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Prof. Vipul V. Makodia
Jaipur (India)
Published By :
E-479, Ground Floor,
Vaishali Nagar,
Jaipur - 302021 (Raj.)
Ph. :0141-5114157
First Published - 2008
ISBN: 978-81-905349-3-2
Composed at: Guruji Computers; Jaipur
Printed at : Jaipur
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any
form or by any mean without permission in writing from the publisher.
attention to one of these topics in particular for detailed investigation
professional classroom skills that thee English teacher mayor may
not have in addition to the matters relevant to the above question. It
aims also to help beginning teachers in making them aware as to
how to teach grammar and communication. Also the book tried to
make a hand book for use of English language and grammatical
part for the readers.
An English teacher's initial task is what he has to teach where
the nature and purpose of the course are already well-established.
Imparting teaching of English also necessitates consideration on
certain human and external factors that have immense bearing on
the subject.
Special emphases has been given on teaching strategies to be
adopted and many activities to be performed by the teachers for the
benefit of students. This involves selection of appropriate
approaches, methods and techniques by the teacher passes all these
in detail to make English teaching a success for the teacher.
"This page is Intentionally Left Blank"
Preface iii
Simple Methods of Basic Grammar 1
Teaching of English Grammar and Communications 21
Use Noun, Gender and Adjective 55
Word Building and Verb Formation 77
Essential Skills of Speech Making 127
Modem Methods Thought of Language 161
Approaches Methods in Language Communication 177
Nature and Idea of Writing 205
Radio News, and Advertismenting Communication 233
"This page is Intentionally Left Blank"
A teacher who approaches the problem of spelling,
pronunciation, and the other items treated in this chapter should
again be reminded of the fact that he is dealing with skills calls for
precision and accuracy. In the use of language one acquires accuracy
and precision in much the same way as a girl does in the use of a
sewing machine or a boy in the use of a lathe. They get a clear
concept of what the job is and then acquire the skill through
conscious practice that leads in the end to the unconscious
following of the acquired technics.
Let us repeat once more the fundamental statement about
correctness in the use of language: Good English is that which is
customarily used by most cultivated and educated English speaking
people. This applies to all the items in this whole chapter on the
mechanics of composition. Shall we write glamor or glamour? We
see both in good writing. Our personal observation indicates that
glamor is used by "most cultivated and educated American people."
I am not too sure, however. I consult a dictionary. The observation
and inquiry, have come to the conclusion that both spellings are
used, with glamor more frequently by Americans and glamour more
commonly by British writers. Keep this basic principle-fu mind as
we consider each of the skills covered by this chapter.
2 Simple Methods of Basic Grammar
Spelling: A man or woman who never writes anything can get
along pretty well without knowing how to spell words. One who
reads more or less consciously becomes aware of the order of the
letters in the words he reads. This helps to clarify meaning. He
distinguishes between lead a metal and led a verb by the letters in
the two words. If his eyes become accustomed to -per instead of pre
in perspiration he will pronounce the word properly. You see, there
are some advantages in being able to recognize the customary letters
and the order of the letters in what one reads. But this is a minor
value. Our primary interest in spelling is in acquiring the ability to
write our words as educated people write theirs. Even men and
women who are almost illiterate occasionally write a letter. They
need to know how others spell the words they are using in their
Spelling has been overemphasized in the past that bad spelling
is pretty generally regarded to this day as a sign of illiteracy, if not
of low mentality. A fairly intelligent but uneducated workman
running an irrigation ditch for a farm owner wrote: "lie half to lay a
tile cyfern Li under the rode." The owner understood what the
workman meant even though the spelling was somewhat
unconventional. When our language was in its stage of transition
from Anglo-Saxon to Middle English and was used mostly by
uneducated people, uniform spelling was net regarded as important.
Even literary people, Chaser for one, often spelled a common word
in two or three ways on a single page. But as more and more people
learned to read, especially to read the New Testament, spellings
became conventional. Then came the dictionaries to give authority
for a single spelling for a given word. At the present time everybody,
educated or uneducated, is intolerant of all spelling that does net
how-the established customs.
In American schools through the nineteenth century spelling
was greatly overemphasized. The schools caught very little outside
of reading, writing, and arithmetic. Spelling contests were devised
as a means of entertainment to go along with Friday afternoon
"speaking pieces." Nobody thought of limiting the words to those
the children would ordinarily meet in their writing (or in their
Simple Methods of Basic Grammar 3
reading). The game was to find "hard" words, that the pupils would
not often see in print and probably never have occasion to use in
writing. Spelling books were filled with all kinds of familiar and
unfamiliar words. These were arranged according to length, one-
syllable, two-syllable, three-syllable, etc. It was as-summed that the
longer a word is the harder it is to spell it. We now know that too,
separate, and lose are probably much more frequently misspelled
than extravagant and inconsequential. Length has little to do with
difficulty in spelling.
The word lists in modem spelling books are made upon an
entirely different plan. The authors have tried to find cut what words
young people actually misspell m their writing. The ideal word list
would be one made up of all the words commonly misspelled in
letters spontaneously written (not under the direction of teachers or
parents) by thousands of school children, and with these words
arranged by ages or school grades.
Spelling Lessons in High Schools: Special periods for spelling,
using a spelling book for study, may be justified in the upper
elementary school grades, but the value of this sort of instruction In
either junior or senior high school is doubtful. One pupil's list of
misspelled words may overlap another's ten or twenty per cent.
The whole list if words commonly misspelled m the writing of thirty
pupils in a ninth grade group may run as high as 220. Of the two
hundred and twenty words Jack may miss sixteen, Harry forty-
eight, Mary thirty, poor Freddie (such a nice' boy, but so dumb;
ninety-six, etc. Why give a daily class period to the study of a spelling
book containing eighteen hundred words when the spelling problem
is one of individual mastery of a few words by each pupil, and not
the same few for any two?
The economical way is to find out what common words each
pupil regularly- misspells in his writing and then to assist him in
breaking the habit of misspelling those words. Then he should be
directed and assisted in building up new habits or' correctly spelling
his own group of troublesome Words.
Spelling Demons: Several studies have been made to discover
what words are frequently misspelled by high school pupils pretty
4 Simple Methods of Basic Grammar
generally scattered all over the country. These words were taken
from written papers and letters and an account was taken of the
relative frequency of the misspellings. From the long list thus secured
a list of a hundred words most frequently misspelled was compiled
and tagged with an opprobrious name-The Spelling Demons. It
was assumed that a child who had learned unerringly to spell
these one hundred words would be pretty free of misspelled words
in his writing. This seems to be a fairly dependable assumption,
especially if knowledge of the correct spellings has been reduced to
an automatic habit.
After the first list of demons was published, several observers
made other demon lists, each overlapping the others to a certain
extent. We have here a blending of three such lists. The total is 171
different words.
ache can't having
across choosing hear (verb)
again coarse heard (verb)
against color here (a place)
all right (two coming hoarse
Words) cough hour (time)
almost could have instead
already country interest
altogether cries its (pronoun)
always crowd just
among dear (adjective) knew (verb)
answer describe know
divide known
around doctor later
asks does later
bear doesn't lead (metal)
been done led (verb)
before don't lies (verb)
Simple Methods of Basic Grammar
blew (verb)
blue (color)
none (no one)
peace (not war)
piece (a part of)
presence (not
Young People
absence) probably raise (to lift) read (past tense) ready receive relieve
road (highway) rode (verb) rough said says seems seize sense (not
money) sentence.
6 Simple Methods of Basic Grammar
Spelling, Capitalization, Abbreviations
separate shoes (noun) such sugar ties till wear W:dnesday
shone (to shine) sure tired week (/ days)
could have surprise too (adverb) where
shown (to show) their (pronoun) toward whether
since there (place) tries which
since they trouble whole (all of)
some(adjective) those truly whose
speak though Tuesday women
stopped threw (to throw) two (number)
stopping through (prep.) until wouldha'-e
straight (not thrown (to used write (verb)
crooked throw) very writing
stretch throws (to throw) weak
(adjective) \ wrote (verb)
In the following sixty-three pairs or triplets we have words
identical or closely similar in sound but with different spellings
and meanings. They are not often misspelled. The problem is to
attach the correct spelling to the desired meaning. The pupils should
be advised to use the dictionary to assure themselves that they are
getting the appropriate spelling to reflect the Meaning they desire.
Pairs of Words with Different Spellings for Different
accept advice
except advise
Ready all together altar already altogether alter
Simple Methods of Basic Grammar 7
canvas canvass
capital cite sixth. capital site
coarse course
complement council consul
compliment counsel
dairy decent descent diary descend
desert dessert
device devise
dyeing (to color) dying (expiring)
eminent imminent
formally forth formerly fourth,
hear holy
ingenious innocence
instance irrelevant
its knew
know later
lead lose
muscle of
past peace
personal plane
precede precedence
presence principal
quiet respectfully
right, rite shone
staid stationary
statue steal
straight their
threw nil
to track
Simple Methods of Basic Grammar
here wholly ingenuous innocents -instants, irreverent it's (it is) new
no latter led loose mussel oft-passed (to go by) piece personnel plain
proceed precedents presents principle quite respectively write,
weight shown stayed stationery statute steel strait there through
until too tract week whether you're stature two
Learning to Snell Plurals and Possessive: Q 10 of the most
common errors found in the papers of secondary school pupils is
the misspelling of possessives. Pupils seem to avoid the apostrophe
with such complete nonchalance that one is almost disarmed into
thinking that they have never seen or heard of such a written symbol.
Perhaps teachers in both the elementary and secondary schools are
spending too much time on the commonly misspelled words and
not enough on the plural and possessive forms of nouns. Plurals
first. Teach the young people that the usual way to change a singular
noun to a plural is to spell the singular and then add s-book-books,
pencil-pencils, light-lights. But singular words ending in x or s
require es-fox-foxes, box-boxes, Jones-Jortses. Observe that the
addition of an /s/ sound to one of these words causes you to
pronounce it with an added syllable-box, boxes. Then there are the
words ending in y and ey. The e. y words add only the usually the y
words usually character Jie y to i and add es. We built a house only
one story high. The Martins built theirs two stories high. (Both story
and story are accepted spellings for the architectural term.) Monkey-
monkeys. But lady-ladies, city-cities, beauty-beauties, etc.
Individual Spelling Lists: Many successful teachers have
had each pupil keep books on his own spelling. Each one may have
a pocket-size blank book for his spelling, or he may have a general
notebook in which he sets aside a page or two for spelling. The
teacher may pronounce all the words in this demon list to all the
pupils m her grade or class. These are spelled m writing on scratch
paper. Now the teacher gives the correct spelling. Repeat the process
after two or-three days. It may be assumed that a word missed twice
by a pupil is one of his habitual misspellings. Let each pupil enter
in his spelling book all the words he has missed twice.
Simple Methods of Basic Grammar
Teachers should from that time on check misspelled words in
the writing the pupil does in all his classes, and the pupil should
add these to the list he has already begun. Make it a game to conquer
these spellings. Pupils may study their own lists and from time to
time pronounce to each other these individual lists. As soon as a
pupil discovers that he has conquered one of his demons, he may
cross it out of his list. The teacher may take a hand in the game once
in a while. If a pupil discover it the beginning of a school year that
he misspells sixty-eight of the demons, he realizes that it would not
be difficult to learn to spell that number of common words and that
he can surprise himself in two or three months by promoting himself
from the class of poor spellers to that of the pretty good Keep in
mind always that it is the misspelling of a relatively small number
of common words that marks a pupil as a poor speller.
Some Unusual Cases : We learn most of our spelling
unconsciously by seeing a word over and over in print. Our eyes
photograph words for us to such an extent that when we see one
with an extra letter in it or with the right letters in some unusual
order we are conscious of something wrong about the word. But
there are pupils who are not visual-minded, and others who have
defective vision, and so get and retain no clear picture of the words
they see in print. These are special cases requiring special attention.
Some of them may need to see a good oculist.
Then there are readers who misprononnce common words or
who do not sharply enunciate their words. A good deal of oral
reading with emphasis on pronunciation and enunciation will do
much toward remedying poor spelling in such cases.
Formal Spelling Lessons: Most of the newer spelling books
used m schools where special tune is given to spelling set forth
helpful plans for both testing and study. That described in the Hom-
Ashbaugh Spelling hook was among the first, and with some
modifications :s pretty generally followed in other spellers.
Spelling Orally: Having pupils stand and spell aloud as the
teacher pronounces the words is still a fairly common practice in
some schools. The practice is a heritage from the old-fashioned
spelling contests. It has come limited value, but it is not now
Simple Methods of Basic Grammar
considered economical or very effective. One needs to see the spelled
word, not to hear it. And the pupil needs to give his spelling time to
the comparatively few words he misspells rather than to the
thousands of words he sees in print or in other people's
handwriting but does net himself use in writing.
Some writers and teachers have thought that the spelling words
should be pronounced in sentences, rather than as single words
from a column. Recent studies have shown that children learn as
well when the words are pronounced to them from a list. Much time
is saved for the teacher by this method, time both in preparing the
\Alord list and in checking the pupil's written spellings. The purpose
of the spelling lesson is to fix in the pupil's mind a visual image of
the written or printed word, not to enable him to spell words aloud.
With some pupils both seeing and hearing the words correctly
spelled seem to add to the effectiveness and permanence of the
Spelling matches in which the pupils make a contest arc not
objectionable as entertainment and for variety, but no good case can
be made for such competitions in which a whole spelling book is
ransacked for unusual and difficult words the children may never
have occasion to write.
Spelling drills should be made only upon the common words
the pupils are likely to need in writing. They can use the dictionary
for unusual or new words as occasion calls for them. That is the
way adults manage their unusual words. For emphasis let us say
once more that out of a list of two or three hundred words pupils
often misspell in their writing each pupil should be drilled on only
the few that he commonly misspells. This brings us to the method of
selecting the words for the spelling drills and studying the word
list by the pupa.
The Spelling Lesson: In many junior high schools, and in a
few senior, a spelling book is used, and daily lessons, or lessons
two or three times a week, are assigned. In other schools the teacher
takes one or another of the spelling demon lists and breaks it up
into a series of lessons. Others keep a record of words misspelled in
the written work of their pupils and pupils in other classes than
Simple Methods of Basic Grammar
their own, and from this compilation make up the study lists used
day by day in the spelling period. This is the most logical procedure
and probably the most effective for group teaching.
Now consider a method of study for the pupil, and testing by
the teacher. Let us say that the spelling period for a Tuesday is
going to cover a list of twenty words. On Monday pronounce those
words to the whole class. Permit each pupil to check his own errors
when .you give the correct spellings, or have the pupils exchange
papers, each checking a paper not his own. A girl who misses six
words out of the twenty will study only those six in preparation for
the test lesson on Wednesday; a boy who misses thirteen will study
those words; one who spells all the words correctly in this Pretest
will not study any in preparation for Wednesday. How to Study
Words for Spelling: The Hom Method.- These directions are for the
a. Look at the printed or written word. Pronounce it aloud,
saying each syllable very distinctly, and looking closely at
, each syllable as you say it.
b. With closed, eyes try to see the word, syllable by syllable, as
you say it in a whisper. After saying the word, keep trying
to recall how it looked in print or in writing, and at the
same time say the letters either silently or aloud. Spell by
c. Open your eyes and look at the word to see whether you
had it right.
d. Look at the word again, saying the syllables very distinctly.
If you did not have the word right on your first trial, any the
letters again, as you look sharply at the syllables.
e. Try again with closed eyes to see the word as you spell the
syllables in a whisper.
f. Look again at your list to see if you had the word right.
Keep trying until you can spell each syllable correctly with
closed eyes.
g. Then write it without looking at the book.'
12 Simple Methods of Basic Grammar
h. Now write it three times, covering each trial with the hand
till the new attempt is written. If you make a single mistake,
begin the whole process with that word over again.
Reviewing: See to it that a word once learned by this process
comes up in a lesson about a week later, and again after about a
month. Such reviews serve to fix the words permanently in the
Spelling Rules: The unabridged dictionaries cite many rule
for spelling. These cover such a wide range of cases and each has
so many exceptions that it seems best to disregard the rules and
learn to spell the words by memory.
1. Lippincott's Hom-Ashbaugh Speller, J. B. Liopincott Co.,
There are, however, four rules that are found by many to be
helpful. These are: j. The final silent e.
When a word ends in a silent e, drop the e before adding
such syllables us ing, able, action, ous, and ary. denier,
admiring, admirable,
10' cf, loving, lovable
mot't, moving, movable
explores, exploring, exploration
fame, famous
desire, desirous
Words ending in a silent e usually keep the e when/w /, or ment is
care, careful
move, movement
2. if or ei.
hate, hateful
arrange, arrangement
In word? containing if or ei carrying the sound of e as in scene
or a in mate the i comes first, piece, orief, chief, grief, relieve, freight,
weight, etc.
If the letters if or ei follow c, the e comes first, receive, receipt,
There are six exceptions to the two parts of this rule. They are:
either, neither, leisure, seize, weird, and financier.
Simple Methods of Basic Grammar 13
3. Doubling the final consonant before adding a syllable like
ing or ed.
If a word of one syllable ends in a consonant preceded by a
single vowel, double the final consonant before adding a syllable
beginning with a vowel: drop, dropping, dropped; but droop,
drooped, drooping. The same rule applies to words of two or more
syllables if the last syllable is accented and ends in a consonant
preceded by a single vowel: propel, propelled, propelling; submit,
submitting, submitted; occur, occurring, occurred, 1. Nouns ending
in y preceded by a consonant nearly always make their plurals by
changing the y to i and adding es: city, cities, fly, fliss, lady, ladies.
The same rule applies to spelling the third person, singular
number form of verbs ending in y: copy, copies, marry-marries.
There are a few other rules for spelling plurals, knife-knives for
example; but it is probably more economical to learn to spell the
words when one comes to then, rather than to memorize thE rules.
Possessives.-Instruct your pupils to spell the singular noun form
correctly and then add the 's-boy-boy's, girl-girl's, box-box's, horse-
horse's, Jones-Jones's (not Jone's). To form the possessive plural of
nouns presents more of a problem. Adding another s sound to a
plural already ending in s produces too many sibilants (hissing
sounds) to be pleasing. To avoid that we usually add only the
apostrophe to the plural noun, the books' covers, the writers' reasons,
the hunters' guns, the four Smiths' farms, all the Joneses' houses,
but Harry Jones's house (singular). One Jones's and six Joneses'
sound alike, but are spelled differently, as you see.
Words forming plurals by a change of form, like man-men,
woman-women, and child-children simply add the's to the plural
form as they do in the singular: men's, women's, children's.
Pupils should be cautioned here against a too free use of
possessive forms with names of inanimate objects. In a way,
possessive forms go with nouns that can own things, a mans. House,
but not a tree's bark, or a question's answer. These are not always
avoided in good writing, but many careful writers prefer the bark of
the tree, the answer to the question, etc.
14 Simple Methods of Basic Grammar
A simple plan for spelling possessive plurals is to write the
plural first and then and the's, but if the plural ends in s add only
the apostrophe: babies' toys, dog'-' biscuits, but children's
playthings, men's interests.
The Question of Testing: Good teaching will help boys and
girls to master words commonly misspelled, and good teaching
includes intelligent testing. Standardized tests may be used for
survey purposes for comparisons of abilities in spelling if such are
felt necessary in the school. Diagnostic tests will help to point out
the special spelling difficulties that each pupil has. Tests made up
of the actual words studied by the pupils are especially valuable in
that they will show what needs to be rethought, and so will act as a
Some writers propose dropping the apostrophe entirely, since
the context nearly always shows whether the noun or pronoun is a
possessive. Since most writers and publishers still use it, the schools
will do well to follow customary usage. Upon which the pupil may
make his own progress chart.
The use of standardized tests and scales must be supple-minted
by the use of the knowledge of the individual pupil's difficulties, by
homemade tests and reviews, by actual study of words, and by
practice in using them. The teacher may find if she uses the test-
teach method that her pupils may accidentally spell a word correctly
today and incorrectly some time later. If she uses the teach-test
method, she may find that some pupils will waste their time studying
-,words they already know. The answer lies in giving each pupil a
method of study, in insisting upon the mastery of a few words at a
time, in presenting frequent reviews, and in developing a strong
testing program not so much for the purpose of grading as for a
basis for reteaching. In this reteaching process some of the words
will have to be taught to the whole class; others will be for
individuals only. Here the teacher may utilize the aid of her pupils,
who will be very much complemented if she will allow them to test
and to help each other make their progress graphs. A principal
who skeptically watched a junior high school teacher use this
mutual-aid method for several weeks finally said to her: "Your
Simple Methods of Basic Grammar
pupils are as noisy as bumble bees, and as busy as ants, but they are
learning how to spell. I haven't been able to catch them on a single
word!" It was not the noise that brought about the apparent miracle
but the pride that the boys and girls felt in doing a good job, the
system that the teacher used in constant review, and the practical
testing program based upon her own school-made test? Pupils must,
of course, be taught how to spell. The poor speller must have much
more practice than the one who can spell. All pupils should be
eager to compete with their own previous records, for with this may
come the realization that correct spelling brings about the respect of
the group and that future opportunities in social and in business
life may be bettered. In summarizing, one may say that successful
results in the spelling program depend upon the pride of the boys
and girls, few words to master at one time, clear meaning, syllable
division, visualization of the words to be learned, hard study
economical drill, frequent review, and practical testing.
Capitalization : Many of our customs in writing are merely
conventional. There is no inherent right or wrong about them. The
use of capital letters is one of these. In German writing and print the
custom is to capitalize all nouns. In English we capitalize only
those nouns that are individual names of persons or things. We
begin Pittsburgh with a capital letter, but do not begin city with a
capital. City is a noun that can be applied to a thousand large
population groups. Pittsburgh is used to designate a certain one.
The common custom is to capitalize Ohio and also River in naming
Ohio River. Some writers and printers capitalize only Ohio. The
prevailing custom is in favor of Ohio River, Rocky Mountains, the
Norris Dam, etc.
By common agreement we capitalize God and all nouns and
pronouns that refer to Him, including the name Jesus and the Christ.
We use a capital/always for the personal pronoun. England is a
proper noun. It begins with a capital letter. So does English, which
is an adjective derived from a proper noun.
We capitalize the names of the months and days of the week,
but not the seasons spring, summer, autumn, jail and winter. This
practice is not logical, but it is a custom, and we follow custom in
16 Simple Methods of Basic Grammar
language. We begin each line of poetry with a capital letter, but
some of the new poets, to be different, disregard that practice. We
still begin every sentence with a capital letter. If 1 say, "Customs in
the North and West differ from those of the East and South," I am
using those words as proper names for sections of the country. But
if 1 say, "After travelling six miles west 1 turned south," I am using
west and south as common nouns and do not capitalize them.
We capitalize all the words in the title of a book, story, or essay
except the articles a, an, the, and the prepositions. The Story of the
Indians in Arizona is properly written here as a title for a book or a
chapter. The abbreviated titles Mrs., Dr., Hon., etc. are always begun
with capital letters and are followed by periods. Since these are
customs without inherent reasons, students must school themselves
to conform to common practice to avoid being different and
Again it is customary to begin a direct quotation with a capital
letter, but not an indirect quotation. For example, one might say:
Mrs. Clements was so much opposed to the plan that she declared
positively, "I have no sympathy with your proposal and will do
what 1 can to see that it is not carried out." Another might report the
substance of what M/ s. Clements said thus: Mrs. Clements declared
that she had no sympathy with the plan and would do all she
could to defeat it.
In the first foml, a direct quotation, her actual words are enclosed
in quotes, beginning with a capital letter. In the second form we
have the substance of what she said. It begins with the word that
and does not give her exact words. This is an indirect quotation,
beginning with a small letter, and is not enclosed in quotes.
The teacher should make it clear to the students that there are
only ten or a dozen common situations in which we capitalize a
word, but that these are so generally observed that neglect or
oversight or error makes one as conspicuous as do errors in spelling
or grammar. The teacher must point out individual errors for the
pupils. Pupils should help each other in this matter. It is difficult
for any person to see his own errors. If a pupil writes The French
crossed the English Channel near where dover now is and met king
Simple Methods of Basic Grammar 17
Harold at hasting, the sentence may look perfect to him because
that is the way he always writes. He needs to have some one who
knows the customs to tell him which words to capitalize and why.
Capital letters are like traffic signals for writers, just as
punctuation marks are. They are a writer's green and red lights
and the signs for Curve, Right Tum, Left Turn, etc. Writing without
capital letters and punctuation is just as confusing and dangerous
as trying to drive through a city without observing the customary
signs. The teacher can point out this similarity and can make the,
point that by common agreement the signs all over the country are
the sap1e. If a driver Jiving in Georgia is driving across the country,
he will find the road signs in Nebraska and Utah the same as those
he is accustomed to observe 3.t home. The Go sign in Georgia is
green. In Utah it is green also, not purple.
By common agreement the traffic signs in writing and print are
the same throughout the country These are not used because one
sign is "right" and another "wrong,'" but merely because one is
customary and the other not. If writers and printers all over the
country should agree to use this sign instead of the usual period, or
this as a question mark, those signs would be right and these wrong.
The same applies to the use of capital letters. By common
agreement we could stop using capital letters at the beginning of
direct quotations and all abbreviations. We are not likely to do this
any more than to stop handshaking or wearing useless buttons on
men's coat sleeves, it is almost impossible to change quickly the
customs of five hundred millions of people no matter how useless
or silly the customs may he We are going to continue to write 71/Vr ..
Dr., D.C., Columbus, Italy, Spanish, and Florida instead of Mrs .. , dr.,
d.c., columbns, Italy, Spanish, and Florida. And we are going to
begin sentences, direct quotati.ons, and lines of poetry with capitals
for a long time to come in spite of the rebellion of a few "moderns"
who want to be "different."
Increasing One's Vocabulary: Formal ways to increase the
number of words a pupil can use intelligently are not likely to be
very successful. In fact teachers are inclined to pay no attention to
vocabulary building. They will spend much time upon spelling,
18 Simple Methods of Basic Grammar
punctuation, and grammar but little to the expansion of the pupils'
took of words. Word poverty is probably the most significant of the
language ills of both school pupils and adults. Even so we are
probably wise in not attempting to increase a pupil's stock of usable
words by any mechanical or formal program. So far as we know
there has not been any reliable study made of the number of words
the adult of average intelligence uses in speech or in writing. Nor
do we know what the nouns are for a fifteen-year-old boy or girl.
More attention, how Cover, has been given to the word range of
young people in school than to adults. One thing is apparent. An
individual who uses a thousand different words in daily speech
will use more words in deliberate writing, perhaps two or three
thousand. And such a person would understand maybe five
thousand as he is reading. These are not statistics. They are only
our guess.
Basic English is built upon the assumption that if one knows
the right words, eight hundred and fifty are enough to get along
with pretty comfortably in speaking and writing the language, and
well enough in reading if he has a dictionary at hand. Even so, the
man or woman who has a rich word-hoard to choose from gives the
listeners or readers a distinct impression of culture. As you listen to
such a person talk you are aware of that feeling, even though you
may not realize that it comes from the use of a wide variety of words.
If a girl thinks everything she sees or hears, or everybody she
knows, is cute or swell or just lovely or grand or sweet that means
that her range of adjectives goes no further. To her everybody else is
either horrid, a washout, a dim bulb, or whatever the current slang
word may be at the moment. We all take pleasure in hearing people
who use exact and appropriate words, but we may doubt the
wisdom of setting up a formal program of vocabulary building with
class exercises two or three times a week.
How do people build up their stocks of words? One way is to
determine to add a word a day or two words a day. Today as I read
I come upon the words myopic, pyromaniac, and snorkel. I can
work out pyromaniac without the dictionary both as to
pronunciation and meaning. Since I am adding only two words a
Simple Methods of Basic Grammar 19
day to my stock, I pass up snorkel. That leaves me myopic. I learn to
spell and pronounce both my new words and contrive to write and
speak them three or four times during the day.
What a satisfaction! Adding two words a day increases my
working vocabulary by 60 words a month, 730 in a year 14,600 in
twenty years. Add to that the 5,400 words I had when I started this
program at age sixteen and I shall have 20,000 at thirty-six-4,OOO
more than Shakespeare had when he died.
No, this will not do. Human beings do not work that way. Even
if we had the persistence to keep up the struggle for twenty years,
we should have acquired many words we need, but in addition a
vast heap of useless lumber. Most of us acquire new words by
hearing them spoken or seeing them in print. We ask about them or
use the dictionary to find the meaning, the spelling, the
pronunciation, and possibly one or more synonyms. Later when
we are speaking or writing we use one of these new words. We
repeat this from time to time until the word comes to the surface of
memory automatically. Then it is ours.
Does this mean that the teacher should comfortably leave
vocabulary to chance? Not at all. Nor does it suggest that a teacher
with a composition class should assign ten words a day 10 be
looked up in a dictionary. It suggests a more nearly normal way. As
she hears a student reading aloud and stumbling over the word
sub til (subtle) she asks him to consult the dictionary and get its
pronunciation and i.e. 01 two synonyms. Or hearing another
explaining a paragraph he has just read she realizes that he does
not understand it because it has two key words in it that are
unfamiliar. She can tell him directly what those words mean and
then ask him to go on with his explanation. If a boy refers to a girl as
a peach or a prune, he might be encouraged to add two or three
nouns and as many adjectives to his vocabulary. Make a game of
finding ways of saying yes without falling back upon okay.
As pupils are reading a piece of literature have them watch for
color words, that apply to the sense of taste and smell, words having
to do with size and weight, words ex-pressing speed and distance.
There are a dozen common devices that one may use one at a time to
20 Simple Methods of Basic Grammar
keep students conscious of the need to build a vocabulary that shows
variety, breadth, and discrimination.
Good Taste in Expression: Everyone agrees that good taste
and effectiveness of conversation are reflected in one's written and
spoken expression. Too often the conversation of boys and girls is
meager and barren. Sometimes it seems that fine, grand, cute, and
okay are the limits of the available words.
Formal grammar as the easiest method: The case just described
illustrates a few of the means for replacing formal methods in
developing effective usage with more direct, economical, and
efficient procedures, quite without denying the utility of formal
grammar to teachers and specialists in language as convenient
means for professional intercommunication among themselves, or
as tools of linguistic classification and research. The case illustrates
the very obvious fact that while grammatical terminology,
diagraming, parsing, and formal sentence analysis are (and should
be) easy for people who earn their living as linguisticians, they are
hardly easy for pupils who need help most: and it is probably the
latter, as the presumable beneficiaries of instruction in English, who
ought to have the final say regarding what is hard and what is not.
Adult specialists are much too prone to fall into what Edgar Dale
has called the COIKfallacy-Clear Only If Known. The traditional
contention that rules and procedures phrased in the professional
language of the grammarian are in the long ran the easiest way to
learn a language is surceased only half true: true where the truth
cou.'1ts least, and consistently false in the very situations where the
truth should count most. It is absolutely true only if the teacher has
no offer resources at her disposal for treating problems of usage.
22 Teaching of English Grammar and Communications
When this is the case, the methodology of formal grammar must
obviously be, not just the easiest way, but also the one and the only
way. But in such cases, is not the teacher in much the same position
as the physician of old whose limited resources at one time forced
him to rely oil bloodletting as a cure for almost everything?
Formal grammar as a strictly professional tool: Without denying
that the terminology of linguistic science is of great convenience to
teachers as members of a licensed profession, cannot teachers
prevent it from increasing resistance to learning by using it only as
a set of labels for reference purposes after having achieved the
language outcomes desired? In the suburban community where
this is written, the house-wives often take great pride in preserving
the fruits that grow in such abundances the vicinity. They do not
begin their canning season by looking up the Latin names for the
peaches, pears, prunes, and apricots that they have in mind to
preserve. On no occasion have they been known to label their jars
before they are sure that they have something in them that will
keep. Neither has any housewife ever been known to insist that the
contents of the jars with labels taste better than the contents of those
without. Cannot the use of grammatical labels be regarded with the
same elementary common sense? After all, is net helping people to
live more effectively in this world more important than just
developing a classroom vocabulary in it?
Usage guide for the double negative. Obviously, an approach
suitable for teaching one use of the comma is not always appropriate
in teaching another. The problem is always one of analyzing the
specific language difficulty, of selecting the particular procedures
that are uniquely appropriate in treating it, and of realizing always
that some students may respond better to one device and others to
another. In general, most problems of language usage can be handled
in one of four no technical ways. Where thesituation involves two
sets of linguistic facts, such as negatives vs. positives in sentences
like "He never gave me none neither (I) we can use the usage-guide
method by simply writing on the board (for transfer later into the
pupils" notebooks) a brief reference outline stating:
After ................................. We say
hardly ................................. anybody
never ................................. anyhow
Teaching of English Grammar and Communications 23
no(ne) ................................. anyway
not (not) ................................. anywhere
nothing ................................. ever
scarcely ................................. any
Then we may have the students change sentences on the board
that have been quoted directly from their own writing or speech,
using the usage guide as a kind of dictionary. Since none and neither
come after never in the sentence "He never gave me none neither,"
we replace them with the words any and either, not because the
words are called positives or negatives, nor because a textbook tells
us to avoid dnn V.e negatives, but because that is the customary way
effective writers and speakers use English by common consent, much
as football players have agreed on six points for a touchdown rather
than four or forty. We do not mislead young people into believing
that we talk and write in certain ways because of what words are
called in a grammar; for the truth is that "languages have come into
being, and great literature has been written in them, long before a
grammar or a prosody was ever thought of."
If a workbook containing sentences phrased in language that
the young people will recognize at once as being typical of their
own is conveniently available, we may work out just enough
exercises to help them clarify the conception in their minds. If not,
we may have to supply additional practice sentences, on the board
or in duplicated form; for there is no better way to waste time than
to ask students to change sentences which they themselves would
never think of writing or saying. Unless the students recognize the
language of the practice exercises as their own, the carry-over of the
work into their personal, independent use of language is destined
to be small because of their failure to see any connection between
the two.
Use of practice exercises: All work with paraphrased exercises,
however, may well be limited to the bare amount needed to develop
ability to use the usage guide as a kind of dictionary.
In order to fix a particular usage in their own speech habits, we
would do well to rely for practice more on the composition of short
illustrative sentences or questions by the pupils themselves. For
example, we may say, "Now let's see if each of us can write ten good
24 Teaching of English Grammar and Communications
questions of our own to prove that we know when to use never-ever,
nowhere-somewhere, and the rest of the words in the outline. Then
let's try out the questions on each other."
This culminating step can provide oral practice and also furnish
an appropriate setting for a group evaluation of the questions later.
For variety, the procedure can even be turned into a kind of game
simply by setting a time limit. The nor then becomes the person or
team that has the most sentences done correctly when time is called.
The big point is that no one has ever acquired independent ability
in writing or speech merely by doing other people's exercises, or
reworking other people's language, for such practice too often
reduces the learner to the level of a ventriloquist dummy- and
ventriloquist dummies cannot perform except in the immediate
presence of a master voice.
Confusion of past participles with past tense forms : The
approach used in dealing with the double negative can also be
applied, with minor modifications, to the confusion of past
participles with past tense forms is sentences like we sung a new
song,",and to almost any other situations arising from the confusion
of two or more sets of language elements. In the case of sans. Vs.
suns, did vs. done, and the like, our usage guide might say, "After
fonts of to have and to be, we say sung, done, run, seen, or come;
otherwise we say song, did, ran, saw, or came," The list can be
expanded to cover all the difficulties noted in the pupils' own writing
and speech. If the expressions to have and to be are too vague, the
forms themselves-since they are only twelve-can easily be listed in
the summary.
Pronouns as objects of prepositions. Again, if the textbook in
current use contains such a rule as, "Personal pronouns that are
governed by a preposition must be in the objective case," we may
supply a usage guide saying,
After ................................. We say
to ................................. me
for ................................. him
of ................................. her
by ................................. them
with ................................. us
Teaching of English Grammar and Communications 25
between ................................. whom
but (except)
For example, It's a secret between him and her.
Nobody saw it but her and me. Are you going with me or them?
Although more prepositions may be included in the left-hand
column, the seven that are already listed will take care of ail common
Obviously, only a teacher more interested in covering the grammar
than in helping young people would ever introduce the topic unless
the students own speech revealed serious difficulties with the use
of pronouns following a preposition.
If any precocious student should inquire, "When do you have
to say 'me' after between?" the answer would come closest to the
truth if we simply said, "It is a custom that leaders in language
have agreed to make a rule of much as leaders in football have
agreed on six points for a touchdown rather than sixteen or sixty."
Surely, such an answer as, "because personal pronouns governed
by a preposition must be governed by the objective case," would not
explain the reason why at all. The alert student could still ask,
"Why do personal pronouns governed by a proposition have to be
in the objective case?" Fortunately for teachers of formal grammar,
most normal people do not indulge in such grammatical
In as much as usage guides of this kincl are intelligible to anyone
with the reading ability of a fourth grader, they can be supplied to
parents interested in guiding their children's speech. Needless to
say, such cooperation would be difficult for most parents if the
materials involved several pages of explanations concerning the
use of the "past participle after auxiliary verbs in compound tenses,
in the passive voices in elliptical passive constructions, and as
participial adjectives."
The Meaning Approache to Usage:
Transitive and intransitive verbs: Confusions involving so called
transitive and intransitive verbs, like sit and set, or lie and lay, can
usually be resolved simply by helping young people gain insight
into the real meanings of the individual verb forms. This procedure
26 Teaching of English Grammar and Communications
might be called the synonym method, though the term "meaning
approach" is entirely adequate. It has already been illustrated in
the discussion of the comma before the word for when it can be
taken to mean because. The usage guide in such cases may become
a kind of alphabetical dictionary of near synonyms for testing the
real meaning in specific cases, with the aid of such no technical
explanations as:
We say laid when we mean placed, as in "He laid (placed) it on
the table."
We say lying when we mean telling c, lie or resting, as in liThe
book is lying (resting) on the table,"
For the confusion of sit with set the guide may read as follows
3. setting ... putting, placing, hatching (eggs), going down.
The hens are setting (hatching eggs).
4. sit... (to) be seated.
You may sit (be seated) here.
5. sit out., . remain (stay) seated during. Let's sit out (remain
seated during) this dance.
6. sitting ... seated.
What was he doing sitting (seated) there?
The procedure from here on is very much the same as that
indicated for the previously mentioned usage guides. The aim is
never verbatim memorization of the lists, but absorption of their
content directly into the learners' own language habits through
reference to them in testing their own writing or speech in doubtful
cases, much as intelligent people use dictionaries to reassure
themselves concerning the spelling, meaning, or pronunciation of
words. Although the labels transitive and intransitive can be added
in parenthesis along-side the definitions, their use would contribute
nothing to the utility of the guide and might even sidetrack the
class-work from active practice in the language itself into that
unprofitable form of erudite shovel-leaning and academic leaf-
raking that at one time characterized so much pretentious busy
work in the teaching of the language arts. A good teacher is no more
concerned with technical labels when her young people still say
"Him and me aunt never seen it," or write fragmentary or garbled
Teaching of English Grammar and Communications
sentences, than a good physician is concerned with a patients
mosquito bites when he is obviously suffering from a severe case of
malnutrition. A good teacher knows that all the hens in America, as
well as the sun, the moon, and the stars will continue to set, and
that millions of young people will continue to sit dances out, without
the slightest concern as to whether their behaviour is transitive or
intransitive. A secure profession never confuses pretentiousness
with scholarship.
Specific versus generalized methodology: But how shall young
people be taught to use complex or compound sentences effectively
if they are not sure even of a subject or predicate, not to mention
such things as relative pronouns, prepositional phrases, or
subordinating conjunctions? Here, as elsewhere, the first step is
always diagnosis of the specific need that is to be served. This means
finding out exactly what it is that we wish to accomplish-not in
general, but in a particular case: to develop ability to use commas
with nonrestrictive clauses? to avoid sentence fragments? to make
straggly, overloaded sentences more effective by learning ways to
subordinate minor qualifying elements? We do not aim at everything
at voice. We locate a particular target and change our aim as the
target moves.
Sentence pattern methods: If the specific need, for example, is
ability to write more intelligible and effective definitions, we assume
that models of different varieties of definitions may be essential as
guides. We may then complete sentences, modeled after the
definitions, from which essential parts have been left out. This
preliminary imitative practice soon enables students to write
acceptable definitions of then-own. During a group evaluation of
the definitions later, no one says that a sentence is poor because an
adjectival or adverbial modifier is misplaced Instead, he calls
attention to the fact that the meaning is blurred, confusing, or
misleading, or the wording so muddy that we have to wade through
the sentence or to reread it several times. Improvement then takes
place by comparing the sentence with its closest desirable model.,
and changing it annul She wording parallels that of the closest
example. Dr. Luella Cook has discussed this method in c o ~ v i n c i n g
detail in the May, 1946, issue of the Elementary English Review.
Dr. A. I. Roehm of George Pea-body College fm: Teachers has
28 Teaching of English Grammar and Communications
developed similar sentence-pattern techniques for use in both
elementary and secondary schools, and even in college foreign
language. -
The question test for sentence fragments: What can be done,
however, in the case of those young people who cannot even tell the
difference between a fragment and a completely stated thought? In
such cases, if their insight into language is too limited to enable
them to learn from contrasting examples, it is certain that no super-
imposition of grammatical terminology or formal analytical
procedures will do more than induce frustration and resistance to
learning. Difficulties of the type involved here may be the result of a
variety of different factors, not of anyone general cause. Successful
teaching, therefore, depends upon accurate diagnosis of the
particular difficulty: Are a student's sentence fragments attributable
to the fact that he uses periods where he should use commas? If so,
the remedy lies in helping him gain insight into the difference
between the use of the period as a kind of stop sign at language
intersections, and of the comma as a kind of caution signal. Reading
his paper aloud exactly as it is punctuated often suffices to indicate
both the difficulty and the simplest way to remedy it.
Or are a student's sentence fragments attributable to
undeveloped ability to visualize an audience? Does he fail to put
down on paper all that he really has in mind, perhaps because he
wrongly assignees that, everything being perfectly clear to him,
others will readily understand? When this is the case, no mere
definition of a sentence as 11 a complete thought" will obviously be
of much help. Whatever he writes is a complete thought in his own
mind; otherwise, he would not write it as such. The need, then, is
for experience in writing for audiences and witnessing their
reactions. Without ability to visualize a reader or listener to whom
we are trying to make things clear, speaking and writing are seldom
effective but often deadening for lack of incentive or motivation.
Only by learning to imagine ourselves in the presence of a real
audience can we learn to write and speak well. In fact, without a
reader or listener, speech has very little excuse for being. Even in
personal diaries there is an audience-the author himself a week,
month, year, or forty years later.
Occasionally, when ability to imagine a reader is almost
pathologically retarded, a simple self-test for sentence fragments
Teaching of English Grammar and Communications 29
may be helpful when other devices fail. This test assumes that a
completely stated sentence can be regarded as the answer to an
imaginary question and contains the wording of the question inside
it. The test, then, is to see whether or not we can form a question out
of what has been written by changing always the position of the
first word so that it will not come at the beginning or end of the
statement. For example:
Today is Tuesday. Is today Tuesday?
He was here when I arrived. Was he here when I arrived?
When a thought is completely stated, as in the examples just
given, the question formed by changing always the position of the
first word will sound perfectly acceptable. In the case of fragments
like "When I was young," however, a question will either he
impossible to form by changing only the position of the first word,
or sound awkward or forced, as in such strained efforts to beat the
test as "I was young; when?"
Note that beyond changing always the position of the first word,
the question test permits of no other changes except the use of the
more emphatic do (n't), does (n't) or did(n't) forms of the action
word. For example, to the fragment, "When I was young," we might
add "I played (did play) baseball." The question test would then
easily give us either "Was I young when I played baseball?" or
"Did I play baseball when I was young?" Either question would
show that we have finally achieved a completely stated thought in
"When I was young, I played (did play) baseball."
In a few very exceptional cases involving colloquial or idiomatic
usage, the test may require matching the question and answer to
see if they make sense together. For example:
Fragment: On going home. Question: Going on home Test: Going
on home? On going home (!).
Since the reply, "on going home," does not answer the question
in any relevant way, it is a fragment, and something must be added
to it in order to convert it into a completely stated sentence. This
refinement of the test should not be introduced unless a very specific
need for it arises from fragments written by the pupils themselves
in their own compositions.
30 Teaching of English Grammar and Communications
The question test for clauses. The concept of the question test is
of considerable value in enabling young people to distinguish
between clauses and phrases, especially in relation to punctuation.
The following paragraph illustrates its application to the
punctuation desired (but rarely achieved) from the study of such
rules as "a dependent or subordinate clause which introduces a
sentence is set off from the independent clause by a comma."
A group of words that makes a sentence by the question test is
usually set off from the rest of the sentence by a comma (,) if the
group of words comes right after if, when, while, although, since,
because ....
For example, in the following model, the group of words in
parentheses ( ) is a sentence by the question test. Since this group of
words comes right after the word if, a comma (,) is placed at the end
of the group, like this:
Had the time, I would go to Europe this year.
Other key words that commonly introduce" dependent clauses"
followed by commas when they begin a sentence can be included in
the list as desired. Only one caution need be emphasized in this
connection: Schools and textbooks tend to stress over punctuation.
