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classical idiom. This view has been directly or indirectly advocated by some of the foremost educationalists in England. The late John Stuart Mill, in his Rectorial address to the students of the University of St. Andrew's, referring to the growing discontent that so much valuable time was wasted at our schools and universities in learning, or too often not learning, Latin and Greektime which might otherwise be saved for the study of natural science and other essential branches of a liberal education-rightly vindicated the claims of the classics to a prominent place in higher education, not as against, but alongside of, the so-called modern subjects. Why, he pertinently asked, should not time be found for both ? And he lays the fault of the dilemma, in which those are placed who in regard to these conflicting claims feel inclined to say in the words of the popular song
“How happy could I be with either,
on the execrably bad system of teaching the classics which prevails amongst us, and which, after consuming four-fifths of the entire time at the disposal of a schoolboy in Latin and Greek, afterwards sends him out into the world not only unable for the most part to take up an easy classic, and read him for pleasure and for profit, but often imbued with a thorough disgust for classical literature. “Why," says Mill, “should not Latin and Greek be taught like any other language? Why should not a man learn the classics as he would learn his mother tongue ?” Why, indeed, except perhaps for the obvious reason that it is only within the last few years that even modern languages have been taught on a
rational system, or like our “mother tongue."
“Still, since the days of Pestalozzi and Fröbel, among all intelligent educationalists the belief has been gaining ground, that the only true method of teaching, both morally and intellectually, is to proceed from the known to the unknown, and not from the unknown to the known; that the learner should be dealt with not as a parrot, but as a human being; that, e. g. we should begin the study of history with the reign of Queen Victoria, and not with the creation of the world; and so on with other subjects.
In accordance with these principles it is well worth consideration whether the student of Latin ought not in England to begin with French, and thence proceed to the cognate and more archaic Romance dialects, as Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Roumanian, and so on; thence to the older Norman and Provençal, and from them through the later Latin of the period of the decline to the Latin of the Augustan era. Else, to be consistent, why begin with Sallust rather than with Oscan and Umbrian, or the Salian hymns ?
But as regards Greek the problem is immensely simplified. Ancient Greek has but one modern representative, which is spoken with comparatively insignificant variations throughout Turkey, Greece, and the Levant. Whoever is thoroughly conversant with Modern Greek will find no more difficulty in reading the Greek Fathers and the New Testament, than an Englishman of the nineteenth century finds in understanding Spenser. The passage from the New Testament or Septuagint to Xenophon is incomparably easier than that from Spenser to Chaucer; and from Xenophon to Thucydides, from Thucydides to the Tragedians, from them to Herodotus, and from Herodotus to Homer, is far more simple than would be the somewhat analogous transition in English from Chaucer to Piers Plowman, from Piers Plowman to Layamon and Ormin, from them to the Anglo-Saxon of King Alfred, and from the Saxon of King Alfred to the Gothic of Ulfilas.
Indeed, the change which has passed upon the Greek language since Homer's age is so very much slighter than that which English has undergone in the far shorter period intervening between the times of the Saxon kings and the present reign, that there are whole lines of Homer which would scarcely require the alteration of a word to convert them into idiomatic Modern Greek; for example, Il. A. 334 :
Χαίρετε, κήρυκες Διός άγγελοι ήδε και ανδρών
where only the word ndè is not good Modern Greek, although xaipete means now rather “good-bye” than “hail,” and äyryerot rather "angels” than simply "messengers." In line 362 of the same book the question TÉKVOV Tí klaíeus ; is good Modern Greek. Far less is the difference when we come to Plato, the first words of whose Republic : κατέβην χθες εις [τόν] Πειραιά μετά Γλαύκωνος του 'Αρίστωνος, with the single addition of the definite article, which need not have been omitted, might be heard any day in the streets of Athens in the year 1883.
Greek, then, is essentially a living language-the language, unchanged in its main features, of Aristotle, Xenophon, and Demosthenes—and there is no reason why it should not be taught as such. It is impossible to draw any such rigid line of demarcation between Modern and Ancient Greek, as between the language of ancient Rome and the modern Latin or Romance languages, inasmuch as Greece never suffered that complete break-up of its grammar which befell the Latin language on the dissolution of the Roman Empire. When the scholar has become thoroughly familiar with the Modern Greek declension and conjugation, which for the most part are identical with the classical forms, so far as they go, it will be an easy step to add the dual number, the archaic conjugation in -ut, the perfect tense, and the extended use of case-endings and infinitive moods, almost all of which survive, or have been revived, in isolated phrases even in Modern Greek.
Perhaps in no department of classical learning will the benefit of Modern Greek be more apparent than with regard to accentuation. The rules of prosody are learnt at Eton, Rugby, Harrow, and all our great public schools ; rules which are numerous and intricate enough in all conscience, but few and simple by comparison with their exceptions. And what is the result ? After seven or eight years' hard study, scarcely the most eminent of living Greek scholars unacquainted with Modern Greek is able to write from memory a single sentence in Greek without the accents being at fault. Let a man be accustomed from the first never to pronounce a single Greek word without its appropriate accent, and he will never be in doubt how to write it, or hardly ever;" the cases where he might hesitate between a circumflex and an acute being very soon mastered when not only the ear, but the eye and ear together are exercised by writing and reading aloud with due regard to the accent.