It must seem, to put it mildly, rather an anachronism to consider anything French and German in the same breath, but at Harvard the fault to be found with both the French and the German departments is so notably similar that the remedies to be suggested for one apply with equal force to the other.
As the Freshman report has already expressed it, French A, the elementary course in the language, is satisfactory in its present form. However, French 1 and 2, which are generally admitted to cover the same ground, would doubtlessly function more efficiently if consolidated into one course. This new course should be divided into sections of two kinds: one for the men who after November Hours receive honor degrees, and the other for C, D, and E students. The sections made up of the honor men would stress the literary side of the language and in addition have a weekly lecture in the course. The groups of inferior students, on the other hand, would concentrate on French grammar and as much composition as the instructor thinks feasible.
In the German department similar consolidation and simplification ought to take place. Of the four introductory courses, German A, 1a, 1b, and 2, it is almost common knowledge that 1a and 1b cover practically identical ground. In view of this there seems to be no adequate reason for not welding the two into a suitable stepping-stone between elementary German and the introduction to German literature as given in course 2.
This long-awaited consolidation of overlapping language courses should prove as advantageous to University Hall as to the student who is now needlessly confused by the illogical arrangement of the subjects. Besides marking out the road to be travelled by the student of French and German this weeding out and the amalgamation would save Harvard what the Germans themselves would call "ein schoner pfennig." And at the present time such a practical consideration is not to be lost sight of when advocating the proposed change.