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games and folk dances are described. Statistics are given and descriptions of what various communities are doing in the establishment of properly supervised playgrounds are furnished that will be most helpful to those who are considering these matters. The book is a compendium of information on an important subject.

FEEBLE-MINDEDNESS, ITS CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES. By Henry Herbert Goddard, Ph.D., Director of the Research Laboratory of the Training School at Vineland, N. J., for Feeble Minded Boys and Girls. The Macmillan Company. Price $4.00.

The valuable work done for the past five years in the above-named school is fully reported in this volume. The subject of feeble-mindedness is one upon which educators have only recently commenced serious investigations. It is a fruitful field of study and studies in this field are destined to yield important results. Details of 327 cases are presented in the present volume. The subject is thus concretely rather than theoretically considered. Yet the discussion of these cases is made wholly impersonal. While very cautious in deducing conclusions because of the recognized subtlety and elusiveness of the causes of feeblemindedness, the author nevertheless throws much light upon the causes and the proper treatment of cases. Parents and teachers would do well to read carefully and thoughtfully these wonderfully interesting chapters.

CHEMISTRY OF FAMILIAR THINGS. By Samuel Schmucker Sadtler, S.B. J. B. Lippincott Company. Price $1.75 net.

This is an exceptionally valuable book, both for the classroom and for the home. Its spirit is scientific, but its language is non-technical and easily understood. The reader will find here the information that is so necessary for every household's welfare,-he will come to know why we should have fresh air, and how to get it; the chemistry of water, foods, textiles, light, heat, and many other things related to practical daily life. Domestic Science classes will wish to add this volume to their libraries and it should be on the shelf of every pantry, along with the favorite cook-book.

A HISTORY OF ENGLAND AND GREATER BRITAIN. By Arthur Lyon Cross, Ph.D., Professor of European History in the University of Michigan, The Macmillan Company. Price $2.50.

It is a large task to tell the story of a great Empire covering a quarter of the land surface of the earth, including 425,000,000 human beings, and having a history that runs back to prehistoric ages. But that is what this author has attempted, and his work has been well and thoroughly done. Students will find in the 1165 pages presented in this single volume, a clear and comprehensive account of the English nation's life. There is a manifest advantage in having the text in a single volume. Many fundamental American interests are touched upon. The volume is an excellent school and college manual.

THE HOLTON-CURRY READERS. By Martha Adelaide Holton, Mina Holton Page, and Charles Madison Curry. Cloth, 8vo. Rand McNally & Company, Chicago and New York. Prices : Vol. 1, .30; Vol. 2, .35; Vol. 3, .40; Vol. 4, .45; Vol. 5, .50; Vol. 6, .55; Vol. 7, .60; Vol. 8, .60.

There are so many sets of Readers upon the market that we sometimes wonder why any author or group of authors should set about preparing others. An examination of this series, however, is convincing. The authors have been inspired by a great constructive purpose. They have realized that in preparing a set of reading books for school use they have assumed a certain responsibility for future citizenship. That they have been successful in their task is verified by the optimistic and inspiring tone permeating the series. These books cheer and brighten life, hold up high ideals, and give faith in a greater future.

Both as to literary merits and instructive value, the selections are of the best, the truest, the finest in the literature of all periods; romances and fables of undying popularity and worth, simple classical tales, the most beautiful and inspiring poetry, nature studies, biography, translations from foreign literature, excerpts that reflect the vitality of the present day; and throughout a strikingly large number of selections that are here used for the first time as material for school reading. In the first three books the pictures are in color and are naturally given special prominence; in the last five books they increase in complexity and idealism. The series is well worth while, and should not fail to win the approval of committees who are looking to the adoption of new readers for the grades.

Periodical Notes

In edacation lies the hope of the world to-day-education in its broadest sense, educa. tion which will bring us all to larger realization and understanding of other races and peoples-this might be the keynote of the February Century, sounded by W. Morgan

Shuster in his brilliant prosentation of "Peace and Disarmament", and in several other equally excellent articles.

Henry Dwight Sedgwick, in the February Atlantic, delightfully describes the benefits of literature, stating that they can hardly bě overestimated. Books enlarge a man's hori. zon. They raise a mirago of water-brooks and date-palms to travelers in a desert. They are “ the sick man's health, the prisoner's release."

William Wise in the February St. Nicholas shows the boys how to make an attractive to light oak etorting a yacht race, by means of four toy boats. These are fastened weather

or metal rods. If the sails are cut out of strong canvas and firmly wired into place, they will stand two or three seasons of weather.

Colonel Harvey draws a tine distinction between Secretaries Bryan and Daniels in the February North American Review. The former he pronounces a reflector and the latter a reflection.

Two articles in Current Opinion that are well worth reading are entitled "War and the Christianity that has not been Tried''; and “ Bad Habits Physiologically Explained."

Devoted to the Science, Art, Philosophy and Literature

of Education

Vol. xxxv.

