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spelled, unconnected with any sentence in which they may occur, and without any explanations of their meanings. This is, in our opinion, the very worst mode of teaching that could be devised.
Spelling, or to speak more strictly, the writing, of words should be taught, as we have said, only by writing, and therefore a child should be taught to write earlier than is generally the case. He should write down on a slate, from dictation, such words as the teacher may select out of the lesson that has been read, and he should write no words of which he does not understand the meaning. This principle of teaching the meaning of what the pupil reads has been already adverted to in this Journal*. Another important principle to be attended to in teaching the orthography of words is this.-A child will easily learn to attach certain sounds to letters, by having short words presented to him, in which a number that come together have either the same sound at the end, or the same sound at the beginning, or the same vowel sound between two consonants, examples:
I. Bat, cat, fat, hat, mat, pat, &c.
II. Bat, bad, bag, bar, &c.
III. Bed, fed, met, Ned, pet, red, set, &c.
The same classification will apply to writing. Such words as these should be dictated by the teacher, and written down by the pupil on a slate. More difficult words of two or three syllables may be classified just in the same way for the purpose of dictation: examples,
Like a in Mate.
There is no other way in which a young pupil can learn the various powers of letters, as they occur in words, than by a classification: and no sure way of remembering what letters correspond to certain sounds, but by writing down a series of similarly formed words, at the dictation of the teacher. We shall speak of a further use of this exercise when we come to Mr. Butter's third part.
The second part of this spelling-book is entitled on Pronunciation,' and contains various very useful lists of words. The first is, a list of words pronounced exactly alike, but spelled differently, arranged according to their vowel sounds,' of which we give a specimen :
Like a in Mat.
* See Review of Smith and Dolier's Modes of Teaching, No. III.
Perhaps we should only differ from Mr. Butter as to the mode of using such lists of words. We think they might be very convenient as a kind of Dictionary for a pupil to refer to when he meets with such words in his lesson. We doubt if there would be any great advantage in going regularly through all the columns, even in the way of writing them from dictation, as many of the words given are of very
This second part contains various other useful lists of words; such, for example, as 'pairs of words varying somewhat in orthography, but differing in pronunciation only, in the first word of the pair having the sound of s, and the latter word the sound of z, in the same syllable,' as
Advise, to give advice.
This list might be used by the teacher for constructing short sentences, in which specimens of each pair might occur, and the pupil would then learn the proper orthography of each word in connexion with its meaning. But perhaps we are giving this advice' to those who are much better able toadvise' us.
We recommend pp. 46, 47, on the use of the aspirate, most particularly to the good people of London, and indeed to our countrymen generally. If any of our readers was ever so unfortunate as to be on a Grand Jury in Middlesex, where several hundred witnesses were examined, he must have perceived how sadly the aspirates were misplaced by many of them, and how much Mr. Butter's assistance was wanted.
Bodies, material substances.
Mr. Butter first enumerates the nine words beginning with h, in which that letter is not sounded, and then makes the following remark, which we copy for the benefit of those writers who are not accustomed to attend to such minutiæ. 'An is used before words beginning with h that are not accented on the first syllable, such as heróic, histórical, heptagonal, &c.'
This usage is absolutely required by euphony, and we are surprised to see it so often violated. Another list contains 'words pronounced alike, excepting that the latter of each pair is aspirated,' as
Ardor, warmth of affection.
Wales, part of Great Britain.
Whales, large sea animal.
This list comprehends twenty-six pairs of words, amongst which we are much pleased to find also the following:
Whet, to sharpen.
Harass, to vex, plague.
Wile, a trick.
Wine, a fermented liquor.
Mr. Butter evidently intends the h in whales, &c. to be pronounced, as it really ought to be, both for the sake of giving force to speech and distinction of meaning to words. This good old English h is very badly treated by many people called polite.
The second list of H words contains words spelled and pronounced alike, excepting that the latter of each pair has h initial, and is aspirated.'
Ail, to be sick.
Air, the atmosphere.
Mr. Butter has given forty pairs of such words, all of which are good reputable terms, except perhaps the word horal, relating to the hour,' which is not much used or wanted. This and the foregoing list may be made exceedingly useful. They should be impressed carefully on the memories of youth by being frequently written and pronounced aloud. Passages should be chosen in which they occur, and such passages should be also expressly constructed for the purpose. Every one must have observed how much force and precision are given to spoken language by an accurate attention to such words, and how much the best sermon or speech loses by any inaccuracy in the use of the aspirate. Those who are conscious of their failings in this particular, should carry a small pocket-card, containing the above list of words, with which they might occasionally refresh their memories.