If a school-written composition of 250 to 350 words were published
in a magazine or book, correctly punctuated according to all the
textbook rules, tie printed page would look as if it had the measles.
Although editors and publishers are by no means agreed on the
details of punctuation, the tendency is to use punctuation marks
only where required to assist the reader in grasping the mean-ins
readily. As in other cases involving instruction in usage.
This handbook is designed to be used in speech-making classes
carrying such titles as "Fundamentals of Speech," "Principles of
Speech," "Business and Professional Speaking," "Principles of
Speech Communication," "Public Speaking," or any other
introductory course in speech making. It may be that those who
take this course will never have an opportunity to take another
speech course. They may never have a second chance to learn of the
breadth of the field of speech.
These next few pages are addressed to those students. While
the class spends several of the first meetings on the inventory
assignments, they may read about field itself.
Teaching of English Grammar and Communications
What is the field of speech communication? A list of the areas
of study might be grouped as follows:
Theory Regarding Communication
Language Development
Voice Science
Rhetorical Criticism
The process of Speech Communication
Speech in a Cultural Context
Application of Theory
Speech making
Interpersonal Communication
Argumentation and Debate
Oral Interpretation and Readers' Theatre
The Theatre Arts
Speech Communication on Radio and Television
What to Do When communication Breaks Down
Speech Pathology
The two areas developed in this book are speech making and
oral interpretation (reading aloud). There are sets of assignments in
each area. A third area receiving some attention is interpersonal
communication. There are assignments in discussion and the
interview, but the attention paid to these activities is quite limited.
This introduction to interpersonal relations in speech may prompt
some students to go to much more intensive study of the activity in
another course.
To help the student of speech communication understand the
field better, we shall now consider four topics: the process of
communication, interpersonal relations, speech in a cultural
context, and listening. They will help the student know how speech
is a process, how it is auditororiented, and how it is a matter of
32 Teaching of English Grammar and Communications
The Process of Communication
Until about twenty years ago, the textbooks in the field of speech
concentrated on the speaker's activities in preparing and presenting
a speech, The fundamentals often considered included:
Thought Language Voice Action
When they discussed "thought," the writers spoke of "purpose"
in speech: to inform, to persuade, or to entertain. They asked the
speaker to consider his audience in selecting materials to fulfil his
Specialists began to work on the speech act. While their
colleagues studied the history of rhetoric in the light of the classical
canons :
Inventio Disposition
(Ideas and (Arrangement)
Elocutio Memoria Pronuntiatio
(Style) (Memory) (Delivery)
The Scientists were saying that the act of transferring an idea
from the mind of a speaker to the mind of a listener took place in five
Psychological Physiological Physical Physiological Psychological
(Mind of (Vocal (Air (hearing (Mind of
speaker) mechanism) waves) mechanism) auditor)
Each phase of the act came under scrutiny. The more they
speculated, examined, tested, and pondered, the more important
the auditor became in the formula. They selected a name for the
behaviour which included his -communication. They labelled the
area for study the "process of communication."
Models were conceived, arranged, and described to depict the
act. A simple early model offered:
Speaker Message Listener
The speaker and the message are part of the same person. To
reach the hearer, it was necessary to include:
Speaker Message Medium Listener
Now the scientists concentrated on the process from its
b e ~ g to its end, and they realized that it has no end. It is a
'Teaching of English Grammar and Communications
continuous, on-going thing. If you said it began with the speaker,
you had to say it ended with him, because he received responses
from his listeners, which in tum influenced the next thing he would
say, and so on around and around.
Thus the element of "feedback" came into focus:
Speaker - Message - Medium - Listener
I Feedback. I
New terms were needed to identify what was being done. The
first edition of this book, listed the four fundamental processes as:
Adjustment to the Speaking Situation
Symbolic Formulation and Expression
The word "encode" was selected around that time to identify
the behaviour of using symbols, as a companion word for" decode,"
which described the behaviour of receiving sound symbols.
Many disciplines made their contribution to the study:
psychology, linguistics, semantics, physics, pathology, and other.
Various models began to appear. They included such features
Source Message Channel Receiver
At each point along the way, we were told, there can be a
breakdown in the process. The start can be blocked if the source of
the communication is unfamiliar with the culture in which the
encounter with his receivers takes place, if he does not understand
the social system, if his knowledge of what he wants to say is limited,
if he does not know the symbols used by his hearers, or if he does
not have the skills of communication necessary to send out his
message on the air waves (for example if his speech mechanism
will not function properly-if the quality, pitch, volume or frequency
of his utterance is grotesque or if he is unable to articulate, enunciate,
or pronounce understandably). What is more, if his attitude bilies
the meaning he intends of hopes to convey, a speaker's
communication may be blocked at the start of the process.
34 Teaching of English Grammar and Communications
His message may be garble if that is the world. The symbolic
code may be foreign the structure and syntax of has language usage
distracting, the content may be inadequate for his purpose, or the
elements of his discourse may be incomprehensible.
In the channel there may be too much "noise," as the scientists
called it. Too many distractions through seeing, hearing, touching,
smelling, and tasting other things can keep the message outside the
ken of the receiver.
It may be that the speaker-how he looks or how he sounds-is
his own worst distracter. Or it may be that the distance between
speaker and receiver is too great. Or there may be interfering sounds.
On the other hand, the problem may lie with the listener. What
if he comes from another culture or another social system, has no
knowledge related to the message, or has attitudes which prevent
him from decoding the message in an approximation of the one
sent by the source?
All of these topics come under scrutiny in the study of the process
of communication.
Speech in a Cultural Context
A man speaks to the people of his times on the problems of his
In this text we are much concerned with the audience. We
analyse him, plan for his response, speak to him, and react to him.
Such an attitude toward the listener has its roots in the history of
man's commUnication. Speech instruction has paralleled the society
in which man has lived; it has reflected his opportunity to speak to
his fellow citizens. We shall see how well, as we take a brief look at
the history of speech making, the role of the citizen in his society
has influenced his need to speak, his right to speak, and his
instruction in speaking.
Serious consideration was first given to a person's speaking
ability 500 years before Chtist. Long before that the Egyptian Ptah-
Hotep had produced a book that gave speech-making instructions
of a sort and the Greek writer Homer had written some speeches
and had attributed them to his heroes. But by 500 B.C., people in
Teaching of English Grammar and Communications 35
Sicily really needed to speak. There was a problem of land ownership
and a man had to go before the courts to prove his proprietary
rights. The times called for it, and Corax produced a book for the
times-a book on persuasion, explaining the parts of rhetorical
About the same time, or not long afterward, a number of Greeks
taught men to speak up in their democratic society. Protagoras,
Gorgias, and lsocrates, to name three of the most eminent, taught
their pupils how to debate both sides of a question, how to develop
a praiseworthy style in speaking, and how to make their speech
elevated, noble, and educated. The times called for this type of speech
and these teachers of rhetoric provided the instruction.
There was an opportunity for chicanery in teaching and practice,
and there were teachers who taught the people rhetorical tricks.
Plato denounced these Sophists, as they were called, and the
opprobrium of his attack has stuck to this day. We use the word
"sophist" now to characterize someone whose reasoning is
captious, deceptive, or fallacious.
Aristotle followed with his Rhetoric, in which he systematically
dealt with the speaker, with the audience, and with the speech. He
identified the types of "proof" as ethos, pathos, and logos (character
of the speaker, emotions of the listener, and result of logical
The democratic society of Athens flourished for hundred of
years and so did Aristotle's principles. Then Rome came to be the
center of the ordinary man became less influential, the major orators
still had their day. Day of them, the great wrote down his thoughts
of rhetoric in several important books. He demanded that the
speakers be a man of wide knowledge and express his thoughts in
an elegant style. Quintilian, a transplanted Spaniard, taught in
Rome at a time when there was little democratic participation in
public affairs, yet he left us a great book, systematic and inclusive,
offering a concept that we have come to revere: "A speaker is a good
man speaking."
Then is a good Roman Empire-a time of pompous display and
democratic decay, which lasted for hundreds of years. The teaching
of rhetoric came to serve merely the presentation of oratorical
exlubitions. The Church was interested in training men for the clergy
36 Teaching of English Grammar and Communications
and the clergy distrusted the oratory of the day. Saint Augustine,
however, presented a treatise in which he emphasized the
Aristotelian principle that rhetoric proposes to make the truth
As the secular schools developed during the Renaissance, they
offered a curriculum which included rhetoric, but the instruction
centered on the use of language.
By the eighteenth century the pendulum of man's participation
in the affairs of his times had again swung toward democracy. In
England men were once again allowed to speak out. The schools
took up the challenge and taught speech making. Three great writers
offered tests: Campbell Blair, and Whately.
But, at almost the same, point in history, just as these men were
encouraging sound argument, direct communication influential,
and imposing: the Elocutionists. Their emphasis was on delivery.
Austin and Lovell, among them, went to extremes on teaching an
artificial precision in voice and gesture.
By now, somewhat past the middle of the twentieth century,
we' have moved away form their influences, and we use the word
"elocutionist" with a critical disdain.
The point we make here is that man is the product of his times.
Man preserves his time or alters his times, but always speaks in his
time. Great problems bring forth great speakers. Great speakers lead
people in decision making. The people elect to office those who
speak effectively. They choose for leaders of their service clubs those
who speak well. They call on their fellows who are effective speakers
to speak on hundreds of various programs. There is man's speaking
a cultural context, an environmental image, and a historical rhetoric.
Man truly speaks in his times.
Interpersonal Speech Communication
The Speaker, the message, the audience: these have long held a
prominent place in our course work in speech. Our plans have been
geared to helping the individual become a better communicator- to
stand on a platform facing an audience, to present an uninterrupted
speech, planned in its entirety and designed to meet the needs of
the audience, and to anticipate the reactions and satisfaction of the
Teaching of English Grammar and Communications
But man's speech communication is not always like that. More
often he is likely to be in a situation in which his speech is
interrupted, in which the conclusion of the presentation is different
from what he had planned, and in which the responses of his
audience are frequent, immediate, and equal to his own in continuing
the presentation. We are referring to the interpersonal speech
communication situation, whether one to one or one among several.
It is not the purpose of this book to provide for many class
assignments in the one-to-one speech situation, or the one-among-
many situation. Such activities as the job interview, the office call,
the personal conference, and the group meeting for dfficussion of
policy, plans, or problem solution are important-so important that
our speech departments devote entire courses to them-but not for
our course. We are interested in the individual speaking to groups.
At the same time, to give some insight into the type of
communication and the participation he may have, it is well to
consider the interpersonal aspects as a type, a class, a form of speech
The preparation for interpersonal communication is similar to
that for individual performance. The topic is selected, the purpose
is identified, the central idea is formulated, material is gathered,
and the presentation is planned.
Comparable to the selection of a topic might be the decision as
to the type of meeting-for example, a conversation between two
members of a firm, a staff conference to consider a new directive, or
a meeting of supervisors to identify a problem and seek solutions.
The central thought of a speech can be a definite statement. A
group meeting, on the other hand, usually begins with a question.
Just as there is pattern in the ordering of the main ideas of a
speech, so there is a pattern in a discussion: identify the problem,
describe its characteristics, point out its causes, set some goals,
offer several possible solutions, evaluate the suggestions, and try to
arrive at a mutually agreeable course of action.
But when we come to the matter of presentation, we note the
differences. Whereas a speaker can chart his course from beginning
to end, with a group anything can happen.
38 Teaching of English Grammar and Communications
Interpersonal relationships lead to multiple barriers to
communication. How frequently we misunderstand. How often we
disagree. How many times we have different information, much of
it faulty.
The part of the group leader can be described in terms of his
duties: he introduces topics, he summarizes progress, and he directs
the course of the discussion.
The participant in a discussion group has his own role to play.
He should do his homework, offer his information at the appropriate
moments, listen to the others, and cooperate in careful appraisal of
the suggestions. The trouble is that the role he plays is more than
just being another one in a group. He is an individual with a unique
personality and he frequently represents a particular point of view.
That is his role. He has status. The relationships among the members
of the group are interpersonal ones. If the atmosphere is friendly,
open, mutually trusting, and sincere in a search for a satisfactory
conclusion, then much can be accomplished. If it is not such a
productive climate, the leader will need infinite skill to keep the
discussion on course, to encourage reluctant members to cooperate,
to suppress the obstreperous members, and to arrive at mutual
agreement without breaking up in confusion.
While you are in this course, you might try a job interview or
two. Those in the same field of work might attempt a discussion
aimed at solving a troublesome problem in the field. Do these things
as an introduction to the activity of interpersonal communication.
Perhaps you will understand its importance and want to learn
much more.
Listening directs our living. Perhaps because it has seemed so
obvious, we have not spent much time on it in school. The very
study of speech has been considered in the same way: "Everybody
speaks. Why should we study something in school that we have
been doing all our lives?" "Everybody listens. If you couldn't listen
you wouldn't know where to go. Why should we study listening in
During the last twenty-five years, however, enough emphasis
has been placed on listening to put it in our textbooks and in our
Teaching of English Grammar and Communications
courses of study. Researchers have asked so many questions about
it: What is it? Is it important? Are there factors that influence it? Is it
anything like reading? Can it be taught? Can it be measured?
Listening has been identified as important in man's life. His
use of language is dependent on it. As a baby he listens to and
imitates what he hears. Thus is begun his comprehension of his
human ability to formulate hears. Thus is begun his comprehension
of his human ability to formulate and express oral symbols.
In school the child listens for instructions and thereby learns to
A person listens for entertainment. He listens for work
assignments. He listens to doctors, to clergymen, to lawyers, and
adjusts his living ways.
When conflicts develop and society resorts to discussion to
settle its problem, he listens to grievances, offers solutions, listens
to advocates, and decides on courses of action.
Listening accounts for a good deal of man's time. More than
two thirds of his waking hours are spent in some forms of
communication and just a little less than half of that time is spent
We know a number of things about listening, now that we have
given it our a t t ~ n t i o n in recent years. We know that hearing and
listening are not he same thing at all. It is easier to provide an
example today than it was fifty or sixty years ago. Nowadays it is
common for a person to have a radio or television going while he is
doing something else. Fifty years ago a school boy or girl could not
have had a record player or radio going as he studied. Today he
can. It becomes "background music" : he hears it, but he doesn't
listen to it. Take another example: some offices and places of business
have special types of background music played softly throughout
the day. The workers hear it, but they don't listen to it.
What is it about listening that makes it important? First there is
the desire of the one who hears. He must want to get the message.
He can either tum it on or tum it off. He must want to tum it on.
This we can teach our students. Listening calls for some effort on
your part. You must want to get the message. In the speaking situation
the speaker cannot do it all. You must help him by wanting to listen
to him.
40 Teaching of English Grammar and Communications
Next, what can the listener do to help get the message better-to
help decode what the speaker says into understandings that
approximate the thought the speaker had in mind as he was
encoding? We tell him to listen for ideas, rather than facts. Facts
slip out of memory much faster than ideas. Listen for ideas. Do not
let your note taking develop into the listing of a lot of facts. They
prevent your restructuring the ideas. Do not jump too quickly to a
conclusion. Let the speaker develop his idea himself. Probably you
can think a lot faster then a lecturer can speak, but hold with him.
Don't daydream or go off on a tangent. Keep listening. Distraction
may attract your attention. Learn to stay with the speaker. Let the
noises become background, just as you have learned to let your
radio play in the background without disrupting other activities-
perhaps reading this book, for example.
On the day a listener says, "I don't believe it," he has taken the
next step in the listening process. He has begun to evaluate what he
hears. He has not just restructured and accepted. He has weighed
the information and found that he cannot accept it at face value
When asked why he does not believe it , he may answer, "I
don't know why, but I don't believe it. I know the speaker is a man
of great reputation. I know his personality is most attractive. He
looks wonderful on the platform. But as I think about what he said,
I must put aside who he is and what he is and conclude that he is
outside his area of expertise. I just ~ a n ' t believe him. I need more
On the other hand, this cautious listener, who is skeptical of
believing just because the speaker seems to be one who should be
accepted because of who he is, might also look at himself, the
listener, and say to himself, "Do I have some preconceived ideas
about this subject that are influencing what I am hearing?" it is
hard to disprove the old saying that "we hear what we want to
hear." Our backgrounds and attitudes predispose us in certain ways.
Good listening demands of us the difficult task of setting aside our
attitudes as we evaluate what the speaker said.
One way to get at what the speaker really said is to examine his
words. We know that a specific word conjures up different pictures
ht the minds of the different members of an audience. "State Park"
may call up pictures of trout-laden streams to the angler. Or of roads
with no billboards to the beauty lover, or of miserable toilet facilities
Teaching of English Grammar and Communications
to the fastidious, of crowds of yelling kids on holidays to others, or
of rained-out picnics to still others. Listen to a speaker and try to
determine his mental picture through the words he uses.
While you are about it, listening to his words, check his
"propaganda." Does he resort to some of the techniques identified
by the analysts as the "bandwagon" technique ("Try it-everyone
else does."), the "hasty generalization" ("look what happened here
and here and here. Why, it's all over!"), the "glittering generality"
("Isn't it good, isn't it splendid! It's the American Way")? There are
many more: "name-calling," "plain folks," and "transfer," for
Finally, as a listener, you react. First you hear and restructure.
Then you evaluate. And then you react.
Since we are interested in the whole process of communication
we call your attention to the circular form of the model-the speaker
gets feedback from the listener, which influences the rest of his
speech. So, how do you want to react? It will influence the speaker
in some way.
In our class we want the speaker to know that we are for him,
that we want to help him to improve and become a better speaker,
that we want the morale of the class to be high.
Students learn as they go through school how to smile and nod
in approval at what a lecturer says-without really being "present"
at all. Try to avoid that with your classmates. Don't, on the other
h a n d ~ take the question-and-answer period as an opportunity to
jump on everything your classmate has said in his speech.
Try not to go to sleep on your classmates. Don't read the college
paper during speeches. Try not to frown or groan or fidget in
Try your best to seem to be in communication. Look at the
speaker's eyes so that he look into yours when he has an chance. Sit
in what might be called a receptive position. Can you give the
impression that, if given the chance, you would be pleased to discuss
the matter more fully, but if time does not allow, you can wait for
another opportunity?
It is difficult to listen. But if you would have the speaker feel
that his effort was worthwhile, you can do so by showing that you
are listening, really listening.
42 Teaching of English Grammar and Communications
These are thoughts to help acquaint you with the field of speech
Communication. We have considered the process of communication,
speech in a cultural context, interpersonal speech communication,
and listening. Your instructor may wish to lecture further on these
concepts, or on others of his choosing. The class may decide to do
oral reports oral reports term papers on these topics or other. It is
yours to decide. This handbook is designed primarily as a manual
to assist you in preparing and presenting your speeches and oral
The Basic Behaviour of Speech
What Happens When We Speak?
The Speech Act :
The term speech refers to the behaviour or act of speaking. When
normal, the act of speech is a total bodily response to a speaking
situation of some kind. It is a single, coordinated muscular response
to nerve impulses coming from the speaker'S.
These nerve impulses occur as a result of thoughts and feelings
which the speaker wishes to express in that speaking situation. His
thoughts are expressed in words arranged in thought units and
sentences. Each word is composed of selected speech sounds. Each
speech sound evolves from the speaker's tone of voice at the moment.
Listeners hear and react to the tone of this voice according to its
pitch, intensity, duration, and quality. Appropriate variations in
the pitch, intensity, duration, and quality of his natural tone of
voice lend interpretation to his thoughts. Thereby, the listener
becomes more fully aware of their logical and emotional meaning.
As the speaker formulates and utters his thoughts, natural
bodily tension, movements, and poses occur. As a result, the
meaning and signification of his thought and feeling is more fully
appreciated by the listener.
The Speech Mechanism:
In speaking, the entire bodily mechanism is used. Certain parts
of the mechanism, however, are especially important. They are: the
breathing mechanism; the larynx containing the vocal folds; the.
cavities of the throat, mouth, and nose; the hard and soft palates;
the tongue, the teeth, the lips, and the muscles of the face.
Teaching of English Grammar and Commurucations
In a normal mechanism the teeth are properly occluded and
free from spaces between them. The tongue is normal in size for the
mouth cavity, neither too large nor too small, and comparatively
free in its movements. The hard and soft palates are normally
developed. The latter is active in narrowing and closing the opening
between the nasal cavity and the throat. The lips are properly formed
so that they can close firmly to stop the breath and release it quickly
and explosively, as necessary. The facial muscles are normally
developed and free from paralysis or inactivity.
The Function of the Speech Mechanism and Other Bodily Parts:
To understand the functioning of the speech mechanism, it is
especially important to note that, in addition to playing a vital part
in the speech process, these parts of the mechanism have other,
more important bodily functions to perform. They exist primarily to
perform these other bodily functions should be recognized. Speech
has sometimes been called an "overlaid" or "usurped" function.
The main functions of the breathing mechanism is get air into
and out of the lungs to sustain life.
The chief functions of the larynx (the voice box) are to regulate
the supply of air entering the lungs and to prevent bits of food or
other foreign particles from entering the trachea or windpipe.
The tongue, teeth, lips, palates, and facial muscles function
primarily in the taking in, chewing, and swallowing of food. The
mouth, nasal, and throat cavities are passages through which air
enters and leaves the body. Food also passes to the stomach through
the mouth and throat cavities.
Many normal and abnormal but primary activities of these parts
of the mechanism interfere with the speech act. These include:
inhalation, chewing, swallowing, sneezing, coughing, hiccoughing,
sobbing, laughing, sighing, and yawning. If you are speaking, for
example, and suddenly need to sneeze, you will sneeze, you will
sneeze rather than speak. The primary function of sneezing takes
over the mechanism at that moment.
Since the parts of the speech mechanism have these other
primary bodily functions to perform, speech is a secondary bodily
function. The speech mechanism thus is subject to instability and
must be kept under constant control by the speaker.
44 Teaching of English Grammar and Communications
Nerves and Muscles Must Function as a Unit:
The neuromuscular (nerve and muscle) organization of the
speech mechanism is very complicated. Many nerves share in
carrying impulses to the muscle groups that are called in to play
when you speak. Not one muscle, but many cooperate in the speech
act. The muscles are arranged in pairs, right and left, each being an
exact copy of the other but reversed in position and action.
These pairs of muscles receive their impulses to act from several
nerve fibres-the right from the left hemisphere of the brain, the left
from the right hemisphere of the brain. Hence, for the speech act to
be normal and at its best, nerve impulses and muscle actions must
synchronize. They must operate together continuously. They must
be integrated in their action. All muscles and nerves which
participate in the speech act must function as a unit in perfect time
order and balance. When this is not the case, speech inadequacies
What happens When You Speak:
As a result of conditions at the moment, you have thoughts and
feelings to which you desire your listener or listeners to react. As
you speak, these thoughts and feelings become meaningful to the
listener through you words, tones, inflection, movements, gestures,
and facial expressions. As you continue to express your thoughts
and feelings, the following occur almost simultaneously:
1. Breath in varying degrees of pressure is sent up through
you larynx.
2. You vocal folds in the larynx adjust and readjust
appropriately, modifying the outgoing break into a series
of breath waves.
3. Your throat, mouth, and nasal cavities and their openings
assume (a) coordinately, (b) momentarily, and (c)
successively appropriate sizes and shapes to receive these
breath waves and to amplify to build them up into the
required vocal tones.
4. Next, these breafh waves are further modified by your
facial muscles, and lips to form the necessary
speech sounds.
Teaching of English Grammar and Communications 45
5. The breath waves, as now modified, are sent forth from
your mouth and nose as sound waves and are transmitted
through the air. (you have seen the ripples that occur when
you drop a pebble into still water. The sound waves coming
from your mouth and nose spread through the air in
somewhat the same way.)
6. While you voice mechanism is sending forth sound waves
to the ears of your audience, bodily movements, gestures,
and facial expressions are causing variations in the light
waves that reach the eyes of your audience.
7. As the sound waves strike the eardrums of your listener,
they are changed, through the mechanism of his ear, into a
specific pattern of nerve energy. As this pattern of nerve
energy reaches this brain it becomes meaningful to him,
subject, of course, to the limitations of the sound waves as
received by him and his capacity to interpret their meaning.
8. The light waves received by the eyes of the listener are also
changed to a specific pattern of nerve energy, which records
an additional impression in his brain. The meaning of this
impression is interpreted in relation to what he is hearing-
you say at,the moment.
9. As a result of receiving these sound and light waves, the
listener may exhibit behaviour or specific reactions which
you may observe and to which you may react as you speak.
Four Fundamental Behaviour-For purposes of study-training
and retraining-the speech act is divided into four fundamental
behaviour. These are:
Adjustment to the speaking situation
Formulation of thought
These behaviour are the foundation of all forms of speaking
activity-from conversation to formal oratory. They are treated in
detail in the following pages.
46 Teaching of English Grammar and Communications
Adjustment to the Speaking Situation
Adequacy in formulation of thought, and articulation is
dependent upon the degree to which the speaker is mentally and
emotionally adjusted to the speaking situation.
If you are well adjusted to the speaking situation you will possess
a stable, well-integrated bodily mechanism, and will exhibit poise,
balance, ease, naturalness, and purposiveness. You will be free from
inhibitions, bodily tensions, and mannerisms. You will speak
coherently, fluently, and emphatically.
If you are not well adjusted to the speaking situation, you may
possess an unstable, poorly integrated bodily mechanism; lack
poise; be unbalanced, ill at ease, unnatural, tense, or inhibited. Your
behaviour may be purposeless. Uncontrolled bodily mannerisms
may become apparent. You may be nervous, excited, frightened, or
uncertain, and thus be unable to speak coherently, fluently, and
If you are not well adjusted to the speaking situation when you
face it, if your bodily mechanism is unstable, the other fundamental
processes will be affected. You will not, therefore, be able to speak
well. The following suggestions may aid you in becoming well
adjusted to the speaking situation.
Understand What Good Speaking is :
Remember that the function of the speaker is communication,
not display; that the audience wishes to hear and understand the
speaker's ideas rather than to watch him speak and be impressed
by his technique and extraordinary skill. The latter are always less
important than communication. Good speaking is neither
mechanical nor artificial; it possesses a quality of naturalness. Avoid
the attitude that there is nothing interesting or worthwhile for you
to talk about. You need not always speak on serious or profound
subjects; you need not always present them in serious and profound
way. Choose subjects about which you already know a great deal.
Your words need not be long or unusual, your gestures need not be
elaborate or rehearsed. It is not necessary to use a certain type of
posture of special hand and arm gestures or to move about the
platform methodically. You are not required to have a richly
melodious voice that sings its words in perfect ton and cadence.
Teaching of English Grammar and Communications
Nor is it necessary for your pronunciation to be as fine as that of
professional actors. You need not speak so fluently that there are no
hesitations, repetitions, or uncertainties. Use that style of speaking
which best accomplishes your purpose in the speCific situation.
There is no style of speaking suited to all occasions.
Understand the Nature of the "Speech Act" :
As we said before, the speech mechanism is an unstable
mechanism. You learn that, be cause of its very nature, it is subject
to inconstancies. You also learned that the speech organs have more
fundamental function than speaking and that these more
fundamental functions take precedence over the "speech act" in
sneezing coughing, or breathing, for example.
Furthermore, the speech act is influenced by bodily and
emotional states or disturbances. The functioning of the speech
mechanism is affected by fear, excitement, anger, joy, sadness,
surprise, fatigue, and so forth. Manifestations of emotional or bodily
disturbances during the speech act include: breathing irregularities;
stiff, unnatural posture and movements; uncontrolled muscle
trembling, such as knees knocking or hand shaking; interruption
caused by swallowing, laughing, sighing, yawning, or forgetting;
frequent and prolonged hesitations; sudden and uncontrolled
changes in pitch, loudness, rate of speech, and quality of tone;
inaccuracy or indistinctness of the speech sounds.
You must and can learn through experience to keep control
over your reactions to these various mental, emotional, and bodily
states, Realize, however, that a perfect functioning of the mechanism
during the speech act is not only rate but improbable. Even the best
and most highly trained speakers experience some of the difficulties
that you do.
Be Realistic About Yourself as a Speaker:
You may make an improved adjustment to the speaking
situation by adopting a realistic point of view toward yourself as
speaker. Know yourself. Find out the facts about yourself as a
speaker. Appraise your talents. Do not think you are better than you
are, but do not minimize your abilities. After your instructor has
made a diagnosis of your speech needs and abilities in terms of the
48 Teaching of English Grammar and Communications
fundamental processes and the basic essentials of effective
speaking, study the diagnosis. Become familiar with your
weaknesses of inadequacies as well as with your strong points.
Then face the facts about yourself as a speaker. Accept the
description of your speech needs and abilities as evidence of your
present level of ability and use it as a starting point for your training.
Avoid worrying about speaking situations that you have not been
called upon to face and forget past speaking experiences in which
you have not been successful. Do not spend time daydreaming,
wishing you were a better speaker than you really are, or pretending
that you have acquired skills which in reality you have not. Instead,
admit your inadequacies, but learn to emphasize your strong points
and minimize your weaknesses. Succeed in spite of your handicaps.
Accept criticism in a sincere, matter of fact way instead of feeling
that you have been personally belittled. Remember that a recognition
of your own needs is the first step toward improvement. Adopt the
following point of view: "1 may not be an excellent speaker. In the
begiruling. I may be a poor speaker with inadequacies, but I shall
constantly strive to communicate my thoughts and feelings to my
audience as naturally and directly as I possibly can, despite my
limitations. With experience, I know that I shall improve."
Let Individuality as a Speaker be Your Goal:
Strive to develop yourself as a speaker in terms of goals that are
not only possible but probable for you to attain. Individuality as a
speaker should be your first goal. Your heredity and environment
have made you an individual. Be yourself! Do not try to copy exactly
that style someone else uses: his style is his individuality expressing
itself. Let your individuality express itself! There is no style of
speaking that is suited to all persons; but, in developing your own
style of speaking, do not ignore the principles of effective speaking
about which you will learn in many assignments. Modify your
own personal speaking style in accordance with them.
Make a Speech at Every Opportunity :
Seek opportunities to speak before audiences as often as
possible. The best way to improve your adjustment to the speaking
situation is through experience in speaking situation-all kinds of
Teaching of English Grammar and Communications 49
them. You may find at first that is not easy, but you will also find
that with each successive experience it is easier and soon you will
begin to enjoy it. Speak about topics with which you are thoroughly
acquainted, that arise out of your own background and experience.
Sometimes you will be able to plan what you are going to say over a
considerable period of time. At other times you will speak with little
preparation. Whatever the circumstances, when the opportunity
comes, speak, make your contribution. Concentrate on your ideas
and what they mean, not on how you say them. You will find that it
will be easiest, in the beginning, to recount experiences that you
have had-easier for you because they are part of you and because
that audience will be immediately interested. And make these talks
Do not expect to become well if your progress is slow and
gradual. Set a series of goals for yourself that you reasonably attain,
so that you need not be dissatisfied or unhappy with your progress.
Believe that Stage Fright is a Natural, Normal Reaction:
Difficulty in adjusting to the speaking situation is most
frequently caused by stage fright but stage fright is the natural,
normal attitude and reaction of the inexperienced speaker. If you
are not an experienced speaker, you may feel nervous and uncertain
about yourself and how well you will do. But you must recognize
that experienced speakers have, through their experience, become
poised and confident that they can adjust to nearly any circumstance
that may arise in speaking situations. You too can attain this poise
and confidence through experience in speaking. It takes longer for
some speakers to acquire it than for others, but you must speak
often and in many kinds of speaking situations. Some of the
following suggestions may help you:
1. Speak on topics about which you are well informed or on
experiences that you yourself have had.
2. When you know that you have to make a speech, prepare
well. Think about the topic, make notes, say it over to
yourself. Have the notes with you and use them if necessary.
3. If the speech conditions permit, introduce some object in
the speech and talk about it and demonstrate it. Or plan to
use a blackboard diagram, which you draw while talking
about it.
50 Teaching of English Grammar and Communications
4. Think about what you are going to say. Before you are called
upon, say the first sentence to yourself. Repeat it to yourself
as you go to the platform. As you take your position on the
platform, say it to yourself again. Then take a deep breath,
say, possibly, "Ladies and Gentlemen," say the prepared
sentence aloud, and your speech has begun.
5. If you are excited and seem to tremble before being called
upon, relax and breathe deeply to counteract the bodily
6. If you feel weak when you get to the platform, lean against
something. If your hands or knees tremble, touch them
against the desk or lectern to stop the trembling, which,
when stopped, usually does not begin again.
7. Move about the platform. Be active. Make yourself use
gestures of any kind. An active body will help destroy the
evidence of your fears and actually cause you to be more at
Formulation of Thought
Formulation of thought refers to the act of creating, arranging,
and expressing thought while speaking. As a speaker converses he
creates ideas, chooses and arranges words in thought units and
sentences for their conveyance, and utters them, all as part of one
The speaker who is superior in formulation of thought states
his thoughts coherently in a form that is adequate and essentially
correct. He knows exactly what he is going to say and says it with
economy of words and good taste. His thought is continuous,
uninterrupted, hesitations, and uncertainties resulting from not
knowing what to say or what words to choose in expressing the
thought. It must be coherent, that is, details must be combined into
a related whole. It must be clearly and specifically stated and free
form abstraction and ambiguity. It must be correctly stated and free
from error in grammatical structure. And finally, for thought to be
purposive in its formulation, the speaker should speak acceptably,
that is, his pronunciation of the words in sequence must be adequate.
In the formal speaking situation the speaker must exercise
greater skill in the principles mentioned above than in the informal
Teaching of English Grammar and Communications 51
speaking situation. He must show that he has a knowledge of and
experience in public speaking. Surely he must be sufficiently well
adjusted to the speaking situation to allow for normal functioning
of the bodily mechanism, thus facilitating the formulation and
expression of his thought.
Phonation refers to the production and variation by the speaker
of vocal tones-their pitch, intensity, duration, and quality. Pitch
refers to highness or lowness of tone. Intensity is loudness. Duration
is the length of time a sound lasts. Quality refers to the individuality
of tone.
A speaker is superior in phonation when his voice has a basic
quality that is clear, full, rich, resonant, mellow, pleasing, and
beautiful. It is more often medium or low in pitch. It is legato rather
than staccato. It has a reserve of intensity. It is flexible, recording
easily and without apparent effort the broadest and most subtle
changes in thought and mood.
Voice Inadequacies:
In evaluating the speaker's phonation, the skilled observer looks
for the following inadequacies.
Organic Inadequacies: Included may be :
1. Malformation of the nose, mouth, or throat cavities and the
2. Obstructions in the cavities, such as adenoids.
3. Chronic inflammations in these cavities and the larynx.
Pitch: Among possible inadequacies are:
1. Abnormally high or low pitch.
2. Lack of variation in pitch-vocal monotony.
3. Pitch patterns-rising or falling inflections regardless of
meaning; identical inflections from phrase to phrase
regardless of meaning.
Intensity: Inadequacies may include:
1. Abnormally loud or weak intensity.
52 Teaching of English Grammar and Communications
2. Lack of variation in intensity; lack of emphasis.
3. Intensity patterns-the same variation in intensity regardless
of meaning, for example, starting each sentence with more
intensity than is used at its ending.
Duration: Among the possible inadequacies are:
1. Tones held for too short a time, resulting in a staccato effect.
2. Tones held for too long a time, resulting in an unpleasant
3. Lack of variability of rate of speech with all tones given
about the same duration, resulting in vocal monotony and
lack of emphasis.
Quality: Type of inadequacies (which were more fully
discussed in Section 2) are as follows:
1. Muffled-too much resonance from the throat cavity.
2. Metallic-too much resonance from the mouth cavity.
3. Nasal-too much resonance from the nasal cavities.
4. Denasal-little or on resonance from the nasal passages.
5. Harsh-raucous, unpleasant.
6. Hoarse-husky-tense muscles in the mechanism, especially
the throat, and possible unhealthy conditions in the
7. Breathy-the speaker's breath is heard above his vocal tones.
8. Infantile-has the characteristics of a young child's voice.
Flexibility: Lack of vocal flexibility is evidenced in monotony
of pitch, intensity, duration, and quality in the speaker's expression
of his meanings. The speaker seems to lack the ability to control
these vocal attributes as he speaks. His vocal mechanism is not
necessarily in flexible. He simply does not make it function at its
best, if at all.
If you are found to be inadequate in any of these items, you will
want to attack your deficiency soon. Your instructor may help outline
a program of retraining for you, which will include many of the
following bases for the improvement of phonation.
Teaching of English Grammar and Commlmications
Bear your own voice-you must learn to hear your voice as others
hear it. You should know its good characteristics and hear them.
You should know its bad characteristics and hear them when they
occur. Your ear should tell you when your voice is functioning at its
normal, natural best. A strong hearing sensitivity to the tones of
your own voice is a first essential in voice improvement.
Your ear should hear in your own voice:
1. Its habitual pitch level.
2. Its normal natural pitch range from the highest pitched
sounds you make to your lowest.
3. Its pitch inflections upward and downward.
4. Its loud tones and its weak tones.
5. Its short, staccato, jerky tones, and its tones which drawl
6. The various kinds of bad voice quality, such as nasal,
muffled, and so on.
Relaxed Mechanism: Your entire speaking mechanism should
be relaxed, so to speak, while you are speaking. It should be free
from abnormal muscle tenseness or tightness. A relaxed mechanism
is the result of :
1. Good health, both physical and mental.
2. A proper understanding of what is expected of you when
you speak, as we noted in considering adjustment to the
speaking situation.
3. Confidence, through familiarity with your general subject
and through preparation of the speech to be given.
4. Absence of stage fright and uncertainty, through experience
in meeting speaking situations. The result of experience is
a comfortable poise and a natural control of the functioning
of the bodily mechanism during speech.
Optimum Pitch and Pitch Range: As you speak, the pitch of
your voice fluctuates over a range of different pitches from low to
high and high to low. Somewhere between the highest and lowest
pitch your voice is capable of producing, there is a pitch level that is
most natural for you. The pitch fluctuations of your voice seem to go
up and down from this basic pitch level. You use it normally when
you are relaxed, at ease, and not emotionally disturbed.
54 Teaching of English Grammar and Communications
It is clear that the basic pitch level of men's voices is markedly
lower then that of women. The average pitch level of male voices is
approximately 128 vibrations per second, the pitch level of female
voice is approximately 256 vibrations per second, or about Middle
C on the musical scale.
Some male voices are naturally lower or higher in pitch than
others. The same phenomenon is true of female voices. Since there
is a basic pitch level best for each individual, you must discover
and make a habit of using that basic pitch level which is natural
and best for you. In addition, you should discover your natural
pitch range from lowest to highest and make the use of it habitual.
Many speakers, particularly among women, tend to use higher
pitch level than is natural for them. They tend also to use more high
than low pitches in their pitch range, which usually is not natural
for them either. The rule therefore is : speak at your natural pitch
level and use your normal pitch range. Your basic pitch level should
be medium or low for you. You should avoid too much use of the
higher levels of your pitch range. Do not, however, try to lower your
pitch level by refusing to use occasional high pitch variations. To
force your pitch down and hold it here will result in a low mono
pitch, which is also unattractive.
Reserve of Intensity: You should have a strong voice. It should
have a reserve of intensity that is not easily exhausted. You should
have no trouble in making your audience hear in the average
auditorium. To have a strong voice, you must:
1. Have a strongly active breathing mechanism. The muscles
of respiration must act, during speech, with energy and
2. Cause a series of strongly vibrating breath waves to come
from your larynx. These produce the pitches you desire.
3. At the same time, adjust the cavities of your throat, mouth,
and nose.
4. Hold the adjustment of the cavities constant and continue
the strongly vibrating breath waves until the tone has been
built up by the resonance cavities to its full intensity.
The fundamental distinction between Common and Proper
nouns is that the former have meaning and the latter have not. A
proper noun merely indicates or points out an individual. It is a
mark or sign only, and implies no quality as belonging to the object
denoted. A common noun on the other hand implies that the
individual denoted by it possesses the various qualities that are
distinctive of, and essential to, the class of which it is the name.
Proper names are thus in a sense arbitrary, while common names
are not. A man who has a horse called Victor and a dog called Bruce
may change the names if he chooses, and call the horse Bruce and
the dog Victor, but he cannot so change the common names horse
and dog, for these names have a meaning. Most proper names have
a meaning in their origin or derivation, but in their use they have
Proper nouns are used as Common when they denote a class or
one of the individuals of a class; as, the caesars, the Howards, the
Solomon of his age.
A Common noun becomes Proper when it points out a particular
person or thing. It is then preceded by an adjective, generally the
definite articles the; as, the Earth.
A Collective Noun denotes a number of persons or things taken
as one; as army, flock, crowd.
Collective comes from a word meaning gathered together.
S6 Use Noun, Gender and Adjective
Collective nouns are also Common. There are many armies,
flocks, crowds.
When a Collective noun is so used as that the individuals
denoted are thought of separately and not as one body, it is called a
Noun of Multitude; as, The Committee were divided in opinion.
Material Nouns denote the names of substances; as gold, iron,
stone, wood.
Material comes from a word meaning matter; that of which
anything is made.
A word may be a Material or a Common noun, according to the
use; as, Rice is eaten; Rice is a plant. In the first sentence "rice" is
Material noun; in the second, a common noun.
An Abstract Noun is the name of a state, quality or action; as
servitude, whiteness, truth, reading, laughter.
An abstract noun denotes something that has no separate
existence. Redness, truth, virtue, exist only in persons or things
that are red, true, or virtuous. But we can separate them in thought,
and think or speak of them as though they existed independently.
The word abstract comes from'a Latin word meaning drawn
Abstract Nouns may denote -(a) A quality; as, honesty,
hardness; (b) A state; as, health, sleep; (c) A feeling or an action; as,
pain, running; (d) Names of arts and sciences; as, painting,
Abstract Nouns are used as common when they denote the
person or thing to which the action, state or quality belongs, "Beauty
is admired," "His sight is keen" (abstract); "She is a beauty," "It
was a glorious sight" (common).
Point out the Nouns in the following sentences, and name the
Class to which each belongs :-
China is a country in Asia. The Earth is warmed by the rays of
the sun. James told the truth. Gold is a precious metal. The police
dispersed the crowd. London is the largest city in the world. The
teas in the market to-day are inferior. Sunday is the first day of the
week. Health is wealth. The people were divided in their opinions.
The fleet sailed yesterday. The teacher is a man of learning. The
judge dismissed the jury. The officer joined his regiment.
Use Noun, Gender and Adjective 57
Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any
people. The power of speech separates man from the brute creation,
and by enabling him to communicate his thought with speed and
accuracy, helps him to maintain his supremacy. We speak of the
dominion of mind over matter, but without speech mind would be
an eagle without wings a lamb without feet. Pride goeth before
destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Things without life are sometimes spoken of as if they were
persons; as, "0 gentle Sleep!" They are then said to be personified.
Such nouns are either masculine or f e m ~ i n e .
Things remarkable for strength, courage, greatness & c., are
regarded as males; as, the Sun, Death, War, Time, Summer, Winter,
Things giving the idea of beauty, fertility, gentleness, weakness,
grace, & c., are regarded as females; the Moon, the Earth, Hope,
Virtue, Charity, Peace, Liberty, Modesty, etc. A sailor calls his ship
In Collins' "Ode on The Passions," such passions as Anger,
Despair, revenge are masculine; while Melancholy, Cheerfulness,
Hope, &c., are feminine.
rix is used in a few nouns taken directly from the Latin. En was
in old English feminine ending. Bridegroom, fern. bride, and
widower, widow, are instances where the masculine is formed from
the feminine. Vixen as the fern. of fox is almost obsolete. Vixen now
is a bad-tempered women.
ITI. By placing a word before or after.
(1) By placing a word before.
cow-calf He-goat she-goat
nanny-goat Jack-ass she-ass
doe-rabbit Man-servant maid-servant
Cock-sparrow hen-sparrow
(2) By placing a word after.
foste-mother Pea-cock
gentle-woman Step-father
58 Use Noun Gender and Adjective
Grand-father grand-mother Step-son step-daughter
land-lord land-lady Washer-man washer-woman
Milk-man milk-maid Servant-man servant-maid
Words of Common Gender : The following are examples of
nouns of common gender, but there are many others :- cousin,
parent, friend, bird, fowl, child, baby, infant, servant, monarch, pupil,
orphan, foal, spouse, &c.
What is the Gender of the following nouns? In the case of
masculines and feminines give the form for the opposite gender:-
duck husband sultan bitch
shepherd witness testatrix mare
beauty parent margravine boar
heart prince sloven dame
flock count nun tutor
widower marquis ship owner
companion heroine sovereign child
lady stag friar landlord
uncle abbess doctor doe
virtue hart cook drake
When a noun denotes only one thing, it is in the Singular
Number. When it denotes more than one, it is in the Plural Number.
Singular means one; Plural, more. The difference in the numbers
is usually shown by a change in the form of the word.
The Plural is generally formed by adding s to the Singular; as,
pen, pens; boy, boys.
Nouns ending in s, sh, ch soft, x or z, form the plural by adding
es; as, loss, losses; bush, bushes; watch, watches; box, boxes; topaz,
It will be noticed that all these words end in a sibilant or s
sound. The vowel e is added to such words, because they could not
otherwise be properly pronounced.
