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constantly do, of observing the etymology therein supplied of the word whose definition you require, you will in so doing be at the same time extending your knowledge of English, and in a great many cases be making up for yourselves a useful little vocabulary of Greek. Not seldom parents will in such ways as these be able to acquire available information not possessed by their children, and perhaps not communicated to them by their teachers, which may supplement their school acquisitions with additions which they will be proud to credit to their parents.
The preparation which it may now be assumed that, in accordance with these suggestions, some, at least, of our readers will have made toward fitting themselves for the prosecution of their Greek course of study in English, will be sufficient to qualify them in considerable part for consulting Greek lexicons to ascertain the meanings of words. In considerable part, we say, not wholly-for the reason that of course in general only the single principal form of any given word is set down in its order in the lexicon. Words subject to inflection, that is, to changes in form to express modified meanings, will not always be readily found in the lexicon. In fact, at this point lies one of the chief difficulties that perplex the progress of the beginner in Greek.
It would be very pleasant, if we could do so, to communicate to those of our friends who are parents some secret of method by which they might hope to qualify themselves for rendering their children occasional needed assistance in determining what is the original form of an inflected word to be sought in the lexicon. But this we cannot conscientiously pretend to be able to do. Thus much however, at least, you parents may, some of you, profitably undertake to accomplish. You may urge upon the pupil, on every occasion of such perplexity confronting him in his course, the importance of absolutely mastering his grammar in its department of etymology, and then besides that, and equally indispensable, of applying, with thoughtful recollection and exercise of judgment, the principles of word-building that he will have learned in his grammatical study. You may ask him such questions as these: “Is the word that you want a verb ?” (A verb it will probably be.) “ If so, what do you suppose is the root of the verb ?” He may very likely reply, “That is precisely what I cannot imagine.” “Suppose, then,” you will say to him in reply, “Suppose, then, instead of trying to imagine, you go to work and try to reason it out, according to rule and principle. What changes in form may the root of a verb undergo through inflection ? Can it take on a letter or letters at the beginning as prefix ? If so, what létter or letters. May some letters in the root itself be changed, one for another? What letters may be so changed, and for what?” Questions like these you may safely and wisely ask, without pretending for a moment to any knowledge except such knowledge of a merely general nature as the questions themselves necessarily imply. The result may not improbably be that you will detect some point of ignorance, or of forgetfulness, as to his grammar, on the part of the pupil. Such being the case, you will naturally send the learner to his grammar for the purpose of refreshing his memory. In three cases out of four the pupil thus catechized and thus remitted to his own resources in his text-book will be able to solve his problem for himself, greatly to his satisfaction, and to his real improvement as well. The intelligent parent may often thus become, in a certain important sense, the teacher of more than he knows himself.
A suggestion to parents, of general application, may here be made as to the proper manner of using all the text-books, of whatever sort they may be, that will come into the hands of their children. Almost always there will be found matter of an explanatory nature, in preface, in introduction, in preliminary discourse, in “excursus," (as classical editors have a way of learnedly calling the little illustrative essay or monograph on some point which they sometimes think it worth while to insert,) in appendix, in tables of contents, in index, and in notes, perhaps in biographical, geographical, or archæological notices. Such portions of their books pupils will very naturally neglect to examine, with the important exception of the notes, by eminence so called, which immediately help them to resolve the difficulties of translation. These latter helps, by the way, they will often improperly use. Nothing is more important than that learnere should steadily refuse to get their lessons in a merely extemporary, hand-to-mouth fashion. Insist with your children that the “notes" shall be used by them, if used at all, with exercise of their best intelligence and reason.
This is a point at which the intervention of the parent, wisely offered, may be very useful to the pupil. In general, the incidental supplementary matter belonging to text-books, such as we have already indicated, should be subjected by parents to an intelligent, painstaking scrutiny for the collecting of hints bearing on the subjects treated, that will naturally escape the attention of pupils bent on preparing each day that day's appointed task. Sometimes the pupils themselves may usefully be encouraged to make these examinations along with you, or after you, under your guidance. At all events, by such broad, comprehensive surveys of text-books as we have thus indicated, you may count with confidence on arriving at knowledge which you will, for your own sakes, be very glad to have reached, and with which you will be enabled to direct your children to their profit. What led us here to these general considerations was the use recommended to be made by our readers of the Greek lexicon. Having learned to read Greek words, you parents will at once be able, with an advantage in some respects over younger minds, to judge how lexicons may be most fruitfully studied. Much time is lost by beginners in Latin and Greek through lack of good judgment on their part in consulting their dictionaries.
At all hazards, let no reader, parent or other, stand in awe of a lexicon because it happens to be a lexicon in Greek. Look at it. Handle it. Get used to it. Make a tool of it, and so become qualified, if you are a parent, to teach your children how best to employ it themselves.
We shall be chagrined, indeed, if what we have thus said by way of encouragement and cheer to our readers should have the contrary effect of depressing their spirits and damping their zeal. You may all of you do much, in fact do the most, of what is contemplated in this volume and the volume to follow, without knowing a Greek letter when you see it, still more, without meddling with Greek grammar or dictionary. Only do not be deterred from attack on the outposts of Greek scholarship by any exaggerated notion of their formidable character. They may frown and bristle to your imagination, but they are very easily mastered. Dash in on them, and make them your own. Some readers, we are sure, will do this and be glad that we have prompted them to it. Let the others, with crests not lowered a hair, go on, and still get the main advantage, if they prefer to do so, on their own easier terms.
FIRST BOOKS IN GREEK.
This is going to be a dull chapter, which those may skip who have no special reason to be interested in the subject indicated in the title. Those, however, who may wish, either for their own sake or for the sake of others, to know how best the beginning is to be made of a practical acquaintance with Greek, will find here some useful information.
For the convenience of such readers as may choose to follow the suggestion previously offered in favor of acquiring knowledge enough of Greek letters and words to be able to read aloud a phrase of the language at sight, we give, in an Appendix, a page or two which we borrow from Harkness's "First Greek Book," a text-book for beginners in Greek, of which we shall presently have something further to say.
There may be some among our friends who will wish to have the means of going a little further than the pages referred to will enable them to go, in the direction of mastering the Greek language. Parents wishing this will, of course, most naturally take for the purpose the books prescribed at school for the use of their children. But all readers, parents and others, and whatever may be their particular individual desire as to practical proficiency in the language, will find it not amiss to know something concerning the names, the authorship, the characteristic features, and the comparative merits, of different first books in Greek. These, as any body might guess, exist in indefinite number and variety.
The old-fashioned way was to make the tyro get his Greek grammar by heart, and this without much preference of one part over another as superior in present usefulness for his aim. This is changed now. What is called the Ollendorff method, devised at first for facilitating the study of modern languages, has more lately been applied in various modifica