Julijana Vučo, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Italian Language and Methodology of Language Teaching, School of Philology University of Belgrade who is JFDP Alumna 2007, Kansas University, KS, Lawrence, recently published a new book, which is a product of her participation in JFDP.
The book How Language Was Learned. An Insight into History of Language Teaching: from Pre-Beginnings to the Second World War is a chronological journey through six thousand years of records on learning and teaching foreign languages. It comprises and unifies available sources and establishes socio-historical and culturo-civilisational connection between epochs and learning of foreign languages through history.
The phenomenon of language as an intermediary in contacts of culture, learning forms and language teaching is traced from the first, fragmentary data found with Sumerians, six thousand years ago, though the traces of knowledge and learning of foreign languages in the era of great civilizations, in Egypt, Greece and Rome, via incomplete historical data on teaching and learning foreign languages in the Middle Ages, then clear positions and development of linguistic thought related to learning and teaching languages in The Renaissance, through exquisite individuals, their actions and methods during the XVI, XVII, XVIII and finally XIX century, when ideas on possible principles of language learning were developed swiftly and pragmatically, spurred by big migrations to the New World.
Our journey through history ends in the first half of the XX century, with the beginning of the Second World War, when language learning gets its full multidisciplinary dimension and relies on following scientific schools in linguistics, psychology, paedagogy and other similar disciplines, so it must be considered as a particular scientific whole.
The book How Language Was Learned. An Insight into History of Language Teaching: from Pre-Beginnings to the Second World War consists of five chapters and it is organized as follows:
The introduction of the book discussing the notion of the discipline of language learning present and future and the need to historically observe language learning, comprises the subchapters:
Language teaching? What kind of science is it? One language, two languages, three languages… Languages and numbers; Morbus anglicus;Languages de facto and languages de iure;Languages in Europe; Six thousand years of language learning; On the book.
The first chapter, “The First Traces. One upon a Time, Six Thousand Years Ago”, is about multilingualism of ancient cultures, languages in contact, first civilizations and predominant languages of the old era – Sumerian and Acad, the first lingua franca appears: Aramaic.
The second chapter, „Language as a Model for Others: Egypt and Greece“, deals with the issue of language learning in ancient civilisations, contains the subchapters: One Language in Egypt; The First Traces of Foreign Language Learning; Greek: the Persistent Language; Celtic: in Touch with Other Languages.
The third chapter, „Latin, Greek and others: from Ancient Rome to Renaissance“, follows the form of language learning and teaching concentrated by subjects: Latin: Another Persistent Language; Greek in Retreat; Crisis of the Empire: New Language Experiences; Methods of Foreign Language Learning in the Old Era; The Middle Ages: Educated Man is Bilingual; And Who Are Educated People?; On the Language of the Bible; Palatine School – a Charlemagne Project; Byzantium: Languages and School; Vastness of non-European Cultures; Cultural Environment; The Volatile Glory of Greek; Latin, the Language of Culture and Education; From Latin to Popular Languages – the first Death of Latin; Methods of Learning Latin as the Second Language.
The fourth chapter, „From Renaissance to the XX century: Not Only Latin“ in the first part considers the issues of language learning and teaching from the XVI to the XIX century through chapters with the following titles: Latin is no longer a lingua franca; Other Languages Like Latin, Too; Latin is No Longer a Living Language – the Second Death of Latin; French, the Language of the Educated; New World – Indian or European Languages?.
The book continues discussing language teaching tendencies that can be recognized through contribution of individuals. along with bibliographic data on learned people, pedagogues, philosophers, their attitudes to language learning are rendered and interpreted. Contributions of the following scholars are observed: Desiderius Erasmus von Rotterdam, Martin Luther, Juan Luis Vives, Sir Thomas Elyot, Roger Ascham, William Bath, Michel De Montaigne, Eilhard Lubinus, Wolfgang Ratke, Jan Amos Komensky, Claude de Sainliens, John, Giovanni, Florio, Tannegui Le Fèvre, Antoine Arnaut, Claude Lancelot, Géraud de Cordemoy, Jacques Bénigne Bossuet, John Locke, Jenkin Thomas Phillipps, Cesar Du Marsais, Pierre Chompré, Noël-Antoine Pluche- l'abbé Pluche, Ignatius von Weitenauer, Giuseppe Marc’Antonio Baretti, Johann Bernhard Basedow and Claude-François Lizarde de Radonvilliers.
The chapter, like the previous ones, ends with systematized overview of foreign language learning methods in the XVI, XVII and XVII century.
The fifth chapter, „The XIX Century – Toward a New Method, a New Science“, opens with discussion on two parallel theoretical and practical trends in language learning and teaching. The subchapters are as follows: Exercising Intellect – Grammar-Translation Method; Reforms in Common-Sense Spirit – Rise of the Direct Method; Methods Applied – „the Golden Means“. Just like in the previous chapter, viewpoints are presented, with analyses of ideas put forward by the most significant theoreticians and practicians of the time: Johann Heinrich Seidenstücher, Lineau de Boisgermain, James Hamilton, Jean-Joseph Jacotot, Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, Johann Friedrich Herbart, Thomas Arnold, Karl Plötz, George Ticknor, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Lambert Sauveur, Gottlieb Heness, Claude Marcel, François Gouin, Wilhelm Viëtor, Charles V. Elyott and Paul Passy.
The historical overview of language teaching methods ends with the moment of applied linguistics starting to develop in a new scientific context of interaction with knowledge of various humanities and social sciences and lays the foundations of its own theory, the Theory of L1 and L2 Acquisition.
The book ends with chapters on the new method emerging and the account of prominent individuals who marked the first half of the XX century, some on the theoretical side and others on the practical one: Maximilian David Berlitz, Henry Sweet, Jens Otto Harry Jespersen, and Harold E. Palmer.
The book also contains a voluminous bibliography with more than 450 bibliographic entries, the author’s biography, abstracts in English and in Italian and the index of names.