Use Noun, Gender and Adjective 59
When ch has the sound of k, s only is added; as monarch,
Most nouns in 0 add es to the singular; as, buffalo, buffaloes;
echoes, hero, heroes; mango, mangoes; negro, negroes; potato,
A few nouns in less common use ending in 0, with all words
ending in eo, io, 00, and yo, add s only, as, canto, cantos; grotto,
grottos; quarto, quartos; halo, halos; memento, memeatos; proviso,
progisos; piano, pianos; solo, solos; cameo, cameos; folio, folios;
nancio, nuncios; bamboo, bamboos; embryo, embryos.
Nouns ending in y preceded by a consonant change y into ies.
But if the y is preceded by a vowel s alone is added; as, city, cities;
day, days; journey, journeys.
Noun ending in quy take ies; as, obsequy, obsequies.
Proper names in y do not usually change the y; as, Henry,
Henrys; Mary, Marys. But Henries and Maries are also used.
Most nouns ending in for fe, change for fe into ves in the plural;
as, calf, calves; half, halves; life, lives; wolf, wolves; but nouns in ff
take s only; as, cuff, cuffs.
The following are exceptions to this rule : chief, chiefs; cliff,
cliffs; dwarf, dwarfs; fife, fifes; grief, griefs; gulf, gulfs; hoof, hoofs;
proof, proofs; roof, roofs; serf, serfs; turf, turfs; reef, reefs; safe, safes;
strife, strifes; woof, woofs; waif, waifs; relief, reliefs.
Scraf and wharf have both forms, scarfs and scarves, wharfs
and wharves, the letter being more usual. Staff, in the sense of a
stick or pole, has staves, in all other senses, staffs.
The following nouns form their plural by a vowel change:
man, men; woman, women; foot, feet; goose, geese; tooth, teeth; louse,
lice; mouse, mice.
Coachman has coachmen; Dutchman, Dutchmen; Englishman,
Englishmen; but German has Germans; Norman, Normans;
Brahman has Brahmans, and Mussalman, Mussalmans; but in these
cases the terminations are not the English word man.
A few nouns form their plural in en; as, ox, oxen; child, children;
borther, brethren
The plural of cow was formerly kine. Cows is now generally
60 Use Noun, Gender and Adjective
Some nouns are the same in both numbers; as, deer, sheep,
swine, ~ a l m o n , cannon, species.
The number is shown by other words in the sentence.
In reckoning, the nouns, yoke, head, pair, brace, dozen, score,
hundred, hundredweight and pice, are used in the plural without
s; as, five head of cattle, two dozen, twenty hundredweight make a
ton, the price is three pice, & c.
Similarly in such compounds as, a ten-rupee note, four-anna
piece, a seven-pound weight, a two-foot rule, an eight-day clock, a
two-year old horse, a four-ton order, &c., the singular form is used
in a plural sense, though in other uses the words form plurals in the
ordinary way. In expressions like 10,000 foot, 1,000 horse, the noun
soldiers is understood.
Proper, material, and abstract nouns have no plurals except
when they are used as common nouns.
Proper nouns take a plural when they apply to several persons;
as, the Ceasars. Material nouns have plurals when different sorts
are meant; as, wines, oils. Abstract nouns have plurals when they
denote different kinds of the quality named; as, He has many virtues.
In such cases the nouns are used as common.
Furniture, information, and some other words are not used in
the plural. This applies to abuse, when used in the sense of bad
language. In the sense of a wrong use of anything it has abuses.
Some nouns have no signular.
These are generally the names of things of more parts than one;
as, tongs, shears, bellows, pincers, scissors, trousers. The follOWing
are other examples ;- annals, Commons (House of), dregs, measles,
oats, nuptials, proceeds (of a sale), vitals, shambles, obsequies,
thanks, tidings, victuals, auspices, environs.
Some nouns, plural in form, are generally treated as singular.
Such are the names of certain sciences derived from the Greek;
as, ethics, hydrostatics, mathematics, mechanics, optics, physics,
politics, Amends and odds are sometimes used as singular; means
is generally so; news and gallows are always singular.
Use NOW1, Gender and Adjective 61
Some nouns, plural in form, are used in both numbes according
to the sense; as, series, species, pains; alnls and riches, properly
sigular, are now generally plural.
The plural of compound nouns is generally formed by inflection
of the principal noun; as, maid-servants, sons-in-law, major
But the sign of the plural is at the end of words in -ful, or when
the meaning is incomplete till the whole word is known; as,
spoonfuls, three-per-cents. Some compound nouns have both the
words inflected; as, men-servants, women-servants, knights-
We may say either the Miss Browns or the Misses Brown. In
addressing letters the second form is used.
The plural of letters and arithmetcial figures is formed by adding
an opostrophe.
The present tendency is to reject foreign plurals; cherubs,
formulas, bandits, &c., are often used.
Some foreign nouns are used only in the plural; as aborigines,
antip'odes, archives,literati, minutice.
Give the meanings of the following words:
Iron and irons; force and forces; advice and advices; return and
returns; dies and dice; indexes and indices; shot and shots; genius
and genii; cloth and clothes; brothers and brethen; pennies and
Correct the following sentences where necessary:
Your writing is bad; you must take more pain with it. My brother
has too heads of cattle. Ten yokes of oxes were ploughing. I have
lost a ten-rupees note. My scissors is not strong enough. Mechanics
are his favourite study. He has three son-in-laws. Step-fathers are
not always kind. It is well for us when the crisis of life find us
prepared. Large households have generally both man and woman
servants. A five-shillings piece is called a crown. The race was for
four-years-olds only.
Case is that form of the noun which shows its relation to some
other word in the sentence.
62 Use Noun, Gender and Adjective
English nouns have three principal Cases: the Nominative,
Possessive, and Objective.
The Nominative names the agent, or one who does something
: as, Ali brought a slate.
Nominative comes from a Latin word which means naming.
The Possessive denotes the possessor or owner; as, Rama's
The Objective denotes the object, or that to which something is
done; as, John caught a bird.
The Nominative and Objective are alike in form. They are
distinguished by their position as regards the verb, or by the sense.
The nominative generally comes before the verb, and the objective
after it; as, John struck James. To find the nominative, ask a questin
by putting who or wha t before the verb, and the answer will be the
nominative. When a noun in the objective is governed by a verb, it
answers to the question formed 1:>y putting whom or what before the
verb and its subject. Thus, Who struck James? John (nominative).
Whom did John strike? James (objective).
The possessive is formed by adding an apostrophe (') and s to
the nominative; as, Joseph's.
Apostrophe means turned away. It is so named because it shows
that something has been left out. In Old English the possessive
ended in es. The e was left out, and an apostrophe was put in its
The Possessive is now the only case in which English nouns
change their form.
Possession is often expressed by of; as, The book ofRama.
When the plural ends in s, the possessive is formed by adding
only an apostrophe; as, books'. When the plural does not end in s,
the possessive is formed as in the singular; as, men's.
To avoid too many hissing sounds, the apostrophe only is added
when the plural ends in s. For the same reason, the letter s is omitted
in the singular whenever the last syllable both begins and ends in s,
and also before the word "sake;" as, "Moses'rod;" "for conscience'
Use Noun, Gender and Adjective
The possessive is generally used only with living beings or
personified objects.
We may say lithe fox's tail," but not "the house's roof." In the
latter case the preposition of is used instead of the inflection; as,
"the roof of the house." Ofis also used with compound nouns in
the plural; as, "the estates of my brothers-in-law."
Nouns denoting time or space, or dignified objects, may take
the apostrophe and s; as, "a day's journey," "a stone's throw," "the
court's decree. II
Collective nouns, even when denoting living beings, cannot
take the possessive case. We cannot say "the multitude's uproar."
Write down the Possessive Case, Singular and Plural, of:
Boy, lady, monkey, wife, thief, negro, chief, man, hero, mouse,
wolf, goose, month, man-servant, woman, child,
Change the following Possessives into Objectives with of:
A man's arm. This boy's sum is not correct. Ladies' shoes.
Couper's Letters. The woman's cries. The flies' stings. The
gentleman's horse is dead. Milton's Poetical Works. Four oxen's
heads. The soldiers' camp. Charles' affairs. Children's toys. Insects'
wings. A nation's tears. Some men's promises.
Put the following into the proper Possessive form, if they are
not already in it :
The servants of the king. The flowers of autumn. The songs of
the girls. The dresses of the boys. The quarrels of the soldiers. The
mane of the horse. The colour of the ox. The commanders of the
armies. The work of six men. The lesson of Charles is difficult. The
dens of the tigers. John took the slate of William. The wool of the
When a name consists of several words, the sign of the
possessive is added only to the last; as, William the Conqueror's
When there are two or more separate nouns in the possessive
case, the sign is added to the last word when joint possession is
meant; as, "John and James' horse" (one horse).
But when l?ossession is meant, the sign is added to
each noun; as "John's and James' horses" (two horses).
64 Use Noun, Gender and Adjective
Both of and's are used when it is intended to indicate that the
thing mentioned is only one of a number of similar things possessed;
as, "This is a book of Robert's," that is, Robert has many books, and
this is one of them.
A noun is said to be declined when the various forms which it
assumes to show case and number are written down in order. The
changes in its form are made chiefly by endings, and are called its
The word case comes from a Latin word meaning a falling;
inflexion from one meaning to bend in; and decline and declension
from one maning to slope down. The Nominative Case was
represented by a perpendicular line, and the other cases by slanting
Some English Grammarians, following the example of Latin
and other languages in which case endings are much more
numerous, give the Vocative and Dative as separate cases. The
Vocative is used in calling; as, "Brother, come." In English it is
more commonly called the Nominative of Address. The Dative
denotes the person to whom a thing is given, or for whom a thing is
done; as, He gave him a mango; Make me a kite. The Dative is
generally called the Indirect object; the objective, Direct object.
The Vocative, Dative, and Objective are alike in form.
Parsing means telling the parts of speech to which words
belong, and their relation to other words in the sentence.
In parsing nouns, give (1) the kind (common, proper, &c.); (2)
the Gender; (3) the Number; (4) the Case; and (5) the Relation to
other words. The following is an example:-
John, Noun, Proper, masculine, singular, nominative, subject of
Book, Noun, common, neuter, singular, objective, object of
Thou is seldom used except in poetry and prayer. Applied to a
person, it generally expresses contempt. You is used in the singular
as a mark of respect. It should have a plural verb; as, You are a wise
man. Ye is an old form, now used chiefly in poetry.
Use Noun, Gender and Adjective 65
In Old English ye was used as a nominative, and you as a
dative or accusative. In the English Bible, this distinction is carefully
It is often applied to living beings whose sex is not marked; as,
infant, dog, ant.
It may be used not only in place of the name of an object, but
instead of a clause of a sentence; as, To learn his lessons well is the
scholar's duty; or It is the scholar's duty to learn his lessons well.
In such expressions as, It rains, It freezes, It does not stand for
either a noun or a clause of a sentence, but is used to point out the
effect of some cause not mentioned.
The possessive cases of most of the personal pronouns have
two forms.
My, thy, her, our your, their are used when placed before
their nouns; as, My book, her slate.
Mine, thine, hers, ours, yours, theirs are used-
(1) When the noun is understood; as, Here is my book, where
is yours?
(2) When a verb comes between noun and pronoun; as, Yours
is the gain, mine the loss.
(3) When the pronoun is preceded by of; as, That house of
yours is convenient.
Hers, ours, yours, theirs, are double possessives, both the r
and the s being possessive terminations. Of ours, &c., is a kind of
three fold possessive.
The apostrophe should not be used with hers, its, ours, yours,
theirs. Write yours, not your's.
The word own is sometimes added to the possessive case to
render it more emphatic or forcible; as, It is your own fault.
The word self is added to the possessive case of the first and
second personal pronouns and the objective case of the third to
form Reflexive Pronouns. The plural pronouns take the plural
form selves. Thus we have - myself, ourselves; thyself, yourself,
yourselves; himself, herself, itself, themselves.
66 Use Noun, Gender and Adjective
Reflexive comes from a word meaning to bend back. Reflexive
pronouns denote the coming back of an action upon the doer. They
are used when a person does something to or for himself; as, "I hurt
Reflexive pronouns are also used for emphasis; as, "He himself
did it." They have only the nominative and objective cases, which
are alike form.
When own is added to emphasize these reflexive forms it comes
before self, and in the third person the possessive form of the
personal pronoun is used instead of the objective; as, my own self;
your own selves; his own self; their own selves.
My brother's horse is lame; so he has sent it out to graze. As the
boys could not say their lessons, they must repeat them to-morrow.
John and I are going out; but we shall return soon. Take this food to
the boys, and tell them that I brought it for them. Mary has been very
good; so she will be allowed to visit her aunt. James hurt himself
when he was playing. "Can you not understand that I must keep
my word," he cried to the crowd, but they answered him with hisses ..
"My name is John," said his companion, "but you need not tell me
yours unless you like."
Is this your book? That book is yours. My dog is gentle; it will
not bite you. I myself saw him. Is the field ours? Wash yourselves
before you leave. I am yours obediently. Let them come themselves if
they wish for their money. This land is not theirs. Is it your own
A Demonstrative Pronoun is so called because it points back
to some noun going before it, and instead of which it is used. This
noun is its antecedent.
The principals demonstrative pronouns are he, she it, they, this,
that, these, those, one, ones, none, and such.
He, she, and it are generally called personal Pronons, because
they point out the third person as distinct from the first and second;
but they are properly demonstrative pronouns.
It may refer eighre to a noun or clause going before, or to a
phrase or clause coming after; as, His chance was gone, and he
know it; It is very likely that he will be here.
Use Notm, Gender and Adjective 67
This something near at hand or last mentioned; that to
something at a distance or not last mentioned.
Both this and that may have a backward reference, but when
they are used together this refers to the nearer and that to the more
distant antecedent; as, "He tried both to capture the fort and to join
the main force; this he accomplished, but that was beyond his
This and that, with their plurals these and those, are adjectives
when they are followed by a noun or require some noun to be
understood after them; as I take this place; you take that-place
understood. They are pronouns when they are used instead of
nouns previously mentioned, and cannot have nouns after them;
as, liTo be or not to be-thatis the question."
One is the adjective one used as a pronoun. None is a shortened
form of not one. It is used when the noun to which it refers is omitted.
One is used in the plural as well as the singular, "If you want
a knife I have some good ones." None does not admit of a plural
form, and yet it is quite commonly and correctly used with plural
verbs. II As to snakes in Iceland, there are none."
Such is used as a pronoun when it stands for a noun; as, If you
are a friend, show yourself such. It may be used for either number.
Indefinite Demonstrative Pronouns. Some demonstratives
may be used in an indefinite sense, i.e., without reference to any
express antecedent. Such are, they, it, one, another, &c; as, Is it
John? No, itis James. It is very late. They say the King is coming.
One may do what one likes with one's own. Do not laugh at
another's pain.
Parse the following sentences, distinguishing Adjectives from
None but the brave deserve the fair. One can hardly believe his
statement. This is yours; that is mine. There is none that doeth good;
no, not one. That is not to be touched. He took the one; I took the
other. Some men are better than others. Such as go down to the sea.
This box is larger than that. Bear ye one anothr's burdens. It was
such a night as this. Let another praise thee, and not thine own
mouth. This book belongs to that boy. Both were young, but one was
beautiful. This is a find house.
68 Use Noun, Gender and Adjective
Make three sentence showing the use of the pronouns one.
Make sentences containing the pronouns none, other another,
A Relative Pronoun is so called because it relates, or ferers, to
an Antecedent. It is called a conjunctive pronoun because it also
joins sentences or parts of sentences together like a conjunction; as,
The student who passed is here.
Relative comes from a word meaning carried back. A relative
pronoun carries back our thoughts to its antecedent noun in the
sentence. Demonstrative pronouns also have antecedents, but they
have no conjunctiv force.
Relative pronouns have the singular and plural alike.
Who is either masculine or feminine; that is masculine feminine
or neuter; which is now neuter; what, as a relative pronoun, is
always neuter.
That and what are not varied by case. Who and which are thus
Who is used of persons; as, The man who came. Which is used
of the lower animals and things without life; as, The dog which
barks; the book which was lost.
That is applied both to persons and things.
That is now used instead of who or whidl :
(a) After the superlative degree of adjectives; as, This is the
best peicture that I ever say.
(b) After two antecedents, one requiring who and the other
which; as The boy and the dog that you saw.
(c) As the restrictive, limiting or defming relative; as, The book
that I bought is lost.
Who or which connects two co-ordinate! or independent
sentences; as, I met a man who told me; Take care of the book, which
will be of greate use to you.
They have thus a continuative force. Who and which are also
sometimes used in a way which implies cause or purpose. "An
officer was sent who should examine the matter;" (= that he might
examine). "The entire wall, which was undermined, fell with a
crash," (= because it was undermined.)
Use Noun, Gender and Adjective
What is equal to that which. It is used only for things. It is used
when the antecedent is omitted; as, This is what he wanted (= the
thing that).
Who, which, and what are combined with so and ever to form
Compound Relatives; as, whose, whoever, whosoever,
whatsoever and whichsoever.
As is used as a relative after such, as, and same. It is applied to
both persons and things; as, Should such a man as I flee? As many
as I saw. His book is the same as mine.
After such and as, as must be used. After same, that may often
be used. "This is the same mistake that you made yesterday."
But is a relative when it means that not. It is used after no, not,
none, or other negative. It is sometimes called the Negative Relative;
as, There are no woman but wept. There is no language so difficult
butmay be mastered.
When, where, whence, with their compoW1ds, are sometimes
used as relative pronoW1s; as, "That was when I was YOW1g;" "This
is where I found it;" "He returned to the place whence he came."
When so used they are called Adverbial Relatives.
The Interrogative Pronouns are who, which, what and
whether. They are used in asking questions.
Interrogati ve means asking questions.
Who is applied to persons, and is indefinite. "Who did it?"
supposes complete ignorance of the person.
Which applies to persons as well as things. It refers to one out
of a definite number; as, "Which will you have?"
What is applied to things, and is indefinite; as, "What did you
Whether is applied to either persons or things, and means
which of the two, as, "Whether is easier"
The Interrogative who may be used in the possessive case, and
also in the objective after of; as, "Whose voice do I hear?" (the answer
must be in the possessive-John's) "Of whom is this true?"
(Answer-of John).
What is also used as an exclamatory pronoW1; as, "What a
silly boy!" "What abW1dance!"
70 Use Noun, Gender and Adjective
When what refers to persons, it is followed by a noun; as, What
man said so?
Who is he? asks a person's name, etc.
Which is he? asks that the person meant may be pointed out.
What is he? asks a person's employment, etc.
Whoever, whichever, and whatever, are Compound
Ever added to the interrogatives not only gives the idea of
universality, as in the case of the relatives, but also often serves to
express surprise, etc., making the words almost exclamatory
pronouns. Thus, Whoever told you so? = Who told you so? I am
amazed that anyone should have done so; Whatever are you doing?
= What are you doing? You seem to me to be doing some
extraordinary thing.
The Distributive Numeral Adjectives, each, every, eithr,
neither, are sometimes used as pronouns.
Distributive, as already explained, denotes that things are taken
one at a time. The are adjectives when they qualify nouns, and
pronouns when used instead of nouns.
Reciprocal Pronouns denote acting in return. They are each
other and one another.
Reciprocal means backward and forward.
Each other properly refem to two persons or things; as, Rama
and Govind loved each other.
One another refers to more than two person or things; as, The
boys pelted one another.
In parsing Pronouns give (1) the kind; (2) person; (3)
number; (4) gender; (5) case; (6) the relation to other words of the
"We saw the person whom you named."
We-First personal pronoun, plural, common gender,
nominative, subject to the verb saw.
Use Noun, Gender and Adjective 71
Types of of Adjective
Adjectives may be divided into four principal classes: Adjectives
of Quality, Adjectives of Quantity, Numeral Adjectives, and
Demonstrative Adjectives.
I. Adjectives of Quality show the quality or state of the
thing named; as, a fa t man.
Quality comes from a Latin word meaning of what kind ? Most
adjectives belong to this class. They may be divided into Common
and Proper. Proper adjective are those formed from proper nouns;
as Indian, English.
II. Adjectives of Quantity show how much of a thing is
meant; as, much, little, some.
Quantity comes from a Latin word meaning how much.
III. Numeral Adjectives show how many are meant or in
what order; as, four, first.
IV. Demonstrative Adjectives point out the thing spoken
of; as, this, the.
The above four classes respectively answer the questions: (1)
Of what sort? (2) How much? (3) How many? (4) Which?
Adjectives of two syllables ending in e, ow, or y, may also be
compared like adjectives of one syllable; as, able, abler, ablest;
narrow, narrower, narrowest; happy, happier, happiest.
The following distinctions in meaning should be carefully noted:
(1) Farther is used for the more distant of two objects. Further
means more in advance or additional. These meanings will
not be confounded if the positives are remembered.
(2) Laterrefers to time, and is opposed to earlier; latter denotes
order, and is opposed to former; as, You may stay later to-
day; The former and the latter rains.
(3) Manyreferst to number; much to quantity.
(4) Older and oldest are used of both persons and things; elder
and eldest of persons only, and chiefly with reference to
members of the same family.
72 Use Noun, Gender and Adjective
Some adjectives have no positive; as, under, undermost; some
have no comparative; as, southern, southernmost.
The comparative degree is generally followed by than; as, He is
wiser than his brogther. But some adjectives ending in -ior (superior,
inferior, anterior, posterior, senior, junior, prior) are followed by to;
as, This is superior to that.
Other adjectives in -ior and some comparatives, as, former,latter,
etc. are used simply as adjectives in the positive degree; as, the
interior parts, the la iter rain. They do not take than or to after them.
The syllable ish is sometimes added to the positive, to lessen its
signification; as black, blackish. When the positive ends in e, the e
is omitted before ish; as, white, whitish.
The ad verb very is often prefixed to the positive to increase its
signification by expressing a degree of quality somewhat less than
the greatest, or superlative, degree; as, wise, very wise.
Too is sometimes wrongly used for very; as, "Yesterday was too
hot," instead of, "Yesterday was very hot."
Double comparatives or superlatives are improper; thus, more
stronger ought to be only stronger.
It should be noted that the comparative and superlative of
adjectives express the difference in the degree in which a particular
quali ty is possessed by two or more objects. When we compare the
degree in which two different qualities are possessed by one object
the ordinary comparative form cannot be used.
John is cleverer t11at James, is correct; John is cleverer than
industrious, is wrong. We must say, John is more clever than
industrious, or better, John is clever rather than industrious, or,
John is not so industrious as [he is] clever.
Point out the Adjectives and the name the Degree of
Comparison in the following sentences
London is the largest and wealthiest city in the world. The old
man has a sharp knife. The inner garden contains some beautiful
plants. I met a blind boy with a white dog. The first prize was won
by a little girl. Lead is hevier than silver. He died in the worst inn's
worst room. The poor man has a wooden leg. The large black dog
Use Noun, Gender and Adjective
has a curly tail. This is a most interesting book. The brave sailor
crosses the wild stormy seas. Which of the two is the larger? Which
of the three is the finest? This rose is white.
Correct any errors you may find in the following sentences
He expects to see happyer days. You have got the lesser share.
This book is more cheap than that. Govind is the sharper of the four
boys. Autumn is the interestingest season of the year; Tuesday was
more cold than Monday. This summer is hotter than the latest. Robert
is more taller than William. Solomon was the wisest man;
Methuselah was the eldest. Jane is livelyer than Mary. This is the
beautifulest flower I ever saw. My hat is littler than yours, but his is
the littlest of the three. Ali is the neglegeutest boy in the class. This
is the largest of the two, but that is the most bautiful. It is best to be
silent than to speak in anger. The later of the two reasons that you
gave is the most convincing. The weather has lately been warmer
than wet. It has been warmish tor a long while but yesterday was
the most warmish day we have had.
Adjectives of Quantity and Number
Adjectives of Quantity restrict the application of the noun in
quantity or degree. They are much, little, no or none, some, any,
great, small, all, half, etc.
Adjectives of Quantity are followed by a noun in the singular
which must be either abstract or material; as, I have much work, He
has little chance, Rama has great ability cut no perseverance. Half a
loaf is better than no bread.
None is used for no when the noun is understood; as, I have no
money and can borrow none [= no money].
Little means hardly any; as, "I have little money." A little means
some, as, "I have a little money."
Numerral Adjectives refer to number; as, four, many. They are
divided into three classes: Definite, Indefinite and Distributive.
Definite Numeral Adjectives denote exact numbers.
They are divided into three kinds:
(1) Cardinal numerals denote how many; as, ten, four.
(2) Ordinal numerals denote order in series; as, third, tenth.
74 Use Noun, Gender and Adjective
Ordinal numbers may also be classed as Demonstrative
(3) Multiplicatives show how often a thing is repeated.
Multiplicative means having the power to increase. Words of
this class are formed by adding -fold, -ble, or -pIe; as threefold,
double, triple.
Indefinite Numeral Adjectives do not dentoe any exact
number; as, all, any, certain, few many, much, more, most, no, none,
several, some etc.
All, any, much no, none, some, etc., denote either number or
bulk, according to the sense.
Anymeans (1) one out of many; as, "Anybodymay enter;" (2)
some; as, "did you see any soldiers?"
Few means a small number, and is opposed to many; as, "1 have
read few books." A few means some, and is opposed to none; as, "1
read a few books." The few means all though a small number; as, "1
have read the few books I possess." Not a few is emphatic for many.
Several dentoes a small number.
Many, although plural in meaning, may be joined with a
singular noun proceded by a; as, many a man. Each is supposed to
be taken singly.
A definite numeral adjective is made indefinite by prefixing
some, as, "some thirty years had elapsed," -i.e., about that time,
more or less.
Distributive Numeral Adjectives denote that things c{re taken
one at a time. They are each, every, either, neither, several, other.
Each, every either, neither are joined to singular nouns.
Each means two or more things taken one by one.
Either generally means one of two: but it also sometimes means
each of two; as on either side = on bothe sides. Neither means not
Every means all of a number of things, more than two, taken
Use Noun, Gender and Adjective
Several means different, and each his own; as, They went to
their several homes.
Other means different f r o ~ what has been mentioned. It is
sometimes added to each, giving it'<\ reciprocail force; as, Be kind to
each other. Another means one more; as, Bring another.
Each other is the reciprocal f6rm for two individuals; as, "A
man and wife should love each other." One another is the proper
reciprocal form for more than two, or when the number is unknown;
as, "The three sisters loved one another." "Children! Love one
CO'rrect the following sentences:
I have great needs of assistance. I can give you no money for I
have a little. He has small uses for such a book. All man are mortal.
Every men are mortal. Buy a few bread. Many ill deed is done
without forethought. Either houses will suit us. There are less horses
in that field than usual. The wall is 17 foot high. Let the carpenter
cut a six inches plank into two feet lengths. We ordered three dozens
knives. What do you think of these news? Everyone of the two boys
got a prize. Do not bring either of the three. None of my two sisters
is at home. The four boys were helping each other.
Parse the words in italics in the following:
I have no friends and no hope. He got some books from me
some time ago, and I have asked him twice to return them. Little
boys sometimes take great pains with their lessons. There is little
chance of any man living at the Pole because of the great cold.
Neither of these houses is for sale. Bear ye one another's burdens.
Demonstrative Adjectives
Demonstrative Adjectives point out the person or thing
intended to be indicated, and limit the application of the noun to it.
The principal demonstratives are a or an, the, this, that, yon, yonder,
A, or an, and the are called Articles, and are often classed as a
separate part of speech.
A, or an, is called the Indecinite Article, because it does not
point out a particular person or thing; as, a book; that is, any book.
76 Use Noun, Gender and Adjective
The is called the Definite Article, because it points out some
one particular person or thing; as, the king; that is, the king of our
own country; or the king that we are speaking about.
Adjectives are parsed by mentioning their class, their inflexions,
and their relation to other words. Thus: He is a wiser man than his
A, demonstrative adjective, called the indefinite article,
belonging to the noun man.
lViser, adjective of quality, comparative of wise, qualifying man.
Parse fully the adjectives and nouns in the following
The ripest fruit first falls. Of two evils choose the less. Yonder
tree is very high. This flower is the loveliest of all. That green dress
is for my younger sister. These mangoes are not yet ripe. The young
boy was braver than his elder brother. He brought me several books,
some old, some new. The old father was happier than his foolish
son. Both boys claimed the prize, but it was not given to either. We
have money enough for such a short journey. He was the most
famous poet of ancient times. A Russian traveller crossed the highest
mountain of the range. Open rebuke is bette than secret love. That
general was the greatest soldier of his age. Storm and rain have
made havoc of the crops. It is an ill wind that blows nobody any
good. He that saith to the wicked thou art righteous, him shall the
people abhor. Swimming is a healthy exercise. I was not the only
person who saw everthing that went on.
Write sentences showing the difference in meaning between
each and either; all and every; this and that; older, oldest, and elder,
The proper root may be different from the simplest form of the
word now in use. Tal, number, is the root of tale, tell, talk. The stem
is the root with some change. Love (=: lov + e) is the stem of lov. It
is to the stem that all inflections are added. Thus to lov we add d for
the past tense.
From the simple or primitive words, called roots, we form other
words, chiefly in two ways:
1. By adding to the word another word; as, ink-
stand, door-way, hand writing, etc. Words so formed are called
Compound Words.
2. By changes in a word.
These may be of two kinds:
(1) A chagne may be made in the root; as, strike, stroke; bind,
bond; food, feed.
(2) By adding some letter or letters either at the beginning or
end of a word; as, like, unlike; ever, never; man, manly; good,
The letters placed before are called Prefixes; those placed after
are called Suffixes, or Affixes.
Words formed from other words are called Derivatives.
78 Word Building and Verb Formulation
Derivatives means drawn from; like a channel from a river.
Words formed by changes in the root are called Primary
derivatives; those formed by means of prefixes or suffixes are called
Secondary derivatives.
Formation of Compound Words
Compound Nouns may consist of :-
(1) Two Nouns placed side by side:
Railway, teaspoon, cowherd, housetop, rosebud, bloodhound,
lapdog, eyelid.
Many compound nouns are formed in this way. Usually the
first word qualifies the second. When the connection between the
two is very close, they are written as one word. When such is not the
case, they are separated by the mark-, called a hyphen; as, dog-cart,
foot-race, finger-post.
(2) A Noun followed by a Verbal Noun in -er (denoting agent)
or -ing (denoting process).
Shoemaker, bricklayer, lamplighter, penwiper, enginedriver,
sooth-sayer, taxgatherer, etc. Shoemaking, bricklying, lamplighting,
penwiping, engine driving, soothsaying, taxgathering, etc.
(3) A Noun preceded by an Adjective:
Nobleman, blackbird, freeman, redbreast, greenhouse,
quicksilver, highland, sixpence, goodwill, roundhead, stronghold,
sweetheart, madman, quicksand, etc.
(4) A Noun preceded by a Verb: .
Pickpocket, telltale, turncoat, grindstone, stopgap, spendthrift,
catch-penny, breakfast, wagtail, cutthroat, skinflint, turnkey,
makeshift, breakwater, pastime, etc.
In these cases the verbal part is transitive, and usually governs
the noun.
A nount preceded by a gerund may be included under this
head: looking-glass, bathing-place, writing-desk, walking-stick,
(5) A Noun preceded by an Adverb or Preposition:
Word Building and Verb Formulation 79
Bypath, forethought, undergrowth, inside, outside, overcharge,
afternoon, onlooker.
(6) By the union of other parts of speech:
Outlay, runaway, drawback, income, hearsay, onset, go-
between, farewell, welfare.
Compound Adjectives may consist of-
(1) Noun and Adjective:
Sky-blue, blood-red, sea-green, snow-white, nut-brown, ice-
cold, blood-heat, purse-proud, breast-high, way-weary, blood-
(2) Adjective and Adjective:
Blue-black, red-hot, dead-alive, worldly-wise.
(3) Noun and Participle:
Heart-rending, spirit-stirring, time-serving, sea-faring, house-
keeping, moth-eaten, earth-born, tempest-tossed, way-laid.
(4) Verb and Adverb:
Underdone, outspoken, over-fed, ill pleased, well-bred,
Compound Verbs may consist of-
(1) Noun and Verb:
Backbite, browbeat, waylay, henpeck, hoodwink.
(2) Adjective and Verb:
Whitewash, fulfil, rough-hew.
(3) Adverb and Verb:
Foretell, outbid, overthrow, cross-question, outdo.
Compound Adverbs may consist of-
(1) Noun and Noun :
Lengthways, endways.
(2) Noun and Adjective:
Head-foremost, breast-high, meanwhile, always, sometimes,
80 Word Building and Verb Formulation
(3) Noun and Preposition:
Upstairs, indoors, above-board, outside.
(4) Adjective and Adverb:
Somewhere, everywhere, somehow.
(5) Adverb and Adverb:
Henceforward, Thereabout.
(6) Adverb and Preposition:
Hereafter, thereon, whereupon, forthwith, thereby.
Compound Prepositions are chiefly composed of a preposition
and a noun, or two prepositions: as, outside, inside, throughout,
within, without, into, upon.
Compound Conjunctions are almost always due to the union
of an adverb wth some other word, most commonly either another
adverb or a preposition; as, nevertheless, whereat, whereby, however,
moreover, otherwise and likewise.
Primary Derivatives
Primary Derivatives are formed by making some change in
the body of the root.
(1) Nouns have been formed from Verbs by changing the root
Drive, drove; bless, bliss; sing, song; stike, stroke.
(2) A change is sometimes made in the final consonant sound
Speak, speech; prove, proof; advise, advice; live, life; dig, ditch;
practise, practice.
(3) In some case both sounds, vowel and consonant, are
Choose, choice; lose, loss; live, life; clothe, cloth.
Adjectives are formed by changing the vowel or the final
consonant of the root :-
Word Building and Verb Formulation
Heat, hot; fill, full; pride, proud; milk, milch.
(1) Verbs are formed from Nouns by changing the vowel
Blood, bleed; knot, knit; gold, gild; food, feed; bond, bind.
(2) By a change in the final consonant sound :-
Price, prize; thief, thieve; half, halve; sooth, soothe.
(3) By a change in both sounds :-
Bath, bathe; breath, breathe; glass, glaze.
By the above changes some intransitive verbs receive a transiti\,l
or causal sense :-
Intrans. Trans. Intrans.
Fall Fell Rise raise
Drink drench Lie lay
Droop drop Sit set
Stoop stop cling clench
Secondary Derivatives
Secondary Derivatives are formed from primary words by
adding letters either at the beginning or end of words, called Prefixes
or Suffixes.
Prefixes and Suffixes, like the words themselves, are of three
classes-of English, Latin, or Greek origin.
English Prefixes
A has several meaning. The following are some of the principal :-
(1) As a corrupted form of on it is prefixed to nouns and adjectives;
as, abed, afoot, ashore, asleep.
(2) When prefixed to certain words it means off, up, from; as, awake,
arise, alight, afar.
(3) An intensive force; as, ahungered, aweary, athirst, abide.
After, following; as, afternoon, afterthought.
All, all; almighty, almost, alone.
82 Word Building and Verb Formulation
At, at; atone.
Be, corrupted from by, has several meanings :-
(1) It changes nouns and adjectives into transitive verbs; as,
befriend, becalm, beguile. In behead it has a privative force.
(2) It turns some intransitive verbs into transitive; as, bemoan,
bespeak, befall.
(3) It intensifies the force of transitive verbs; as, bedaub, besmear,
beseech, besprinkle.
(4) Prefixed to nouns, and adjectives, it forms adverbs, prepositions,
and conjunctions; as, beside, beyond, between, betwixt, because,
Em, or en, to make, to give; as, endear, enslave, empower.
For, through, thorough; as, forget, forgive. In fOlbid, it has a negaive
Fore, before; as, foresee, foresight, foremost.
Gain, against, as, gainsay.
In, in; as, income, inborn, into.
Mis(shortened from miss), wrong; as, mistake, mislead, mistrust.
N (shortened from no), not; as, none, neither, never.
Off, away; offshoot, offspring, offscouring.
On,on;as, onlooker, onset.
Out, beyond; as, out-bid, out-do, out-grow, out-live.
Over, above, too much; as, overflow, ovemand, overcharge.
To, the or this; as,
Un has three meanings :-
(1) not; as, unclean, unkind, untruth, unrest.
(2) back; as, untie, undo. In unloose it is only intensive. Nouns
to which it is prefixed are changed into verbs; as, unman, unhorse,
(3) on; as, unto, until.
Under, beneath, below; as undersell, underground.
Word Building and Verb Formulation
Up, upward; as, uplift.
With, back, against; as, withhold, withstand.
English Suffixes
Noun Suffixes
Denoting agent or doer.
- ar, beggar, liar.
- ard, coward, drunkard, sluggard, wizard.
-art, braggart.
-eer, auctioneer, mutineer.
-er, baker, builder, rider, weaver.
-ier, cashier, clothier, courtier.
-or, sailor, tailor.
-ster, songster, spinster, youngster, gamester.
-yer, lawyer, sawyer.
Denoting state or being.
-age, anchorage, bondage, homage, herbage.
-dam, kingdom, freedom, serfdom, earldom.
-hood, childhood, brotherhood, knighthood.
-ing, reading, writing, blessing.
-ness, darkness, whiteness, goodness.
-red, hatred, kindred.
-ship, friendship, hardship, lordship, fellowship.
-t, gift, cleft, draught.
-ter, laughter, slaughter.
-th, growth, health, length, truth.
-y, beggary, slavery.
Denoting smallness or diminution.
-el, satchel.
-en, chicken, kitten, maiden.
84 Word Building and Verb Formulation
-et, flowret, lancet, violet, pocket.
-ie, doggie, lassie, laddie.
-kin, lambkin, manikin, napkin, pipkin.
-let, booklet, leaflet, streamlet.
-ling, duckling, gosling, dar ling, foundling.
-ock, bullock, hillock.
-y, daddy, deary, baby, Johnny.
Adjective Suffixes
-ed, (added to nouns, like ed in the past participle of verbs)
booted, gifted, feathered, scented, coloured, rooted.
-en, made of; earthen, golden, leaden, silken, wooden.
Golden hair means only hair of the colour of gold. We say a gold
chain for one made of gold.
-ern, region, quarter; eastern, northern, southern, etc.
-fold, denoting multiplication; twofold, manifold.
-ful, full; fruitful, hopeful, truthful, deceitful.
-ish, (1) added to nouns, changes them into adjectives;
boyish, childish, foolish, slavish.
(2) added to adjectives, weakens their force; blackish,
whitish, sweetish.
(3) denoting nationality; British, English, Spanish,
-less, wanting; heedless, houseless, law less, senseless.
-ly, like; kingly, manly, heavenly, cleanly.
-some, partaking of a certain quality; troublesome, handsome,
gladsome, wholesome, meddlesome.
-teen, ten; thirteen, fourteen.
-ty, tens; twenty, fifty, etc.
-ward, direction; home ward, land ward, toward.
-y, of the nature of, when added to nouns; hairy, rocky, healthy,
Word Building and Verb Formulation
Verb Suffixes
-en, to make; darken, thicken, lengthen, strengthen.
-er, frequenta tivel; chatter, patter (pat), batter (beat), flutter (flit),
glimmer (gleam).
After adjectives -er is causative; linger (long), lower, hinder.
-Ie, frequentative;dibble, prattle, handle, sparkle.
-k, frequentative;hark(hear), talk (tell).
-se, to make; cleanse, rinse.
-y, to make; sully, worry.
Adverbial Suffixes
-re, place where; here, there, where.
-es, -se, -ee, -5 (sign of the possessive), unawares, sometimes,
besides, else, hence, thence, needs, sideways, lengthways, once.
-ly, like; badly, goodly, purely, sweetly.
-ling, -long, direction; darkling, headlong, sidelong.
-om (Old English dative termination); seldom, whilom.
-ther, direction towards; hi ther, thi ther.
-ward, -wards, direction; home ward, down wards, in wards.
-way, -ways, always, straightway, anyway.
-wise, anywise, otherwise.
Formation of Derivatives
Noun Derivatives
Nouns ar derived from other Nouns.
(1) By means of prefixes :-
aftercrop, afternoon, afterpiece.
bylaw, byroad, bystander.
foreman, forenoon, forerunner.
income, inroad, insight.
mistake, misded, mishap.
outhouse, outlaw, outlook.
86 Word Building and Verb Formulation
Up - upland, upshot, upstart.
Most words of this class come under the head of Compound
(2) By means of suffixes :-
(a) Those denoting the agent or doer:
Beggar, drunkard, auctioneer, gardener, courtier, tailor,
songster, lawyer.
(b) Those denoting state or being.
Anchorage, childhood, reading, peasantry, friendship,
(c) Diminutives:
Satchel, chicken, floweret, lambkin, booklet, duckling,
hillock, lassie, doggie.
Nouns are derived from Adjectives:
By means of suffixes :-
Yongster, drunkard, freedom, darkness, goodness,
falsehood, finery, truth, strength, warmth.
Nouns are derived from Verbs.
By means of suffixes :-
(a) Those denoting the agent or doer:
Beggar, speaker, braggart, sailor, spinster.
(b) Those denoting state or being:
Hatred, laughter, flight (fly) death (die) deed (do),health
Adjective Derivatives
Adjectives are derived from Nouns.
By means of suffixes :-
Ragged, earthen, fruitful, foolish, childish, leathern,
houseless, lawless, kingly, warlike, seaward, healthy, stormy.
Adjectives are derived from other Adjectives.
(1) By means of prefixes ;-
Word Building and Verb Formulation
Unclean, unkind, untrue.
(2) By means of suffixes :-
Greenish, weakly, gladsome, wearisome, tenfold,
sixteen, sixty.
Adjectives are derived from Verbs.
By means of suffixes :-
Painted, married, trodden, stolen, roaring, blazing, shining.
Verb Derivatives
Verbs are derived from Nouns :-
(1) By means of prefixes :-
Bedew, befriend, encircle, encompass, empower,
unheard, unroof.
(2) By means of suffixes :-
Sparkle, lengthen, strengthen.
Verbs are derived from Adjectives :-
(1) By means of prefixes :-
Bedim, embitter.
(2) By means of suffixes :-
Shorten, sweeten soften, lower, cleanse.
Verbs are formed from other Verbs :-
By means of prefixes :-
Await, besmear, forbid, forget, mislead, foretell, enfold,
outlive, uphold, withhold.
Adverb Derivatives
Adverbs can be formed from many Adjectives by adding ly;
as, free, freely- bold, boldly- bitter, bitterly- first, firstly- merry, merrily,
pretty, prettily.
Some Adverbs are formed from Nouns; as afoot, ashore, aside.
Adverbs are formed from Participles by adding ly; as
knowingly, willingly.
88 Word Building and Verb Formulation
Some are derived from Prepositions; as, upward, downwards,
Combination of Methods
Many words owe their origin to a combination of two or more
of the above methods of forming nouns, adjectives, etc.; as,
un tru thfuiness, unenligh tened.
Influence of Accent
Many words are used both as nouns and adjectives, nouns and
verbs, or adjectives and verbs, without any change in
pronounciation. But a number of dis syllables have the accent on
the first syllable in one case, and on the second in the other. Verbs of
this class invariably take the accent on the last syllable. The following
are examples:
Noun Adjective Noun Verb
AU'gustaugust' Ac'cent accent'
com'pact compact' Con'duct
Adjective Verb
Ab'sent absent'
Pres' entpresent'
Per 'vert
(adj. or noun) Sur'vey survey'
Fre' quent frequent' Tor'ment torment'
Also the following trisyllable-At'tribute (n) attrib'ute
Latin and French Prefixes
Numerous Latin Prefixes are employed in wordbulding. Most
have come direct from the Latin and are unchanged. Others, which
have come to us from the French, are slightly altered; as, contra,
against, becomes COllnter.
Prefixes take different forms, in some cases, for the sake of
euphony. Thus ad takes the forms mentioned below.
A-, ab-, abs-, signifying from, away; as, a-vert, ab-solve, abs-
Word Building and Verb Formulation
Ad- (sometimes becoming a, ac-, af-, ag-, al-, an-, ap-, ar-,
as-, at-), to; as, ad-ore, as-cent, ac-cept, ai-fix, ag-gravate, aI-lure, an-
nex, ap-peal, ar-range, as-sist, at-tract.
Ambi-, amb-, am-, around, about, on both sides; as, ambi-
guous, amb-ition, am-putate.
Ante-, anti- (French an-), before; as, ante-diluvian, anti-cipate,
Bene-, well; as, bene-fit, bene-volence.
Bi-, two, bis-, bin-, twice; as, bi-ped, bis-cuit, bin-ocular.
Circum- (circu-), around; as, circum-navigate, cir-cuit.
Con- (Latin cum, French con) (co-, cog-, col-, com-, cor-, French
coun-), with, together; as, con-tract, co-here, cog-nate, col-Iect, com-
mit, cor-rection, coun-cil.
Contra-, contro- (counter-), against; as, contra-diet, contro-
vert, counter-act.
De-, down, from; as, de-pose, de-throne.
