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The defect on the part of the Anglo-Saxon adequately to express the idea conveyed by many Latin derivatives is not to be wondered at. Words are the symbols of objects, thoughts, and feelings. We have no Latin or Greek word that exactly expresses the notion conveyed by our terms alkali, railway, pistol, battery, organ, (musical instrument) because the things they represent were unknown to the Latins and Greeks. Similarly many notions, thoughts, and feelings common to them as a comparatively polished, civilized, and thinking people were unknown or but imperfectly realized by the comparatively unpolished, uncivilized and unintellectual Saxons. Whence we might anticipate that, while Saxon words exist in abundance to express things, feelings, and thoughts common to men living in a low state of civilization and knowledge, they would fail to express those which exist only a more advanced state of cultivation and progress. · The third method is to impart to the poorer classes such a knowledge of the Latin (classic element) as will enable them to understand the ordinary language, whether written or spoken of the upper classes, to raise their state of intelligence to an approximatory level to that of their wealthier neighbours, and this appears to be the only method deserving consideration. An acquaintance with the primary meaning of those classical roots which enter largely into the composition of English words, and which are easily traceable in their derivatives, coupled with an intelligent knowledge of the modifications caused in the original meaning of the roots by the addition of a few prefixes and postfixes appears to be both practicable and calculated largely to promote an extended knowledge of the language employed.
Roots may be considered from a twofold point of view.
The first division may be based upon the ease or difficulty with which a root may be identified in its derivations, and may be subdivided into
1. Those immediately recognizable.
2. Less easily recognizable. -- 3. Those whose original form or signification is scarcely perceptible in existing derivatives.
The second division may be based upon the extent to which derivatives exist in the language, and may be divided into
1. Those largely incorporated. 2. Those seldom occurring.
Roots comprised within the first classes of both divisions appear to offer the highest advantages, since the knowledge of comparatively few such roots, together with common prefixes and postfixes, and some exercise on their combinations, renders a vast number of words comprehensible, all of which would otherwise require separate and individual explanation.
Roots comprised within the first class of either division, while less extensively useful, might nevertheless be profitably studied. Other roots would certainly be less useful. Instead of being taught as a separate and independent subject, they might be explained incidentally when they occurred. The more useful ones might be taught systematically. Prefixes and postfixes being first committed to memory, a few roots (six to twelve), according to circumstances, may be learnt by heart daily. When satisfied that they are thoroughly known, encourage the children to give words formed from them by the addition of postfixes and prefixes, and to explain the modifications caused thereby in the original meaning. Next require the proper prefix or postfix to express a given modification, and elicit other words in which the same addition produces a similar change of meaning. Words formed from roots already known, may then be given indiscriminately, and the children required to point out the fundamental parts of the words. The root and its meaning are taken first; afterwards the other parts. When the separate value of each element of a word has been found; the meaning of the whole word closes the exercise upon it. Analysis and synthesis, word building and word resolving, thus go on together. The results of the process appear to be increased, “plenty of words;" knowledge of more than one element of mother tongue; more clear comprehension of sense of passages otherwise obscurely understood; acquisition of conceptions more or less adequate of force of words otherwise altogether unknown; power of finding the meaning of unknown derivatives from a known root; better understanding ideas of others, conjoined with increased ability in imparting their own.
DUTIES OF PARENTS TO SCHOOL CHILDREN.-Take care that your children return home when the school hours are over. Why? Because if they stop to play, they may take up with bad habits and get into mischief. All that the school teacher may do for them, in the way of moral training, by a morning's labour, may be overthrown by a very short ramble with bad companions. In every town or village there are numbers of loose boys; the roughs and blackguards of the place, prowling about to tempt others to idleness and wickedness. If you suffer your children to have the greater part of the time between school hours to themselves, the probability is, that all your efforts at home, as well as those of the teacher at school, will prove useless, and that they will grow up swearers, liars, and thieves. “Evil communications corrupt good manners.” “Whoso meddleth with pitch shall surely be defiled,” says the proverb. One bad companion is sufficient to ruin any child, even the best; for as I told you before, children are great copyists--they fall into vice as they do into virtue, by imitation. What folly it must be in a parent, to think that his children can play with the profane, the idle, the passionate, and the impious lads in the streets, without defilement. No, my friends, if you value your own peace or your children's happiness, you must resolutely keep them from the streets, and from the society of improper characters. If you do not do this, expect to spend your old age in mourning over the ruin of their bodies and souls, with the bitter reflection that the fault is yours.-Canadian Journal of Education.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ENGLISH JOURNAL OF EDUCATION.
