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The practical study of languages ( 1900) PDF by Henry Sweet

The practical study of languages; a guide for teachers and learners

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he practical study of languages ( 1900) PDF

This book is intended as a guide to the practical study of languages. Its object is, first, to determine the general principles on which a rational method of learning foreign languages should be based, and then to consider the various modifications these general principles undergo in their application to different circumstances and different classes of learners. 

The want of such a guide has long been felt. All the works on the subject that have hitherto appeared have either been short sketches or else have only dealt with portions of the subject, such as the teaching of classical or modern languages in schools. I have given careful attention to these questions, but have by no means confined myself to this branch of the subject. 

I have rather endeavoured to give a comprehensive general view of the whole field of the practical study of languages, as far as to lay in my power. I have not only given special sections on the learning of dead languages and of Oriental languages but have also added a chapter on the methods of deciphering writings in unknown languages and of dealing with unwritten forms of speech; for although such investigations have not always a directly practical aim, their methods are wholly practical.

 This part of the book ought to be welcome to travellers and missionaries, who often feel great perplexity when confronted with the difficult problem of reducing an illiterate language to writing and analysing it grammatically. The same remarks apply with equal force to dialectologists, the results of whose labours are often worse than useless through their want of proper method. Another class of students whom I have had especially in view are self-taught learners of foreign languages, who often not only waste time but fail to attain their aim through following bad methods and using unsuitable textbooks.

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