Demi-, half; as, demi-god.
dis-, di-, dif-, apart, reversal; as, dis-pel, di-late, dif-fusion.
French des-, de-, des-cent, de-feat.
E-, ex-, (ec-, ef-), out of; as, e-duce, ex-tract, ec-centric, ef-fact.
French forms, es-, is-, s-; as, es-cape, is-sue, s-ample. In the words
amend and astonish, the e has become a.
Extra-, beyond; as, extra-ordinary. French is-, s-; as, es-trange,
In-, iI-, im-, ir-, in, into, on against; as, in-vert, ii-lustrate,
impute, ir-ruption. French forms, en-, em-; as, en-act, em-ploy.
In many words the Prefix can be spelt either as the Latin in, or
as the French en; as, in-quire or en-quire.
En-, or em-, before Nouns and Adjectives changes them into
Factitive Verbs; as, en-dear, em-bitter.
In-, ig-, iI-, im-, ir-, not; as, in-firm, ig-noble, iI-legal, im-portant,
90 Word Building and Verb Formulation
Inter-, between; as, inter-vene.
Intro-, to, within; as, intro-duce. French entra; enter-tain.
Juxta-near to; as, Juxta position.
Male-, mal-, badly; male-volent, mal-treat.
Mis-, French from the Latin minus, less, badly; mis-fortune.
Non-, ne-, neg-, not; as, non-sense, ne-farious, neg-lect.
Ob-, oc-, of-, op-, os-, against, in front of; as, ob-ject, oc-cur, of-
fend, op-pose, os-tentation.
Pene, almost; pen-insular.
Per-, pel-, through; as, per-feet, pel-lucid, pil-grim. French
par-, par-don.
Post-, after; as, post-script.
Pre-, before; as, pre-fix.
Preter-, past, beyond; as, preter-natural.
Pro-, por-, poi-, for, fore, forth; as, pro-noun, par-trait, pol-lute.
French pur-, pur-pose.
Re-, red-, back again; as, re-form, red-emption. The presence or
absence of a hyphen afte re in Verbs affects the meaning. To recover
an umbrella means to get it back; to re-cover it means to put a new
cover on it.
Retro-, backward; as, retro-grade. French rear; as, rear-guard,
rear, arrears.
Se-, aside, apart; as, se-duce, se-cede.
Semi-, half; as, semi-circle.
Sine-, sim-, sin-, without; as, sine-cure, sim-ple, sin-cere.
Sub-, suc-, suf-, sug-, sum-, sUp-, sus-, under, after, up; as,
sub-treasurer, sub-scribe, suc-ceed, sui-fer, sug-gest, sum-mon, sup-
port, sus-pend.
Subter-, under, beneath; as, subter-fuge.
Super-, above, beyond; as, sllper-natural. French sur-, sur-vey.
Trans-(tra-), across, beyond; as, tans-gress, tra-dition. French
tres-, tres-pass.
Word Building and Verb Formulation
Tri-, three; as. tri-angle, tri-une.
Ultra-, beyond;as, ultra-liberal, out-rage, O. French, oultrage.
Unus- (un-, uni-), one; un-animous, uni-form.
Viee- (Fis-), instead of; as, vice-roy, vis-count.
Many hybrid words are formed by the union of Latin prefixes
with English roots; as, disown, dislike, distrust, endear, enlighten;
relay, reset, recall; sublet, etc.
Latin and French Suffixes
These are very numerous, and some of them have different
meanings. The principal are given below :-
Noun Suffixes
(1) Denoting chiefly the agent or doer of a thing.
-an, -ain, -en, artisan, Roman, captain, warden, citizen.
-ant, -ent, merchant, servant, vagrant, student, regent.
-ary, -ar, -aire, missionary, notary, scholar,
-ate, -ite, -it, candidate, advocate, favourite, Israelite, hermit.
-eer, -ier, -er, volunteer, engineer, soldier, messenger, prisoner.
-ess, -trix, signs of feminine, from -ix, and later Latin, -issa.
-iff, -ive, plaintiff, bailiff, relative, native, captive.
-or, -our, -eur, ancestor, doctor, emperor, saviour, amateur.
-ee, -ey, -y, grantee, payee, examinee, attorney, jury, levy
(2) Denoting action, being, or state of being
-acy, -cy, accuracy, delicacy, supremacy, secrecy
-age, bondage, marriage, postage, message, damage.
-aI, arrival, dismissal, refusal, trial, nuptials.
-ance, -aney, abundance, assistance, brilliancy, hesitancy
-ence, -eney, diligence, excellence, patience, decency, urgency.
-ery, -ry, cookery, slavery, bravery, bribery, musketry
-iee, -ise, -ess, avarice, justice, exercise, merchandise, prowess.
-ion, -on, -OID, action, admission, opinion, lesson, ransom.
92 Word Building and Verb Formulation
-ity, -ty, scarcity,. captivity,. equality,. certainty,. poverty.
-ment, agreement, complement, employment, payment.
-mony, ceremony,. patrimony,. matrimony,. parsimony.
-or, -our, -eur, error, liquor, colour, labour, honour, grandeur.
-tude, gratitude, latitude, longitude, magnitude, solitude.
-ure, agriculture, capture, departure, pleasure, torture.
-y, envy,. industry,. memory,. misery,. victory.
(3) Denoting Dimenutives
-el, -Ie, parcel, morsel, damsel, angle, buckle, circle.
-eule, -ide, -dIe, -icil, animalcule, article, domicile, codicil.
-et, -ot, bullet, chariot, parrot.
-ette, cigrette, novelette, statuette, wogonette.
-ule, globule, capsule, pilule, nodule.
This is also used in a general sense; as, ridicule. So with -Ie; as,
pIe, miracle, people.
Adjective Suffixes
(1) Denoting of or belonging to
-aI, animal, mortal, fatal, national, regal, plural.
-an, -ane, -ain, pagan, human, humane, mundane, certain.
-ant, abundant, ignorant, constant, vacant, brilliant.
-ar, singular, solar, lunar, familiar, popular, vulgar.
-ary, customary,. contrary,. ordinary,. necessary,. secondary.
-ie, -ique, aquatic, domestic, public, oblique, unique.
-iI, -ile, -Ie, -el, civil, fragile, frail, infantile, cruel, gentle.
-ine, canine, asinine, elephantine, masculine, feminine.
-ory, prefatory,. laudatory,. compulsory,. promissOlY
(2) Denoting full of, consisting of, given to.
-ate, accurate, fortunate, estimate, obstinate.
-lent, opulent, fraudulent, violent, corpulent.
Word Building and Verb Formulation 93
-ose, -ous, verbose, bellicose, glorious, dangerous, furious.
(3) Various meanings
-id, quality; rapid, timid, acid, studpid, liquid, solid.
-bIe, power in a passive sense; curable, portable, incredible.
-ive, power activity; acti\'e, transitive, legislative, imitative.
-escent, growing, becoming;putrescent, effervescent, quiescent.
Verb Suffixes
The following suffixes denote to make or cause to be, in Verbs
derived from Nouns and Adjectives :-
-ate, agitate, cultivate, facilitate, nominate, separate.
-fy, beautify, glorify, magnify, purify, stupefy, simplify.
-ish, banish, famish, diminish, pub ish, replenish, polish.
The suffix -esce means a state of growing or becoming; as,
effervesce, coalesce.
Greek Prefixes
A-, an-, without, not; as, a-tom, an-archy.
Amphi-, both, two; as, amphi-theatre, amphi-bious.
Ana-, up, through, again; as, ana-tomy.
Anti- ant-, against; as, anti-pathy, ant-agonist.
Apo-, ap-, aph-, from, away from; as, apo-state, ap-ologue, aph-
Arch-, archi-, chief, head; as, arch-bishop, archi-tect.
Auto-, self; as, auto-graph.
Cata- cath-, down; as, cata-strophe, cath-olic,
Dis-, di-, twice; as, di-phthong, dis-syllable.
Dia-, through; qS dia-meter, dia-logue.
Dys-, ill, amiss; as, dys-entery, dys-pepsia.
Ec-, ex-, out, from; as, ex-odus, ec-centric.
En-, em-, in, on; as, en-demic, em-phasis.
Endo-, withing;endo-genous.
94 Word Building and Verb Formulation
Epi-, upon, to; as, epi-taph, epi-stle.
Eu-, ev-, well, good; as, eu-Iogy, ev-angel, ev-angelist.
Ex-, ec-, out, out of; as, ex-odus, ec-stasy.
Exo-, without; as ex-ogenous, ex-otic.
Hemi-, half; as, hemi-sphere.
Hyper-, over; as, hyper-critical.
Hypo-, under; as, hypo-thesis.
Meta-, Meth-, after, across, beyond; as, meta-phor, meta-
physics, meth-od.
Para-, par-, signifying besides (as if for comparison, and hence
it sometimes denotes similarity and sometimes contrariety); as para-
llel, par-ody, para-dox, para-ble, para-graph.
Peri-, round about; as peri-phery, peri-patetic.
Pro-, before; as pro-Iogue
Syn-, sy-, syl-, sym-, together, with; as syn-tax, sy-stem
syl-Iable, sym-pathy.
Greek Suffixes
Noun Suffixes
-ie, -ics, denoting abstract nouns; as, music, logic, optics.
-isk, a diminutive; as asterisk, obelisk.
-ism, -asm, state of being; as, sophism, schism, chasm.
-sis, -sy, -se, action; crisis, analysis, dropsy, eclipse.
-st, -te, -t, agent; botanist, apostate, poet.
-ter,-tre, instrument or place; metre, centre, theatre.
-y, quality or state of being; philosophy, monarchy, melancholy.
The suffixes -ism and -ist are largely used for English and
Latin roots, as well as for Greek.
Adjective Suffix
-ie, -ical. Ie is a Greek suffix; ical has the Latin al added to the
Greek. Comic, comical; magic, magical; politiC, political.
Word Building and Verb Formulation
Verb Suffix
-ize, -ise, to make; civilize, or civilise; baptize, criticise. It is
used like -ism and -ist.
A Sentence is any number of words having a full meaning; as,
Dogs bark.
Every sentence consists at two parts-the Subject and the
The Subject is the person or thing spoken of.
The Predicate is what is said about the subject.
Thus in the sentence, "Dogs bark," Dogs is the subject, bark the
predicate. The predicate is always a verb.
A Verb is word which declares or tells something.
Verb comes from the Latin verbum, a word. It is so called because
it is the most important word in a sentence. It is emphatically the
word; there can be no sentence without a verb.
That which is spoken of, is the Subject of the Verb. That to
which something is done, is the Object.
To find the subject, put who or what before the verb; the answer
will be the subject. To find the object, put whom or what after the
A verb declares of its subject that it does something, or has
something done to it; or that it is something.
Verbs are divided into two great dasses,-Transitive and
A Transitive Verb denotes action passing from the doer to an
object; as, He struck the table.
An Intransitive Verb expresses an action that does not go
beyond the doer; as, We walk.
Transitive means going beyond. Intransitive means not
transitive, not going beyond.
Some transitive verbs may become intransitive by expressing
the action generally; as, Fire bums; I hear.
96 Word Building and Verb Formulation
Some intransitive verbs are turned into transitive by adding
prepositions to them; as, She lCinghed at him.
Verbs of this class are somethimes called Prepositional Verb.
Some transitive verbs take two objects after them, onE' of the
thing and one of the person, distinguished as the direct and indirect

In the sentence, "I gave him a shilling," the direct object is
shiling; him is the indirect object. The prepositions to or for are
generally understood. The indirect object always comes first, unless
the preposition is expressed. The above sentence might run, "1 gave
a shilling to him," but not "I gave a shilling him."
Incomplete Verbs are those which require some other word to
give a complete sense; as, be, seem, become appear, etc.
"He seems" does not express a complete sense. A noun,
adjective, or other words, in apposition with the subject is required;
as, He seems a stranger. The word or words thus added are called
the complement of the verb, because they complete the verbal idea
or predication.
Factitive Verbs are transitive verbs which also require a
complement to complete their predication; as, The loss filled us
with grief; They set him free. In these sentences the verbal idea is
contained in the words "filled with grief" and "set free," as may be
seen by writing them thus, -"The loss grieved us," "They freed
The complement of transitive verb of incomplete predication is
called an Objective Complement because it refers to the object; the
complement of an intransitive verb is a Subjective Complement,
because it refers to the subject. "He seemed glad that they had made
him king."
Say whether the following Verbs are transitive, intransitive, or
incomplete :-
James runs. The man shot a crow. Martha spoke quickly. The
girl reads her book. He laughed at it. Bring the book. She required
Word Building and Verb Formulation
two days to complete the work. He rode on a white horse. We
commenced yesterday. John broke the chair. Tea grows in Assam.
The wind blows strongly. He looks a king. The poor man broke his
leg. She is a teacher. Boys learn their lessons. He became great. We
made game of him. My aunt asked us to dinner. When the gun was
fired the horse took fright. Without perseverance you cannot make
your business a success. The vessel rode at anchor in the harbour.
Make haste! Learn to do well. Trust in God and do the right. A fox
one day saw some grapes which hung upon a branch which was a
good way from the ground. He tried to get them by jumping as high
as he could. But as he could not reach them he turned away saying,
"They are sour, I could not eat them if I had them."
Write six sentences having Transitive verbs, six with
Intransitive verbs, and three with Incomplete verbs.
Inflections of the Verbs
Verbs are inflected for Voice, Mood, Tense, Number, and
Voice shows whether the subject of a verb acts or is acted upon.
There are two Voices-the Active and Passive.
The Active Voice denotes that the subject of the verb acts; as,
He wrote a letter.
The Passive Voice denotes that the subject of the verb is acted
upon; as, A letter was written by him.
Passive comes from a Latin word which means to suffer.
The object in the active voice becomes the subject in the passive
When the agent is chiefly noticed, the active voice is used, and
when the object, the passive voice.
There are no inflections in English that show the passive voice.
To make the change, the verb" to be" is needed, which is therefore
called an auxiliary or helping verb. The word denoting the agent in
the passive voice has the word by before it, either expressed or
98 Word Building and Verb Formulation
Verbs which take two objects after them in the active voice (120)
can take one in the passive; as :
Active Passive
I gave him a book. A book was given him by me;
He was given a book by me.
When a Factivity verb is changed from the active voice to the
passive the objective complement becomes a subjective one; as:
Active Passive
They made him King. He was made King by them.
Intransitive verbs have no object, and therefore have no passive
But intransitive verbs with prepositions, used as transitives,
have the passive voice; as, He was laughed at by all.
Change the verbs in the following sentence from the
Active to the Passive voice:-
I called him. Cain killed Abel. He stole a book. She loves her
father. I saw an owl. He rang the bell. A snake bit the man. Mary
brought a chair. John wrote a letter. Our habits make us slaves. He
showed him his lessons. She gave us some mangoes. We promised
him five pounds. A cloud hid the sun. The soldier saw the sick man
stumble and fall. Napoleon often defeated the Russians, but at last
the Russians defeated him.
Cnang the verbs in the following sentences from the Passive to
the Active voice:-
John was beaten by James. The English were conquered by the
Normans. Many have been ruined by gambling. Such mistakes are
made by beginners. The remainder was devoured by vultures. The
slate was broken by me. War was declared against France by
Prussia. Somebody's bullock was killed by a tiger. A present was
bought for him by his father. Night was made hideous by their
howls. The tank will be completed by the government engineers.
Your food should have been cooked by the servant.
Word Building and Verb Formulation
Mood shows the mode or manner of the action expressed by the
There are four moods - Indicative, Subjunctive, Imperative,
and Infinitive. To these may be added the Gerund and the
The Indicative Mood simply decleares a thing, or it asks a
question; as, He runs; He will come; Who knows?
Indicative means pointing out.
The Subjunctive Mood is so called because it is chiefly used in
clauses subjoined to the principal clause of the sentence. It s t a ~ e s a
thing as a condition or supposition, and does not make a statement
of fact; as, I will go, if he comes; were he here, he would tell you.
Subjunctive means joined under. Uncertainty is generally
implied. It usually follows such words as if, unless, though, lest &
c., but these are not a part of the verb. Its use is dying out in modern
The Imperative Mood commands, advises, or entreats; as, Do
this; forgive and forget; Spare his life.
Imperative means commanding.
The Imperative is the root of the verb from which the other parts
are derived.
The Infinitive Mood simply names the action, and is not limited
by time, person, or number; as, To write.
Infinitive means without end. It is not properly a mood, but is a
verb used as a noun. The preposition to is usually prefixed, and is
hence called the sign, or mark, of the infinitive. It may be either in
the nominative or in the objective case.
The name Potential Mood has been given to such forms as, He
can read; She may go; but it is now generally given up. Can is in the
indicative; read is in the infinitive. To is left out after can, may, etc.
Potential means ha ving power.
The Infinitive of Purpose is called the Gerundial Infinitive; as,
he came to learn. The verbal noun ending in -ing is also called the
100 Word Building and Verb Form ulation
Gerund; as, Gambling is hurtful.
The word Gerund means carrying on. It denotes the doing of
that which the verb signifies.
The Participle is so called because it partakes of the properties
of the verb and the adjective; as, I saw a boy running.
Participle means sharing, taking part. As verbs, participles
imply action; as adjectives, they qualify nouns. Participles are verbal
adjectives. Gerunds are verbal nouns. Nouns is -ing must be
distinguished from participles in -ing; a large building (noun);
building a house (participle).
In Old English the present participle and the gerund had distinct
endings;-present participle, writende, writing; gerund, writung.
In later English these two suffixes, -ende and -ung, were merged
into one, -ing, and now there is only one form for both parts of the
verb; as, I am writing (Present Participle); Writing is useful (Gerund).
Name the Voices and Moods of the verbs in the following
sentences ;-
Do it yourself. To err is human; to forgive, divine. I found him
reading. Are you fond of writing letters? If I go, I will let you know.
Let him not despond. Forbear to trouble yourself about trifles. I
would help you if I could. Had you been present, I should have seen
you. I hear that you broke it. The governor refused to comply. I hate
lying. You can send him. If that happened, it was a great misfortune.
Giving is better than receiving. He can do it if he likes. They came to
see the show. I saw him running away. If he were here I should ask
him. He was taught reading and writing. We should hate lying. I
saw him breaking stones. Seeing for himself the damage done by
the flood, he decided to have the dyke strengthened. Learn to act for
yourself. Much that you say was known to me. If he comes by train
he will arrive in the morning. I like travelling by coach. Riding
slowly, I reached home just as the sun was setting. Step aside and
speak to the poor fellow.
Make four sentences each contaning a Gerund, and other four
each contaning a Participle.
Word Building and Verb Formulation
Tense is a change in the verb to express time.
Tense comes from a word meaning time.
There are three great divisions of time--Present, Past, Future.
The name Tense is given to the different forms of verbs which denote
The verb is the only kind of word which by its own forms can
point out time.
The English verb has only two tenses formed by inflection,-
the Present and Past. The Future is formed by the help of other
The Present Tense denotes that the action is going on now; as,
I love; I am loving.
The Past Tense denotes that the action took place, or was going
on, in time past; as, I saw him; He was walking.
The Future Tense denotes that the action is yet to take place. It
is formed by means of the verbs shall or will, followed by the
infinitive; as, I shall go; he will go.
Each tense has three forms:
(1) An action simply mentioned is said to be Indefinite; as, I
love, I loved, I shall love.
(2) An action mentioned as still going on is said to be
Imperfect. It is formed by means of the verb be and the imperfect
participle; as, I am loving, I was loving, I shall be loving.
Progressive (moving forward), Incomplete (not complete), and
Continuous (proceeding), and other names for the imperfect.
(3) An action mentioned as finished is said to be Perfect. It is
formed by means of the verb have and the perfect participle; as, I
have loved, I had loved, I shall have loved.
The Present Perfect denotes that the action had just now been
completed; as, I have dined.
It is a common mistake to use the present perfect instead of the
past indefinite; as, "I have seen him yesterday," instead of, "I saw
102 Word Building and Verb Formulation
him yesterday." Unless the action has just been completed, or if the
time is mentioned, the past indefinite should be used; as, I have just
seen him; I saw him an hour ago.
The Past Perfect, also called Pluperfect, denotes that the action
was completed before another action took place; as, I had seen him
before I met you.
Pluperfect meant more than perfect. The past perfect should
not be used unless the other action is mentioned; as, "I had seen
him yesterday," ought to be, "I saw him yesterday."
The Future Perfect denotes that the action will be completed
before another future action takes place; as I shall have left before
The active voice has a fourth form, called the Perfect
Continuous. It expresses an action going on up to the present time;
as, I have been writing.
It is also called the Perfect Progressive or Perfect Incomplete.
It combines the meaning of the imperfect and perfect.
Table of Tenses (Active Voice)
Tense Indefinite Imperfect or Perfect Perfect
Continuous Continuous
Present I love I am loving I have loved I have been
Past I loved I was loving I had loved I had been
Future I shall love I shall be I shall have I shall have
loving loved been loving
Point out the Verbs in the following sentences and name their
Moods and Tenses ;-
I shall send it to-morrow. You asked me what I was doing. I had
filled it before it burst. I shall have great pleasure in going with you.
He met me when I was walking. I shall have completed it before
tomorrow. We have written that we are coming. If you should see
Word Building and Verb Formulation
James, tell him that I want to speak to him. Shall I come down, and
will you give me leave? If the sick man be sleeping, do not wake
him. You came to ask me what I have been doing. It would have
mattered little if he had not spoken harshly. You need not urge me,
I inted to do it. If he had not known how to manage the machine,
such an accident could not have happened. Do not act without
Correct the following where necessary ;-
Last month I have bought a house. Is this correct? There had
been a storm yesterday. I went to see him in the evening. I have
spent all my money before I have received your letter. The mail has
not yet arrived. He had studid for six months before he left. I have
arrived this morning. I had seen him do it. The King has been
crowned this year. The fleet should be assembled a week ago. The
swallows had left before the winter begins.
Number and Person
The verb, like the noun, has two Numbers, Singular and Plural;
as, He loves, they love.
Distinct forms for the plural are found only in the verb to be; as,
I am, we are; I was, we were.
Person is a change in the Verb, according as its subject is the
speaker, the person or persons spoken to, or the person or thing
spoken of; as, I love, first person; Thou lovest, second person; He
speaks, third person.
The plural has no endings to mark Person. The person is known
by the subject.
The Present Tense of the verb bring is thus inflected :-
Singular Plural
1st Per. I bring 1st Per. We bring
2nd Per. Thou bringest 2nd Per.
3rd Per. He brings or bringeth 3rd Per.
You bring
They bring
The pronouns are no part of the verb. The second person
singular (thou bringest, thou lovest), is seldom used except in poetry.
104 Word Building and Verb Formulation
In ordinary language the plural form (you bring, you love) takes its
place. The third person singular present has s, or es, and the old
form eth, which is now confined to poetry. These endings belong
only to the indicative mood.
The giving of the moods, tenses, and other parts of a verb is
called its Conjugation.
Verbs are divided into Strong and Weak verbs, according to the
way in which they form the past indefinite tense.
A Strong verb forms the past tense bychanging the vowel of the
present tense. Nothing is added to the present to make it past. Thus,
in write, wrote, the vowel is changed, but nothing is added. Strong
verbs are sometimes said to belong to the Old conjgation.
A Weak verb forms the past by adding d, ed or t to the present.
Thus, love, loved; spend, spent. Weak verbs are sometimes said to
belong to the New, or Modern, conjugation.
Some weak verbs seem to belong to the strong conjugation,
because they change the vowel, as, teach, taught, seek, sought, say,
said; but they are weak because they add d or t for the past tense.
There are also weak verbs which change the vowel, and make no
addition; as, meet, met; feed, fed. Such verbs in Old English had
terminations which have been lost.
Weak verbs are sometimes divided into Irregular Weak verbs,
like beseech, besought, and Regular Weak verbs, like, love, loved.
Verbs which form the past tense by adding d, ed or tare
sometimes called Regular verbs. Those which do not thus form the
past tense are said to be Irregular. Though not strictly correct, the
distinction is much more easily understood than that between strong
and weak verbs.
Some verbs have both forms. Thus, shear, shore, shorn, has also
sheared, sheared.
List of Strong Verbs
Formerly the past participle of these verbs was always formed
by adding -n, en, or ne; in some this termination has been lost.
Word Building and Verb Formulation 105
Verbs to which r is prefixed have also weak forms. The past
participles which are distinguished by an asterisk (*) are now never
used in the formation of tenses, and are verbal adjectives only. The
past tenses printed in italics are old forms now seldom used, save
in poetry.
Present Past Past Pert. Present Past Past Pert.
List of Weak Verbs
The follwoing verbs belong to the Weak Conjugation, in
addition to the large class which form their past tense and past
participle by adding -d or -ed.
Class II
Present Past Past Pert. Present Past Past Pert.
Bereave bereft bereft Hew hewed hewn
Beseech besought besought Keep kept kept
Bleed bled bled Kneel knelt knelt
Blend blended blent Lay laid laid
Breed bred bred Lead led led
Bring brought brought Leap leapt leapt
Build built built Learn learnt learnt
Bum burnt burnt Leave left left
Buy bought bought Lead lent lent
Catch caught caught Light lit lit
Clothe clad clad Load loaded laden
Creep crept crept Lose lost lost
Crow crew crowed Make made made
Curse curst curst Mean meant meant
Dare durst dared Meet met met
Deal dealt dealt Melt melted molten
Dream dreamt dreamt Mow mowed mown
Dwell dwelt dwelt Prove proved proven
Feed fed fed Rend rent rent
106 Word Building and Verb Formulation
Feel felt felt Rive rived riven
Flee fled fled Saw sawed sawn
Gild gilt gilt Say said said
Gird girt girt Seek sought sought
Grave graved graven Sell sold sold
Have had had Send sent sent
Hear heard heard Sew sewed sewn
Present Past Past Pert. Present Past Past Pert.
Shave shaved shaven Spill spilt spilt
Shoe shod shod Strew strewed strewn
Show showed shown Sweep swept swept
Sleep slept slept Swell swelled swollen
Smell smelt smelt Teach taught taught
Sow sowed sown Tell told told
Speed sped sped Think thought thought
Spell spelt spelt Weep wept wept
Spend spent spent Work wrought wrought
Class II.
Verb which have the three parts alike.
Present Past Past Pert. Present Past Past Pert.
Bet bet bet Rid rid rid
Burst burst burst Set set set
Cast cast cast Shed shed shed
Cost cost cost Shred shred shred
Cut cut cut Shut shut shut
Hit hit hit Slit slit slit
Hurt hurt hurt Spit spit spit
Knit knit knit Split split split
Let let let Spread spread spread
Word Building and Verb Formulation
Thrust thrust
Wed wed
Conjugation without Auxiliaries
The following is the inflection of the weak verb to love, without
the help of other verbs:
Present Tense Past Tense Perfect Participle
Love Loved Loved
Indicative Mood
Present Tense
Singular Plural
1. I love 1. We love
2. Thoulovest 2. You love
3. He loves. 3. They love
Past Tense
1. I loved 1. We loved
2. Thou lovedst 2. You loved
3. He loved 3. They loved
Imperative Mood
2. Love (thou) 2. Love (ye, or you)
Infinitive Mood
Loving To love
Imperfect, Loving Perfect, Loved
The above are, strictly speaking, the only conjugations of the
English verb, the other moods and tenses, which in Latin and other
languages are formed by inflection, being formed by the aid of other
The English verb has thus only a small number of inflection.
Write has seven forms; write, writest, writes, writing, written, wrote,
108 Word Building and Verb Formulation
wrotest. Regular verbs have only six forms: love, lovest, loves, loved,
lovedst, loving.
Conjugate the verbs serve, call, grieve, learn, smite, strive, walk,
fight and give, without the aid of other verbs.
Give the Mood, Tense, Person, and Number of the verbs in the
following sentences ;-
You walked. They move. I go. He wishes. We cry. Thou laughest.
Run you. We praised. You ordered. Tell him to come. I called. Thou
turnest. Stop. He came to shoot. They like hunting. You run. The
horse fell. They went to bet. I saw him writing. The sailor told his
story. You make me ashamed.
Auxilliary Verbs
Only the Present and Past tenses are expressed by inflections
of the verb itself. Additional tenses are formed by the help of other
verbs, called Auxiliaries, viz.: be, have, shall, and will.
A uxiliary means helping. Such verbs are frequently used, and
are of great importance.
Do, May, and Can would be ranked as auxiliaries, if the
Empha tic and Potential moods were admitted into the conjugation
of the verb.
Some of the auxiliaries are also used as principal verbs.
The verb be has two distinct uses :-
(1) As an intransitive verb either of complete or incomplete
predication; as, "He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and
that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." The first is
= exists, and is complete; the second 'is'is incomplete and has as its
complement all the words that follow it.
(2) As an auxiliary verb. The Passive Voice is formed by joining
the past participle of a verb to the verb "be" throughout; as, he is
loved, to be loved, being loved. The Progressive form of the active
voice is formed by similarly joining the present participle; as, I am
loving, I was loving, etc.
Word Building and Verb Formulation
Conjugation of 'be'
Present Tense
Am Was
I Person I
Past Tense
Indicative Mood
Present Tense
Perfect Participle
am I Person We are
II Person Thou art II Person You are
ill Person He, shs or it, is ill Person They are
II Thou
ill He
I If I
II If thou
ill If he
I If I
II If thou
ill If he
II Be (thou)
Past Tense
I We were
II You were
ill They were
Subjuctive Mood
Present Tense
be I If we be
be II If you be
be ill If they be
Past Tense
were I If we were
wert II If you were
were ill If they were
Imperative Mood
II Be (ye, or you)
Infinitive Mood
To be
Being To be
Present, Being
Word Building and Verb Formulation
Past, Been
The Verb have has also two uses :-
(1) As a transitive verb in the sense of hold, possess; as, have a
(2) As an auxiliary: Followed by the perfect participle of
another verb have forms the present perfect and past perfect tenses;
as, I have written, I had written.
Present Tense
Have Had
I I have
II Thou
III He has
I I had
II Thou
III He had
I have (thou)
Conjugation of have
Past Tense
Present Tense
Past Tense
To have
Perfect Participle
We have
II You had
They have
We had
II You had
They had
Have (ye, or you)
Shall and will have only the present and past tenses of the
indicative mood. They are used with infinitives to form the future
tehses of verbs.
Word Building and Verb Formulation
Conjugation of shall
Present Tense
Singular Plural
I I shall I We shall
II Thou shalt II Ye or You shall
ill He shall ill They shall
Past Tense
I I should I We should
II Thou shouldst II Ye or You should
ill He should ill They should
Conjugation of will
Present Tense
Singular Plural
I I will I We will
II Thou wilt II YeorYou will
ill He will ill They will
Past Tense
I I would I We would
II Thou wouldst II YeorYou would
ill He would ill They would
Shall primarily means obligation, what one ought to do; will
means wish, what a person is willing to do. But the force of these
two auxiliaries varies with the person of the verb. The following
notes should be carefully studies:
(1) Shall retains its primary meaning in the second and third
persons singular and plural; as, Thou shalt not kill; he shall surely
die. Besides commanding and threatening, it also promises; as, He
shall be blessd.
(2) Shall is only an auxiliary of the future in the first person,
and in interrogative sentences in the second person; as, shall you
go? It is an independent verb in the seocond and third persons.
112 Word Building and Verb Formulation
(3) Shall, in the first person singular and plural, denotes simple
futurity. It does not denote any wish on the part of the speaker. On
the other hand, will in the first person implies that the action is
dependent upon the will of the speaker. I will go home, denotes that
it is my own wish to go.
(4) Will in the second and third persons usually means simple
futurity, without any reference to the wish of the agent. He willbe
punished, simply states what will happen.
Give the Mood, Tense, Person and Number of the verbs in the
following :-
Will you do it? Shall I send it? Thou shalt not kill. The dogs will
bark. He should not have done it. The cat will catch the mouse. I
shall go to London. I will go to London. He will suffer for it. You
should not hurt him. They would not take the money. Be kind. We
were tired, but you had done nothing to tire you. Having nothing of
value, I have never been afraid of thieves. If you were as wise as
your father we would listen to you. She should have thought about
Name the Principal Verbs and Auxiliaries in the following
We shall sail tomorrow. He has lost h1s book. You should not
do that. I have a horse. We were stayng with him. Will you come
with me? He is a great coward. Shall I send for him? Will you tell
them? You should not go.
The following is the complete conjugation of the regular verb to
love, with auxiliaries.
Active Voice
Present Ind. Past Past Participle
Love Loved Loved
Indicative Mood
Present Indefinite
love I We love
Word Building and Verb Formulation
II Thou lovest II You love
ill He loves or loveth ill They love
Present Imperfect or Continuous
I lam loving I We are loving
II Thou art loving II You are loving
ill He is loving ill They are loving
Present Perfect
I I have loved I We have loved
II Thou have loved II You have loved
ill He has, or have loved ill They have loved
Present Perfect Continuous
I I have been loving I We have been loved
II Thou hast been loving II You have been loved
ill He has been loving ill They have been loved
Past Indefinite
I I loved I We loved
II Thou lovedst II You loved
ill He loved ill They loved
Past Indefinite or Continuous
I I was loving I We were loving
II Thou wast loving II You were loving
ill He was loving ill They were loving
Past Perfect
I I had loved I We had loved
II Thou hadst loved II You had loved
ill He had loved ill They had loved
Past Perfect Continuous
I I had been loving I We had been loving
II Thou hadst been loving II You had been loving
114 Word Building and Verb Formulation
ill He had been loving ill They had been loving
Future Indefinite
II Thou
ill He
shall love I We
wilt love II You
will love ill They
shall love
. williove
will love
Future Imperfector Continuous
I I shall be loving I We shall be loving
II Thou wilt be loving II You will be loving
ill He will be loving ill They will be loving
Future Perfect
I I shall have loved I We shall have loved
II Thou wilt have loved II You will have loved
ill He will have loved ill They will have loved
Future Perfect Continuous
I I shall have been loving I We shall have been loving
II Thou wilt have been loving II You will have been loving
ill He will have been loving III They will have been loving
Subjective Mood
Present Indefinite
I HI love
II H thou love
ill Hhe love
I Hwe
II Hyou
ill Hthey
Present Imperfect or Continuous
I HI be loving I H We be loving
II Hthou
ill Hhe
be loving II HYou be loving
be loving ill H They be loving
This is the old form of the Subjunctive. If I am loving is now
generally used.
Word Building and Verb Formulation
Present Perfect
I IfI have loved I If we have loved
n If thou have loved n If you have loved
III If he have loved III If they have loved
Present Perfect Continuous
I If I have been loving I If we have been loved
n If thou hast been loving n If you have been loved
III If he has been loving III If they have been loved
Past Indefinite
I If I loved I If we loved
n If thou lovedst n If you loved
III If he loved III If they loved
Past Imperfect or Continuous
I IfI were loving I If we were loving
n If thou wert loving n If you were loving
III If he were loving III If they were loving
Past Perfect
I If I had loved I If we had loved
n If thou hadst loveq n If you had loved
III If he had loved III If they had loved
Past Perfect Continuous
I If I had been loving I If we had been loving
n If thou hadst been loving n If you had been loving
III If he had been loving III If they had been loving
Future Indefinite
I If I shall love I If we shall love
n If thou wilt love n If you will love
III If he will love III If they will love
116 Word Building and Verb Formulation
Future Imperfect or Continuous
I I shall be loving I We shall be loving
II Thou wilt be loving II You wid be loving
ill He will be loving ill Theywill be loving
Future Perfect
I shall have loved
Thou wilt have loved
ill He will have loved
I We shall have loved
II You will have loved
ill Theywill have loved
Future Perfect Continuous
I I shall have been loving I We shallhavebeenloving
II Thou wilt have been loving II You will have been loving
ill He will have been loving ill Theywill have been loving
Imperative Mood
1. Love (thou) 2. Love (ye, or you)
Infinitive Mood
Indefinit, To love Perfect, To have loved
Imperfect or Continuous, To be loving
Perfect Continuous, To have been loving
Nom. and Obj., Loving
Present Ind.
Dative, To love
Past Participle
Having loved
Perfect Continuous, Having been loving
Give the Mood, Tense, Person, and Number of the verbs in the
following :-
I have been walking. You commanded. We shall leave. I am
going. He has departed. If I write. I shall have sent. Love your
Word Building and Verb Formulation 117
enemies. You had returned. If I have examined. Having defeated.
You had been sleeping. He ought to love him. Look before you leap.
I am making the box. John has been speaking. They will have arrived.
I shall go next week. You may do it. He can remain. I see a boy
riding. He likes reading. Lying is base. If he came, I will go with
him. Let him that stole, steal no more. If he should come before night
I will let you know. Had they invited me I should have gone. To
have seen him again would have been a great pleasure to me. To be
wasting your time when there is so much for you to do is foolish.
Buy the truth and sell it not.
Conjugate fully the following verbs ;-Write, bring, steal, keep,
Passive Voice
The Passive Voice is formed by adding the Past Participle of a
transitive verb after the verb to be in all the moods and tenses, thus
Conjugation of to be loved.
Pres. Ind., Am loved Past, Was loved
Perfect Part, Been loved
Indicative Mood
Present Indefinite
am loved
II Thou art loved
m He is loved
I We are loved
II You are loved
m They are loved
Present Imperfect or Continuous
I I am being loved I We are being loved
II Thou art being loved II You are being loved
m He is being loved m They are being loved
Present Perfect
I I have been loved I We have been loved
II Thou hast been loved II You have been loved
m He has been loved m They have been loved
118 Word Building and Verb Formulation
Past Indefinite
I I was loved I We were loved
II Thou wert loved II You were loved
ill He was loved ill They were loved
Past Imperfect or Continuous
I If! was being loved I If we were being loved
II If thou wert being loved II If you were being loved
ill If he were being loved ill If they were being loved
Past Perfect
I If I had been loved I If we had been loved
II If thou hadstbeenloved II If you had been loved
ill If he had been loved ill If they had been loved
Future Indefinite
I If! should be loved I If we should be loved
II If thou wouldst be loved II If you would be loved
ill If he would be loved ill If they would be loved
Future Perfect
If I should have been loved If we should have been loved
II If thou wouldst have been loved II If you would have been loved
III If he would have been loved III If they would have been loved
Imperative Mood
II Be (thou) loved II Be (ye or you) loved
Infinitive Mood
Indefinite, To be loved Perfect, To have been loved
Nom. and Obj., Being loved Dative, To be loved
Imperfect or Continuous, Being loved Perfect, Been loved
Compound Perfect, Having been loved
Word Building and Verb Formulation 119
The Inflections of the Tenses
Verbs ending in ss, sh, ch, x or 0, form the third person singular
of the present indicative by adding es; as (dress) he dresses; (march)
he marches; (go) he goes, etc.
Verbs ending in y change y into i, before the terminations est,
es, eth, or ed, but not before ing; as, (try), triest, tries, tried, trying;
but y with a vowel before it is not changed into i; as, (pray) prayest,
prays or prayeth, prayed, praying, etc.
Verbs accented on the last syllable, and verbs of one syllable
ending in a single consonant after a single vowel, double the final
consonant before the terminations eth, est, ed, ing, etc., but never
before s; as (cut), cutteth, cuttest, cutting, cuts; (forget), fortettest,
forgetting, etc.; (repeat), repeatest, repeating, etc.
Conjugate the following verbs in the Passive Voice ;- Slay,
forgive, shake, reward.
Give the Voice, Mood, Tense, Person, and Number of the
verbs in the following sentences ;-
Thou art praised. Thou canst love me. The thieves were all
caught. She will love them. Having hated. We should love all men.
Thou shalt love thy neighbout. You were loved Remember my advice.
We must learn our lessons. They had been forgotten. Thou shalt be
rewarded. If he be calld, he will come. He should be punished. He
was informed of it. Theymight have loved their friends. Temperance
preserves health. Honesty is the best policy. Had anything occurred
he would have written.
Put the follOWing sentences first into Past, and secondly into
Future tenses ;-
The sun sinks below the horizon. The grain is ready to be cut.
At the change of the monsoon, it thounders and lightens terribly.
the general has taken his departure. I am going to school. It is
impossible for me to do it. the waves are dashing over the pier. This
course is approved by Government, and we have to agree to it.
Write the second and third persons singlular of ;-
120 Word Building and Verb Formulation
Catch, grind, hope, destroy, injure, crave, pass, err, hunt, tug,
sob, attend, differ, apply, copy betray.
Make two sentences, each containing a verb in the present perfect
continuous tense, indicative mood, active voice.
Make two sentences, each containing a verb in the future
imperfect tense, indicative mood, active voice.
Make two sentences, each containing a verb in the past imperfect
tense, indicative mood, passive voice.
Make two sentences, each containing a verb in the past imperfect
tense, subjunctive mood, passive voice.
Other Auxiliary or Defective Verbs
Some verbs in frequent use are thus conjugated :-
To Do
Present Tense Past Tense Perfect Participle
Do DidDone
Present Tense
I I do I
II Thou doest or doth II
ill He does, doeth or doth ill
Past Tense
I I did I
II Thou didst II
ill He did ill
Imperatice-Do Infinitive-To do.
Present-Doing Perfect-Done
We do
You do
They do
We did
You did
They did
Go has went in the past tense, and gone in the participle.
Tho following verbs are more or less defective, or wanting in
some_parts :-
Word Building and Verb Formulation 121
Present Tense
Singular Plural
I I may I We may
II Thou mayest II You may
ill He may ill They may
Past Tense
Singular Plural
I I might I We might
II Thou mightest II You might
ill He might ill They might
Present Tense
Singular Plural
I I can I We can
II Thou canst II You can
ill He can ill They can
Past Tense
Singular Plural
I I could I We could
II Thou couldst II You could
ill He could ill They could
May means to be allowed, to be possible; chance; as, I may go;
he may come. Placed before its subject, it expresses a wish; as May
you prosper! Can expresses power; as, I can do it. It is also used to
express permission; as, You can go if you like. here can = may. May
and can were formerly used to form what was called the Potential
Must expresses necessity, duty, or certainty of inference; as, I
must be off; You must be wrong; The wells must be dry by this time.
122 Word Building and Verb Formulation
Must does not change for tense, numbr, or person. It is used only in
the Indicative.
Ought is the past tense of the verb owe, to have. It is used as a
present to express duty, and is always followed by an infinitive; as,
I oughtto go; You oughtto have done it. When past time is expressed,
ought is joined to a perfect infinitive; as, I ought to have done it.
Quoth means said. It is used only in the first and third persons
in the past tense, and precedes its subject; as, quoth he. It is now
very rarely used.
Worth, in Woe worth the day, is from worthen to become, and
means woe be to the day. The noun following is in the indirect
Dare: In the sense of to ha ve courage, to venture, this verb has
both dare and dares in the third person, sing. present, and dared or
durst in the past in all persons. When followed by a negative dare
only is used; as, He dare not do it. In the sense of challenge dares
only is used in the third person, sing. present, and dared in the
past; as, He dares you to do it; I dared him to meet me.
Need is a regular verb, signifying require. Like dare it is used
without the final s in the third person present indicative when
followed by a negative; as, He need not go; He needs a rest. Needs
has become an ad verb meaning of necessity; as, I must needs write.
Various Forms of Verbs
The Emphatic form is used to give more force, as a person
raises his voice in speaking. It consists in placing the infinitive of
the verb afte do or did; thus :-
Indicative Mood
Present Emphatic
I Ido love I We do love
II Thou dost love II You do love
rn He does or doth love. rn They did love
Past Emphatic
I I did love I We did love
Word Building and Verb Formulation
love II You did love II Thou didst
ill Hedid love ill They did love.
The Interrogative form is used in asking questions. It consists
in placing the nominative between the auxilary and the verb; thus,
Shall I go?
If there is no auxiliary, do or did is usually placed before the
nominative; thus, Do I write well? Did you here?
An interrogative sentence may also be formed by placing the
verb before its subject; as, Lovest thou me? Said he not so? This old
form is now seldom used, except in poetry, and with the verb to be;
as, Is he here?
A polite request may be made in the interrogative form; as, "Will
you have the goodness to do so and so?"
The Negative form is used in denying. It requires not, or some
other negative.
If there is an a uxiliary, not is inserted after it; as, We will not get
it. If there is no auxiliary, do is usually put before not; as, I do not
wish to go. Not is sometimes simply placed after the verb; as, he
spoke not a word. Not is placed before the infinitive; as, I told him
not to come.
Do is not emphatic when used in interrogative and negative
Parse the nouns and pronouns, and give the mood and tense
of the verbs, in the following sentences :-
I must not do it. Can you lend me your knife? He ought to do his
duty. My father told me that I might go. "Bring it to me," quoth he.
You may go tomorrow. I could give the money if I wished. Did you
tell him to come? You can get it next week. I do not see him.
She may go as soon as she can. May I speak to her? Could you
come tomorrow? Ought I not to let him know? You must be early or
you will have to wait. How can I help you?
If you are so careless no help will be of any use. Any man may
take a horse to water, but no man can make it drink. Boast not
124 Word Building and Verb Formulation
thyself of tomorrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring
If he had said so I should have believed him. If you would lend
me your dictionary, I should be much obliged to you. The officer fell
while leading his troops. We arrived there first by taking a shorter
road. By using false pretences he gained his end, but he suffered for
it afterwards.