The writer of the article on the “Decimal Coinage Question" in the May number of the JOURNAL appears to have relinquished his position in the advocacy of his peculiar basis, (which I showed to be unworthy of being termed decimal at all) and to have taken up the new one of hostility to the generally received system. He seems to have created a sort of distinction and separate interest between merchants, bankers, and arithmeticians on the one hand, and the community at large on the other. Then he admits that the millesimal division of the pound sterling would be advantageous to the former class, and makes an attempt to show that it would be opposed to the interests of the latter. But mark the language of his demonstration,-"It needs but very little reflection to convince oneself that, so far as the masses are concerned, the scheme would prove to be both impracticable and mischievous, and consequently a complete failure." I must say that, however small the amount of reflection may have been which has brought the writer of that sentence to such a conclusion, I find it difficult to adopt his views. At the same time I think a greater amount of reflection would not be thrown away; for further thought exercised upon the subjeet would have presented the mistaken notion that the penny is to be depreciated by act of parliament, or that the same act is to remodel our pence tables so as to make “20d. 1s. 73d., or 300. 2s. 5d., 40d. 3s. 2 d. and so on.” The fact of the matter is, we should require no pence table were the real decimal system introduced. I will not pretend to say such would be the case if the mixed method advocated in the March number were adopted.
But the unanswerable part of the article, in the estimation of the writer, is introduced in the shape of a Saturday night list of purchases effected by the wife of a mechanic. The great error in the introduction of that list of articles is the supposition, (the fallacy of which I pointed out in my previous letter) that the prices of these articles are invariable. Take for instance sugar, of which half a pound, at 2d. is made to last a week in this mechanic's case. Now, within the last twelve months, the best sort of moist sugar (and it is always the best that the poor pay for, whether they obtain it or not,) has ranged from 4ls, to 54s, per cwt. Will it then be affirmed that the 2 d. the half pound is invariably the price of the mechanic's sugar: I will allow that there is a good deal of ingenuity exhibited in the selection of both the articles themselves and the particular quantities of each in this fictitious bill of parcels; the ingenuity is not sufficiently covert to distort the real facts of the case. With this care in the selection I am somewhat surprised that cheese should have been taken as one of the articles; for I showed in the number for April that the mil system would certainly be preferable with such goods, in the purchase of which the buyer has invariably to pay extra for the small quantities beyond the weight asked for. But, as in the case of the sugar just named, the smaller divisions of coinage would be of great advantage to both shopkeepers and custo-mers in the increased facilities offered for the adjustment of wholesale and retail prices, so with every other article mentioned in the list. To whatever extent, too the operation of competition may be abused on the one hand by unprincipled dealers, and carped at on the other as ineffective in producing legitimate results, there is now in the hands of every customer a sure preventative to abuse; and as to results, the operation is the same whether with the decimal or the present currency.
Some of the articles, too, admit of a distinct method of adjustment, such as is now employed whenever the wholesale marketable value fluctuates, or other causes influence the retail price. With the first article named in the Saturday night's bill, could the mechanic's wife be induced, either by experience or the advice of a friend, to buy two ounces instead of one ounce of tea at a time, no difficulty would occur, for two ounces at 3d. would be 6d. or its exact equivalent 25 mils, i. e. 2 cents, 5 mils. But supposing she were as perverse as the few advocates of the twenty-penny system, there is the usual method of correcting the difference. Lately the duty on tea was reduced to the amount of 4d. per lb.; but before this reduction took place, tea, in small quantities, sold at 3d. per ounce, the price stated in the article, and although 4d. per lb. gives the difference of d. per ounce, no apparent reduction took place.
How is this accounted for? An inquirer is informed that it is not the same sort of tea, a mixture is made, such that the constant price, 3d. may be retained and the quality of the tea varied. Is there any subtle principle in the use of a decimal coinage that makes such a mode of arrangement peculiar to the present system? I do not recommend this plan in the existing state of things, nor would it be as necessary with a decimal coinage as with the present; but did all other methods fail this could be employed. I do not recommend it, because the poor always pay the best price for small quantities and therefore no more expensive mixture ought to be possible.
Let me in conclusion, Sir, urge Mr. Good to adopt the more practicable, philosophical, and general basis, and add his influence to bring about the speedy introduction of the currency founded upon it.
