The Mother Tongue Author:Lancelot Hogben With compelling clarity and a down-to-earth approach, the author turns to the magic of human speech and the mastery of language. He dispels the mysteries surrounding the study of language, frees the reader from his heavy burden of memorization, and dramatically displays a method, both agreeable and adaptable, for the understanding of more than a... more » dozen related European languages.
The key lies in our own variegated linguistic background, the rich fabric which is the heritage of every English-speaking person. As a result of the linguistic upheavals associated with the migration of European tribes, there are today six Teutonic languages closely related to English and six Romance languages. The aim of this book is to develop a consciousness of the family resemblances of these foreign tongues and thereby enable the reader to make the most effective use of his hybrid linguistic heritage.
Sidestepping the conventional methods of teaching, Professor Hogben presents aids to language-learning that are varied, stimulating, and infinitely practical. He discusses the myriad shifts in pronunciation and grammar which have not only generated different languages but also have gradually changed the English of Alfred the Great into the quite different language spoken by the top leaders of today. He explains how the tedium of memorization can be mitigated, and even made enjoyable, by forming lively associations between words which are of common origin. He gives clues to the visual and aural recognition of words which may at first seem in unfamiliar guise. He condenses basic vocabularies to a minimum of 150 essential words, demonstrating that is is as easy to learn several languages at once as it is to learn one. Each chapter concludes with quiz material which, apart from testing the reader's understanding, gives him a fascinating sense of discovery and an intellectual exercise similar to that of the crossword puzzle.
This is an adventure in learning, a rewarding guide for the linguistic layman, the teacher, and all intelligent citizens concerned for the future of the world.« less