(Ed. Note--The Crimson does not necessarily endorse opinions expressed in printed communications. No attention will be paid to anonymous letters and only under special conditions, at the request of the writer, will names be withheld.)
To the Editor of the CRIMSON:
Of all the proposals made by the recent Freshman committee, probably the most ill-advised was that of combining German 1a with German 1b. This proposal has been repeated in an editorial in Thursday's CRIMSON.
The two courses, far from covering practically identical ground, have entirely different results. German 1a deals with the literary vocabulary and with composition, while German 1b deals with the more complex vocabulary which is used in such subjects as history, government, sociology, and philosophy. If the writer of the editorial has taken either of the courses himself, he will probably realize that the two vocabularies are very different--more so than in any other major language, with the possible exception of Russian. That is why German 1b is given--so that the man who wants to read material in his subject which happens to be written in German will be able to do this with two years of German, without wasting time on vocabulary which will be of little practical use to him. On the other hand, a man can pass through a whole year of German 1a without knowing the meaning of such words as "Verfassung" or "Zerruttung." It is true that two or three novels are included in 1b, but this is only in order that the student may not be totally incapable of understanding German literature at sight.
The suggestion of the amalgamation of the two courses runs counter to the plan which, I believe, the CRIMSON has been espousing recently: that in most fields there should be an introductory course for concentrators and also one for those who do not intend to go further. German 1a is definitely the best course for those who wish to go further and take German 2, 5, and other courses in German literature; German 1b is definitely the best for those who do not wish to go further. Hence it would be a great mistake to discontinue German 1b or to combine it with German 1a, for it is one of the most useful courses in the university. James H. Williams '37.