APRIL, 1915

No. 8

Formal English Grammar; Its Uses and

Abuses

By G. DAVID HOUSTON, PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH,

HOWARD UNIVERSITY, WASHINGTON, D. C.

NT

JUNMUNOMAKNUO subject in the curriculum of American schools

has had its function so thoroughly misunderstood and so generally distorted as the subject of Formal English Grammar. Like the “Brazen Head” of Friar Bacon, Formal Grammar has been expected to produce wonders that would startle the world. From the time of the first written text in Formal

English Grammar to the present day, English Grammar has been treated in text-books as the art of speech, and has been systematically discussed under the four heads: Orthography, dealing with spelling; Etymology, dealing with word formation; Syntax, dealing with sentence formation; and Prosody, dealing with versification. A cursory examination of the prefaces and subject-matter of at least twenty-five different textbooks in grammar, from the time of Ben Jonson to the present day, reveals a striking unanimity in the belief that the function of English Grammar is to teach correctness in speech and writing; and that the only salvation for sinners in English speech is reposed in a systematic study of grammatical principles. Coexistent with this faulty notion of the function of English Grammar, is the reprehensible practice of teaching the English language as though it were a highly inflected language like Latin or Greek, in which the varying terminations of nouns and verbs point out so clearly

the concordance and the government of the words, in a sentence, that correctness may be inculcated by teaching the laws that rule the language.

Formal English Grammar, with its function thus misunderstood, was slavishly taught in American schools for centuries, until the inevitable reaction resulted in comparatively recent years. Experience has shown that English Grammar does not necessarily lead to the correct use of English, and that many who speak good English do not know intimately the rules of grammar; whereas many who can quote every rule in grammar neither speak nor write correctly. So widespread has been this reaction against the study of Formal Grammar that in these days the subject usually receives but indifferent consideration in the curriculum; or, in many cases, is so miserably taught that it ceases to be much more than a memory exercise.

It seems only wise to disregard, at the outset of our discussion, this pretentious, traditional aim of Formal Grammar, inasmuch as experience has contradicted its claim. It seems wise again to diminish the scope of English Grammar, by eliminating Orthography, which properly belongs to the study of composition, and Prosody, which properly belongs to the study of poetry.. Etymology and Syntax, then, will constitute in our discussion the subject-matter of English Grammar. What, then, are the real uses of Formal English Grammar ?

The study of Formal English Grammar gives the student possession of a necessary knowledge pertaining to his mother tongue. Grammatical terms belong to the vocabulary of every educated person, and ignorance of such terms is no more pardonable than the ignorance of any other information for which an educated person may justly be held responsible. The preacher who declared that he could not recall "just where the Pilgrims landed in Virginia” is no more culpable than the educated person who has no conception of a present participle. It is as well worth a person's efforts to know that he expresses his thoughts in substantives, attributives, and connectives, as it is to know the nomenclature of any other subject. “No education”, says one distinguished educator, "is complete, which, while furnishing the mind with a store of facts concerning material things, human life, history, and the like, wholly neglects the vesture in which such facts are

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clothed.” Does it seem any more unreasonable to require a pupil to learn the meaning of noun, verb and the other parts of speech, of gender, number, mood, tense, agreement and relation, than to master the meaning of terms peculiar to history, science, or any other subject ?

The study of Formal English Grammar, again, has a disciplinary value, inasmuch as it gives exercise to the powers of observation and discrimination, in dealing with words, idioms, and sentences, in their several collocations and distinctions. There are very few sciences in which a deeper or more refined logic is employed than in grammar. Analysis, comparison, and inference are but vigorous exercises of logical powers. Like any other abstract subject, grammar develops a kind of perception that concrete subjects cannot develop; for the educational value afforded by the mastery of the abstract, which demands the greater effort to be comprehended, is obviously superior to that afforded by the mastery of the concrete. Such discipline gives the mind power to overcome linguistic difficulties—the very same power that is needed to overcome the difficulties of daily life. This conception of the function of English Grammar, as a disciplinary subject, demonstrates clearly of what real use Formal English Grammar may be in the hands of a skilful teacher.

It can be urged, further, in this connection, that the grammatical analysis of an uninflected language like English gives a more severe discipline than the translation of a highly inflected language like Latin; for in Latin the form of the word lessens the mental effort, because the form indicates clearly the function of the word. In English, the meaning must be got from the arrangement of words and from a logical insight into the content of the thought, with practically no aid from the form of the words. For instance, it does not require much mental effort to translate:

Extinctum nymphae, crudeli funere Daphnim
Flebant.....

The very fact that "extinctum” and “Daphnim” are in the accusative case shows that the attributive and the substantive are related to each other, though placed at the two extremities of the line; and that both are governed by the active verb "flebant”, to which "nymphae” plainly appears to be the subject. The terminations of the words have reduced all possible confusion to order,

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