the rest of their days.
The school training in French of our boys and girls re sembles the fretful labour of the squirrel in his cage, and its results are as fruitful. Three, or four, or five hours a week are devoted to French between the ages of seven to fourteen, and four, or three, or two hours a week between the ages of fourteen and eighteen 3 this is a large amount of time 5 what is there to show for it? Very little, or at any rate, the result is far from proportionate to the time and trouble.
The reason of it is that the principles in vogue are wrong: we have too much theory and too little practice.
And at the root of the evil lies grammar as used and taught at the present day.
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