Charlotte Mason and foreign language
Charlotte Mason recommended using the theories of François Gouin. His work is recorded in his book entitled L´art d'enseigner et d'étudier les langues (1880). It differs from the Berlitz method in that the Berlitz method uses object lessons, while Gouin methods are more indepth. This discussion will give you a view into Monsieur Gouin's methods.
His journey was an interesting one. He was a professor of Latin who lived in France in the nineteenth century. Using the methods he had used for teaching Latin, he traveled to Germany and began learning German by memorizing a German grammar book and the 248 irregular German verbs. At the end of a vigorous 10 days he emerged from his room to try his new found knowledge by attending a lecture at the Hamburg University. He did not understand one word, nor could he distinguish any of the irregular verbs.
He went back to his room to try again. This time he drew on his knowledge of how he had learned Greek by tackling the Greek roots. He then decided to memorize eight hundred German roots and, of course, he would need to rememorize the grammar book and irregular verbs. He felt that "the foundations of the language, as well as the laws and secret of its forms, regular and irregular" would give him sure success. He again did not understand one word!
His next attempt was conversation with the locals. This turned out to be very humiliating. He then decided to translate Goethe and Schiller, but to no avail. This still did not help him converse with the German people. He then spent months memorizing a book of dialogues; this did not work either. He spent another month memorizing the thirty thousand words in a dictionary. He stated after this attempt, "…I understood not a word-not a single word!" He tried reading again, but still the communication barrier stood.Keep reading for more on Charlotte Mason
Back to the list of homeschooling language articles