Put the following sentences into the emphatic form :-
I like him. He told them. Ask him. I detest tobacco. Bid them go
away. The two boys fought. Come with me. The sun shines. Their
horse bolted. The cock crows early.
Put the following sentences into the interrogative form:-
I shall go. He is there. We have some oranges. Your father paid
him. You like music. She has finished the book. He has received my
letter. They did not understand the questions. There is a tiger in the
jungle. He that sows iniquity shall reap vanity. A merry heart maketh
a cheerful countenance.
Put the following sentences into the negative form :-
He will come. You are fortunate. My brother went away. I am
well. Is he afraid? I have finished my exercise. We found them at
home. He was shot by the enemy. A wise man keeps silent. Tell me
all. The tide comes in slowly.
Correct the following errors :-
Why you come? What they are doing? When the battle of Plassey
was fought? To whom you will give this book? You were absent
yesterday? Why you told my father? Why you tell lies? How the
carpenter does his work? The teacher has come or not? Why you
did come? How then you come here?
Causative Verbs, Etc.
Causative Verbs are those which mean to cause or make. Only
a few English verbs have a causal form; as, rise, causal, raise; fall,
fell; sit, set; see, shew; lie, lay; etc.; The tree falls; he felled the tree.
Word Building and Verb Formulation 125
Some verbs take a causal sense without any change of form; as,
Water boils; He boils the water; Charles ran; The doctor ran a needle
into the boil.
Intransitive verbs become transitive when used in a causal
The causal sense may also be expressed by othe words as, I
made him do it.
The name Factative is given to some transitive verbs which take
one object only,. but require some word or pharase to be added to the
verb to make its sense complete; as, The soldiers made him emperor.
The word emperor is added to complete the sense of the verb, and is
called its Complement. The Complement may be a noun, an
adjective, a participle, a phrase, etc.; as, He set him free; They forced
him togo.
Some intransitive verbs take objects after them of a similar
meaning; as, He fought a good fight. Such objects are said to be
Cognate, because they are from the same root as the verb.
Impersonal Verbs are used in the third person singular; as, it
rains, it thunders, how dark it grows. In methinks, it is omitted and
the pronoun in the objectives is placed before the verb. The meaning
is, It appears to me.
Parsing of Verbs
The following is the order to be observed:- (1)
Conjugation (strong, weak); (2) Kind (transitive) intransitive); (3)
Voice; (4) Mood; (5) Tense; (6) Person; (7) Number ;(8) Relation to
order words in the sentence. If the verb is incomplete its complement
should be named.
"The stone you threw smashed the window."
Threw: verb, strong, transitive, active, indicative, past, 2nd
person, singular, agreeing with its subject you, and governing the
relative which (understood).
Smashed: verb, weak, transitive, active, indicative, past 3rd
person. singular, agreeing with its subject stone, and governing
126 Word Building and Verb Formulation
"To be diligent is wise."
To be ; verb intransitive, incomplete (complement diligent)
forming, with its complement, an infinitive noun-phrase.
Is; verb, intransitive, incomplete (complement wise) indicative,
present, third person, singular, agreeing with its subject to be
One of the wise practices of modem educational methods is to
begin a course "from where the students are now." We may not like
where they are. We may wish they were much more able then they
are. We may even think they will never do the work of the course.
Whatever we think, we should begin, with any particular class,
from where they are now.
And so it is with this course. We need to take inventory of your
needs and abilities. We want to know where you are now in your
progress toward speaking effectively.
Experienced teachers will pretty well know "where you are
now." They know about how much experience a class like yours
has had and about what the inventory will show. But you need to
know something about it too. Therefore, we will find out where you
stand and go on from there. The assignments in this book are built
on the inventories of many hundreds of students. It is likely that
yours will show many of the same strengths and weaknesses that
the others have shown. But we need to find out again, from you. We
need know you.
Remember that you, the speaker, are not exactly like any other
speaker in any other class. As you participate in the work of this
class you get to know your classmates better than you will in nearly
128 Essential Skills of Speech Making
any other course, and they will come to know you equally well. It is
you as a person that we will get to know.
What Dose This Inventory Include?
This inventory includes many of the things that we believe are
important to know in order to help you get the most benefit from
this course. These things include a little about your personal
background and examples of your speaking and reading aloud.
There are six steps in this inventory: (1) your background; (2) the
basic behaviours; (3) the essential skills of speech making; (4) the
essential skills of reading aloud; (5) phonation; and (6) articulation.
Your Background:
It makes a difference who you are. Some people have a
background that may already have helped them become better
speakers than others may ever become. Some may have a background
that has hindered their making progress in speech making. You
might help you become a better speaker.
The Basic Behaviours of Speech:
When you speak, under any circumstances, whether in public
or in private conversation, you have ideas. You formulate them
through the use of words into thought units (usually sentences),
and you express them through the activity of the nerves and muscles
of your body. This action results in vocal tones, speech sounds, and
bodily movements. For convenience of study these actions are
classified as follows:
Adjustment to the Speaking Situation : This involves the
management of the functioning of your entire bodily mechanism
during speech. Speakers who are not well adjusted to the speaking
situation may be ill at ease, unnatural, tense, nervous, hesitant,
uncertain, or unable to speak coherently. The well-adjusted speaker,
on the other hand, is likely to be poised, natural, and calm, and to
speak directly to his listeners.
Formulation of Thought: Single words and words arranged
in thought units, as used by the speaker, are the basic for creating in
the mind of the listener the ideas that the speaker has thought or is
Essential Skills of Speech Making 129
thinking. Inadequacy in this activity is evidenced when the
speaker's continuing thoughts are unrelated, interrupted, or
inconsistent; when his statements are ambiguous, obscure in
meaning, inexact, incomplete, or ungrammatical; when his
vocabulary is limited, inaccurate, or inexpressive; or when his
pronunciation are noticeably incorrect or inaccurate, often showing
a lack of familiarity with the words he is using. Excellence here
means that the speaker's thoughts are related, that his statements
are clear and exact, and that his vocabulary is better than ordinary
Phonation: This includes the production and variation of tones
of the voice and their pitch, intensity, duration, and quality, through
which the speaker expresses variations in meaning.
Pitch refers to highness or lowness of tone.
Intensity refers to loudness of tone.
Duration refers to the length of time a tone lasts.
Quality refers to the individuality of the tone, its clearness,
richness, and pleasantness.
Articulation: This involves the modification of tones of the
voice in forming the speech sounds while speaking. Speech sounds
consist basically of vowels and consonants, which must be formed
in continuous series correctly, accurately, and fluently if the listener
is to understand easily what the speaker is saying.
Essential Skills of Speech Making:
OccaSionally, we find it necessary to speak in public. Public
speaking requires the exercise of certain skills go beyond those used
on conversing. These skills, for purpose of study, are classified as
Choice of Subject : Selection of a general topic or field of
knowledge to talk about to a specific audience.
Choice of Thought: The selection and statement of one specific
phase of a subject that can be adequately covered in the time allowed.
Choice of Material: The selection of experiences, illustrations,
examples, anecdotes, opinions to develop or amplify the specific
thought selected.
130 Essential Skills of Speech Making
Organization of Material: The arrangement of thoughts and
materials in a manner and order best suited to secure and hold the
attention of the listeners and to help them understand and remember
what the speakers say.
Use of Language : The selection of words and their
arrangement into thought units to express the speaker's ideas.
Projection to The Audience: The children and enthusiasm
with which the speaker presents and interprets the meaning of his
thoughts. He must strongly stimulate the listener in order to gain
and hold his attention and to cause him to respond appreciatively.
The speaker's voice is important; his body must be with the full
meaning-the ideas and feelings-of what he is saying to stir the
listener to active participation in the situation and to insure
complete and sympathetic understanding.
Control of Bodily Activity: Controlled posture, movements,
and gestures while speaking. Such activity aids the speaker in
focusing the attention of the listener of the ideas expressed. Bodily
activity must be natural and must not call attention to itself. Some
effective speakers use much bodily action; others use very little.
Rhythm : Fluency in speaking, suitable individual rate of
speaking, appropriate changes in the rate of speaking, and the use
of pauses without noticeable jerkiness, interruptions, repetitions,
or hesitations.
Pronunciation: Choice of the proper speech sounds and their
appropriate combination into syllables and words which are spoken
correctly and accurately, with stress upon the proper syllables.
Voice Control: Control of pitch, intensity, duration, and quality
of voice in the expression of meaning, in relation both to the ideas
expressed and to the understanding of the listeners. Not all speakers
who project well control their voices well.
Essential Skills of Reading Aloud:
It is difficult to estimate the number of times one may read aloud
in public. But think of the oral reading you have heard children's
poems and stories at home, scripture lessons at church meetings,
entertainers at club meetings, or speakers on radio and television.
Essential Skills of Speech Making 131
Although the skills required for reading aloud and for public
speaking are basically the same, each represents a different type of
skill required special study and practice. The basic skills in reading
aloud are as follows:
Choice of Material : The choice of a suitable selection for
reading to a specific audience.
Arrangement of Material: The use of an appropriate
introduction and the use of appropriate transitional and connecting
remarks to give unity to the material read. Arrangement includes
cutting the selection if necessary.
Projection of Thought: Interpretation of the thought content
of the material to give a full understanding of its meaning to the
Projection of Emotion: Interpretation of the underlying spirit,
mood, feeling, and emotional content of the material to insure an
appropriate emotional response by the listener.
For control of bodily activity, rhythm, pronunciation, and voice
control, see the corresponding section above under "Essential Skills
of speech Making."
This is the production of voice. We consider your voice as a part
of your skills in the essentials of speech making and reading aloud.
Now let us think of it for itself. There are four elements which
distinguish your voice from all others: your pitch (the highness or
lowness of your voice), your duration (the length of time you hold a
tone), your intensity (the loudness of the sounds your make), and
your quality. In order to identify voice qualities which are considered
unpleasant or "unnatural," we use descriptive words such as the
1. Muffled: The tones and sound seem to be produced in the
throat. Make the sound 00 as in the word "moot" several times.
Then speak a sentence so that the tones of your voice sound as
much as possible like 00, and you will have a sample of this type of
quality. The tones seem to be throaty, dull, and indistinct.
132 Essential Skills of Speech Making
2. Metallic: The tones and sound s e e r r ~ to originate in the
mouth. Make the sound ee several times. Then speak a sentence so
that the tones of your voice sound as much as possible like ee, and
you will have a sample of this type of quality. The tones seem to be
thin, flat, and without richness; they sound high in pitch. They may
carry well but are somewhat unpleasant to hear.
3. Nasal: Too much nasal resonance, because the breath
stream is directed mostly through the nose, rather than the mouth.
The sound you make has a "humming" Quality about it , somewhat
like the "rna-rna" sound of a talking doll.
4. Denasal: A lack of nasal resonance. For amuselhent, you
can exaggerate this quality by making all m sounds as b, and r
sounds as d. Thus "moon" becomes "bood." "Noon" becomes
5. Harsh: A raucous, unpleasant, unmusical voice whose
tones are more like noises In pitch the tones may be high or low.
6. Hoarse: Husky-A voice which sounds as some voices do
during or following a server cold.
7. Breathy: Breathing noises, as in exhalation, are heard
above the vocal tone. The individual may try to speak as he is
8. Infantile: A baby voice used habitually by one of high-
school age or older.
The production of speech involves breathing, phonation,
resonation, and articulation. The last refers to the way you embellish
your tones to form the identifying sounds of speech.
Now What?
Do you speak effectively? Few students do. The purpose of this
course is to help you to achieve a style of speaking which is as
natural, correct, and effective as possible for you. The pathways
toward achieving this goal will vtary with your needs and abilities,
the condition of your speech mechanism, and the environment form
Essential Skills of Speech Making 133
which you have come. In spite of limitations you can improve you
speech. Here have been many instances of students who have
become effective speakers in spite of initial inadequacies, poor
equipment, and lack of experience.
The first step in improvement is for you to discover and
recognize your needs and abilities as a speaker. We have tried to do
this in the set of six items in your speech inventory. The second step
is to become familiar with the goals you must attain and the
pathways you must follow in attaining those goals. The third step
is to supplant the old undesirable habits with new and more
desirable ones through diligent practice and rehearsal before and
after any speaking experiences for you which will direct you toward
the goals you should try to attain. You must do the rest through
your own unstinted effort.
In addition, you should take the opportunity whenever possible
to hear good speakers and to speak frequently yourself. If you are
thus stimulated by others and stimulate yourself, your improvement't
will be more effectively facilitated. The stimulation received from
hearing or making a good speech may exercise subtle and
unsuspected but nevertheless marked influences on your future
The first principle for you to learn is that there are no rigid,
hard, and fast rules for speaking at all times. The principles stated
in the following pages are submitted as wise principles to be
followed in most speaking situations. You have a greater chance of
becoming a successful speaker if you follow them then if you do
not. When you have become an experienced speakers, astute in
audience analysis, an authority on your subject, and confident of
your success, you may do as you please, but you probably will not
find it necessary to forsake the habits which practice in the use of
these principles has engendered. You may rest assured that they
are sound. They have stood the test of time as well the scrutiny of
scientists and artists.
Recognizing Your Needs Abilities:
In the ratings your instructor made of your inventory
performances, you will probably note more "4" rating than any
134 Essential Skills of Speech Making
other. The reason is that "4" means adequate, and most of the people
are about that.
Do not be surprised, however, it at the outset of this course you
rate a "3" or a "2" in "Adjustment to the Speaking Situation" and
"Formulation of Thought", "choice of Thought," "Organization of
Material," and "Projection to the Audience", and" Arrangement of
Material," "Projection of Emotion," and "Voice Control".
Most students have little trouble with the production of vocal
tones or an acceptable quality, pitch, intensity, and duration. But
about 10 percent of you will have an articulation inadequacy.
Preliminary to making detailed plans for handling the
instructional phases of the language programme. It is assumed that
the teacher has taken certain steps. First, he has selected the
language experiences to be stressed in the grade according to the
apparent needs of the pupils and the course of study and textbook
provisions, and he has considered relative importance. Second, he
has made a working list of abilities and skills needed by the pupils
in carrying on the experiences. Third, he has made at least a
beginning in the diagnosis of the needs of his pupils in experiences
as well as in abilities and skills. And fourth, he has blocked out the
semester's work mainly in terms of major experiences.
At this point the teacher is ready to develop his program by
making plans for handling the various instructional phases. The
program includes both experience phases and ability and skill
phases; both require consideration and planning. The primary basis
for planning is, of course, experiences; abilities and skills are treated
as integral parts of the experiences and as separate phases to the
extent that organized instruction and practice are required for
mastering them.
The first experiences to be considered are those included in the
group "oral communication," consisting of conversation,
discussion, telephoning, and meetings. Oral-communication
experiences are taken up first because fundamental oral abilities
are well developed by the time the child enters school, because oral
work is the basic medium of instruction in the early years, and
because (and this is a point that may not receive the attention it
Essential Skills of Speech Making 135
deserves) habits of oral communication lay the basis for all later
language development. Listening is treated as a phase of oral
The oral communication experiences are characterized by
informality and spontaneity. The objectives are the social purposes
of enjoyment, exchanging ideas, giving information, and to some
extent, reaching a conclusion or deciding on a course for group
action. Informality and spontaneity are encouraged in the spirit
and manner of carrying on the experiences and in the setting of
standards appropriate to them. It is not required, for example, that
children use complete sentences in conversation at all times; and
some slang is acceptable.
The several experiences have much in common and also have
important differences which the teacher will do well to note. Thus,
conversation is very general in purpose; the entertainment feature
dominates. Discussion, on the other hand, has a more definite goal
and follows more rigid requirements in setting up and ,carrying out
problems. Telephoning is sometimes handled as a specialized phase
of conversation, but it has its own language requirements. Meetings
involve several kinds of language experiences, such as talks, reports,
discussion, and written minutes, as well as those especially relating
to parliamentary procedures and courtesy; meeting are treated here
with emphasis on the discussion phase, while the other component
language phases will be treated in later chapter.
Objectives : The first language experience in school is the
informal type which we call conversation. The child learns how to
talk with other people and begins the improvement of basic language
habits, It follows, therefore, that through early school-life
conversation the child may be favourably conditioned toward
language, and that he should begin to acquire the attitudes, abilities,
and skills that will be useful later in all fonns of expression, oral
and written.
Primarily important is the desire, the willingness, to participate.
Shyness, fear of expressing himself orally before others, must give
way to confidence and poise before the pupil can accomplish much
136 Essential Skills of Speech Making
in improving abilities and skills that lead to easy and comfortable
Little Patricia was timid, shy, self-effacing. Her first attempt to
share in the conversation occurred when, in a high, sing-song voice
she announced one morning, "Last night we had pork chops and
my sister came down with the baby." This was a far cry from a
complete statement, yet to Patricia it was important. Questions were
asked to encourage Patricia to feel that she had made an important
contribution: "Did you have mashed potatoes with the pork chops?"
"How old is your sister's baby?" "What is the baby's name?" The
word nephew was introduced, since the baby was Patricia's nephew.
A shy child was showing a little spool doll which she had
made. "1 made this doll while I was at home sick with a cold," she
said. To the children's comments-"That's cute!" "How did you
make it?" "Why did you make the hair blue?"-the child was obliged
to reply. She had to tell how she made the doll and justify the blue
hair. In so doing she felt important and forgot her shyness.
Somewhat late in development is the desire to improve in quality
of expression and the willingness to admit need as well as to seek
help in correcting mistakes. This development comes gradually
under favourable classroom conditions.
Courtesy is closely related to willingness to participate; the
attentive, friendly class and teacher stimulate the speaker. The
courteous speaker does not offend or alienate his audience. The
courteous critic offers suggestions in a constructive, friendly
manner. The courteous listener not only keeps quiet but also follows
the thought of the speaker and shows his attention and interest by
asking stimulating questions and making pertinent comments.
Primary emphasis in the early years is properly placed what is
said-on content. The teacher can aid the pupil in forming a habit
of saying something worthwhile by helping him select a topic within
his interest, knowledge, and experience Children need training in
choosing good topics-such as those which provide opportunities
for expressing personal feeling-and in avoiding catalogues of
events and the trivial and sensational. Another consideration in
choosing topics is limiting them in scope to a single phase-a single
Essential Skills of Speech Making
experience, incident, idea, or feeling. Sheridan says the good topic
is "personal, definite, and brief." At times conversation will be
improved by inclusion of details, so that the whole story is told. In
the primary grades children tend to follow patterns in their
comments and talks, and at times confuse fiction and reality;
therefore, teachers wisely advise children to express their own
thoughts and to distinguish between the real and the make-believe.
Emphasis on sticking to the point may well begin early in the
grades, although gradual growth is recognized as a necessity.
Primary children can give attention to simple sequence by telling
things in the order in which they occurred. Later, some attention
can be given to improving beginning and ending sentences.
The idea that communication involves the expression of a
complete thought is one of the basic language concepts, and the
development of the sentence sense is properly stressed. Although
many incomplete sentences are used in informal conversation,
complete sentences are conventional in more formal situations, such
as talks and reports. Children should clearly recognize and use
sentences; they should be taught to avoid meaningless phrases and
sentences loosely joined by ands. The more mature pupils in the
primary grades can learn to use a variety of sentence constructions.
They can also make a beginning in learning to choose words that
express meaning exactly and to avoid trite, overworked words.
The basic elements of audibility, distinctness, correct
pronunciation, voice control, and possibly phases of audience
contact can be emphasized in the primary grades. Baby talk is not
an uncommon phenomenon that should be corrected by removing
the cause.
Usage should not be emphasized to the detriment of content,
but work on gross crudities may well begin early, particularly on
the use of common verbs. The child should have many opportunities
to hear the correct from, and occasionally incidental correction can
be used.
The teachers of later grades will naturally locate children in
their various stages of development and will begin instruction at
the proper level. Individual differences will be noted at all grade
138 Essential Skills of Speech Making
levels and the necessary adjustments made. Specific techniques for
late development may include talking about pleasant things;
avoiding long, tedious accounts; avoiding personalities; avoiding
a change of topics too abruptly; avoiding debates; and talking in
terms of other people's interests.
Emphasis on Specific Objectives: Although any language
experience involves the exercise of many abilities and skills, not all
of them can be stressed at one time. It is necessary to set up specific
points of emphasis. In discussing the need for specific rather than
general objectives, Brown and Butterfield say:
Instead of specific language aims, such general aims as the
following are often given:
1. Ability to converse easily, agreeably, and effectively.
2. Ability to present facts clearly.
3. Habit of expressing ideas in clear, ready speech.
4. Ability to express one's thought orally to an audience.
5. Ability to respond effectively to an inquiry.
Any such general aims may, of course,. be factored into a number
of specific aims. If the primary teacher makes no further analysis of
the language teaching situation than that she wants the children to
improve in conversation, or that she hopes they may learn to express
their thoughts orally to an audience, there will probably be little
improvement. Without greater focusing of attention she is not able
to plan definite procedures which will make for progress. Her plan
is vague, and her efforts are spread over too broad a field.
In order to insure progress in such a complex subject as
language, the teacher should single out for attention one or more
specific aims and plan each lesson with a definite aim in mind.
If he has not already done so, the teacher may well make a
check list of general and specific language goals and make an
analysis of the status and specific needs of his class and of
individ ual pupils in relation to the broad language experience. The
individual-class record sheet is helpful in this t a s ~ Diagnosis takes
the form of observations and informal judgments of pupils'
performances. The teacher must make a selection of specific goals
from the analysis, using his best judgment in regard to needs and
Essential Skills of Speech Making
order of treatment. In the statement of objectives above, an attempt
was made to suggest an order of emphasis. The wide variability in
pupil capacity and performance requires that individual goals, as
well as class goals, be defined. Children should recognize their
own needs possibly making individual check lists. Recognition of
specific, individual needs will be apparent in the way the teacher
directs the work and in the concentration of the pupils on specific
Finding Purposeful Occasions: Children have so many
experiences in and out of school and they enjoy so much the sharing
of real experiences that the teacher should never be at a loss for
stimulating topics of conversation. Many of these will arise in
connection with various curricular activities, such as the care of the
teeth, a study of how pioneers made clothes, the reading of items in
current newspapers and magazines, field trips, flowers and birds,
books, pictures, and music. Others will arise from children's out-of-
school interests, such as hobbies, movies, pets, sports, and
occurrences in the community. In addition to real experiences,
interesting possibilities for later grades are found in imaginary
conversations among historical and fictional characters, such as
between tourist and guide in Holland, among representatives of
various colonies attending the Constitutional Convention, and
among representatives of countries in a United Nations assembly.
Materials: Most of the material suitable for stimulating
conversation will appear naturally as phases of work in other
subjects and in school and community activities, as suggested by
the topics above. In certain situations, such as in working with
children beginning to learn English, objects and pictures will provide
a basis for vocabulary work and will stimulate conversation; but
even these will be chosen for their value as sources of information
in important curricular areas, particularly the social studies and
nature study. The modem language textbooks, especially those for
the primary grades, contain pictures for conversation. Pictures are
used not only to provide grades, contain pictures for conversation.
Pictures are used not only to provide topics but also to direct children
in developing certain language abilities. For example, in McKee
and Harrison's second-grade book, Let's Talk, a series of pictures
140 Essential Skills of Speech Making
represents narrative episodes in logical sequence, designed to
develop the idea of organization.
Processes in Conversation: A suitable procedure for handling
conversation experiences, in either a single lesson or in a series of
lessons, is the following:
1. Set up a present, worthy occasion.
2. Encourage informal participation.
3. As the period progresses, call attention to the effective
contributions, and list some of the important standards.
4. Have each child select an important goal for himself.
5. Take time to prepare for further participation.
6. Proceed with the experience evaluating each child's
performance in terms of achievement towards his own
The present, worthy occasion is one naturally arising in some
phase of the work, as suggested above under the headings Finding
Purposeful Occasions and Materials, or one especially set up by the
teacher for the purpose of inducing conversation. The teacher may
relate a personal experience; for example, he may tell about the
unusual behaviour of a squirrel which he saw that morning, and
ask, "Have any of you had similar experiences in observing the
interesting and unusual behaviour of animals?" Another topic may
be a recent assembly program: "Did you," asks the teacher, "enjoy
the program? What did you like about it? The show-and-tell period
in the primary grades is productive of spontaneous talk. "Plans for
the Summer" is a pertinent topic as the vacation period approaches.
Hatfield, in the preceding reference, suggests that children
should be permitted to engage in the language experience at once,
without preliminary instruction in goals, ways, and means. As the
conversation period progresses and as interest builds up, the time
arrives when attention may be momentarily diverted from subject
matter to ways of carrying on the conversation. It will be observed
by the pupils that some contributions are better than others. Points
appropriate to the grade and maturity of the pupils are then
discussed and possibly listed on the board. The teacher uses his
Essential Skills of Speech Making 141
di8cretion in guiding the children to chov3e a few key points of
major importance. The enjoyment of the experience for its own sake
is not to be lost in overconcern with technicalities. The instructional
phase will add to, rather than detract from, the enjoyment and
satisfaction pupils derive from good performance.
It may be assumed that work on conversation will continue for
some time, in either consecutive or discrete periods. The listing of
general goals in the early phases of the work will be followed by
analysing individual contributions and by noting individual goals
for improvement. In preparation for participation and in the
experience itself children will profit from concentrating on their
individual goals. The caution regarding the limitation of the number
of goals for anyone child is worth repeating. Efforts toward
improvement and evidence of improvement should be looked for
and rewarded with favourable comment and possibly with
checking on a record sheet. ImFrovement in total performance, not
simply in a single ability or skill, should be observed; participation
should not become merely a practice exercise for the development
of skills and abilities.
The teacher will exercise judgment in the nature and amount of
running comments and suggestions for improvement. Occasionally
a timely suggestion, when an immediate need is felt, is very helpful.
Generally, children should not be interrupted; at the conclusion of
a contribution, specific suggestions for improvement may be in order,
such as the correct pronunciation of a common word or the correction
of a gross crudity of usage. Possibly having a word or correct form
repeated by the child or by the class will not detract from the free
exchange of ideas. The nature and amount of incidental practice
will be determined in considerable part by the temperament of the
individual child and class.
In the report of the lesson that follows, some good points are
illustrated, selecting a topic of interest to the children, sticking to
the point, and allowing only one person to talk at a time. The lesson
is reported by Vera L. White, third grade, Del Paso Heights,
A flood at yuba City provided an opportunity to begin a unit on
watch transportation by means of an informal conversation lesson.
142 Essential Skills of Speech Making
One little boy during a sharing period told the class that his father
had been at Yuba City to help rescue people. The conversation
started from this story.
John My dad offered to go and help save some of those people.
A man called him on the phone and told him to get
someone e l s ~ to go with him, so he did.
David Was he a life saver in the coast guard?
John Well, he used to be, but he isn't now, He just wanted to
Karen Did he go right up to the houses and get the people out?
John Yes, because many people were on top of their tables and
even on top of their houses trying to get saved.
Teacher: Were any other kind of boats used in the flood?
John My dad said they used some kind of rubber boat that was
used in the last war.
Frank What kind of boat d;d your dad have?
John He had a motor boat. It has a motor on the back that is
run by gas. It has a thing that goes round and round and
it makes the boat go.
Judie Did your dad get wet?
John Sure, but he didn't care.
Teacher: Did anyone else go to see the flood? Was anything else
used to save those people?
Patricia: The helicopters worked all day and night. My mother
said some people fell out of the baskets when they were
being rescuhl.
Teacher: That is right.'Some of the helicopters did not have good
baskets to pull the people up in. Connie just came from
Hawaii a few days ago. Would you like to tell us how
you came across the ocean?
Connie : I didn't come on a boat. I came on an airplane.
Children: Was it fun? Were you scared? How long did it take you?
I would like to do that, etc.
Essential Skills of Speech Making 143
Teacher: We are all talking at once, and we decided that it was
better for only one person to talk at a time. (Connie was
very new to the class and did not want to answer all of
their questions)
Teacher: Let's listen to some other pupils who have been in boats.
Freddie: I came from England in a big ship. I was quite little but it
was a great big ship.
Howard : I rode along the Sacramento River in a boat they
called-I can't remember the name of it.
Frank : Was it a yacht?
Howard : Yes, that's what they called it, It had a cabin in it. It
dragged another boat behind it.
Teacher: We are going to have a good time in learning about the
many kinds of boats that are used in transporting people
and goods across the wa ter.
Teachers: I liked the way you boys and girls talked today. I am sure
that everyone heard you. Should we make a list of the
things you would like to learn about boats? Let's use
complete sentences that say only one thing, so that we
can make our meaning clear.
Other Problems : Other problems confront the teacher in
handling conversation. It is desirable, in the first place, to work for
an informal type of situation. In order to get free expression, it is
necessary to reduce self-consciousness. This condition is achieved
largely by the attitude assumed and by the handling of the work by
the teacher and includes such matters as suitable topics, freedom in
pupil choice of topics and in participation, friendly and helpful
criticisms, an expressions of appreciation. The seating of the pupils
in a compact, social group is a factor also; the children should face
one another, and the teacher should participate as a member of the
group. Contributing from a sitting position adds to the informality.
Stimulating the shy child and tactfully restraining the garrulous
one present problems. Timid children appreciate and respond to
attention and approval. The teacher will encourage the shy child
by inviting participation but not by forcing it. The garrulous child
may be restrained by suggesting that everyone should have his
144 Essential Skills of Speech Making
turn, by neglecting to notice imperious hand waving, and by
advising the child to be brief and to the point.
In one primary grade it was the practice several times a week to
invite any child who wanted to take part in conversation to bring
his chair and join the group at the front of the room. The teacher
gave the signal by arranging several chairs in the morning. As the
children came in and observed the chair arrangement, they knew it
meant a conversation period, and anyone who wanted to tell
something joined the group. Others took books or busied themselves
otherwise. It was an adult situation. No hands were raised, but
each child strove to be courteous, to be a good listener, and to speak
plainly, concisely, anet interestingly.
In the general sharing and pooling of ideas during an informal
conversation period, shy children who will not talk from the isolation
of their seats will usually contribute; voices do not have to be raised,
and thQ pupils feel a sense of protection from the physical nearness
of the other children. The loquacious child has to learn that he must
listen or he cannot join the group. In this situation the teacher may
get very close to the children and learn much about the interests of
the group; recurring crudities of usage may be easily noted, and
sometimes gross bits of misinformation are brought to light and
The judicious use of criticism by the teacher is effective. Approval
of worthy effort is also always in order; such approval does not
necessarily have to be for superior levels only, but for any work that
is good for a particular pupil. The heartiness of the approval should
be adapted to the temperament of the particular child. At times,
ignoring obvious faults is necessary to avoid hurting and
discouraging an extremely shy child. The value of class criticism is
open to question. Group approval is a vital force in classroom
behaviour, but the offering of discriminating criticism is something
that challenges even the mature and wise teacher. Some teachers
feel that children, particularly in the primary grades, are not ready
for that responsibility. When such critical comment is permitted,
children should be inducted gradually into its use; it should be
definitely limited in scope. Other teachers report favourable results
from the use of some class criticisms. Observing the effects of class
criticism on a particular class should give the teacher the answer.
Essential Skills of Speech Making
For various reasons, the class is sometimes divided into several
small groups for conversation. These groups provide opportunities
for general participation, which, however, cannot be closely guided;
and they simplify the social situation of the shy child. Teacher
direction may be given to group work by preliminary discussions
and by reports in a checkup period following group work. Sometimes
selected groups demonstrate for the whole class.
Definition: Discussion unquestionably occupies a key position
in the total school program, as well as a prominent place in adult
activities. It is a means for learning in much of the work in social
studies, nature study, health, arithmetic, and art, and in school and
life activities. Discussion in essence is problem solving, the effort to
reach an important understaJ'lding by cooperative class thinking.
Discussion differs from conversation in that it has a definite purpose
or goal. The goal in much of the work is apparent to the pupils as
well as to the teacher. In the so-called informal discussion of the
primary grades, the goal is apparent to the teacher but possibly not
so apparent to the pupils. The procedure is a combination of
conversation and the more rigid procedure of discussion. This type
of discussion is transitional or hybrid. Children need guidance in
the processes of reasoning and they need direct, positive help in
setting up problems and in working out logical solutions.
Appropriate situations and problems arise in many activities of the
school day.
Discussion should be distinguished from argument. In
discussion the goal to the hones attainment of knowledge; in
arguing, the purpose is to defend a position or conclusion already
reached by the participant. Discussion should lead to new and
better understanding; arguing merely strengthens the convictions
of the participants in the soundness of their own original positions.
In discussion there is an open-minded search for all the facts; in
argument, facts not supporting a favoured position are carefully
Key Objectives : The general language objectives apply in
discussion as in conversation and other language activities. These
146 Essential Skills of Speech Making
objectives are basic and important, and provide the teacher with
possible points of attack and emphasis. They are reviewed above
under Conversation, but omitted here to save space. It will suffice
here to consider the key objectives which distinguish discussion
from conversation, in emphasis if not in kind. The clue to
distinguishing they key objectives in discussion is found in its
purpose, i.e., arriving at a sound understanding or conclusion.
In the first place, there must be a definite problem before the
class. Setting the problem will be the responsibility of the teacher in
the lower grades; but progressively through the grades, the pupils
will assume responsibility and gain some ability in setting up
specific problem goals for discussion. The problem may require
exact definition. A second matter for emphasis is sticking to the
point. A certain amount of freedom to change the topic in
conversation is permissible, and even desirable, because it adds
variety and novelty. In discussion, however, diverging from the point
is a waste of time; sticking to the point has purpose and value
because it provides opportunity for acquiring an important ability
in thinking and speaking. The third point concerns tactful
disagreement. Differences of opinion are bound to occur- ,
concerning facts, the interpretation of facts, and the drawing of
conclusions. An attitude of trying to see the other person's point of
view and of toleration for a different point of view should be
cultivated in all situations involving disagreements. The form as
well as the spirit of expressing disagreements is important. In
discussion, in the fourth place, there should be respect for authority.
Pupils need to discriminate between sources and to respect the
statements and conclusions of competent persons. A fifth point for
emphasis involves forming independent judgments based on the
facts and stating one's own convictions. The pupil should learn to
resist the temptation to let other people do his thinking and the
temptation to follow merely plaUSible leaders or even majority
opinion if he sincerely holds contrary convictions. Other possible
goals for the improvement of discussion techniques in later grades
include the abilities to distinguish between important and
unimportant issues, to raise questions and ask for explanations
freely, to avoid repeating what others have already said, to suppress
Essential Skills of Speech Making 147
anger when one's opinions are attacked, to give accurate and
complete information, to obey the chairman, to wait for recognition
before speaking, and to participate but not to monopolize.
Purposeful Occasions: Many natural situations for discussing
real problems arise in various phases of schoolwork, such as
planning a party; deciding how to construct the front of cardboard
store or how to make a panorama; organizing the playground for
play; determining how to keep the playground clean; emphasizing
the importance of care in crossing the street; and investigating why
the rabbit lives in a hole in the ground, what makes an airplane fly,
or what the fireman does for us. There are many fertile suggestions
~ o r discussion which appear in language textbooks which are most
helpful in supplementing the more immediate problems of school
and community life.
Processes : The procedure for handling discussions is
practically the same as that for conversations. First, the pupils must
become conscious of a present, worthy occasion, a problem stated
by the teacher or by the pupils. The problem, of course, is not bluntly
announced as the work for the period but is allowed to grow out of
a consideration of facts and issues in which the reality and
significance of the problem are senses. The problem is defined, if
necessary. Second, the pupils begin the discussion of the problem.
If the discussion proceeds satisfactorily, it is allowed to continue;
but if not, the teacher calls the attention of the pupils to the cause of
difficulty and leads in considering means for improvement. Possible
rules or standards are set up. The textbook, or course, provides
ready-made lists of standards; but such standards will be more
clearly understood and accepted if they are first proposed and
formulated by the pupils. The textbook is useful as a check, however.
Third, the pupils consider their own performances, past or present,
in terms of the standards: they select one or two for emphasis; and
they prepare for further participation, using the standards as guides.
Fourth, the pupils again engage in discussion, now attending to
specific goals as well as to furthering the discussion. Fifth, re-
evaluation is made in terms of progress toward the solution of the
problem and in terms of individual performances. Sixth, the work
is continued in somewhat the same fashion in immediately following
148 Essential Skills of Speech Making
or in later periods, and individual progress in specific abilities and
skills is noted and possibly recorded. During all the work, incidental
attention is given to, and some practice provided on, specific abilities
and skills as needed by individuals.
Problems: Careful planning on the teacher's part is necessary
for directing the lesson in conversation if substantial results are to
be achieved; even more is this procedure obligatory in discussion.
Planning in discussion takes the form of listing key questions to
stimulate and guide the thinking of the class. Planned questions
are also useful to aid the teacher in recognizing profitable leads of
pupils and to throw before the class when profitable spontaneous
questions fail to appear. It is highly desirable, of course, for the
pupils to see issues and supply the questions whenever possible.
Not many key questions are required, possibly only three to five for
a lesson.
Sticking to the point is as difficult for children as it is for adults.
Having a definite problem helps. The pupil speaker or the class
audience may be asked whether a contribution is on the point. Key
questions, with a concise statement of the problem, may be written
on the ~ o a r d for reference. Irrelevancies may be ignored or cirtically
considered, depending on the seriousness of the interruption,
economy of time, and the personality of the pupil.
Worthy contributions are sometimes lost by the failure of the
class to recognize their value or relevancy to the discussion. A good
procedure is to make a progressive evaluation of the contributions
and an oral summary of points or to keep a running log on the
board. A summary may be made at the end of the period: but it is
better to keep a cumulative running log, noting and summarizing
points as made, while the material is fresh in mind.
Pupil leaders for class or groups are sometimes used. Pupil
leadership is stimulating, gives a feeling of class responsibility,
and provides training in group action. To secure smooth working
conditions, it is necessary to give some attention to the discussion
of the duties and responsibilities of the members of the group,
including the chairman, and to learn certain rules of procedure.
This training is even more pertinent to the handling of meetings.
The class under pupil leadership, no less than under teacher
Essential Skills of Speech Making 149
leadership, should be held responsible for substantial
Problems of behaviour and discipline may arise in the
discussion activity when problems vital to the pupils are considered
and when feelings are aroused. Heedless interruptions, personality
clashes, and wrangling may defeat the dual purposes of learning
something and of developing the techniques and habits of orderly,
democratic group behaviour. Setting up an organization after the
pattern of adult organizations and using adult procedures tend to
lend dignity and preserve order. But the teacher at times may have
to perform the functions of a firm but friendly moderator.
Implied in the discussion above is the idea that the class will
work as a unit. However, discussion groups and other subdivisions
such as round tables, panels, and forums may be used to advantage.
These variations will appeal to pupils and teachers in the upper
grades because they add variety and training in adult procedures.
Example of Discussion, Grade 5 or 6 :
Time has been lost by pupils wandering from the point in the
discussion of problems in the social studies. The class is a superior
class, accustomed to participate freely in discussions and to take
responsibility for leadership. The teacher previously has developed
the idea of sticking to the point and has directed class practice
lessons. This lesson is a follow-up.
To improve ability to stick to the point in class discussions.
The teacher wrote on the board three problems growing out of
the study of Mexico:
1. Why are the Mexicans poor now when they once had many
rich mines?
2. How has the United States helped Mexico?
3. What is Mexico doing for her people today?
Essential Skills of Speech Making
The teacher appointed a capable child to act as a discussion
leader on each of the three problems. A research period was given,
during which each child learned something about each problem.
1. If possible, a circle is formed, so that everyone can see and
hear each member of the group.
2. The teacher announces the discussion lesson and has the
pupils recall the need for sticking to the point.
3. The discussion leader of problem I announces his problem
and begins the discussion by commenting on it or by telling
a few of the facts about it. He asks whether there is something
that can be added or whether there is a question. He has
been instructed previously to try to bring everyone into the
discussion and to pick up the discussion when it drags.
The leader must not interrupt unless members are getting
away from the topic. The leader can use various procedures
to bring the class back to the problem, such as :
a. Ask the speaker or the class whether the discussion is
on the topic.
b. Reread the topic under discussion.
c. Ask any number of the group to rise to a point of order
when a speaker wanders from the topic.
d. Encourage any member of the group when in doubt to
ask whether the speaker is sticking to the point.
e. Enter the discussion at the first opportunity and by
comments or questions bring the speaker or the class
back to the topic.
4. When the discussion of the first problem has been
concluded, the problem is restated by the leader and a
conclusion as to whether it was properly solved is drawn
by the class.
5. Through the guidance of the leader, there is a group
evaluation of the class improvement in sticking to the point.
6. The two remaining problems are handled in the same way,
improvement in sticking to the point being noted at the
conclusion of the discussion of each problem.
Essential Skills of Speech Making
The class is divided into four or five groups, and each group
prepares and engages in a group discussion of a topic, giving special
attention to sticking to the point. The teacher moves from group to
group, advising and guiding as need arises.
Telephoning, of course, is not an experience common to school
life. We generally train pupils for the use of the telephone in the
home rather than in the school.
Specific Objective: Training pupils in use of the telephone
provides opportunities for the cultivation of certain desirable social
attitudes and understandings and for the development of important
abilities and skills. They include the following:
1. Formulate the message or inquiry concisely before making
the call.
2. Give your name and state the purpose of the cell.
3. Identify yourself in answering a call.
4. Speak clearly and distinctly.
The use of a party line poses problems of courtesy. A person
makes sure that the line is clear before making a call, and he hangs
up promptly when he finds the lines in use.
Speech and language objectives include brevity, pointedness,
speaking distinctly and slowly, and using a well-modulated tone
of voice. In addition, certain other specific techniques must be
learned : using the directory to find numbers, getting central or
dialling, care of the instrument and its hygienic use, and making
out-of-town calls.
Situations: Since situations in telephoning are generally
situations outside the school, the situation that is set up for learning
in the school is usually a recalled or imaginary situation, adapted
to the level of maturity of the pupils. The situations represent social
uses and include: "
1. Calling mother to see whether one can visit a friend.
2. Receiving a message for some other member of the family.
152 Essential Skills of Speech Making
3. Making an emergency call to a doctor.
4. Reporting a fire.
5. Ordering groceries.
6. Extending and invitation.
7. Expressing thanks for a favour.
Processes: Tht! processes are similar to those for other types of
oral communication but require certain modifications. First, the
occasion for using the telephone may be created by recalling the
uses of the telephone in the home or possibly by setting up a situation
where a pupil must make a particular call for himself or for the
class. Second, opportunity for discussion is provided, adapted to
the particular purpose and to the grade level. In the discussion, a
toy telephone is useful for study and demonstration. Listing steps
of procedure may help. Third, selected pupils may carryon typical,
imaginary conversations before the class. Fourth, there should be
evaluation of specific points by the class. This demonstration and
practice work continues. As a follow-up the pupils may make calls
at home and report experiences to the class, noting good and bad
practices. Especially bad practices may be highlighted by
dramatization or monologue. A representative of the telephone
company may explain and demonstrate, or the class may take a trip
to the telephone exchange. Thus, discussion, demonstration,
dramatization, and reporting are the basic procedures of instruction.
Meetings have a place, even if not a prominent one, in the school
life of children and, of course, in adult life as well. Training in
organized group behaviour not only contributed to the effectiveness
of the children's voluntary, cooperative enterprises but also sets up
situations in which there is a definite and immediate need for certain
types of social behaviour and language abilitiEs. The training
received in meeting techniques should carry over into other types of
group situations involving discussion.
Specific Objectives: Pupil participation in meetings gives point
and emphasis to many of the language abilities and skills,
particularly those of discussion, and in addition involves certain
parliamentary procedures. Specific social objectives in the latter
hssential Skills of Speech Making 153
(lrea include gaining the attention of and addressing the chairman,
making a motion, discussing a motion, seconding a motion,
amending a motion, calling for a vote to end unduly prolonged
d.ebate, voting, choosing officers, presiding, acting as secretary or
treasurer, presenting reports, observing order of business, delaying
action for further consideration, and adjourning.
Specific language and speech techniques concern such matters
as having a point and sticking to it, speaking at the proper time,
gi ving convincing reasons for a proposal, organizing ideas and
presenting them with clarity and directness, proposing tactful
disagreement, avoiding personalities, and speaking clearly and
Situations: Situations should be natural ones growing out of
the organized activities of the children, including class, student
council, and club meetings. Need and desire for improved handling
of the activities provide the motives for the language lesson.
Processes : The general procedure for directing oral
communication experiences applies vary well to the handling of
meetings. The occasion, of course, is provided by some school
activity. Participation follows immediately; or if the teacher feels
that it is necessary, he leads in a preliminary consideration of
organization and procedure. If the meeting proceeds in an effective,
orderly manner, the pupils are allowed to continue without
interruption. Otherwise, time is taken out for providing the needed
instruction and guidance. Children should be thoroughly conscious
of the immediate purpose-which is to secure well-planned,
reasoned action-and of the value of learning useful parliamentary
procedures. They should experience the satisfaction of and gain
confidence from, noting and checking progress in both areas. They
should bear responsibility in proportion to their maturity and
A third grade organized a book club and then nominated and
elected the following officers: president, vice-president, and
secretary. The pupils decided that the duty of the secretary was to
write down the title of each book reported, its author, and the name
of the child reporting it. This information was later on printed on a
litrger chart which hung on the wall and was used by the group as
154 Essential SkiJJs of Speech Making
reference when the pupils wanted to draw books from the library.