IMPORTANCE OF WORK FOR WOMEN.-But is it certain that a girl will give up her occupation when married? Are there not quite enough women carrying on business, professions, different works after marriage to prove that it is possible, and much for the benefit of husbands and children? It is absurd to look to remote consequences and possibilities; all we can do is to walk straight on the little bit of way we see clearly with our foggy vision? If it be right for girls to ask for work, give it to them. If your daughter says, “ Teach me a trade,” you have no right to refuse her. She may have to earn her own living; and hard indeed will be the struggle, if with no training, no habits of work, she enters into competition with the skilled workers of the world, and those who have habits of hard application.- Women and Work, by Barbara Leigh Smith.
FONDNESS FOR TEACHING.—The question is often asked by those about to engage in teaching :-“I wonder if I shall like teaching." Now, one of the first requisites for success in this vocation is a fondness for the occupation,--an ardent love for the work ; and we would have beginners in the profession enter upon their labours with nothing less than a determination to love the work. This determination, before a practical trial has been made, cannot, as we think, be regarded as premature or inconsiderate. No person should engage in teaching, without having first studied the nature of the calling, and his fitness for its duties; and public sentiment now quite generally demands, also, some special professional training for the work. In the case of an individual who has thus studied his vocation and himself (we use simply the masculine pronoun for the sake of convenience, including, of course, teachers of both sexes), and also, perhaps, made some special preparation for engaging in it; and who still has a desire to make a trial at teaching; it it is fair to presume that there is enough in such a person's tastes and predilections to constitute a guarantee, that the labours of the teacher will be, in a good degree at least, congenial to him. Hence we think such a beginner in teaching may safely resolve to love the work.-Canadian Journal of Education.
HISTORY OF THE PENNY.-The ancient English penny was the first silver coin struck in England, and the only one current among our Saxon ancestors. At the time of Ethelred it was equal in weight to our 3d. Till the time of King Edward 1. the penny was so deeply indented that it might easily be broken and parted, on occasion, into two parts—these were called halfpence; or into four, these were called fourthings, or farthings.-Canadian Journal of Education.
DUTIES OF PARENTS TO SCHOOL CHILDREN.—Never give heed to any complaint made by your children against the teachers, till you have had an opportunity of making a proper inquiry. Nothing is more common than for children to come home and make complaints against their teachers, and the better the discipline of the school, the more prone troublesome children are to do so; they dislike correction, they do not like tasks or control, and they frequently come home with gross misrepresentations, tending to excite the ire of their parents. In all cases of complaint, therefore, go to the schoolmaster or schoolmistress, speak in a mild and friendly manner and let him or her fully understand that you do not come there to find fault, but to inquire. At the same time show your readiness to support them in their duties if you think they are properly performed. If you do this, the teacher will listen to anything you have to say, and you will co-operate together cordially and happily for the benefit both of your children and yourselves.-- Canadian Journal of Education.
S HREE very amiable and well intentioned men-Messrs. W. Bullock TO Webster, Lewis C. Hertslet, and Trelawny Saunders—con
ceived the idea of starting a college in a large house recently
vacated by a family near Neath, in South Wales, where everything useful to mankind may be taught by a body of professors, who, together with the funds for the purpose, are at present floating in the sanguine expectation of the triumvirate aforenamed, who by the way constitute themselves “ The Resident Executive Council.” It is but fair to these gentlemen to say that they give in their elaborate programme of studies a great preponderance to useful sciences and practical arts. From “ lithography” to “mining," from the “higher calculus” to “book keeping," from “human history” to “veterinary medicine,” from “ cosmical and nautical astronomy” down to the “bleaching of linen,” nothing escapes the Gnoll curriculum.
It is indeed admitted that there is “a sole objection " to the plannamely, that inasmuch as it avowedly includes perfect tuition in every known branch of art, science and letters (except theology, which is entrusted to the spare time of the Vicar of Neath, or such Dissenting Ministers as the students prefer), “it is too complete to be carried into action.” We confess that we are rather of that opinion ourselves. We venture also to suggest that it is a crotchet of the English public to be a good deal influenced in their estimate of new schemes by the reputation of their supporters, and the amount of money they invest in the undertakings they patronise. These little preliminaries to success are omitted in the pretty little volume before us. When we see them added to a future edition, we shall be better able to say something of the future destiny of Gnoll College.
The Angel's Message ; or the Saviour made known to the Cottager.- This little book, like all those by the authoress of the “Peep of Day,” is well worth reading, and we recommend it for all young children in village schools. It is printed in good type and prettily illustrated.
Daily Text Book. By J. Drage.-This is the third edition of Mr. Drage's text book for schools and private families. We have before passed our opinion upon it, and do not think it necessary to repeat it, as the fact of its going through a third edition does not alter the view we had previously taken. It has been favourably reviewed in the educational periodicals and has been highly praised by Mr. Bowstead, the British and Foreign School Inspector.