The third part of Mr. Butter's book is, we believe, original, and, we think we may say, also useful. Mr. Butter's is an etymological spelling-book, as we learn from the titlepage; an announcement which attracted our attention, because no elementary writer on our language, or any other, will ever do much good, unless he makes etymology the basis of his labour. The immense number of Latin and Greek words introduced into our language has so changed its character, that something like what Mr. Butter has attempted, is absolutely necessary as an ordinary part of the education of those who are not acquainted with Latin and Greek.
Mr. Butter has arranged in alphabetical order, first, words derived from Latin substantives, then words derived from Latin adjectives and verbs. After this comes a list of words similarly arranged, derived from Greek roots; the following are a few specimens :
Ager, agri, a field. Agriculture, farming, husbandry. Peregrinate, to travel in foreign lands. Agricultural, belonging to farming. Peregrination, a wandering. Agriculturist, a farmer.
Agrarian, relating to fields.
Then come words derived from angulus, a corner; animus
the mind, arranged in the same way. As a specimen of a verb, we may take p. 87.
Estimo, I value.
Esteem, s. high regard.
*Inestimable, above all value.
Words derived from ago, I do,' amo, 'I love,' and so on, follow in alphabetical order.
The value of Mr. Butter's arrangement over an ordinary dictionary is this: words containing the same element, as ager, a field, angulus, a corner, are brought into juxtaposition, by which classification we believe the meaning of each is made clearer, and the whole are better remembered. We think also there is an advantage in giving the Latin and Greek root, which enters into the formation of such words as angular, triangular, and such as, chronic, chronicle, chronology. Such Latin and Greek roots are easily remembered when associated with words whose meanings have been made clear by explanation from the teacher, and by the context of passages in which they occur. For we are decidedly of opinion, that such a list of words as Mr. Butter has given, is only useful in connexion with reading lessons, and should not be spelled regularly through. As an example, if the pupil meets with the word unanimous, it will be useful to show him the words magnanimous, pusillanimous; and to point out to him, or let him do it himself, that these words all agree in the latter part, which signifies mind or spirit, and that the different kind of mind or spirit is expressed in each case by a different word prefixed to the part animous.
Though we have expressed so favourable an opinion of Mr. Butter's conception in this, the third part of his work, we are by no means of the same opinion as to the execution of it. Great improvement might be made both in the definitions of words, which are sometimes wrong, sometimes inexact, and also occasionally in the arrangement of them. Under anthos, a flower, Mr. Butter places anthology, though he has a separate head logos, for words ending in logy, as analogy, geology. It would be better to adopt some general principle of classifying compound words, either according to the first or latter part. We think, indeed, it would be found more convenient to put all the words ending in logy by themselves. But to make a complete collection of such words as consist of two distinct parts, it would be necessary to have a double arrangement: geography, orthography, &c.
* Mr. Butter has explained some meanings of the prefix in (see p. 61.), but the sense of in in the word inestimable is not noticed.
should come under the head graphy; while orthography, together with orthodox, orthoepy, should again come under the head of orthos, straight, right.'
Under the word techne, art, out of the sixteen examples given, only four really belong to this head. Such words as dramatic, mystical, optics, have no connexion with the word techne. Indeed, in another place, Mr. Butter places optics, the science of vision,' very properly under the head of opto (read optomai), 'I see.'
Now the real use of this third part, we must repeat the remark, does not lie in its being used as spelling-lessons, but as a table of reference in connexion with a reading-lesson; and then the words should be written on a board to dictation, in order that their orthographical form, together with their meaning, may be impressed on the memory of the pupil. We believe that by a judicious application of this method, children in our ordinary English schools might acquire an adequate knowledge of the real meaning and component parts of the greater number of Greek and Latin words incorporated into our language. And who will deny that it would be a prodigious step made towards the real diffusion of knowledge, if all children who learn to read, should learn also to know the meaning of the words which they utter? The moral effects that flow from a right knowledge of words, and the immoral effects that proceed from ignorance of them, have never escaped the observation of any accurate observer of human conduct.
Before concluding we must press this subject a little further. Mr. Butter has collected and explained a number of words derived into our own language directly from the Latin and Greek; but he has said nothing about another class of words of higher antiquity, as a component part of our tongue, we mean words of direct Teutonic or Saxon origin. Our language, though it now wears a motley coat, has a great many pieces of good sound material in its texture, which may be picked out and so arranged as almost to make another garment.
Children, when they have made a little progress in reading, should have samples of these words, which are not Greek or Latin, put before them, and the meaning of a whole column may thus be made quite clear, as soon as one of the series is comprehended.
Play-ful, full of play: compare with this word
care-ful, mirth-ful, fruit-ful, beauti-ful, cheer-ful, &c. Care-less, without care: compare
penny-less, sleep-less, thought-less, fear-less, &c.