The club met every Tuesday for one-half hour. The following is a
stenographic report of a part of the fourth meeting:
President: (After taking her place at the front of the room): The
Book Club will now open. How many have books to
report? Neil, do you want to report first?
Neil (Coming to front of room) : I read a book. Cinder the
Cat. The author is Miriam Blanton Huber. There are
seven chapters. The story's quit good. I think. It's about
a cat.
President: Are there any questions?
Child Is it real interesting?
Neil I thought so.
Child Are the pictures coloured?
Neil Yes, black and yellow. They're quite good.
Child Is it a true story?
Neil No.
Child Is it easy to read?
Neil Yes.
President: How many would like this book on our list?
(The majority votes for it and the secretary records it.)
President: Who else has a book to report? Jack!
Jack (Coming to front of room): I read a story about Tenny
Weeny Town. I can't remember the name of the author,
but I'll bring it tomorrow. It's about what they make
their stuff out of.
Child What stuff?
Jack Well, the top of the ketchup bottle was used for a
washtub. The characters are dunce, a policeman, a
Child (Interrupting): Awa that comes in the paper. It's a comic.
President: Ahy questions?
Child : Did you get it at the public library?
Essential Skills of Speech Making
Yes, It's not a comic.
Are the pictures coloured?
Some of them.
Is it hard to read?
Yes, for me. May be some of you could read it better.
(Class votes this book on the list.)
President: Grant, do you want to report?
Grant I read two books. One was Old Mother West Wmd. It's
about Old Mother West Wind and all her people-
Reddy Fox, Johnny Chuck, Jimmy Skunk, Billy Mink,
and all of them. They all get into mischief. They're all
the little people of the forest. Jimmy Skunk steals eggs
(chuckles) and that's funny. The author is Thornton W.
Burgess. It's very exciting at the end.
President: Are there any questions?
Child Is it hard to read?
Did you get it from the shelf?
Are there pictures?
Yes, black and white, and they're on slippery paper.
President: How many want that book on the list?
(Majority votes for it.)
Grant My other book was Our Farm Babies by a man named
Hamer. It tells all about farm animals and their babies.
Tells how they're first born and about them. The boy's
name is Johnny. He lives at the farm too.
President: Questions?
Is it true?
It could be.
Are there pictures?
Is it hard to read?
156 Essential Skills of Speech Making
Grant No, not very.
President: Do you want that book on the list?
(Majority wants it.)
There reports were, of course, very immature, but the children
were struggling with the problem of telling something about the
story without telling the story itself, which is something of problem
even for adults. Their experience with chapter books had been very
limited. They had only a few stock questions, and replies in some
cases were given without much thought. There were few inquiries
about content. It was, however, the children's own club, and they
were very serious about it. They ran it them selves, and even the
slowest readers were interested and reported easy books from time
to time. Usually the question "Is it hard to read?" Came from some
slow reader, and the reply was given in terms of the reporting child's
capacity. The teacher felt that she could see progress from week to
week in interest, in the number of children who wanted to report,
and in the quality of the reports. She saw definite improvement and
interest in reading. The day before the weekly book club meeting
children were so anxious to finish a book to report that it was not
unusual for some pupils to prefer to read during the art or game
period. It was felt for this reason alone that the project was
worthwhile. Other goals and accomplishments of pupils included
greater ease and poise before the class when reporting; speaking
distinctly; speaking in sentences; vocabulary growth; ability to
answer questions and take criticism; and, of course, greater
discrimination in the choice of books and increased enjoyment of
goods books. In addition to all these points, the project afforded
excellent training in sticking to the point, being a good listener, not
repeating a question, not wasting time, and participating in simple
parliamentary procedures.
Listening as an art is not new in the history of man's cultural
development. Long before he learned written forms, man
communicated his thoughts orally to someone who listened and
who handed them on to someone else. Throughout history masses
of people have been swayed by listening.
Essential Skills of Speech Making 157
The importance of listening as language ability, however, is a
very recent discovery; so recent, in fact, that it has not yet materially
affected classroom practices. The ability has ijeen taken for granted,
apparently under an assumption that as the ~ h i l d matures mentally
he acquires without conscious effort facility in listening, or that
listening facility is acquired as a by-product of other language
experiences. It is now apparent that the child does not learn to
listen well either by growing up or through casual experiences. The
child does not necessarily learn how to listen by listening. The
teacher now proposes to do something about it.
Listening in Life: A strong case can be made for the changed
emphasis on listening by observing the place it has in the
development of the child and in life today. They child's first
language is a listening experience. He gains his first ordered
knowledge of the world through the spoken word, and the spoken
word provides channels for his thinking and patterns of expression.
Learning by hearing continues to be the chief means of learning in
the preschool and early school years. Parents use oral
communication to give children information about food, dress,
manners, and playmates. Inspirational talks on moral values
constitute a large part of religious education. Play activities in peer
groups are carried on largely by means of conversation and
discussion. Thousands of words a day are poured into children's
ears by radio and television. In sum, the dominance of oral
communication is paralleled by the companion activity of listening.
Listening in School: As teachers we have too readily assumed
that children naturally learn to listen just as they learn to walk and
talk. Now, bombarded as we are by radio and television, which
have shifted interest and emphasis away from reading to a
considerable extent, we suddenly realize that a large percentage of
our children do not listen with comprehension, or discrimination,
nor are they above to appreciate or evaluate what they hear. Listening
habits are important. Listening is as much an intake skill as reading.
Both require active participation. Listening comprehension is very
closely related to reading comprehension, usage, and other language
158 Essential Skills of Speech Making
Kinds of Listening: Several kinds of listening can be identifies:
(1) simple listening-telephone conversation, chatting with friends;
(2) discrinlinative listening-animal and traffic sounds, identifying
birds by songs, changes in the teacher's voice to express mood; (3)
listening for relaxation--poetry, stories, records; (4) listening for
information-announcements, answers to questions, listing of
ideas; (5) listening to organize ideas-putting together material from
several sources, discussing findings, summarizing, distinguishing
points made in a speech, illustrating a point; (6) critical listening-
analysing the purpose of a speaker in discussion, controversy, talk
or sermon, and recognizing bias, emotion, exaggeration,
propaganda, perplexity, irritation, etc.; (7) creative listening in the
enjoyment of music, picture, drama-listening to and dramatizing
stories, expressing thoughts or feeling in own words, getting from a
movie an idea for creative writing.
Teaching Listening : The question arises, How can young
children be taught to listen intelligently? Without realizing it, many
teachers have a habit of repeating every directive as often as the
children ask for it. This may be due to nervousness on the part of the
teacher, lack of concentration poor preparation, lack of material-
just putting in time; but whatever the reason, it is a careless habit
and it leads to inattention on the part of the children. Why listen the
first time if the teacher is going to repeat? Many teachers also are
careless about enunciation and tone quality. This puts a strain on
listening, and under the strain young children soon become tired
and inattentive. Why listen if you cannot understand anyway?
Good listening can be taught. First, a pleasant atmosphere
should be established. The class should be comfortable and free
from strain. There must be something to listen to, something
worthwhile. For small children the teacher can tell a story, then,
without repeating any part of it, ask the children to recall the
important events in the order of their occurrence. The important
events can be listed on the board or depicted in a series of pictures
drawn by the children, or the principal characters can be listed or
drawn in the order of their appearance.
In pronouncing spelling words a good rule is to pronounce a
word once, use it in a sentences or phrase, and then pronounce it
LssentJal Skllls 01 ~ p e e c h Making 159
once more, but not again. If this rule is adhered to steadfastly,
practically no child will ask for a repetition or be confused; children
will actively listen.
Games can be used to further develop the skill of listening. In
the Riddle game the teacher takes a pair of scissors from a box, some
coins from his pocket, and an eraser from the blackboard, cuts paper,
lets water run into a jar, etc., and the children, who have had their
heads on their desks, tell what he did. Children love sound riddles.
Lists of certain kinds of sounds can be made to help children identify
and become conscious of certain sounds. The following list was
given by a third grade:
Sounds We Hear in the Spring:
1. Birds singing
2. Rain on the roof
3. Children roller skating
4. A skip rope hitting the sidewalk
5. Water roaring over the dam
6. The grating sound of sand on bare sidewalks
7. The laughing of the brook
8. Flies buzzing
9. Frogs peeping in a pond
10. Baby chicks chirping.
Good remembering goes hand in hand with good listening,
and it is equally important. Ability to remember is largely a matter
of organizing thought and associating ideas, and it can be taught.
Association of ideas, recall, recognition, and retention are important
in the development of a good memory. These abilities should be
taught, not as separate undertaking, but as a part of daily work.
Several means of cultivating memory are noted:
The teacher can discuss with the children vivid word pictures
or sen:;ory impressions. A list of colourful and dramatically
descriptive words can be listed and the children asked to repeat
and use them. Vocabulary building is important here because one
must have words with which to describe what one remembers. In a
talk about a hard windstorm, the third-grade children listed words
160 Essential Skills of Speech Making
that describe (1) the kinds of winds they heard: breeze, hurricane,
cyclone, tornado; (2) sounds the winds made: howling, whistling,
rearing, bumming, singing, moaning, screeching; and (3) what the
wind does: break traces, makes static on radio, blows hats off,
blows clouds, makes windows chatter, makes waves in the river,
rattles shutters, makes dust storms, shakes the house piles snow in
There is also the old familiar game of having children enumerate
all the articles on a table. Several articles relate to clothing-pins,
caps, etc.; several represent food: several show building materials.
The children are shown how to organize the articles into groups.
Training in organization can be provided also by having children
select related words from a list of miscellaneous words on the
In the Directions game, the teacher gives children three simple
directions to follow such as, "Go to the cupboard; take a piece of
yellow chalk, and hop to your seat." Directions should be given
slowly but should not be repeated.
In the music period, the teacher asks the class listening to a
record to hold up one, two, or three fingers to show the number of
instruments or voices they here. At the end they tell the kinds of
instruments they heard.
In music also, children can be taught to hear music in the rhythm
of working machinery-a steam shovel, bulldozer, vacuum cleaner,
motor idling, washing machine. They can make up tunes for the
sounds they hear.
The teacher can give a simple message to a child and see
whether he can deliver the message correctly to someone else in the
Pupils should understand that we spend more time listening
than we do talking, and we gain more information that way than
any other. If we do not listen carefully we do not get accurate
information and repeating information incorrectly often makes
trouble for ourselves and for others.
Thought Units and Sentences:
Language is the basic factor in communication. To be
communicative is to be understood. The degree to which the
audience understands your thought is dependent, initially, upon
the words you use and their arrangement into thought units. The
thoughts of a speaker become clear as they are translated into words
in meaningful combinations. Hence, adequacy in the use of language
is based upon the arrangement of words in sentences.
You should construct your sentences carefully so that each idea
is received by your audience as you intend it to be received. Construct
your sentences so as to give your audience the complete and exact
idea in an emphatic way. Use periodic sentences in which the
important idea comes at the end. They provide opportunities for
vocal emphasis and create suspense. Whenever it is possible, the
words, phrases, or clauses that make up your sentence should be
arranged climactically. When you can, use balanced sentences, in
which similar or opposite ideas are" set off" against one another.
Secure emphasis by separating an especially important idea from
others and placing it in a sentence by itself. Do not place an important
idea in a subordinate clause.
Vary the construction of your sentences by using declarative,
imperative, and interrogative sentences. Use the rhetorical question,
162 Modern Methods Thollgi1t of Language
in which the answer is implied, with your audience supplying it
mentally, if not actually. Use the direct question, the answer to
which must be introduced by you.
Use variety in the length and complexity of your sentences. Use
short sentences more frequently than long ones. Too many
consecutive short sentences, however, make for a broken, choppy
effect. Use simply constructed sentences more frequently than
compound or complex ones. Too many simple sentences. However,
may be offensive to some types of audiences.
You should use acceptable grammar in the formation of your
sentences. Acceptable grammar is that used by the majority of
educated people. You should try to avoid certain errors of sentence
structure, such as incomplete sentenc" (fragments); stringy
sentences (sentences which need to be broken up into smaller units);
choppy sentences (short sentences which need to be combined).
You should avoid excessive coordination of sentences. Do not string
thought units together with "and," "for," "because," "but."
Eliminate these connectives. You should avoid long and involved
You should also avoid unusual sequence, order, and
arrangement in sentence structure. You should avoid using verbs
which do not agree with the subject-"They was (were) going
home." Avoid using the incorrect verb form in relation to the tense
(past, present, future)-"Themail has come" (come). Avoid using
incorrect sequence of tenses-"I planned to have stopped" (to stop).
Avoid using pronouns incorrectly-lilt is him" (he). Avoid using
incorrect contractions-" He don't" (doesn't). Avoid using adjectives
for adverbs-" He did goods (will) as an athlete." Avoid mixed
constructions-"I am not going nowhere" (I am not going
anywhere), "They are as following:" (They are as follows :).
Vocabulary :
The more skilfully your words are selected the clearer the
translation of your thought is likely to be. You should choose words
for the expression of your ideas which are intelligible to
your audience to insure comprehension and prevent
misunderstanding. Choose words with specific and exact meanings
Modern Methods Thought ot Language 163
to insure correct and clear understanding by your listeners. Specific
words stimulate the listener's imagination to a full realization of
your meaning more quickly than general and abstract words do.
You should choose vivid, colourful words in stating your
thought, which will instantly stimulate the imagination of your
audience and help them to visualize your idea in complete detail.
You should choose a variety of words. Avoid using the same word
over and over again. Do not appear to have a limited and narrow
vocabulary. You should feel free to use personal pronouns (I, you,
we), thus placing yourself in a more personal, direct relationship
with your audience.
You should avoid annoying your audience by your word choice.
For example, you should avoid unfamiliar words. You should not
use words and phrases that exaggerate your ideas in an
unwarranted maImer, such as "absolutely" or "beyond a shadow
of a doubt." You should avoid using common, hackneyed,
meaningless expression-"that thing," "and every thing else," " and
something else," "and so forth," "what-you-may-call-it," "day in
and day out," "wheels of time" -lest you be dull, trite, unclear, and
possibly misunderstood. Consider well whether you will use
obscenities, crude slang, or ill-bred colloquialisms in your language.
You want audience approval. How easily do you think they would
be offended? Be sure you know the meaning of the words you use.
Keep a dictionary and a thesaurus close at hand for frequent
reference. You should avoid using too many words and inserting
needless words. Finally, you should avoid the omission of words
necessary to the complete expression of your idea.
You might be more interested in developing your sensitivity
toward better use of language. Here is an exercise which proVides
practice in the use of a thesaurus to choose more appropriate words.
You will need a thesaurus and a dictionary.
Projection to the Audience
The term projection to the audience refers to the process by
which the speaker sends forth his thoughts and feelings to the
listener. It involves the initiation by the speaker, through the use of
his voice and bodily activity, of the sound and light waves which
164 Modem Methods Thought of Language
carry his meanings to that listener. Effectiveness in projection is
dependent upon the degree with which these sound and light waves
vibrate with the full meaning and vigor of the speaker's thought
and feeling. To project well, your bodily mechanism must function
as a dynamic whole.
Effective projection to the audience will influence the reaction
of the audience individually and as a group to the speaker and the
speech as whole. For the response of the audience to be adequate,
good will toward the speaker and general of the audience to be
adequate, good will toward the speaker and general appreciation
and understanding of his speech, its content, and purpose must be
evidenced at its conclusion. The speech itself must be sufficiently
stimulating to get attention quickly and hold that attention easily.
The personal qualities of the speaker, as well as his thought and his
manner of speaking, must have a pleasing effect on his listeners.
The audience must be favourably disposed toward him.
Know Your Speech:
Be thoroughly prepared! You should know your material, what
it means, and what its implications are. If you do, you will speak
with spontaneity and abandon. You will not be troubled with having
to think of what to say next. You cannot be uncertain about the plan
and content of your speech and project well.
You Attitude is Vital:
You should have wholesome, positive, dynamic attitude that
can be characterized as follows:
1. You should be confident of yourself and of your success.
This is not egotism.
2. You should appear interested in your subject, your
audience, and the task before you. Audiences like the
confident, interested speaker.
3. You should strongly desire to stimulate the thinking and
reactions of your audience.
4. You should be intent upon accomplishing the goal you
have chosen for your speech and eager to share your
thoughts and experiences with your listeners.
5. You should be active, full of life and vigor-not passive,
inhibited, or unwilling to "let yourself go."
Modem Methods Thought of Language 165
6. You should be friendly, pleasant, and courteous.
Personal Characteristics and Behaviour:
Your personal characteristics must be attractive to the audience.
They like to see you well groomed, wearing clothes appropriate for
the occasion. If you are Sincerely speaking to project to your
classmates, dress as you choose. How will you choose?
The audience likes your conduct on the platform to be in good
taste, friendly, courteous, and well mannered. They like to see you
poised and dignified, exhibiting mastery of yourself and of the
situation and showing confidence in your success, but not giving
impressions of overconfidence, smugness, or conceit. Audiences
like a speaker who is actively interested, energetic, and excitedly
alive, but not tense and nervous; who is rather relaxed and
comfortable, but not unconcerned or careless.
They want to hear and understand easily. They will, if your
voice is pleasing and sufficiently loud, but not so loud as to call
attention to itself. They want your prolongation to be sufficiently
correct to be acceptable and sufficiently distinct to be easily
understood; your language, in addition to expressing your ideas
clearly, in good taste; your bodily activity integrated with the thought
and feeling as you express it and appropriate to the situation, not
full of distracting random movements.
Audience gain impressions from the moment you first appear
until your retire. Hence, when you are seated on the platform, they
prefer to see you sit straight, usually with your legs uncrossed.
When you are introduced by the chairman, rise, acknowledge the
chairman with a nod and a smile perhaps, and proceed to the
speaker's stand or near the centre of the platform. Take a position
before beginning to speak, pause, address the chairman and
audience, and look directly at your audience as you speak your first
sentence rather slowly, distinctly, and loudly enough to be heard
easily. At the conclusion of your speech pause, take a step backward,
walk to your seat, stop, face the front, pause, and sit down. Do not
fall or slump into your seat. Keep your eyes on the chairman and
audience for a moment, then relax, but sit erect and be inconspicuous.
166 Modern Methods Thought of Language
Communicate with Energy and Enthusiasm:
You should be communicative. Speak with "a lively sense of
communication," that is, with:
1. an eagerness that is exhilarating,
2. a natural enjoyment that is charming and catching,
3. an evident but spontaneous muscular energy that is
4. a released inherent enthusiasm that is contagious,
5. a sincerity and earnestness that are unquestionably
6. a depth of belief that is persuasive,
7. an emphasis and force that are irresistible, and
8. a warmth that is personal.
Amplified Conversation:
To be communicative, you must be conversational, but let your
speaking manner be that of amplified conversation. In one sense, it
should be loud conversation. Whatever constitutes polite
conversation when amplified to fit the situation is the basis of
communicativeness. Remember that when you make speech, it is to
a number of people as an audience. Hence, the conversational
manner suited to the "drawing room" simply will not do on the
public platform. You are warned therefore that you cannot project
well if you are too conversational, too quiet, or too easy. Your
speaking manner must be sufficiently intense to stimulate the
listener's complete attention.
Make it a point to talk to your audience, not at them. Speak each
idea directly to them as if it were a personal matter. Look at them.
Face them. Keep direct eye contact with them. Avoid a constant
"looking-about" from side to side, to floor, to ceiling, to speaker's
stand while you are speaking. Not only will this mannerism annoy
the audience, but it will also cause you to lose their attention.
Adapting to Changing Conditions in the Situation:
To please your audience, you would do well to adapt your
speech (as it develops), your style of presenting it, your behaviour,
Modern Methods Thought of Language
and your manner to changing conditions in the situation. Your
audience will respond with their attention in spite of distracting
and disturbing factors which may occur. Sometimes their attention
will lag. If it does, you must regain it. Sometimes you can do this by
being more intense in projection. Sometimes it is necessary to
introduce more and perhaps different but related illustrations,
anecdotes, instances, and circumstances that you had originally
planned to use. They must be especially interesting and stimulating
to the immediate audience.
If the audience is uncomfortable, what can you do? If the
ventilation of the room is bad, have doors and windows opened. If
the audience appears to be suffering from the cold and windows
are open, have them closed, if convenient. If the program has already
been long and the members of the audience seem tired and restless,
some speakers have them rise, stretch, and relax, or they use some
other method to accomplish the same result where the situation
will permit it. If persons are standing in the room and seats are
available, you might ask them to be seated before you begin vour
speech. Speak loudly enough so that all may hear easily. If the
audience is extremely fatigued, listless, or uncomfortable, shorten
your speech rather than continue at length under such
Audiences are affected by disturbing factors-When things
happen your audience will respond favourably to you if you give
evidence that you have complete control of the situation, that you
are not irritated or upset. If a sudden humorous incident occurs,
laugh with the audience. Allow them to respond to the incident
occurs, laugh with the audience. Allow them to respond to the
incident fully, then turn the incident to your advantage, if possible.
If sudden noises occur, such as train whistles, a passing fire engine,
shouting, and the like, pause for a time, perhaps comment upon the
disturbance, repeat your last sentence or two, then continue. If certain
members of the audience "heckle" or interrupt you, respond with
sincerity, good nature, and good taste, turning the incident to your
advantage and thereby increasing the sympathy of the audience
toward you. If your audience evidences coldness, prejudice, or
enmity toward you, win them, if possible, by a direct appeal for fair
play and open-mindedness. Sometimes you may effectively use an
indirect approach in which you present inherently interesting facts,
168 Modem Methods Thought of Language
anecdotes, or comments which are in themselves absorbing and
stimulating and which capture attention.
If you make errors or incorrect statements or have trouble in
getting under way or in saying what you mean, make the correction
that should be made, perhaps beg the pardon of the audience or
make some other appropriate comment, and proceed. Do not allow
yourself to be disturbed such things occur.
The audience will like it if you give the impression that what
you do and the way you do it arises naturally out of the situation,
your idea, your feelings, and their reactions.
Speak Up! Speak Up! Speak Up!
This is the key to effective communication with an audience. It
takes energy. It is characteristic of enthusiasm. It gets and holds
attention. It is one of the first and most important speaking habits
for you to acquire.
Control of Body Language
Body Language While Speaking is a Natural Occurrence:
It is not an artificial technique to be acquired, to be used only by
flowery orators. It is an inherent skill that you yourself possess.
Bodily action while speaking, both gross and refined, occurs as you
project your thoughts and feelings to your listeners. It arises from
those thoughts and feelings, as well as from the reactions of your
immediate audience.
Under normal conditions, in simple speaking situations where
ordinary conversation occurs, bodily activity is natural in the act of
speaking and is adequate. In public speaking situations, however,
it must be kept under constant control and used objectively and
purposefull y.
Though bodily action is naturally involved in projection to the
audience, it is importance in speech making warrants its emphasis
as separate technique in the total process of stimulating an adequate
audience response. Hence, control of bodily activity is treated here
separately as an essential of speech making.
Importance of Experience:
Use bodily activity freely from the very beginning of your practice
in speech making. Use it with abandon. Have little concern, for a
Modern Methods Thought of Language 169
time, about "how you look" or whether the action is appropriate-
just use it. Lose all of your inhibitions and self-consciousness as
soon as possible.
The first step is to release the bodily action that is natural for
you and that you hesitate to use because of lack of experience. The
second step is to learn to control that action and make it purposive.
In other words, your first job is to become able to use your own
natural gestures comfortably when you want to use them before an
audience, rather than to be concerned about when, how, or how
well you use them. You will discover that if you follow this advice
you will receive very little criticism and that you will need very
little instruction in bodily action. Suggestions from your speech
teacher may be helpful to you, but they cannot substitute for extended
experience in making gestures while making speeches.
It should be very clear to you that effective bodily action is more
a product of wide and varied experience as a speaker than of specific
instruction or drill.
The Whole Body:
The human body is whole. It functions as a whole. It functions
best as a whole. Its nature and condition not only influence, but
may actually determine its behaviour continuously or at a given
moment. For example, the type and extent of action used by men
while speaking is quite different from that used by women. Men
customarily use more action and broader and more forceful action
than women.
Bodily activity includes posture, movement, gesture, and facial
expression. All are simultaneously related to the thought and feeling
of the speaker at the moment. Each is dependent upon the other.
Though they may be studied separately, they must, nevertheless, be
considered as a whole.
Movements of the parts of the body-the arms, hands, legs,
head, face, eyes-arise from, individuate out of, and are a refinement
of total or gross bodily movement. A program of individual training
in control of bodily activity might best proceed, therefore, as follows:
1. development of appropriate posture;
2. control of gross bodily movement-walking, broad
170 Modern Methods Thought of Language
3. techniques of platform movement-controlling bodily
weight, use of legs and feet;
4. techniques in the use of the arms and hands to stimulate
the listener and the audience to respond most completely;
5. control of head movements;
6. control of facial expression; and
7. control of eye movements.
Control Posture;
You should have a good posture. The position of your body,
standing or sitting, should allow your mascles to function normally
and with ease. There is no single posture suited to all speakers but
you should be guided by the following: Your posture should be
comfortable. The muscles of your body should not be stiff or tense
while speaking. They should instead be comfortably relaxed. Your
posture should aid you in looking your best. Good posture is the
basis of poise. It is an important factor in the impression that you
make on your audience. Your posture should facilitate a free and
easy functioning of your breathing mechanism and facilitate free
and easy bodily movements in walking about the platform and in
Experiment with the following developing your best possible
platform speaking posture:
1. Stand tall!
2. Stand on both feet with your weight equally balanced
between them.
3. Keep your legs straight but not stiff, your knees relaxed.
4. Keep your shoulder, back, and neck muscles relaxed-free
from strain and tenseness.
5. Allow your arms and hands to hang naturally at your sides.
6. Have your head up and your chin in, with no tenseness.
You should avoid the following:
1. standing with too wide a base, your feet wide apart.
2. throwing your weight completely on one leg, thereby
appearing unbalanced.
3. leaning from your waist toward the audience.
4. leaning backward with your weight on your heels.
Modem Methods Thought of Language
5. folding your arms across your chest.
6. holding your arms tightly behind your back.
7. placing your hands on your hips.
8. keeping your hands in your pockets continuously.
Control Bodily Movement:
You should control your bodily movement. You may wish to
move about the platform. Such movement is probably wise if
occasioned by the situation. You may desire to change your position
so as to relax, rest yourself, rest your audience, and increase the
attention of your audience. You may desire to change your position
to indicate transition of thought atthe completion of the development
of a portion of your speech. You may wish to move toward the
audience in order to be more emphatic.
If you move, you should do it gracefully but naturally. You
should step first with the leg toward the direction in which you are
moving. Your weight before you move should be carried by the
other leg. Make your movements decisive. Do not creep or side-step
when you want to walk about the platform. Take natural, positive
steps. Avoid unmotivated movement about the platform, movement
that is not occasioned by the situation. Avoid mechanical movements
that appear to be planned-so many steps one way, so many steps
another. When in doubt, stand still.
Control Gestures:
You may wish to use gestures. Effective gestures will aid you in
projecting your ideas. Gestures help to get and hold attention. Since
the arms and hands are the principal agents of gesture, you should
note the following:
1. Your gestures should be in harmony with the thoughts and
feelings that you express. They should vary in nature,
duration, and intensity as your thoughts and feelings vary.
2. Your gestures should supplement adequately the vocal
expression of your thoughts and feelings. They should not
be overdone, neither should they be slighted. Each gesture
should be a full gesture, completed and finished. Your hand
and arm should not be just held up, then dropped. Let your
gesture actually aid you in expressing your thought and
172 Modem Methods Thought of Language
3. Begin your gesture" of the moment" as you begin speaking
the thought to which it is related. Let it develop as that
thought and the feeling associated with it develops. Let the
gesture actually help to focus and hold the attention of the
listener. This will aid you in being clear, being emphatic
and in bringing the expression of your thought and feeling
to a climax.
4. Your hand and arm gestures should be natural, graceful,
free, and easy. They should be smooth and rhythmical rather
than abrupt and jerky. Each gesture should seem to flow
into the next.
When your gestures are natural, the whole arm should be used
and should be used as a whole. That is, as the speaker uses his
whole arm, the listener should not notice movements of the shoulder,
elbow, writs, or fingers separately. Although the whole arm is used,
it should not be completely extended in gesturing. Some restraint
should always be used. The shoulder, elbow, wrist, and fingers
should be relaxed and flexible, not tense or stiff. Movements of the
hand and arm should proceed away from the center of the body.
Hand and arm movements should follow curved lines-the wrist
should lead the hand.
Practice the use of the basic types of "hands" in gesturing.
The Pointing Hand: The index finger is straight and strong;
the rest of the hand is clenched somewhat tightly. This "hand" is
used for directing attention to ideas as well as things. It is used to
identify, to indicate location, and to give a sense of direction. It is
used to "point up" as well as to emphasize. This type of gesture is
usually an active one, often vigorous. The finger and hand should
not just be held up and then dropped. Both hands are not used
The Giving Hand: The "hand" is open, palm up. The fingers
are fully extended. This "hand" is used in giving and receiving
symbolically as well as actually. You give or take an idea as you
give or take an object. This "hand" may accompany generalizations,
appeals, interrogations, requests for consideration, attitudes of
agreement, or the making of admissions. It is sometimes used to
suggest enclosing, encircling, or encompassing. Both hands, right
and left, are used in coordination, sometimes simultaneously. This
"hand" is not usually a vigorous gesture, but it is an active one.
Modem Methods Thought of Language 173
The Covering Hand : Like the giving hand, this "hand" is
open and the fingers are fully extended, but the palm is down. The
speaker may use this "hand" to indicate covering, quieting,
subduing, pressing down, putting down, things beneath,
encompassing, or saying "no, no." It is not usually a vigorous
gesture. Both hands may be used coordir,ately and simultaneously.
The Repelling Hand: This "hand" is open and bent up at the
wrist, with fingers fully extended and the palm toward the audience.
It pushes away, repels, gets rid of, denies, forbids, nullifies,
abrogates, cuts off or cuts down, abhors, protects, or protests. It is
an active gesture, vigorous at times, with either hand used
occasionally and sometimes both simultaneously.
The Clenched Hand : This "hand" is a closed fist. It is the
most vigorous of gestures and expresses the strongest feelings. It
pounds for emphasis, exhibits strength and force, and indicates
opposition. It may symbolize courage, determination, anger, h ~ t r e d ,
or revenge. One or both hands are used. It is an active gesture.
You may use your hands in gesturing in ways other than those
described above, but for the most part your "hands" will be of these
specific types or will be variations closely identified with one or
more of them.
If you rehearse these types of "hands" appropriately, improved
habits of gesturing can result. Your gestures may thus become less
random and careless. Mannerisms, if you have them, will tend to be
minimized or eliminated. With improved habits in the use of the
basic types of "hands," your gestures will tend to be more objective
and meaningful. You, as a person, will appear more coordinated,
more poised, and more refined.
The danger is that in rehearsing these "hand" improperly your
gesturing habits may come to be mechanical. You can avoid the
mechanical by using a practice method which permits you to grow
into the new habit instead of trying to acquire it all at once. In such
a method, you practice first the gross or general form of the gesture.
Then, through criticism and further practice accordingly, you refine
the particular gesture into natural behaviour for you.
Control Head Movements and Facial Expression:
Head movements and facial expression are inherent in the act
of speaking. They are spontaneous, natural, and adequate when
174 Modern Methods Thought of Language
the speaker is uninhibited. During speech making they may need to
be controlled.
Head Movements: Your head movements (front to back, side
to side, rotating) in speech making, to be effective, must be used
selectively and purposefully. They should not be random
movements. They should be coordinated with your bodily
movements and your hand and arm gestures. Your head movements
can aid you in focusing attention, in expressing meaning, and in
being emphatic. As in the case of your hand and arm gestures, your
head movements must be timed just right.
Facial Expression: Your facial expression can be a major factor
in your effectiveness. If you do not have a mobile face, if you are
habitually "dead-pan," you should develop facial flexibility to the
extent that it readily reflects in a natural way your thoughts and
feelings and supplements strongly their vocal expression. To be
effective, your facial expressions must be clearly and completely
meaningful but not conspicuous in themselves. They must be
purposeful, spontaneous, natural, and suited to your face and
personality. They must not be random, meaningless, or out of
harmony with what you are saying. Controlled facial expression
helps to focus and hold the listener's attention. It adds depth,
richness, and personal intensity and vitality to the vocal and bodily
expression of your thought and feeling.
Although facial expression should be developed as a whole,
you should give specific attention to the use of your eyes, your
brows, and your lips. You should be certain that they are responsive
to the mood, feeling, and emotional aspects of what you say as you
say it. If not, practice to make them so. Also, be certain that you have
no mannerisms of facial movement that will prevent them from
responding freely to your thought and feeling as you experience it.
Sometimes it is a good idea to practice in front of a mirror, to
study and experiment with your facial movements as you speak.
Practice a smile now and then. Audiences like to look at speakers
who seem to be pleased to be speaking.
It is best to have your face as well lighted as possible while you
are speaking in order that you facial expressions can be easily seen
by the audience as well as appropriately highlighted to insure full
Modem Methods Thought of Language 175
Adapt to the Speaking Situation:
You should adapt your bodily activity to the speaking situation
and control it accordingly. The more informal the situation, the
more informal your behaviour should be, but always within the
requirements of good taste. The more formal the situation, the more
formal your behaviour should be, but avoid being too formal.
The kind of action needed will vary with your audience and
the auditorium. Broad action is required for large mixed audiences
and more refined action for smaller, more select audiences. The
amount of action needed will vary with your audience, its size, its
physical condition (fatigued, fidgety, and so forth), its emotional
state (sympathetic, prejudiced, and so forth), and your own
emotional state. Use more action for large, fatigued, or prejudiced
audiences or on festive occasions. But use less action for small,
alert audiences or for audiences gathered on solemn occasions.
Usually, as tension increases, you use a greater amount of action
and use it with more intensity. Use neither too much ne. too little in
any case. Keep yourself under control and use gestures selectively.
Common Faults:
You should beware of certain common faults in using bodily
action: You should avoid unmotivated action-action that has no
reason or purpose. Unmotivated action detracts from your
effectiveness. Action should aid you in projection of thought and
feeling or be omitted. You should as a rule, avoid extreme or unusual
action. Keep some reserve. You should avoid gesturing with the
forearm only or with the elbows close to the body. You should avoid
indefinite, continuous movement and gesture, such as flipping your
hands or pawing the air. Make your gestures specific, clear-cut, and
decisive or omit them. You should avoid giving the appearance of
gesturing at stated intervals, of using a gesture because it is in a
good place and because you think you ought to use it there or because
you rehearsed it there. You should avoid gesturing across your
body. Use your right hand for gestures to the right, your left for
gestures to the left.
You should avoid certain annoying mannerisms which may
detract from your effectiveness: playing with your clothes-pockets,
buttons, necklace, necktie, handkerchief; playing with objects-
notecards, pencils, rings, watch, chains, pens, keys, money, the chair,
176 Modem Methods Thought of Language
the speaker's stand, the desk; playing with your hands or your
fingers; stumbling, shuffling your feet as you walk, bumping into
furniture; looking out the window, at the ceiling, or at the floor
(semiprofile positions); pacing the floor. Don't appear restless by
rising on your toes or heels continuously or swaying back and
forth. Do not stereotyped gestures and never use the same gestures
over and over again.
Rhythm in speech making refers to the flow of the speaker's
thought and language through vocal presentation. A speaker who
is superior in rhythm speaks fluently, smoothly, and effortlessly;
there is a "forward-moving" continuity in his thought and language.
At the other extreme is the one who speaks with effort and, regardless
of how hard he tries, is unable to make his speech mechanism
function with a "forward-moving" continuity. He lacks the timing
necessary for the integration of its parts.
Inadequacies :
Listeners become award of and are disturbed by the following
inadequacies : jerky, irregular speaking characterized by the
repetition of sounds, syllables, words, and even whole phrases;
unusual pauses and hesitation inappropriate as to place, frequency,
and length of occurrence; vocalizing of pauses in which the sound
"uh-uh-uh" or "ah-ah-ah," "for-uh
}; voice patterns of pitch,
intensity, and rate in which identical voice inflections are repeated
regardless of the thought being formulated; sudden utterance of
phrases, words, syllables, or sounds that are unnatural and
inappropriate at the movement.
If your speaking is characterized by any of these inadequacies,
your effectiveness cannot help but be noticeably impaired. Your
awareness of them is necessary for the most rapid improvement. It
is important to recognize that you can improve the effect of your
speaking by making it more fluent.
The language teacher needs to arrive at an understanding of
the basic principles underlying his practice. Basic principles
concern the place that language occupies in the life of the child and
the adult, the nature of language, the growth and development of
the child and the processes by which growth and development are
facilitated, the significant factors that contribute to language
development, the general curricular program of work, the
differentiation of work to meet individual differences, and the
techniques and procedures essential to the implementation of the
program. Because philosophy and psychology inherently relate to
every practical problem of curriculum and teaching, they are best
considered in the situations to which they naturally apply. The
basic principles are summarized here, however, for emphasis and
review and to help raise teaching above the level of mere pattern
The study and practice of teaching are threatened at two
extremes. At one, the student teacher is occupied with abstract
generalizations which, because of his inexperience, he vaguely
conceives and indifferently applies. Knowledge of this kind has
little effect on what the teacher actually does. At the other extreme,
the student teacher is primarily occupied with acquiring a set of
fixed patterns and with using them more or less mechanically. If the
178 Approaches Methods in Language Communicatio11
pattprns are adaptable to the particular situation, he may do a good
job for a time. But situations vary and times change; inflexibility
results in inefficiency, helplessness, and stagnation. If a teacher
makes a choice, perhaps the second evil is to be preferred to the
first. But choice may not be necessary; it may be entirely possible for
the student teacher to gain a command of practical techniques and,
at the same time, an understanding of the basic principles upon
which the techniques are based. This double grasp results in
teaching on a high level.
Importance and Significance : The primary functions of
language are communication, self-expression and thinking. These
functions appear early in the life of the child as inarticulate cries
and gross bodily movements expressing demands for attention and
feelings of satisfaction and dissatisfaction. As the child matures,
gestures, facial expressions, and sounds become more specialized.
The expression of feeling and meaning becomes more exact: words
express and communicate more accurately and economically than
cries an gestures. The command of words and groups of words
grows with practice and with the complexity of ideas and reactions
to be expressed. The communication function is obvious. The use of
language as a means of clarifying ideas and feelings is equally real,
if not so obvious. Language is a means of clarifying perception, of
discovering likenesses and differences in thing observed, of forming
general ideas, and of discovering relationships. One deals with
symbols rather than concrete experiences.
The operation of the communication and thinking functions is
observable in the preschool year and throughout the school life of
the child. These function lay a broad foundation on which to base
of language program having far-reaching implications as to contact
and procedure.
Collateral to thinking and the expression of ideas are two other
functions, related and implied. In the first place, it is to be observed
that communication and thinking, as do most other personal
activities, necessarily concern other people. Language is a social
act, a means of adjustment to and control over other people. The
entire process of socialization is largely a process of language
development. In the second place, command of language is an
Approaches Methods in Language Communica lion 179
important factor in the development of the total personality of the
child. Command of language gives a feeling of confidence,
satisfaction, and security in meeting many life situations. Such
mastery is a wholesome influence that affects the whole life of the
Nature of Language: The teaching of language is primarily
conditioned by the nature of the subject. Language is, concisely, the
manipulation of experience by the use of symbols. It may be observed
that the involved symbolism is purely arbitrary, as shown by the
existence of different words in different language to express the
same idea; that words stand for certain concepts based on the direct
or vicarious experience of the speaker or writer; that words have
meaning to recipients only to the extent that they recall or are
interpreted by similar experiences; and that growth in language is
at once growth in experiences and g r o w ~ in control of the symbols
which stand for experiences.
Other significant factors in the nature of language concern the
interrelation and the interdependence of language functions
(thought, self-expression, communication) and of language
experiences (speaking, writing, listening, and reading). A language
experience, such as conversation, may include storytelling,
discussion, explanations, directions, asking and answering
questions, and introductions. In writing a letter, one is concerned
with describing incidents, telling anecdotes, giving information, or
asking for facts. Particularly significant is the fact that in schoolwork,
oral and written experiences are combined and discussion often
proceeds writing, in the primary grades, the oral telling of a story
precedes its writing.
Significant also is the complexity of the learning situation as it
embraces the various attitudes abilities, and skills which are
consciously or unconsciously employed in carrying on language
experiences. In a given experience such as storytelling a child selects
content, builds to a climax by relating a series of incidents in a
logical or psychological order, chooses appropriate words and
phrases, uses a variety of sentence patterns for interest and force,
cultivates voice quality, pitch, and modulation, practices
pronunciation and enunciation, and acquires a favourable or an
180 Approaches Methods in Language Commlmication
unfavourable attitude toward oral participation. All these important
elements of language experience a:'e progressively strengthened or
weakened according to the concrete situations involved. Attitudes,
such as a desire to be effective and a willingness to work on
particular weaknesses, are essential to growth in language skills
and abilities. Vividness and force are directly affected by variety of
words and sentences. Content is conditioned largely by choice of
subject. Organization depends on content.
The concept of language as a learning task, then, is a complex
of interrelated and interdependent experiences and elements, in
which growth proceeds simultaneously but in varying degrees,
dependent on points or particular emphasis and interest. If the
various elements could be isolated and developed separately,
teaching would be relatively simple. Isolated treatment results in
improvement in specific elements but frequently makes little change
in total performance. The teacher's job in handling elements is to
direct growth in a single element or ability while keeping it in its
proper relationship to other abilities and to the total language
situation of which it is a part.
Growth in Language: Complexity characterizes language in
early stages of development, as well as at mature levels. Complexity
appears in the evolution of kinds of language experiences and in
their component elements. The order of development of language
experiences and in their component elements. The order of
development of language experiences is in part vague, but it is
obvious that the first experience to appear is oral communication
as the infant attempts to make known his needs through cries,
gestures, grimaces, and words. The first language efforts are
practical and utilitarian in purpose, relating to food, comfort, and
When immediate physical needs have been met and a degree of
maturity reached, the child becomes absorbed with the intriguing
task of making the acquaintance of a great variety of things. What's
dat? is asked frequently. Inquiries concern animals, cars, people,
houses, trains-all sorts of novel objects and experiences. Asking
questions is the characteristic type of language activity at this stage.
Approaches Methods in Language Communication 181
"The three-year-old asked 376 questions and the four-year-old 397
questions during the day." In inquiry, the emphasis shifts from use
of language for communication to the use of language for thinking.
The child is struggling to identify the various objects in his
environment, to bring order into a confusing world of sight, sound,
smell and feeling. In this explanatory-naming stage, which
continues for some years, the child's vocabulary is composed largely
of nouns. "At two years there is a high proportion of nouns (50 to 60
percent)." Gradually, with increasing maturity and wider
experiences, the child's concepts become more clearly defined, and
ideas of take shape. Thus, as the dog, horse, and cow
are distinguished and identified, the bow-wow ceases to be any
four-legged animal; the train says too-too; the dog runs : flowers are
pretty. Correspondingly, language changes. Other parts of speech
appear: descriptive words (adjectives and adverbs), action words
(verbs), connectives, and pronouns. Growth in the uses of these
various parts of speech goes on simultaneously. Anderson says,
II All phases of language development proceed at a fairly uniform
rate. This indicates that language is learned by wholes, rather than
by isolated and individual response, and that the relative proportion
of parts of speech is fixed by one general language pattern." Words
in phrases soon follow the use of single words, as in Tommy cold.
The verb is finally added and the sentence form takes shape: Tommy
is cold, The dog barks. At first, sentences are predominantly simple
: declarative, interrogative, and finally imperative; but the complex
and compound sentences are used early.
It would seem that another kind of language experience which
begins to take shape early is dramatic play. The first manipulating
of objects is probably purely mechanical in nature; but soon the use
of materials with a purpose seems to appear, as in loading a truck,
I:\oving blocks, or constructing an airport. Words accompany
actions. Dramatic play becomes more complex and social when
several children play together. Children express in action and words
ideas about phases of life which interest them: preparing food,
taking cared of a baby, storekeeping. Further differentiation in kinds
of experience performed appears with increasing maturity and the
response to the demands of life in and outside the school.
182 Approaches Methods in Language Communication
It is also apparent that growth in performing an increasing
variety of language experiences is paralleled by growth in the
component abilities and skills, as was shown above in the
development of vocabulary and in the use of sentences. This growth
is likewise true of the mechanics of oral speaking: articulation,
voice management, and pronunciation; the general abilities of
having something to say and speaking to the point; and later the
mechanics of writing.
Factors in growth are maturation and stimulation by
environment. Maturation concern the natural development of
speech functions and processes of thinking. For example, the
utterance of sounds follows a natural order, beginning with vowels
and the consonant m. But maturation is also directly affected by
language patterns set by other people and by the stimulation to
though and action of rich, varied experiences.
