SPEAKING IN MANY TONGUES

An experiment which may have an unusual significance in the teaching of modern languages is being tried at the Union. Two special tables, one with a French and the other with a German waitress where only French and German are spoken has been set aside. Students interested in either language gather regularly to eat together and talk.

The advantages of such a project are obvious. Speaking is essential in order to master a modern language. It is futile for a student with no conception of the proper sound of a language to spend time in studying its poetry. Many who have lived abroad and who can already speak French or German fluently find repeated practice in talking a necessary means of retaining their facility in the foreign idiom. Besides offering a chance for actual practice this innovation affords an opportunity for valuable association with exchange students and professors.

Similar plans have been tried in other colleges with extraordinary success. For instance, at Middlebury where the idea has been carried out on a larger scale, there is a whole dormitory where nothing but French is spoken. Vassar, Mount Holyoke, and several of the experimental colleges of the south and west have found like projects valuable.

There has never been so propitious a moment for starting such a movement. The Freshmen are together in the Union, and the Houses provide common eating places for upper-classmen. Although until now the plan to foster French and German conversation has been only for Freshmen, there is no reason why it can not be instituted in some of the Houses, perhaps in smaller groups, but therefore to greater advantage.