From this brief sketch of growth in language there appear certain
basic principles significant for teaching. It has been observed in the
first place that language is a vital part of the growth process. It is a
vital part of the process of adjusting to life, physical and social; a
means of gaining control of people and thought; and a means of
bringing order into a bewildering world. Training children in
language is training in living, in understanding, and in getting
along with people. In the second place, it has been observed that,
although native equipment provides potentialities of growth, actual
growth is conditioned very largely by the stimulation and direction
provided by parents and teachers. A rich environment of varied
experiences is essential to good language development. A third
implication is that language is purposeful, not a mechanical or
perfunctory act. The purpose is largely
and extending experience-but not exclusively so, because there is
a place for the development of creative, artistic impulses. A fourth
significant principle is that language develops as a whole-a whole
made up of many complex, interrelated elements. A fifth principle
relates to grading and sequence. The teacher attempts to set up a
program of work that is consistent with natural order in the
development of experiences, abilities, ann skills. Goals are adjusted
to capacity. Problems are recognized as characteristic of particular
Approaches Methods in Language Communication 183
age grade or maturity level, such as articulartory difficulties in the
lower grades.
Individual Differences: The teacher is no less concerned with
individual difference than with the general course of language
development in children. Individual differences are marked in the
experience phases of the work, oral and written. Some children
participate freely in oral work, make worthy contributions, and
shoe marked ability in thinking and expression; others do not. In
written work, differences are much more apparent, appearing in
both quantity and quality. Betzner points out that children in the
five-to-eight age group write cOI!'-positions varying from 9 to 1,0,74
words with a median length of 66.6 words, and that there is a similar
wide range in thought units of 1 to 69. Reed points out that the
quality of compositions of pupils in grade 7 varied from 1.0 to 8.2
on the Hudelson scale. While there is progress in average
achievement from grade to grade, there is great overlapping among
Extreme variations in total achievement are to be expected in
composition work; they are, of course, no less wide and no less
significant in specific abilities and skills. These difference appear
as the teacher makes a check list analysis of oral and written
experiences; some can be measured objectively, using standard tests.
For example, Reed gave the Modem School Language Usage Test to
pupils in grades 4 to 8 with results shown in the following table:
Table 1 :
Distribution of Scores in Modern School Language Usage
Tests, Grades 4 to 8
Grade Grade Grade Grade Grade
Score 4 5 6 7 8
55 .... 0
'" .
. .. , 2
50 .. "
0 0. 2 10
45 0. 1
'" .
4 19
40 .... 3 13 23 49
35 3 14 28 50 63
184 Approaches Methods in Language Communication
30 12 34 65 77 58
25 53 47 91 68 49
20 80 67 66 48 18
15 83 74 31 12 6
10 53 32 11 2 2
5 19 9 .. , . 3
0 3 6
Median .... 19.70 21.68 27.44 30.74 35.39
This table shows data similar to that obtained by Reed with the
Huderson scale, which measured children's compositions, in that
there is gradual improvement foml grade to grade but a tremendous
amount of overlapping. It may be assumed that what is true of
composition work and usage is true of other general language
abilities and of specific skills, oral and written.
Statistics give a reliable estimate of the range of individual
differences that may be expected in any class or age group, but they
do not give a clear, detailed picture of the individual children with
whom the teacher must deal. General facts of variability are
interpreted in terms of concrete realities as the teacher works with
individual children from day to day in the varied intimate situations
that arise in the a classroom. Gradually each child emerges as a
person, a complex of specific attitudes, abilities, and skills and of
general powers. Each element appears as a clearly identifiable entity,
but its significance is revealed only when it is considered in relation
to other factors that combine to form an organic whole. The teacher
must deal with each child as a person, as well as make general
adjustments by instruction for children with varying levels of ability.
The child is an individual, not a statistic.
Participation as a Factor in Growth: Language has been found
upon examination to consist of a variety of experiences through
which the child carries on the business of living and learning and
by which he exercises and gains control of specific'" attitudes,
abilities, and skills. Normal growth in language takes place through
participation and the simultaneous exercise of a number of
Approaches Methods in Language Communication
component elements. It follows that the school, to be realistic and
lifelike, must base its program on actual participation. The school
must recognize the common language experiences of children and
adults, and it must train children in carrying on these experiences.
Situations in which language experiences serve an immediate
purpose must be provided by the school. Emphasis must be placed
on the whole learning situation; interest must be secured: insight
and understanding achieved; and specifics-attitudes, skills, and
abilities-learned as related, integrated components of the whole.
This emphi\sis on complete learning experience is an application
of the familiar gestalt theory, a principle of psychology that underlies
many modern education trends and has wide application in various
areas of the curriculum.
Attitudes as Factors in Learning: The whole, organic theory
of learning is not inconsistent with concentration on specific
elements as factors in the learning process. The teacher must
recognize that it may be necessary at times to separate from the total
learning situation specific elements for emphasis in order to bring
about improvement in total performance. However, practice and
training exercises should be handled so that their usefulness is
clearly evident. The purpose of practice and its relation to a whole
language experience must be recognized by the learner; and practice
must be motivated by desire for improvement.
Of all the basic factors, attitudes are at once the most
fundamental and the most elusive. Attitudes constitute the dynamics
of learning, the drives to participate in experiences and to improve
abilities and skills. Although real life provides adequate stimulation
for certain kinds of experiences, the teacher may find that children
in school are verbally inactive and unresponsive. The solution is to
make schoolwork lifelike and to set up conditions that encourage
free participation.
Even more difficult is creating a desire for improvement in the
quality of performance; children may be satisfied with low level
performance. Some leverage for improving quality may be fow1d in
purposeful experiences, but good form is to some extent a matter of
good taste or convention. The teacher may show the high social
value of maintaining certain standards and may cite worthy
186 Approaches Methods in Language Communication
examples and authorities. He represents, for the time, adult judgment
and authority, and expressions of approval carry weight. Setting
up specific goals and recording accomplishments are other effective
means of motivation.
Repetition as a Factor in Leaming : There is, in the new
psychology, no magic which eliminates the need for repetition and
drill; "that practice makes perfect is more than a half-truth," says
Reed. But that practice alone may fail to assure competency in
language is amply proved by the results of traditional teaching.
Making practice effective involves certain basis considerations.
In the first place, it is recognized that practice must be purposeful
to the learner. Purpose derives from the recognition by the individual
of his shortcoming and from the situation-an immediate one-in
which the need for the skill or ability is felt. Implied are some form
or standard with which a pupil can compare his work and some
means of diagnosis. Need is often revealed by failure to make
meaning clear or to convey a message adequately. Thus, a child
who mumbles is not heard, and the class protests; and a child who
combines his sentences interminably with ands is a bore. Going
from obvious effect to cause is the most convincing evidence of need
for improvement that the teacher can present. However, at times the
teacher must resort to the appeal of convention or authority, such
as: "We show the end of a sentence by a period .... The word get
is pronounced get, not git .... Running is spelled with two n's."
Diagnosis is achieved by having a child compare his performance
or product with a given standard and by testing; but often it is
necessary for the teacher to call attention to a specific difficulty of
which the child is not aware. Thus, a pupil through long use
becomes accustomed to certain faulty language patterns and to the
common mispronunciation of various words, and the teacher must
take positive steps to have the pupil hear and get a feeling for the
correct forms. Implied in the consideration of purpose is the basic
principle that a pupil should be required to practice only forms
needed by him individually and that practice should be applied at
the point of error. The frequent assignment of class exercises, except
for testing purposes, results in a waste of time and lowered class
Approaches Methods in Language Communication 187
A second basic principle of repetition states that practice should
approximate as closely as possible the situation in which the form
is normally used. According to this idea, strong reliance on the
traditional language game is faulty. Some children profit from
hearing the correct form repeated many times; but, in the main,
learning is limited to learning to play the game and does not result
in use of the correct form in real situations. Another point of error is
the reliance upon written blank-filling exercises for drill in correct
usage. The guide should primarily be sound.
A third basic principle emphasizes that repetition drill should
follow clear ideas of correct form. Live examples should be set by
the teacher and the textbook; incorrect forms should be analysed as
to the nature of difficulty and the cause of error, and incorrect forms
should be compared with correct forms in the remedial phases of
the work. More than passive attention to explanations is here
required. The pupil should shoe recognition of correct form by
choosing correct forms, by reprodUCing them, and by using them in
original examples. The repetition following recognition is at first
deliberate, attentive, and consciously directed; later it is used in
connection with larger language units; and finally it is practiced in
total language situations with marginal attention given to the
specific skill or ability. The situations in which a given form is
practiced should be varied. Multiple use in a variety of situations
increases the range of applicability and tends to maintain a high
level of interest.
The checking of progress toward the mastery of a specific skill
or ability may be recognized as a fourth basic principle. Lists and
record sheets used in the diagnostic phase of the work are useful for
recording progress. If pOSSible, the evaluation should be the pupil's
own, and he should keep his own record of progress. The teacher
should check and confirm the pupil's judgments. Repeated checking
in tests and actual use, as well as restudy and practice, are constantly
required until mastery is confidently achieved.
Adequate repetition, carried to the point of mastery, requires
time, but effort should be concentrated on a short list of basic skills
and abilities determined by cruciality and by the needs of particular
pupils. Extensive treatment is necessarily sacrificed to concentration
on relatively few key language elements.
188 Approaches Methods in Language Communication
Understanding as a Factor in Leaming: Traditionally, primary
emphasis in learning has been placed on seeing, doing, hearing,
and saying. Language is still largely learned by imitation, and good
language is largely judged by its sound. However, understanding
is recognized as an important factor in learning situations in which
generalizations, rules, and principles can be formulated and
applied. The traditional skill subjects are now being approached in
part from the point of view of meanings. It is too early to say how far
we may go in making the mechanics of language meaningful to
elementary pupils, but some good examples of what may be done
are offered in recent literature. For example, Smith points out that
growth in the skills of punctuation and capitalization must mean
growth in sensing relationships between ideas and gaining force
through modification. The significance of the period and question
mark are made clear by recalling what one does with the voice in
oral reading. Specifically in regard to commas, she says, "Commas
are used to clarify meaning when sentence elements are out of their
usual order, to separate interrupters from the main idea, and to
make clear the members of an enumeration." The growth of general
abilities relates mainly to developing ideas and meanings, i.e.,
understanding. Grammar is an attempt to develop concepts,
principles and rules relating to usage and to the structure of
language. Grammar provides a stock of ideas and understandings
that help to make language intelligible, to give some insight into its
structure, and to supply some, help in the use of language forms
and in the correction of errors.
Differentiation of Instruction: A differentiation of work suited
to the needs of individuals in the class is necessary. This
differentiation concerns all phases of work. In handling the
experience phases, the teacher assists pupils in identifying and
setting up general standards but allows each pupil to select a specific
standard as he gives his talk and engages in conversation or
dramatization. Moreover, the teacher judges each pupil in terms of
this ability, not in terms of what other children do. For example, in
handling a lesson on reporting at the fifth-grade level, the teacher
may develop with the class the following standards:
1. Give facts that relate to the topic.
Approaches Methods in Language CornrnLmication 189
2. Tell the facts in order.
3. Use words that tell exactly what you want to say.
4. Speak clearly.
5. Show interest in your topic.
All the pupils are engaging in a common experience-reporting;
the reports may be on the same or different topics. The standards set
up are those which the teacher and pupils feel have some
significance for the class as a whole at its current stage of language
development, but it is not assumed that all the pupils have the same
specific needs. Each child is encouraged to discover his weakness
and to pick a specific language goal on which he needs to work and
to concentrate on that goal during the preparation and delivering
of the report. The pupil is judged by how well he does what he sets
out to do, not in terms of the total list of standards. Thus,
differentiation and specific, individualized training are provided
within an experience that superficially has the appearance of
traditional whole-class work.
In the practice or corrective phases, differentiation is of the
essence. The teacher makes an inventory of specific individual
needs, groups children having the same needs, and provides the
necessary instruction and practice exercises. Pooley says, "Usage
instruction should be as highly individualized as it is possible to
make it. Only those errors lease acceptable in the speech and writing
of a majority of the class should be given class instruction and drill;
those occurring in the work of a few should be handled in small
groups or individually as the need arises." It is desirable for the
children, as well as the teacher, to know what their specific needs
are; and therefore each child should have an inventory of his own
skills and abilities. The inventory serves as a note sheet, and the
child refers to it in preparation, in evaluation, and in recording
progress. Provision is made for extreme variants in the form of
individualized self-help materials.
Significance of Unit Organization : The organization of
learning experiences around lifelike situations contrasts sharply
with the traditional emphasis on small, isolated language elements,
190 Approaches Methods in Language Communication
chiefly skills. Through unit organization children are trained not
only for practical experiences but in them; the ultimate goals become
the immediate goals. Also, the larger unit of learning preserves the
integrity of the learning experience; the varied and complex elements
of language are combined and to a large extent learned as they
function in purposeful expression; the learning experience is an
organic whole. Practice on specific, component abilities and skills
is related to some experience and has an obvious, immediate
The significance of unit organization is apparent whether the
language program is developed independently or as a part of larger
curriculum units based on the social studies and nature study. The
trend toward large unit organization in language gains additional
respect when it is observed that the same trend prevails in other
areas of the curriculum.
Processes: It must now be obvious that not one but a battery of
procedures is required to handle the various phases of the language
program. Three, or possibly four, basic procedures will be used at
various times, according to the nature of the learning situation and
the learning outcome.
Handling an Experiences Unit: The first step in handling an
experience unit is to set up or utilize a situation which creates definite
reason for carrying on the work. The situation may be one that
requires the writing of a thank-you note after the appearance of a
guest speaker, writing a letter to a sick friend, keeping the minutes
of a school council meeting, writing a playas a culmination of a
unit in the social studies, or summarizing information gained in a
nature-study field trip. The situation presents a real motive and
imposes requirements for worthy performances. Alert teachers
readily find occasions calling for the various experiences in both
the school and the out-of-school experiences of children.
A second step is to develop ideas of good performance. From
past work or from trail performances in the experience, initiated for
that purpose, the class and teacher presumably discover the need
for further training. What is good letter writing, reporting,
storytelling, outlining, and the like? Good models may be secured
Approaches Methods in Language Communication
and studies. It is relatively simple to secure good models of written
work. Textbooks provide them; the teacher may accumulate a file
from children's previous work; or children may supply examples
in the form of letters from home (with the help and permission of
parents). It is less easy to provide study examples of oral work. Live
examples of good performance in the class provide the best material;
recordings are invaluable. The material should approximate the
level of work normally expected of the grade. Having pupils study
examples of varying degrees of merit and choose the best is a
procedure of considerable value. Study should be directed first to
content and general effect and then to the specific literary devices
employed by the author to produce the effect. Some attention must
be given to mechanics, oral or written.
Analysis of models reveals key points which should be listed
as goals or standards to aim at, to imitate, and to use in evaluation.
Goals should be set with due regard to the normal expectancies for
the class and should be varied enough to give every child something
to work for. Generally, a few key goals are better than many; the list
may be extended as the class grows in ability. Too many goals lead
to scattering of attention and effort. Thus, for a second-grade class
giving talks, it may be sufficient to set as immediate goals willing
participation, having something to say, and sticking to the point.
As these goals are reached or approximated by a considerable
number of the pupils, the teacher may add to the list others such as
the use of complete sentences and apt, vivid words and phrases, a
clear, pleasing, well-modulated voice, good pronunciation and
enunciation, and interest-catching beginning sentences.
A third basic phase of the work is one commonly neglected or
poorly handled-the setting up of individual goals. Too often this
is postponed until after the child has completed his recitation or
written exercise, and setting individual goals then assumes the
form of a post-mortem. This method violates the sound
psychological principle that the learner should fix his attention on
the skill to be performed before practice, not after, except as a check
on performance. Individual goals, therefore, should be set up early,
before recitation and even before preparation for recitation.
192 Approaches Methods in Language Communication
The fourth phase, following the setting up of individual goals,
is preparation. The child prepares his assignment with both the
over-all purpose and his specific, individual goal in mind.
The fifth phase is participation, such as giving a talk, writing a
letter, or taking part in a dramatization. There should be evidence
in the child's work that he has kept in mind his individual goal as
well as the general purpose of the assignment.
Evaluation by the pupil, class or teacher follows as the sixth
phase. This should be in terms of the pupil's individual goals and
should always be friendly and constructive, with full recognition
of differences in individual capacity. Self-criticism is usually worth
more than class and teacher criticism, although a pupil is also often
stimulated by the approval of the class and teacher.
The initial lesson or series of lessons is followed by other similar
lessons or series in which gains are preserved and further
improvement is sought. Records of accomplishments in specific
skills and abilities may be kept on the pupil's individual goal sheet
and on the teacher's class record sheet. Opportunities will arise for
the individual correction of mistakes without the pupil's losing
sight of the major purpose of the experience.
Handling a General-ability Lesson: A general-ability lesson
is a definite practice exercise designed to bring about improvement
in some specific ability, such as selecting an appropriate subject,
choosing pertinent content, dealing with a sufficiently small and
manipulable aspect of a topic, organizing effectively, or composing
a good beginning and ending. The emphasis is on knowledge,
understanding, and judgment rather then on specific skills. An
understanding of what constitutes a good subject, for example,
evolves from a study and comparison of specific examples, such as
"The Fish I Didn't Catch," "Hired, Tired, and Fired," and "Taking
Home My Report Card," and from an analysis of key qualities, such
as personal approach, definiteness, and brevity. The procedure is
that which is characteristic of all knowledge getting-the solution
of problems; it is never that of drill, as in the pronunciation of get.
The need for the lesson appears, of course, in an experience
phase of the work, and it results from an analytical evaluation of
Approaches Methods in Language Communication
the experience in terms of the specific factors that condition
performance. The training lesson presumes inadequate performance
and need for improvement. The need may appear as a result of
pupil, class, or teacher evaluation; but it is important that the learner
recognize the need.
The second step, logically, is to gain some understanding of
what constitutes good performance. In the selection of subjects, for
instance, the teacher may present to the class example, good and
bad, taken from current or previous work, from textbooks, or from
reading. The examples are studied and the pupils are led to feel the
difference between good and poor subjects. The teacher may present
such subjects as the following and have the pupils discuss them:
Poor Good
Where I Went Catching a Rat
What I Heard False Alarm
What I Did Too Sure
Sunday A Bad Shot
An Adventure An Unexpected Ducking
My Trip A Hasty Reply
Work A Wet Seat
My Friend The Battle of Chicken Run
What My Aunt Has No Pie
Titles in the first list are found to be vague and weak. Titles in
the second list arouse curiosity and a desire to hear more; they tap
sources of personal experience and feeling; and they set specific
limits on a composition.
From the study of examples the children proceed to a
consideration of their own experiences, searching for phases that
are interesting to others and worth writing or talking about,
avoiding commonplace and sensational events. Then they formulate
good subject titles. Tentative lists of these titles are profitably
presented to the class for evaluation and discussion. Approved
subjects are then chosen, and compositions are prepared and
delivered. The value of the subject is proved in the composition.
194 Approaches Methods in Language Communication
When some assurance as to competency has been gained, the
children use their improved ability in selecting subjects for all oral
and written work.
Handling Specific-skill Lessons: The third type of lesson or
exercise with which the teacher is necessarily concerned involves
the development of a specific language skill, such as the
pronunciation of words (often, going, athletic), use of the comma in
a series, and capitalization of I. Standards of usage are set by
convention. The primary emphasis in learning is on hearing or
seeing and doing; understanding enters into the learning process
to the extent that it is possible to show reasons for certain
conventions and to develop rules or principles. Understanding
naturally adds to ease of learning in this as in other phases of
language work.
The point of departure for a training lesson on a specific skill is
an immediate need, revealed usually by performance in an
experience. For example, in giving a talk a child may say I seen for
I saw; or in written work he may fail to indicate clearly the persons
attending a party by the omission of commas in a series of names,
as in JoAnn Caryl and Tommy came to the party. The pupil may be
led to discover his difficulty by skilful questioning. The next step is
to show the correct form to the child by explanation and
demonstration or by directing the study of example, correct and
incorrect. Recognition of the correct form and, if possible, the reason
for it is followed by deliberate practice in selected example. Finally,
consistent use in exercises and in related speaking or writing is
provided. Work of this type is largely remedial, and involves breaking
old habits as well as forming new ones. The work should be
individualized, concentrated on a few of the most important skills,
and followed up consistently and persistently until definite progress
is made. The use of individual record sheets is helpful in making a
diagnosis and later in recording progress.
There are many ways of handling directed training lessons on
specific skills and at the same time employing good principles of
learning. Specific procedures vary somewhat in oral and in written
work, although the basic principles are the same. One procedure,
making use of original sentences as a means of drill, is illustrated
in the following quotation from Brown and Butterfield:
Approaches Methods in Language Communication 195
Another common drill is having children give original sentences
in which difficult forms are used correctly. For example, the words
seen and saw are put on the blackboard. The children are told to
make sentences using each word correctly. The results may be
something like the following: I saw a cat. I saw a dog. I saw a horse.
Isawa bird.
This kind of drill may be oral or written, but the temptation will
be to have the children write the sentences because (from the
teacher's point of view) this makes good busywork.
To improve a drill of this sort and to make it mean something to
the children, the procedure can be changed somewhat. The teacher,
to begin with, asks the children to tell, in their sentences, about
something that they really did see. John gives the first sentence, "I
saw a cat." The teacher remarks that this sentence is correct but that
it would be more interesting to the class if he could tell a little more
so that everyone could see the cat that he saw.
With a suggestion or two, John changes his sentence to
something like the following, "I saw a big black cat with green
The class likes this sentences much better than the first one;
others may try to imitate it. Then the teacher will suggest that there
are many, many kinds of sentences using saw and seen. She will
give an example or two: "When the boys went to the circus, they
saw an elephant doing tricks," or "If Mary had not seen the funnly
little puppy, she would have gone right home." This will encourage
the children to think out original sentences also. It is remarkable
how much a few suggestions add to the vitality of a simple drill.
The more intelligent children, instead of being bored by meaningless
repetition, will be stimulated by the opportunity for creative
Relation to Work in Other Subjects: The teacher recognizes
that only a small part of his pupils' total experience in language
takes place in the language class. Language is used throughout the
day in all phases of work and play, and the use of language in other
subjects and in all extracurricular work obviously helps set patterns ,
and habits of expression. Language, therefore, is a service subject
196 Approaches Methods in Language Communication
and as such involves two key points worthy of attention. In the first
place, the immediate needs for particular language experiences
appear in other phases of work. Various subjects require discussion,
reports, explanations, and directions. Class meetings and pupil
councils involve discussions, reports, and keeping minutes. When
parents visit the school, as on school visiting days, opportunities
arise for making introductions and explanations. In the second
place, it is necessary to maintain reasonable standards in all
language work in school if good habits of speaking and writing are
to be established. In the social studies, in arithmetic, and in the
school assembly some attention must be given to good speaking
and writing. If properly handled this attention adds to the
effectiveness of work under way, and it is not necessarily a
distraction. The whole school should become language-conscious.
Language Programs: The language program, as we have said,
should consist of real, lifelike experiences and training experiences
as needed to develop the essential abilities and skills. The program
is a functional one. Language experiences at once provide the chief
immediate and remote goals, the chief medium of learning, and the
basis for organizing the program into units of work. Training lessons
grow out of and are motivated by immediate needs for particular
skills and abilities revealed in the experience phases of the work.
These skills are learned as far as possible in use-incidentally; but
to the extent that further specific training is necessary, separate
exercises or lessons are provided.
The minimum essentials of a m ~ d e r n language program, then,
include (1) primary emphasis on and training in language
experiences and (2) provision for the systematic development of
essential language abilities and skills. Within the limits set by these
minimum requirements there is opportunity for a variety of
programs providing combinations of experience work and training
experiences, and for programs offering opportunities to combine
experiences and relate them to other phases of the curriculum. At
one extreme must be recognized the very liberal or informal teacher
who handles language mainly as an integral part of the work in
other subjects and school activities and who provides only
occasional directed practice or remedial lessons as needed by
Approaches Methods in Language Communication 197
individuals and groups. Such a program can be excellent and may
be regarded as the ultimate goal of language teachers. But the attempt
to carryon the extreme type of informal program often results in
gross neglect of training in language. Without sacrificing the
essentials of a vital, functional program to traditional formality, it
is possible to set a middle course consisting of a definite series of
basic language experiences and supplementary systematic work
on essential abilities and skills. This middle course makes possible
the ready use of available instructional materials; and it seems to be
consistent with the position taken by the Commission on the English
Curriculum of the National Council of Teachers of English.
Use of Textbooks: In considering the wealth of live
opportunities for using language in curricular and school-life
experiences, several questions arise: What place does the textbook
have in the language program? What does it contain? How can it be
used effectively?
In the first place, a textbook provides a basic program of unit
work in experiences and related abilities and skills generally
appropriate to the grade, and it gives emphasis to the several
experiences according to their importance. The sequence is timed-
in part, at least-to meet the progressive needs of children
throughout the year. Instruction and drill in specific abilities and
skills are introduced as needed to carry on the various experiences.
The textbook is the product of the study and thinking of specialists
who are qualified by research and experience to write in their fields.
In using the textbook, the teacher is taking advantage of this
specialized, technical knowledge and competence.
In addition to a general plan of organization, the textbook
offers certain other resources which the teacher must understand
and use effectively. Among these resources are models of stories,
reports, outlines, and the like. If wisely chosen, they suggest
reasonable standards. However, for any particular class, such
standards may be too high or too low. The teacher, therefore should
collect from time to time samples of his pupils' work to serve as
supplementary models. In addition to their easier adaptability to a
particular class, the local samples are more interesting than textbook
198 Approaches Methods in Language Communication
Another common feature of textbooks is list of key points-
standards-for particular experiences. Any such list may be well
devised; the important question, however, is, What use should be
made of it? In the authors' opinion, it is better to let children derive
their standards from a study of samples and to use the textbook
lists mainly for checking their own items than to have pupils begin
by studying the standards of the textbook. The textbook lists of
standards usually contain many items, and the implication here is
that all children are to work on all of them simultaneously. Again,
in the authors judgment, such a precedure presents and impossible
task to the children; if a long list is used, and it should be, each
child should select one or two items for emphasis in giving a story
or report. Such selectioI1 and concentration provide opportunities
for individualizing work within a common experience.
Textbooks also provide practice and remedial exercises. Usually
in this connection some kind of pretest or diagnostic test is suggested
so that only the children who need the practice get it. This is
common-sense procedure. It is possible that some of the exercises
will not be needed by any child. It is also likely that common
difficulties will be found that are not covered in the test and practice
exercises. In this case the teacher should devise tests suited to the
particular needs of the children, possible using the textbook
exercises as models.
It may be found that the practice exercises in textbooks are
largely devoted to the mechanics of speaking, writing, and usage.
Little provision is commonly made for exercises in the development
of ability to select suitable topics, to limit the scope of topics, to stick
to the point, to follow a clear sequence of ideas, and to introduce
interesting details and apt illustrations. Yet these language abilities
are regarded as primarily important in the language program. If
training exercises in this latter group of abilities are needed, as they
may well be, the teacher will be obliged to supply them.
A further common textbook provision is the statement of
principles and rules relating to concepts, usages, and mechanics ..
Rules and principles, it is generally agreed, should not be memorized
from the textbook but should be arrived at inductively by pupils
Approaches Methods in Language Communication 199
through a study of live examples. The textbook statements can then
serve as checks on the children',s own generalizations.
There are several general ways in which a book can be used.
One is, obviously, to follow it chapter by chapter and exercise by
exercise. It is unlikely, however, that a textbook prepared for use in
different sections of the country and for different types of schools
will be found perfectly adapted to the needs of a particular class.
Such use is tolerable only in the hands of a teacher who lacks
confidence or through training.
At the other extreme, the textbook is used only as a reference-
exercise source. In this case, the basic p.rogram is developed from
purposeful experiences, largely arising in connection with other
curricular and extracurricular activities, and units and exercises
are selected from the textbook as they are needed for training in
particular abilities and skills. Mature, well-trained, progressive
teachers are inclined to favour such use of the textbook because in
this method the functional concept of language work is emphasized.
The textbook work is also made vital and purposeful. However, this
procedure may lost the planned continuity and sequence of training
in essential skills which the textbook provides, and the teacher
thus undertakes the responsible task of not only selecting the
experiences but also working out a systematic, sequential,
developmental program. This is certainly not impossible to do, but
the teacher must recognize his responsibility and accept the amount
of work involved.
There is a third plan, which combines adjustment to present
needs and the systematic treatment of technical content. The teacher
follows the order of experiences set by the textbook, but instead of
using the exact topics for oral and written work given in the text, he
draws them from the current lives of the children. This procedure is
thoroughly consistent with the purpose and specific
recommendations of many textbook authors. For example, as the
basis of studying outlining and reporting a certain textbook sets up
an experience in science in which children are told the following:
"Stir into half a cup of water as much salt as the water will dissolve.
Pour the water into a saucer. Let it stand until the water is all gone.
200 Approaches Methods in Language Communication
What happens? What does this show?" Although a particular class
may not be performing this experiment at the time when the language
unit is taken up in the text, it may be performing other science
experiments or doing a similar type of work in another subject that
will provide materials for outlining and reporting. The textbook,
then, may serve as a general guide and model in programming
language experiences and is using other curricular activities for
developing language abilities; its particular subject-matter content
need not be followed slavishly. The exercises for developing
technical skills may be used, if needed, or similar exercises may be
devised by the teacher to provide specific training. This third plan
conserves the general plan of organization and the systematic
program for Ll)e development and maintenance of technical aspects
of language training as provided by the textbook, but it makes the
work functional and relates it to current needs.
Supplementary Practice Material: Teachers often feel a need
for more and different types of practice material than is provided in
the text. Authors commonly provide supplementary practice
exercises in workbooks designed to accompany a parallel work in
the texts. Workbooks provide a convenient and inexpensive source
of supplementary practice material and save the teacher's time.
They are an additional expense to the school district or to the
children, however, and often not If workbooks cannot be
purchases for each pupil, the teacher can devise a reasonably
satisfactory supply of permanent material by securing several copies
of one or more workbooks. Selected exercises are then tom out and
mounted on stiff paper. The material is filed in a convenient place,
accessible to pupils, possible in a standard vertical file. The topics
for filing are the particular abilities and skills, mainly written, in
which rractice material is needed, e.g., content and organization,
usage, capitalization, and punctuation. The teacher naturally selects
the exercises that serve his purposes in meeting the individual needs
of a particular group of pupils. This material cannot be used for
whole-class assignments, but it serves very well for individual and
small-group assignments.
Old textbooks also can be used to proyide supplementary
practice material. If the material is not completely indexed by type
Approaches Methods in Language Communication 201
of difficulty-and it probably is not-it is necessary for the teacher
to prepare such an index. The index should be duplicated and
given to the pupils for filing in their language notebooks.
Supplementary practice work should be individualized-
directed at the point of difficulty. It is inevitable that children will
be working on many difficulties at one time. The teacher will have
little time for making assignments, giving oral explanations, and
checking. It follows that the material should be housed so that the
children can get it with a minimum of teacher effort and that the
material should be self instructional and self-checking. The answer
key may be placed on the back of the practice exercise. Cheating
will be discouraged if the teacher always gives tests on the work
and checks it as completed only on the basis of satisfactory test
Evaluation: It must be apparent to the student in the field of
language instruction, and even to the casual reader, that evaluation
is an essential part of a modern language arts program and that
such evaluation is continuous and cumulative, serving various
purposes and taking various form throughout the term. These
purposes and forms, appearing as integral phases of the language
program in preceding chapters, are summarized here.
The teacher's first purpose is an evaluation survey to determine
early in the school year levels of achievement of the class and
individual pupils, in terms of performance in language experiences
and related abilities and skills. Preliminary surveys are made to
provide a basis for laying out general plans and determining points
of departure and to provide means for measuring improvement
during the term. In the case of handwriting and spelling, for example,
surveys make possible an organization for group instruction. The
teacher should always be aware of the fact that he is dealing with
several different kinds of language experiences and a multiplicity
of skills, oral and written. Evaluation forms and procedures are
therefore adapted to the experiences and to the nature of the learning
elements. The teacher's subjective judgment must be the chief
evaluation factor in most phases of oral experiences, abilities and
skills. However, the accuracy of his judgment is improved by listing
202 Approaches Methods in Language Communication
and evaluating specific points; thus in judging a report, the teacher
may concentrate on content, organization, and effective delivery.
(In general, the check lists suggested throughout the book pf'ovide
itemized bases for evaluation.) In appraisal of written activities, the
teacher's judgment is similarly important; but the nature of written
work makes objective evaluation more practicable through the use
of suitable models. Standard scales, though, offer teachers little help
in evaluating quality in written compositions. Only the mechanics
of written work-capitalization, punctuation, spelling, handwriting,
and usage-have been adequately covered in standard tests, which
may be profitably used early in the year to compare the achievement
of a class with that of other classes and to locate deficiencies of
individuals students. These survey tests are not truly diagnostic,
although their results may be symptomatic. Many such tests dealing
with various phases of mechanics are available. The Unit Scales of
Attainment in Language cover capitalization, punctuation, and
usage. The Ayres scale for measuring the quality of hand writing is
widely used. The Morrison-MeCall Spelling Scale provides a
number of tests for use in grades 2 to 8. Taking samples of
handwriting early in the term and using them as a means of
measuring class and individual progress is a sound, practical
procedure. An informal preliminary test in spelling, made up of
words taken at random from the term's work, gives the teacher
valuable information on class achievement and individual
A second purpose of the teacher is to make a diagnosis of
individual accomplishments and needs in the performance of
various experiences and in general abilities and specific skills. This
diagnosis serves the all-important purpose of directing attention to
specific deficiencies both in experiences and specific remedial
exercises. Here, as in the preliminary surveys, the teacher's
judgment, as well as the pupils', must serve. In written usage,
handwriting, and spelling, more objective treatment is possible.
Many standard tests are available, covering a large percentage of
usage crudities. One such is Charters' Diagnostic Test for verbs,
pronouns, and miscellaneous words, which is a proofreading test
designed for use in grades 3 to 12. Covering the work of all grades,
Approaches Methods in Language Communication 203
standard tests of usage do not exactly fit the work of any particular
grade. The teacher will therefore find it extremely profitable to devise
an objective test including the key usage problems of his grade and
of preceding grades. The form may follow that of the Charters tests
and utilize proofreading or multiple-choice techniques. Tests also
may be taken from the textbook or teacher's manual. Since the
primary purpose of the diagnostic test is determination of individual
needs, not measurement of achievement, the teacher-made test is as
serviceable as the standard test. In diagnosing handwriting, the
chief task is to determine the particular faults in letter formation,
slant, alignment, spacing, and colour of line. The teacher' casual
judgments may be refined, as suggested, by the use of patterns and
diagnostic sheets provided by good handwriting books. Additional
standard resources are Gray's A Score Card for Measuring
Handwriting and Freeman's Diagnostic Chart. Diagnosis in
spelling is mainly a matter of locating particular words causing
difficulty and noting the nature of the difficulties. The customary
weekly protest serves as a basis for such diagnosis.
The third evaluative purpose of the teacher is to measure the
achievement of children during short periods of time, from unit to
unit or from difficulty to difficulty. Here again the teacher must rely
on his judgment of achievement in most phases of the language
program. Records of progress on specific items should be kept on
goal sheets. The objective phases of the work-usage, capitalization,
punctuation, spelling, and handwriting-can be measured in large
part by informal objective tests prepared by the teacher or selected
from the textbook to cover the specific items involved. These types
of informal objective tests are similar to those used in diagnosis.
The final purpose of evaluation is to measure progress at the
end of the term. The forms and procedures for the survey are similar
to those used in the preliminary evaluation at the beginning of the
term. Judgments of general abilities and improvement in oral and
written experiences are made by the teacher, using check lists of
specific items for increased validity. Samples of written work, as in
the case of handwriting and composition, are compared with the
samples taken early in the term. Improvement in handwriting may
be determined by scores on the Ayres scale. A final teacher-made
204 Approaches Methods in Language Comlmmication
test in spelling, covering the term's work, shows the progress of
individuals and of the class; a Morrison-McCall spelling test may
also be given again, but the results should not be taken too seriously.
Informal objective tests covering essentials of usage, capitalization,
and punctuation may be given and compared with scores on similar
tests given early in the term; or standard tests may be repeated.
Scores on tests of mechanics should be supplemented by observation
of what children do in actual writing. Mechanics are mastered only
when they are used habitually in purposeful expression.
Dictionary: A good children's dictionary should be available
to pupils in the intermediate and upper grades. Training in habits
and techniques of dictionary use should be gradual and cumulative,
adjusted to maturity and needs at succeeding grade levels. Practice
in alphabetizing is the first step, which is provided interestingly
through the making of work and picture dictionaries in the first
grades and through the preparing of alphabetical word lists in the
second and third grades. Alphabetical order is used in finding
words, first by the initial letter and finally by the second and third
letters. One of the early uses of the dictionary is for checking spelling,
and this can begin in the third grade. Checking pronunciation can
begin in the fourth grade, where attention is also called to
syllabication and marks for accent and the long and short sounds
of vowels. The use of key pronunciation words and of the other
common marks of vowel sounds is taught in the fifth grade. The
checking of meanings and the use of synonyms and antonyms to
gain variety of expression may well be emphasized in the sixth
The basic types of programs are recognized as adequately
providing for the growth and of children in language.
One, designated as the functional program, provides for closely
relating language to work in other areas of study but sets aside
some particular periods for systematic work in language. The other
type is an integrated program; language work does not appear as a
separate subject, but is very closely tied into other areas of study.
The two program are recognized, in a sense, as both functional in
that they center in real language experiences, designed to meet the
needs of everyday living; integrated in that what children talk and
write about is derived largely from work in other study areas, which
provide motivation for and practice in language abilities and skills.
The difference between the two program lies in the degree of
integration-a variable depending on the skill of the teacher-and is
primarily a matter of scheduling. There is little difference in
philosophy and in actual teaching techniques.
The program may be completely integrated around a single
area, as shown in the first example that follows; or partially
integrated around short units of work, as shown in the second
example. The functional program, or some other type of systematic
program, is familiar to most students from personal experience.
The integrated program may not be so well known. A completely
206 Nature and Idea of Writing
integrated program demands teaching ability of a high order. Before
proceeding further with the discussion, it may be helpful to get a
close-up view of two types of integrated program.
Nature Study: Plants, Third Grade:
The following description of a completely integrated program
is based on work carried on by Miss Butterfield, in the third of the
Potsdam Campus School. It shows how closely interwoven are
different school subjects and how many vicarious experiences may
radiate from one basic theme. A center of interest-in this case nature
study-will, if granted freedom, reach out and enter almost every
phase of the school curriculum. By bringing together the various
skills, knowledges, and appreciation of these different areas, both
pupils and teacher may increase their understanding of the function
of language.
In the present account of procedures and in the accompanying
samples of children's work, the reader will find concrete illustrations
of many points made elsewhe.e in this volume.
How the Study Originated: At the beginning of the school
term when the children would like to study about flowers was one
of the topics mentioned. The teacher felt that this was probably
suggested by the time of year and by the fact that many garden
flowers were in their bloom just then. She doubted that the subject
would be of long term interest.
Plants for the Schoolroom : The first objective seemed to be
was make the schoolroom attractive, and to this end many fall
flowers were brought and arranged by the children, Simple rules
regarding colour and arrangement were discussed. It was decided
that the flowers should be of different heights, of an uneven number,
and so grouped that there should be balance and colour variation.
Holders and vases appropriate for particular flowers were selected.
A library block containing illustration of flowers and of simple
flowers arrangements was located, and the children tried to imitate
the suggestion and examples.
Names of common flowers-zinnia, bachelor's-button, aster,
cosmos, etc.-were mentioned and listed on the board. The children
took pride in their ability to recognize these flowers, to pronounce
their names, and to spell them correctly.
Nature and Idea of Writing
As the supply of garden flowers dwindled, wild flowers were
gathered. Children brought goldenroad, wild asters, and Queen
Anne's lace, and they arranged the bouquets attractively. One section
of the blackboard was reserved for names of new flowers. If any
child thought of an unusually vivid descriptive word, he wrote it
opposite the flower name on the board. These words invited class
criticism, both favourable and adverse; and some children developed
remarkably in their ability to describe accurately the appearance,
colour, and other qualities of certain flowers.
An interest in wild flowers led naturally to the study of seed
dispersal; a chart was made, picturing methods of dispersal and
showing samples of each kind of seed. This project entailed
considerable organization, labelling, lettering, and measuring.
Words involved were listed and used in spelling l e s s o r ~ :
Dispersal winged traveler
Cannier posted sticktight
A Trip to Get Plants: Plans were next made for supplying the
schoolroom with winter plants. A retired teacher offered the contents
of her large and lovely window box and garden. The children went
one fine autumn afternoon just before the first frost to the home of
Miss F, where they saw so many beautiful plants that they scarcely
knew which they liked best. In anticipation of this dilemma, there
had been a discussion among the pupils before they left school;
they selected spots in room which needed or could accommodate
plants and had accordingly taken just enough pots. At last all agreed
upon a large begonia full of bloom, a coleus, and a pink ruffled
petunia, which one little boy simply could not give up.
The children put bits of stone over the drainage hole in each pot
and added sand, fertilizer, and loan form a bed; then the plants
were lifted tenderly so as not disturb the roots. More good soil was
added and firmed about the plants. They were then watered and
placed in Miss F's garage to become accustomed gradually to being
indoors. The children understood that, if brought suddenly into a
warm room, a plant might wither and lose some of its leaves.
Since Miss F had not been at home when the children made
their visit, some doubts were expressed as to whether or not she
208 Nature and Idea of Writing
would understand where the plants in her garage had come from.
Reassured, the children suggested that they thank her for the plants,
and the following letter was written:
Potsdam N. Y.
September 17,2006
We want to thank you letting us dig up your plants and for
leaving trowels and fertilizer for us to use. We enjoyed digging the
plants and potting them, and we are anxious now to get them in our
Sincerely yours,
Grade Three
Room 25
This letter was composed by group and copied from the board
by three children who considered themselves good penmen; then a
committee chose the letter they considered the best of the three
written. The class elected a messenger who, on his way home from
school, delivered the letter to Miss F's door.
Water Plants: About this time the children brought a small
goldfish to school, and suitable accommodations had to be provided
for it. By referring to library materials the class learned that plants
should be grown in the water in order to keep it in good condition
for fish. Pond weed was obtained, and the pupils learned that while
some plants grow only in dirt, others grow only in water. The
pond weed was planted in sand in the aquarium, and the children
enjoyed watching it grow. Snails were brought to keep the aquarium
clean. Others varieties of local water plants were discussed, and
common names listed.
Slips: In a short time it was noted that the branches of ivy had
some tiny roots, and the term slip was introduced. The children
learned that some plants could be started from slips, while others
grow from seeds, roots, or bulbs; lis.ted were made of plants
reproduced in each manner.
About this time the children had fun plying a game of flower
riddles, which they made up and asked each other, there was,
Nature and Idea of Writing
naturally, wide variation in quality, but all the children seemed
anxious to include as many good descriptive words as possible
without telling what their plant or flower was. The following are
I grow in the ground.
I have stems.
I am red or blue.
Who amI?
The old-fashioned ladies
Are trooping to town
With their bright yellow dresses
All trimmed with down
I grow from seeds.
My stems are slender, tall,
And says in the breeze.
My graceful flowers are pink,
White, or sometimes almost red.
But my delicate leaves
Are always green.
After two or three weeks it was time to bring the plants from
garage. A committee was appointed to go with the teacher in her car
to get them.
The children were delighted to find their plants so large and
beautiful. Since Miss F had given the pupils permission to take any
other plants in the garage, they decided to take a geranium, which
had a pink blossom, and a large shamrock plants with a car full of
plants, pupils and teacher went back to the school.
Several children brought plants from home, and in order to
make space for them all, two bookstands were put together to make
a comer around the reading table, on top of these low cases the
plants seemed to thrive. Children took turns watering and caring
for them.
210 Nature and Idea of Writing
Winter Beuquets : When, at last, the garden flowers were frozen
and withered, the class talked of seed pod beuquets for the winter,
and one warm morning late in autumn the class took a walk to see
what could be found that might be useful. Along a hedge, at the
edge of a garden, and in a vacant lot were found many stalks of
weed seed pods, which were carried back to the school. The children
quick! y became conscious of the variety of size, colour, and shape of
seed pods; and the collection continued to grow as children found
leaves, stalks, grasses, and berries in their own or neighbours' back
yards and along the way to school.
A tall vase was filled with bright bittersweet berries attractively
arranged. Milkweed pods, brown sorrel stalks, Queen Anne's lace
(much dried but still delicate), and others grasses were arranged in
a tall black vase by a group of children and placed on a low filing
cabinet in a shadowed corner of the room because these plants did
not need light.
Some of the weeds were carefully packed in a carton and stored
in the school basement. At Christmas time, when the question of
gifts for parents arose, they thought of several uses of these dried
weed. Some of the delicate grasses furnished designs for spatterwork.
Some made small, flat, clay flower bowls which were
painted and fired in the school kiln. With a clay trong in the center
and an arrangement of dried weed pods, these bowls made
individualized gifts. Some children experimented with colouring
the weeds. Painted milkweed pods were considered especially
Plant Care: During the winter, the plants were routinely cared
for, and they also occasioned sporadic outbursts of conversation
and discussion. The wandering Jew in the hanging basket grew so
long that it was dangerously near the radiator. Therefore, after pupil
consultation, a bit was pinched off, rooted, and stuck back into the
container. When along in January, all the plants looked a bit sickly,
liquid fertilizer was mixed and administered. The coleus grew so
tall that some branches had to be snipped off and rooted in water.
Various new plants were started from slips. One especially vigorous
plant was potted and sent to a sick member of the class with the
following letter:
Na ture and Idea of Writing 211
Dear Gail,
We thought you might like to see some of the coleus you helped
pot last fall. The plant grew so big we had to break some off. We put
the piece in water and made a little plant for you from the slip. We
hope you will like it.
The plants have all grown so you know them. Pat is watering
them this week.
Come back soon.
With love,
Grade Three
Planning the year's Work. During the developments just
described it had become apparent to the teacher that the study
flowers had progressed into a study of plants and that the whole
subject had become one of more than passing interest. She discussed
with the children the many different kinds of plants and their uses
for other than decorative purposes. Working together, teacher and
children listed four large major topics they wanted to explore during
the year :
Plants for the schoolroom
Plants for Food
Plants We Wear
Other Plants We Use
These question were listed on the blackboard:
1. Why do different plants live in different parts of the
2. Where do fresh vegetables come from in the winter?
3. What is fertilizer made from?
4. What do plants need for growth besides water?
5. How are different colours of the same flower secured?
6. How are different varieties fruit, etc., produced?
7. What makes different kinds of soil?
8. How is enough flour for all the bread obtained?
Since there had to be some order to the study, it was decided to
begin with the unit on "Plants for Food," topic 2, as early in the
212 Nature and Idea of Writing
autumn as possible and allow it to run simultaneously with
Familiar vegetables and fruits were listed separately on the
board; the children brought samples; and finally there was a large
exhibit. Each article was labelled, a poster was made and the
following invitation was issued to the children of another grade:
We would like to have you come to see our Harvest Collection
of fruit and vegetable Tuesday between 2 and 30'clock.
Grade Three
Room 25
Ways of cooking the various vegetables were discussed.
Children brought recipes from home. Measurements and simple
abbreviation, such as tsp., tub., c., pt., 1h and 1,4, were discussed, and
rules of cooking to preserve all the good food values were pointed
out. There were conversations about favourite dishes and such
remarks as "I like potatoes cream much better than fried" and "This
noon my mother cooked some carrots with meat. I like them that
way." Several children reported having sampled a vegetable hitherto
untested: "Last night we had parsnips and I ate some. Boy! They' are
good." Several mothers expressed delight over their children's
willingness to try new foods. Dates, figs, and dried apricots were
sampled at school and described as seedy, sticky, sweet, tart, etc.
Some children had never before heard of these fruits.
Methods of preserving were also studied-canning, drying, and
quick freezing; and many new words were thus added to
vocabularies. The library was a constant source of information;
and in connection with the harvesting and preserving of fruit and
vegetables, considerable interest was generated about Indians and
other primitive peoples, as well as about picneer methods of
preparing for the winter.
In October the children were asked to find out from their mothers'
grocers where the fruit and vegetable in their stores had been grown.
From these respect a chart was made, and it was quickly noticed
that the majority of the green goods in the stores at that time of year
had been grown locally, or at least in the state.
Nature and Idea of Writing 213
Just before Christmas another canvass of the grocery stores
revealed the fact that, while cabbage, apples, potatoes, squash, and
a few other items were state-grown, most of the fresh foods were by
now coming to us from a distance. This entailed simple map study.
California, Florida, Texas, and Arizona were located. Tie tags from
bunches of carrots, broccoli, etc., were collected and brought to
school, and the children took great interest in location Phoenix,
Arizona, and Salinas, California of a map and noting the distances
travelled by lettuce and other vegetables. A world map became of
interest when someone reported finding grapes from Chile. Two
other entries were made on the chart, one in March and one in June.
Each time new states were located; and when it was understood
that all the lettuce, celery, and carrots in the stores had to travel
hundreds of miles to reach us, it made quite an impression.
Slides and films were shown depicting citrus groves, market
gardens. And packing house in distant parts of the country. Methods
of transportation were investigated, and many words added to the
pupils' vocabularies:
Budding transportation cultivation
Soil labor rotation (of crops)
Irrigation graft marketing
Pollination harvest grading
Drainage select pest
Distances and the amount of required handling were roughly
estimated: and thus the children came to some little realization of
the amount of work necessary and the number of people involved
in getting a load of fresh lettuce from California to New York. The
effect of climate on crops, people, and customs was also discussed.
At school, a potato placed in a warm cupboard soon showed
sprouts coming from its eyes, and it was learned that potato growers
plant pieces of potatoes instead of seeds. The terms sprout and eyes
were thus learned. A bushel of potatoes was traced from a nearby
farm to New York City, and an estimate was made of the number of
people who handled it-each person earning his living by his work.
The children understood why potatoes must increase in price
between the farm and the home. One child wrote a letter to his
214 Nature and Idea of Writing
cousin in New York City to ascertain how much was being paid for
potatoes there, and the class was much interested in the reply.
Class letter asking for information were also written to the Farm
Bureau and the potato Grovers' Association. Several children were
taken by their parents to visit large potato farms in the vicinity, and
these visits were reported to the class. Machines, such as potato
planters, potato diggers, and spraying machines, were pictured.
Words such as insect, insecticide, and poison were added to the
pupils' vocabularies.
A carrot in water spouted green leaves, and a tomato ball (moss
implanted with tomato seeds) placed in a dish of water soon had
tiny plants protruding from it. Beans resting on damp cotton further
illustrated the sprouting process, there were also simple experiments
to show the effect of moisture and different kinds of soil and fertilizer
on plant growth. All these activities entailed keeping, discussion,
reporting, writing of dates, spelling, reading for information, and
vocabulary growth. The child who attempted to report without
knowing what he was going to say was soon "shushed" by the
class; but because there was such a wide variety of activities,
everyone had a deep interest in something or other, and even the
poorest members of the groups had their innings.
In February a child brought some pussy willow branches to
school. They were arranged in water, and the children watched the
buds come out and change to hairy green catkins. Pictures were
drawn of them, designs were made using the pussy willow motif,
and descriptive words were listed : fuzzy, dangling, hairy, soft,
furry. Several children wrote individual poems about pussy
Gardening: Sometime in February a child reported that his
father was ordering garden seeds. They discussed the need for seeds
and the reason why most people did not save seeds but preferred to
buy tested ones. The words pollination and hybrid mentioned.
Variety in fruits and vegetables was recalled, and the children
described different strains of apples, with their characteristic
appearances and flavors. Mcintosh Red, Greening, Snow, Tollman
Sweet, Early Harvest, and Northern Spy were listed. It was also
learned that, by cross pollinating and grafting, new varieties of
Nature and Idea of Writing 215
fruits, vegetables, and flowers were created. Some of the children
wanted to make a garden and raise something. An old window box
was brought from the school basement, painted, and placed near a
window. The following letter was to sent to seed companies:
Campus School
Potsdam, N.Y.
February 23, 2006
Please send us your 2006 catalogue of flower and vegetable
Thank you.
Yours truly
Grade Three
Room 25
Garden Helpers. Someone reported that bees are helpful in
pollination and, in many cases, necessary. A committee was
appointed to find out every possible thing about bees and their
work. A classroom bee house was found, but to the children's
disappointment no live bee were obtainable.
From reading it was learned that insects are influential in plant
life, and some were listed:
Garden Friends Garden Pests Control
toads potato bugs spray
birds grasshoppers dust
ants bean beetles pull stubble
earthworms tomato worms
bees moles, mice, rats
ladybugs corn borers
An ant house was obtained and stocked. For weeks these
interesting creatures were watched, cared for, and fed honey and
water. The queen, easily recognized by her size, was a never-failing
source of interest. When the children came to school in the morning,
they gathered immediately around the ant house to see where the
tiny busybodies were and what they were doing. The children
watched the ants moving gravel bit by bit from one room to another;
216 Nature and Idea of Writing
and they saw them stroke and care for their queen and carry food to
the nest. From this observation it was easy to understand how, by
their industry, the ants helped keep the soil porous beneath plants.
Many pictures were drawn at different times illustrating the
ants, their work, their home, and their habits. These pictures were
the result of individual interests and were spontaneous. Whenever
a child saw something interesting which he wanted to illustrate, he
did so and placed his picture, when finished, on the chalk tray,
where it usually occasioned criticism, either favourable or
unfavourable, and sometimes downright challenge of he had
misrepresented some phase of ant life. A magnifying glass, which
aided in the study of ants, proved valuable in examining other
objects about the room.
Many new words and meanings were added to the pupils'
vocabularies. Praise was given to children who used new words
often and naturally, and the children themselves registered
displeasure and quickly supplied the needed word someone spoke
of a "thing" or a "jigger."
A Daffodil Bulb. Early in the winter a daffodil bulb was planted
in peat moss, and the pot was anxiously watched for signs of the
plant's growth. When the first pale-looking shoot became visible
there was great excitement and the best of care tendered the young
plant. During the day the pot was placed in a sunny spot near a
window, but not on the sill since that was too near a radiator. At
night it was placed well away from the window lest it become chilled.
When the blossom finally appeared and broke from its covering,
everyone thought it lovely and marveled that such a large bloom
could have been hidden in such a small, drab, hard bulb.
Words were listed which accurately described the blossom:
Creamy white soft lemon yellow pale green
Trumpetlike graceful beautiful
Lovely sweet-scented fragile
Some children wanted to write stories or poems about the flower,
but felt handicapped by spelling difficulties. A spelling lesson was
accordingly made up of the most commonly needed world, while
other words probably needed were written on a side board and left
Nature and Idea of Writing 217
there for reference. The children were told to write their stories,
spelling as best they could. Spelling "wouldn't count"; good stories
were wanted, and spelling could be corrected later.
Following are five stories or poems, each one written
individually. Often words were so poorly spelled that the teacher
could not read them; but with the children to interpret, the stories
were soon corrected:
I am a daffodil in the ground, and they call me brown.
I am a daffodil siting on a hill.
I am a flower.
I'm pretty as can be
And a woman picks me off my "feed."
Once I had a sleepy little bulb which I thought would never
wake up. But at last, one day popped a tiny hand and then another.
Last of all up popped the head, and there was a trumpet daffodil.
The Lonely Little Bulb
Once upon a time there was a little bulb. He was very lonely in
the ground until one day the sun came out very bright and he said,
"I'd better grow now, or they'll be worrying about me." So every day
he grew an inch. And one day he had four great big leaves on him.
He said, "It's about time I poke my head out." Then he had mere
things to see in the whole world than in the dark ground, and he
lived happily ever after.
There was a little bulb in the ground. One day the sun came out.
The bulb popped its head up and looked all around. He looked at
trees and than he looked to see where he was growing. He didn't
know his name, but he was sure he must be very beautiful.
Finally a lady picked him and took him into the house. How
happy and proud he felt!
After the blossom had withered, the bulb was taken out of the
moss, the mass of roots was examined, and the bulb was laid on the
window sill to dry. Later a child took it home to plant in the garden,
where it would bloom again the next year.
The talk about bulb spending the winter under the ground led
to pictures depicting garden of spring glowers and to some pictures
218 Nature and Idea of Writing
representing bulb beneath the earth-the bulbs having "baby faces"
smiling as the sun shone from above.
One day in March after one of the heaviest snowfalls of the
season, someone mentioned the brown bulbs awaiting the coming
of spring and the warmth of the sunshine. Looking out of the
window, one child said he had the beginning sentences for a poem,
and he repeated slowly:
On top of the ground
The snow lay deep.
To this another child almost immediately added:
Down under the ground
Brown bulbs were asleep.
Then, working together, the group soon had the following lines:
Then came the spring
With rain and sun.
Whispered the bulbs,
"Our work has begun.
Come, stretch up your leaves,
And sand out buds
For springtime has come
And the garden is ours."
After the poem had been repeated a few times, a child suggested
that, since we had used the word spring earlier in the poem, it
might be better if we changed the next to the last sentences to read.
For winter has gone. Then ground in the third line was changed to
earth, buds in the third from the last line was changed to flowers,
and the poem now read:
On top to the ground
The snow lay deep.
Down under the earth
Brown bulbs were asleep.
Then came the spring
With rain and sun.
Whispered a bulb,
"Our work has begun.
Come, stretch up your leaves
And sent out flowers,
Nature and Idea of Writing 219
For winter has gone
And the garden is ours."
So much satisfaction was expressed in the finished product
that each child wanted a copy of the poem to keep. It was pointed
out to the children that authors and poets wrote and rewrote their
stories many times before they were finally published and that the
rearranging of words showed that the class was improving and
The poem was given as a choral-speaking piece, with a small
group as the second voice doing the part said by the bulb. Before
long, someone suggested writing a tune for the poem, and so music
was composed for it by the group.
A Window-box Garden : The arrival of the seed catalogues
occasioned great interest and much conversation. The pictures were
studies, and hard words were sounded. In a few days catalogues
had been worn to a pulp as the children pored over them trying to
decide what they wanted. Abbreviations such as pkt., oz., lb., ft.,
and words such as dwarf, giant, and mixture, especially as applied
to seed, were studied. Prices were noted and compared.
After much discussion it was decided that some of everything
listed in the catalogues really could not be planted, that probably
dwarf varieties would be more suitable than giant, and that varieties
which matured early were desirable for results before school closed
in June.
It was finally voted to plant lettuce, radishes, and petunias;
and a committee was appointed to choose the seed and fill out the
order blank. According to the catalogue, head lettuce took much
longer to mature than the leaf variety, so the latter was ordered. One
little boy held out for Giant White radishes, but he was outvoted in
favour of a variety called Cherry Belle, which looked especially
attractive Belle, which looked especially attractive in the picture
and was said to be a quick grower. A package of dwarf petunias-
mixed colours -was also chosen. The total cost the amount each
child had to contribute was computed, and the order was mailed.
Now the windows box was measured, and the terms length,
width, and depth were learned in connection with the problem of
220 Nature and Idea of Writing
determining the amount of soil needed to fill the box. Since there
was still frost in the ground and good earth would be hard to get,
the teacher bought two large begs of well-fertilizer soil at a
agricultural college. Children lugged sizable rocks to school to
provide drainage in the bottom of the box. The soil was added and
patted into place. Though the pupils had been reared in a small
village where everyone had plenty of out- of -door experience, this
soft soil seemed to have a peculiar fascination for the children, and
in odd moments here was always a child or two standing beside
the box, just letting dirt trickie through his fingers.
When the seeds arrived there was more excitement. As planned,
lettuce was to be planted in one end of the box, radishes in the other
end, and the petunias as a border around the edge. The seeds were
examined and the differences noted. Each child had seeds to sow.
Water was sprinkled over all. Great satisfaction was t:Apressed by
all the pupils.
Never were seed more carefully tended nor more closely watched
than those in the window box. A few radish seed had not been
completely covered, and one of these produced a sprout sometime
between 11:20 A.M. and 12:45 P.M. The sprout was the cause of
wild excitement when noticed by the child to enter the room after
Other spring Activities. With the coming of spring it could be
seen that the winter's study of plants had been truly effective. Never
in her long experience had the teacher known of children so
observing and so interested in all growing things. The earliest
swelling of tree buds was noted and watched. Crocus daffodil, and
tulip plants were reported as soon as they showed a spear.
Early in March a section of the board was given over to "Signs
of Spring." And some of the entries were as follows:
March 8. Jimmy crows.
March 8. Eddie thought he saw two robins.
March 9. Lce on the river is thawing-David says.
March 9. Tulip sprouts at Susan's house.
March 11. Alice's mother tapped trees.
Nature and Idea of Writing
March 13. Dorothy brought pussy willows.
March 20. Pat got stuck in the mud.
March 22. Ronnie's dog is shedding hair. He's very itchy.
The ester season occasioned the writing of numerous
individual stories and poems in which the flowers vied with the
Waster Bunny as theme.
An Easter basket was packed for a sick classmate; in addition
to the jellies, fruit, puzzles, and games in the basket, each child
made a picture, wrote a note, or sent an Easter message.
All winter it had been noted at the regular weekly meeting of
the book Club that an unusually large number of the books reported
by the children had been informational books-books read to "find
out something."
Now wild flower and bird guides were in constant demand.
Names of spring flowers were listed on the board and used in
spelling. Small bouquets were soon gathered and brought to school,
and the conservation of these wild plants was discussed. Careless
pulling of plants was condemned.
On a walk one spring morning. The class saw various kinds of
fruits tree in bloom or just leafing out. Peach, plum, and apple trees
were noticed, the shape and size of trees were compared, and their
leaves and flowers were examined and described.
Large sprays of apple tree were brought into the classroom
while still in bud, and the beauty of the opening flowers appreciated.
The community's one and only magnolia was visited, and the beauty
of the opening flowers appreciated. It served to emphasize the fact
that people in other parts of our country have, due to climate,
different plants. Pictures of fruit orchards in bloom, azalea gardens,
and hibiscus hedges were brought by the children, and slides and
films helped give an idea of flowers grown in other climates.
Spring stories and poems were written by the children and left
on the teacher's desk for reading. Some stories were read in the
original, while some were worked over by the children; but each
child had a chance to read his story to the class.
The flowers are blooming,
And the birds are coming back.
222 Nature and Idea of Writing
The grass blades are all peeping
From their long winter's nap.
The squirrels are running up the tree
And having lots of fun.
I'll tell you a little secret-
Spring has come.
In Spring
My mother bought me a pair of roller skates one spring day, so
I went skating. I saw a robin singing in a tree and a woodpecker.
There were lots of buds on the tree. The boys and girls were playing
hop-scotch, picking pussy willows and flowers. Some were playing
basebalJ or jumping rope. They were all glad spring had come at
I have a cat. He has a little house in the rose bushes. He and the
other cats go in to get away from the dogs, sometimes to get out of
the rain and sometimes just to play in it.
One warm, lovely morning in May the group working together
wrote a poem, which seemed to describe what they had seen and
felt as they came to school;
Spring Morning
I like to see the sun
Shine on houses
On a spring morning
And the dancing shadows
Of leaves.
Birds sing gay songs,
Sweet scents fill the air,
Bright flowers bloom in the garden,
And fresh and beautiful.
Is fresh and beautiful.
During odd moments in school and without help Or suggestion,
a little girl wrote a story which she called "Wind and Fairies."
When the story was completed she read it to the class and WaS
Nature and Idea of Writing 223
Wind and Fairies
The fairies live in a little yellow buttercup near the meadow.
They work hard all day.
In early morning some spread dew while others open the
flowers. They dance on the little yellow dandelions in the afternoon,
and at night they close the flowers. After their work is done they
dance by the light of the fireflies.
One day, while they were playing in the meadow, a big wind
came and blew down all the buttercups, even their house. The fairies
started to cry because it was such a nice house.
"Where can we find a new house?" said one of the fairies.
"In the woods would be a good place," said another fairly.
So they started out to the deep woods. They walked and walked
tmtil they came to a gurgling stream where they saw a beautiful
white water lily. Here would be a good place to live. They could get
water easily and also go swimming.
"Oh! We will have lots of room in here. "
"It will be strange living in a bigger house. We lived in such a
little one before!"
"Then they all decided to go swimming. They splashed water
on each other and got their curly hair all wet."
"But what will happen to us when the water lily dies," said the
oldest and smartest fairy.
"We will surely get seasick if we stay here too long. I wonder if
there are any fairy hospitals near here."
"In the winter we can live in a bird's nest and go back to our
buttercup in the spring. By that time it should be grown up."
In the spring they returned to their old home and lived happily
even after.
Judged by adult standards the above story leaves much to be
desired. The young author seems to have run out of plot about
midway in the story. Her beginning is good, however; and by taking
the fairies back home again, she provides a satisfactory ending. The
children liked the tale, and there was a sort of pride in the fact that
a member of the group had written such a long story unaided.
224 Nature and Idea of Writing
Spurred by these individual stories, someone suggested that
the class write a story. Beginning sentences were submitted, and
Dorothy's was voted the best:
One warm moonlight night all the fairies gathered together
and made a little brown bulb which they planted in Jeanie's garden.
For several days the story was worked on. Sometimes there
were so many ideas for words or phrases that a vote had to be taken;
and much rearranging was done, including the adding of descriptive
words and the improvement of sentence. Finally the story was
completed, copied by each child, and included in the individual
story booklets:
The Fairy Flower
One warm moonlight night all the fairies gathered together
and made a little brown vulb which they planted in Jeanie's garden.
"Next spring we will have a beautiful flower," said the queen.
"it will be different from any other flower in the garden."
Winter came. Cold winds howled. The flowers in Jeanie's
garden withered and turned brown. Soft white snow fell and covered
all the land with a fleecy white blanket.
But down under the earth while all this was happening, the
little brown bulb was sound asleep. While it took its long winter
rest, something was forming inside its shiny jacket which would
make a lovely flower by and by.
At last winter passed. Bright sun melted the snow and wanned
the earth. South wind blew and wann rain pattered down on the
In its dark bed the little bulb began to feel restless.
Ob, hum! "it sighed sleepily." "My jacket is getting tight. I must
be pushing up. "
Mean while, above the earth, the fairies were wa tching closely
for the first sign of their bulb.
Lightwing, the tiniest fairy of all, saw the wee tip of green sprout
first and flew excitedly to the Queen.
"Your Highness!" she gasped. "Our flower! It is growing! I
saw it."
Nature and Idea of Writing 225
Off fluttered the fairies after Lightwing, and in no time at all
they were grouped around their wee paint, pointing and all talking
at once.
The queen Starbright spoke, "We must care for our plants and
protect it from danger. We must keep the dirt loose around it and see
that it gets water."
Days went by. The plant grew and grew. First came two dainty
green leaves Then, one warm sunny afternoon, Twinkletoes spied a
chubby green bud just peeping up between the leaves.
There was great excitement when the fairies gathered around.
"Oh!" they chorused, "It will be a blossom."
"I hope it will be pure white," said Queen Starbright.
Several days went by. The fairies never left their bud alone for a
minute. In the daytime they danced and played happily about it. At
night Twinkletoes slept under a nearby clover leaf so that if the bud
should open, she could hurry to tell the Queen.
One night when Twinkletoes was just ready to drop off to sleep,
she heard a faint "pop". Looking up she saw the bud gradually
Off raced Twinkletoes to tell the other fairies the good news.
Soon all were gathered around in a circle breathlessly as their bud
slowly, very slowly opened into a beautiful pure white flower.
Its delicate drooping petals were as soft as velvet and it swayed
gracefully on a long slender stem.
NOh," gasped the fairies, "Oh, isn't it beautiful?"
For a moment they gazed silently at the wonder blossom. Then
Lightwing spoke. "Your Majesty! You must have your palace here,"
she said.
"If it will please you, me subjects, I will be glad to live here in
our flower," replied Queen Starbright.
The fairies were very happy as they danced sang around their
NAt last our Queen has found a place lovelier then any dream,"
they said.
226 Nature and Idea of Writing
Not content with having written a story, children wanted to do
something with it; so it was decided to try to give it as a play. A song
was composed as a finale:
All day we dance around our flower.
At last our queen has found her bower.
Tra la la la la la la lao
Our queen has found her bower.
Since there was little conversation in the story, it was decided
to have a reader, with the various characters speaking only
occasionally. Additional conversation was ads-libbed; but the reader
carried most of the part, pausing to allow time for dances. To provide
a part for the boys, a group of elves was introduced. They danced
and sang with the fairies.
Simple crepe-paper costumes consisting of skirts for the main
characters, capes for the fairies, capes for the elves, and green mitts
plus live white petals for the bulb served to make the children feel
important and took little time to construct. The bulb slept under a
brown paper-covered carton and rose the reform at the proper
For a background, the children cut large, conventionalized
flower shapes, which they coloured brightly with chalk. These and
a few paper leaves were taped to the wall at the back of the stage. A
large, paper clover leaf mounted on a piece of wallboard, which
was turned against the wall, provide a place for Twinkletoes to
sleep. Everything was kept extremely simple, and there was only
one rehearsal in the auditorium. It was the children's story. They
had chosen the characters and done the planning. Every child had
a part and a bit of costume, and his name was on the program,
which was read by the announcer. The list of characters the
announcer added a brief explanation of the story and study:
This we've been studying about plants and flowers. During the
winter we had a bulb which blossomed. The blossom was so pretty
that we wrote a story about it. Then we decided to make a play of the
story. This is what you will see. We made a song for it too.
The play was given at the regular assembly period. Individual
invitations had been taken to mothers, and several group invitations
had been written and delivered to other grades. The play was well
Nature and Idea of Writing
attended, and both actors and audience seemed to enjoy the
performance and feel that it was worthwhile.
A Picnic: A few days before the end of school, a visit to Miss F
was arranged. One pleasant morning each child, carrying a plant,
a rooted slip, a marigold plant raised from seed, a bulb, a vine,
walked the short distance to Miss F's house.
She welcomed the class warmly with exclamations of "Oh!"
and" Ah!" for the beauty of the plants, was duly appreciative of the
slips all ready for her to put into her window box, and made the
children feel that they had a real in her garden. Fresh, fat, molasses
cooking with plump raisins in their centers were served from an
old-fashioned earthenware cooky jar, and all the children were
happy. They thanked Miss F told how much they had enjoyed the
plants during the winter.
Instead of the customary end-of-year picnic, the children
suggested a vegetable lunch in the room school. The radishes had
lustily but had failed to "radish"; they were all tops. Not to be
cheated, however, the children brought radishes from home gardens,
as well as cucumbers, lettuce, carrots, and tomatoes. Desks were
arranged to from a long table, own sandwich. A cool fruit drink
was made, two or three children brought home made cookies, and
one farm boy brought fresh strawberries. To the children this lunch
seemed replete, and the teacher was gratified to find so much
satisfaction the simple fare.
Social Studies: America in Song and Story, Fifth Grade:
Following is a description of a year-long unit of work in which
language plays an integral part. It was taught by Mrs. Ragnhild
Stillman, fifth-grade teacher in the Campus School, State University
Teachers College, Potsdam, New York. Because the teacher is a
trained musician, the study was rich in music and folklore. However,
other areas were not neglected. It is necessity to present in brief
Mrs. Stillman believed that her fifth-grade children should have
a knowledge of the beginnings of their country. They should
understand what is meant by a republican form of government, its
origins and composition. They should know how the myriad
nationalities, religion, ideologies, racial backgrounds, language,
customs, and political division have molded together to form a
228 Nature and Idea of Writing
wonderful nation. They should know that such a melding of
necessity be slow, that errors of judgment are bound to occur, and
that only by the honest and constant watchfulness of all citizens
can errors be avoided. With these lofty aims in mind, Mrs. Stillman
developed the program with the children.
The United States was divided into five areas for study: New
England, Middle Atlantic states, Southeastern states, Middle West
including Southwest, and Western and Mountain states.
Beginning with New England, Committees of children began
research on the historical background and settlement of the country.
Questions were asked and topics noted for study, such as the
background of the Pilgrims and reasons for coming to America,
treatment of the Indians, form of government, development of the
town meeting, religion, growth of the colony and the area, witchcraft,
development of seafaring, whaling and fishing industries, sea
chanteys, folk songs and dances, effects of topography on New
England life, legendary characters and heroes, hero literature,
language of the people, products and industries, modem cities and
population, rivers, and present-day New England.
Finding information on these topics required endless reading
and research by individuals and committees. Letters were written
to chambers of commerce, government agencies, travel bureaus, and
individuals asking for information and conveying appreciation for
favours received. Information was checked and rechecked for
accuracy. Posters were made illustrating certain facts. Slides were
shown, pictures collected, a museum visited, and costumes of the
different periods were studied. Records were played, and sea
chanteys were sung with much gusto. Models of log cabins were
constructed. A study was made of the foods of the Indians and of
white settlers. Poets and novelists of New England were studied.
The Middle Atlantic states were treated in the same way. Each
bit of information led to more questions, and these in tum required
more answers. Here, such tales as Rip Van Winkle and other
Washington living stories were tied with the Hudson River Valley
and the Catskill Mountain area. Products and natural resources of
the different areas were studies. It was found that the beginnings of
the great steel industries and the need for labor brought together
people of different nationalities with their various tongues, customs,
Nature and Idea of Writing 229
songs, and dances. Street-vender song of early Philadelphia and
Baltimore were learned. Comparison were made between the early
settlers of Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New England;
and their influences upon the development of work, play, customs,
literature, and music of each area were noted. Language differences
were noted.
The Southeastern states brought a study of still different
peoples. The Spanish of Florida, the French of Louisiana, Negroes
and slavery, cotton, tobacco, and plantation life were introduced
along with such characters as Daniel Boone. Children were
fascinated by legendary heroes like John Henry, and they never
tired of the ballads, spirituals, and song of Stephen Forester, Folk
stories of mountaineers and Negroes were collected and studies
with reference to origins and similarities to the folk tales of other
areas. Dialects were tried and dances learned. Present day trends
were noted: industrial changes, growth of cities, population
adjustments, and changes in products.
Into the study of the Middle West came many Characters, some
real and some fictional: Johnny Appleseed and Mark Twin, to
mention only two; and their contributions to our great American
melting pot were noted. There were choral speaking, Dramatization,
map study, extensive reading and research. Spelling, art and writing
were all involved. Plains Indians were studied and the white man's
mistreatment of them was noted, Cowboy dances and songs were
learned. The long wagon trains and reasons for the westward
movement were studied along with the growth of cities, population,
and products. Contrasts of language with that of the South and
New England were noted.
For a study of the Mountain and Western states, the class was
divided into three parts representing the Oregon, California, and
Santa Fe Trails. Questions were set up on a teacher-pupil basis, and
each group studied a particular trail. The land, people, customs,
history, products, songs, foods, etc., were investigated and then
reported to the other groups. For instance, travellers on the California
Trail reported on the Forty-niners, the Mormons, and such songs as
"Clementine"; while the followers of the Santa Fe Trail showed
picture of Pueblo Indians and demonstrated some of the ceremonial
dances. The Oregon Trail reporters told about Kit Carson, the
Whitman family, and Buffalo Bill.
230 Nature and Idea of Writing
The study culminated in an operetta, the scene laid at a railroad
station. A group of greeters entered singing "She'll Be Comin' Round
the Mountain." Travelers arrived form many parts of the United
States, exchanging news. There were songs and dances from the
whole country: "Rip Van Winkle." "Down in the Coal Mine." "Cape
Cod Chanty," "Old Storm-along," "Night herding Songs," "Dixie,"
"The 4gers," and others. Such characters as Jesse James. Johnny
appleseed. And Rip Van Winkle were introduced as travelers. A
narrator wrote his own script but improvised freely. A station-master
called the stations as the imaginary trip progressed across the
country. An original song for Paul Bunyan was written by the group,
and a poem for Johnny Appleseed was given as choral speaking.
Everyone helped with the simple stage setting and props. The
children who were not actual characters on the stage were grouped
around the piano as a chorus. The operetta ended with "This Is My
Country," sung twice by the whole group.
Invitations were written to parents and to other rooms in the
school. Poster were made advertising the operetta. A report was
prepared for the school paper.
Arithmetic was involved in computing time, distances,
population, costs, and dates, in measuring and construction work
for the stage props, and in many other ways.
Had time permitted science could have been strengthened by
studying more of the industries and products of the areas, such as
cars in Detroit, copper in Montana, oil in Texa, power production at
great dam sites. Irrigation, atomic energy Nevada; and the study of
weather, climate, soil erosion and fertility. The possibilities are
endless, worthwhile, and thrilling.
In the study there was doubtless much which fifth graders could
not fully appreciate, but the teacher felt that these children grew
amazingly in learning how to search for information, sift facts from
conjecture, weigh opinions, keep records, and make reports. Most
important, perhaps, they had grown in an understanding of our
nation and its people, and in understanding the influence of racial
backgrounds upon our customs, industries, and speech, They
learned that through our mixed heritage we are related to many
Nature and Idea of Writing 231
peoples of the world; that working together requires understanding
and acceptance; and that, as Americans, we must take an active,
intelligent interest and do our part toward maintaining sound
government and a stable social order.
Handling an Integrated Program:
It must be apparent to the thoughtful reader of the preceding
description that an integrated program is a program of positive
instruction, not a program of indifference and neglect. The teacher
actually teaches language. An integrated program does not offer an
escape from the responsibility of definitely working to improve
children's language ability. Preparation and planning must be
consistent and thorough. Because language work is not laid out in
orderly blocks of time and treated separately, the teacher must
constantly keep in mind all important aspects of language, and
must recognize and take advantage of opportunities for providing
specific training as they arise.
Instruction procedures developed in the preceding chapters
apply as well to an integrated program as to a functional program.
Situations arise for writing a letter, for conversation, for extending
vocabulary, and for improving speech; and time out is taken. If
ad visable, to provide specific help on a particular phase of language
work. Some teachers feel that to interrupt a social studies or a science
lesson with How can we improve that report? How could we say it
more clearly? Or Let's think of some words that describe this colour
more accurately, is to steal time from science; and they feel guilty.
Actually attention is not being diverted from science but is rather
focused upon it, for by repeating a bit of information and expressing
it more clearly and more exactly one is adding to understanding
and retention.
In handling an integrated program the teacher needs a clear
understanding of the important goals of language and of the course
of the normal development of children. He must know what may be
reasonably expected of children at the grade level and must recognize
good work. It is helpful to keep a continuous inventory of individual
and group needs as they arise in science and social studies. He may
plan lessons or discussions in such a way as to provide practice in
232 Nature and Idea of Writing
language work-letter writing, reporting, note taking, critical
thinking, etc. The children are led to recognize their needs and to
share in the responsibility of meeting them. There is continuous
checking on language goals, and records of progress are noted on
prepared check lists.
If a teacher is required to follow a rigid course of study, he may
not be able to manage a fully integrated program. However, If alert,
he can from time to time find opportunities to combine language
with social studies, reading, science, and all other subjects. If a
teacher has some freedom, imagination, and alertness, he will be
able to quickly snatch at opportunities, often not too clear-cut.
Integration will take place regardless of what name is given to it. It
is not so much a matter of experiences as of enthusiasm, good
judgment, courage, and above all an exploring sprit. Too many
teachers are afraid to venture, lacking confidence in their judgement
and ability. They lean too heavily on the printed word and want
directions for every move. They feel they must have a syllabus, a
course of study, or at least a workbook to guide them; and lacking
such a crutch, they revert to their own school experience in which
their teachers were probably following a book.
Within the limits of a basic framework of course of study, the
teacher may maintain an open mind. He may set forth an initial aim
as a sort of feeler, and may almost immediately discover leads going
off in many directions. It is his responsibility to determine which of
the many possibilities are most worthwhile and to skilfully lead the
children to explore. To outline too definitely and to set up a detailed
plan of study at the begirming may be as restricting as a workbook
or syllabus, and the effect may be to destroy immediately his freedom
to explore.
No program in the language arts can fail to recognize the impact
of the mass modes of communication upon life. All of them bear
direct relationship to the development of power in speech and of
power to evaluate the effects of speech.
According to the English Language Arts, each of the modes of
mass communication may be approached from three points of view:
(1) as an institution in life with clearly defined techniques for
influencing the public; (2) as a source of entertainment and personal
enrichment during leisure time; and (3) as an aestheic medium with
art forms peculiar to itself.
Discussion of Films:
Group discussion of a specific motion picture is a common
activity in the speech class. Students may be led to sense both the
actual and potential power of the motion picture, to view it as an art
form and as an educational force. They may develop standards of
evaluation such as those prepared by Donal K. Smith of the
Department of Speech at the University of Minnesota illustrate their
use with high school seniors of the state:
Standards for Judging Films
A. Story and Script:
1. Does it distort life?
234 Radio News, and Advertisementing Communication
2. Does it glorify unworthy goals or acts of living?
3. Is it a stereotyped predictable plot?
4. Does it give any insight into truth?
5. Is it worth telling? Worth seeing?
6. Are the lines clever, striking, or in any ways distinctive?
B. Casting and Acting:
1. Do the actors develop interesting characters or simply
exploit their own public personalities?
2. Do they heighten and sharpen all possible meanings in the
C. Music and Sound:
1. Do sound and music support and heighten the story or call
attention, to themselves?
2. Is there evidence of imaginative taste in the selection of
sound and music?
D. Photography:
1. Does it suggest story rather than call attention to itself?
2. Is there evidence of imagination and taste in the selection
of camera angles, effects, and scenes?
The film, Understanding Movies, prepared by a committee of
the National Council of Teachers of English in co-operation with
Teaching Film Custodians, Inc., is especially useful for this kind of
Special reports can deal with the characteristics of types of
films such as documentary, historical, animated, musical, and the
like. Others may delve into the influence of propaganda on films,
the relation of attendance to film production and selection, and
sources of review of films.
Radio and Television:
The wide range in radio and television offerings suggests as
wide a range in the tastes and of the listeners and viewers. Student
profit from a discussion of the reasons for their likes and dislikes
and of the influence of different kinds of programs on American
Radio News, and Ad vertisementing Communication 235
Most closely allied to the problems of speaking, however, are
analysis of speech and voice techniques of noted speaker on radio
and television. Those programs which aim to influence thought or
to inform are most useful. "Who is speaking?" Students learn to -
ask. "Why? Under what sponsorship?" and lion what authority?"
Ability to detect bias in point of view, unsubstantiated
generalizations, or inferences inadequately drawn is particularly -
important in a land where freedom of speech gives equal right to
the informed and to the uninformed, to the straight and to the
crooked thinker, to the sincere and to the insincere. Critical
examination of what is hard is vital in today's world. Some
understanding of the meaning of lithe cold war" and its power over
the mind of men should be given to older high school students in
these times.
Speech and The Teaching of Literature
ProfiCiency in speech adds zest, insight, and a heightened sense
of appreciation to the study of literature. Poetry invites oral
interpretation and takes on new colour and life when read aloud.
Witness the oral interpretation of Benet's liThe Mountain
Whippoorwill" in the unit on back-Country America described. As
for the lyric, many a student for first time full meaning of some
passage from "II Penseroso" or "Ode to the West Wind" as he
practices in preparation for reading it to the class. The search for
meanings before reading aloud develops ability to understand
unusual word relationships and to recognize the pattern of many
of the involved sentences common to poetry.
Choral Speaking:
A teacher in Champaign, Illinois, describes how choral reading
came to her aid when she approached the study of poetry with a
lively group of sophomores in a required English class-a group
who had not just a mild distaste but a pronounced dislike for poetry
in any form:
Deep within the heart of the instructor was the feeling that the
best of all rewards from the study of poetry is the personal enjoyment
that comes from living a great poem and wanting to share the
experience with others .... How was the instructor to break down
this sense of determined opposition and lead her pupils to a
236 Radio News, and AdvertisementingCommunication
realization of the richness experience which a unit in poetry has to
The backgrounds of individuals in the class show great
differences of preparation. One boy during his ten years of schooling
had attended seventeen schools jn ten different states. His intense
dislike for poetry stemmed from the fact that he was poorly prepared
in the fundamentals of reading, yet he expressed his distaste in his
own way by saying he "just didn't get poetry." To ask such a boy to
read verse aloud to the group would increase his aversion ...
Sharing a common indifference to school in general, a majority
of the class had no desire for individual distinction and craved
only the satisfaction of being one of the "gang." Any activity that
was going to win approval would necessarily be one in which they
participated as a group.
The teacher chose to introduce the study of poetry by means of
choral speaking. Through reading aloud in unison, she hoped to
offset personal limitations and dislike and to release the beginnings
of appreciation and enjoyment of poetry.
Principles of interpretatio::.1 were discussed. As the class read
aloud, each individual fOlmd pleasure in an expression of himself
that was submerged in the performance of the group. Opportunities
for socialization, for developing a sense of belonging, for erasing
the marks of previous unsatisfactory experiences were provided by
this technique of group speaking.
Poems were studied by the class for personal enjoyment. The
author's thoughts and meanings were discussed. The class searched
for logical and emotional details that would reveal the spirit of the
poem. Structure was considered, and its bearing on interpretation.
Rhythmical appreciation was developed. Prosody was learned
as pupils clapped out the rhythms of ballads. Sensory appreciation
was heightened as the group became aware to the onomatopoetic
language in such a poem as "By the Turret Stair." Responding to
the images of "A Winter Twilight" by Angelina W. Grimke,
"Deserted" by Madison Cawein, and" A Wanderer's Song" by
johan Masefield, many pupils began to realize the possibilities of
poetry. Metrical patterns of timing and phasing were discovered in
Radio News, and Advertisementing Communication 237
pieces like "The Sky Scraper" by Carl Sandburg and "Kit carson's
Ride" by Joaquin-Miller.
If results may be judged by a group request for a second unit of
poetry, then the choral speaking techniques awakened intellectual
curiosity and aesthetic appreciation among the sophomores. They
found pleasure for themselves in "loving a good thing" and wanting
to share the experience with others.
A Similar shift in attitude accompanied the use of choral
speaking in the brookline, Massachusetts, High School where a
dissatisfied group had announced its dislike of poetry:
We discussed informally the rhythms of various objects-
machines, airplanes, walking, dancing, heartbeats, the seasons,-all
we could think of. Then we listened to music in various rhythm.
The class listened to several poems, tapped out the rhythm as I
read, noted variations in it discussed why the rhythm was chosen
and why it varied. We moved aCfOSS to the music room and played
and sang as many lyrics from Shakespeare through the nineteenth
century as I could find.
A number of poems were memorized almost painlessly, the
music of them was so thoroughly known. The boys and girls began
to discuss narrative poems as possible subjects for musical settings.
Finally, we had a panel on the theme, "We are the music makers. We
are the dreamers of dreams."
A rewarding experience also came to a group of boys in the
Boston Latin School:
Much to my surprise the class was enthusiastic about choral
reading. The timed, who feared a group, joined in wholeheartedly,
for they felt more anonymous. Often I would select the more timorous
to do solo parts in a longer selection. We practiced on such selections
as "0 Captain! My Captain!", "The Highwayman," and especially
the Psalms. The boys loved to chant the verses like the monks at
choir. They became keenly aware of mispronunciations and other
mechanical faults of oral Reading, absorbed the cadences and
phrasing of the selections, and developed a deeper insight into the
beauties of the spoken word. The class not only derived enjoyment
but also advanced rapidly in oral delivery.
238 Radio News, and Advertisementing Communication
Sharing Reading:
Buzz sessions, panel discussion, and dramatized interviews
helped an average group of students in a bi-racial section of Oakland,
California, to share the insight gained through the reading of
The low ten's agreed that they wanted success. They had just
made a study of occupations. Over and again they wondered if they
would be successful secretaries, mechanics, teachers, nurses,
electricians. But what was success? Did you get it by hard work?
What better place to seek ingredients of success than in the lives of
men and women as recorded in biographies?
To find out what a successful person was like, each student
chose with the teacher's help the biography of a one who interested
him, a book, in each case on his own level of reading ability; A girl
who found reading difficult became absorbed in a simply written
biography of Queen Elizabeth II, which first attracted her because
of its brevity. A boy who would read only animal stories had one
standard for choice; the man had to live out-of-doors. He chose to
read about Cochise, the Indian chief. Whatever the reason for choice,
each student was searching for the qualities which made the person
Groups of students who had read about successful athletes,
scientists, statesmen, teachers, writers, and so on, met together in
buzz sessions to talk over the lives of these people. One class had
five people who had read the life of George Washington Carver, and
so there was a special Carver committee. Each group planned a
discussion to present to the class, which identified the ingredients
of success in their particular occupation. Some used a panel. In
general, each student presented a different person about whom he
had read, illustrating his qualities by specific actions or
accomplishment recounted in the book. The chairman was then
responsible for summarizing the main points made by all members
of the group.
Oral report and oral presentation of projects comparing what
people did in the days of Homeric Greece with what they do today
followed the reading of the Odyssey in the high school in New
Rochelle, New York;
Radio News, and Advertisementing Communication 239
The best of these were illustrated with maps, designs, fashion,
drawings, miniature stage sets and properties, even puppets. Plans
and maps of cruises were offered, large collection of things parents
had acquired on such travels, and reports of routes followed by
relatives in World Wars I and II. Fashion reports showed styles of
the earlier period which influence us even now. Frequently, tape-
and wire-recorded reports were prepared by the group in the home
of member. One group spent long hours working out a puppet
All in all, the early question of "How modern in the Odyssey?"
"led to rich rewards. Not only did the prejudice against the Odyssey
evaporate to some the book became a good blood-and-thunder tale,
to others a delightful tale of adventure. And the study led to extensive
individual reading of the wave of" odyssey books coming from the
There was variety, and to spare, for several interesting class
session. A number of extremely shy youngsters were able to lose
their self-consciousness and develop the security they needed. In
their evaluation of each other's reporting, the pupils laid real stress
on historical accuracy they had become research-conscious and
research-conscious and research-proud. At the same time they
developed standards of voice, action, presentation, and audience
contact witch led to more vigorous and effective speaking.
An experience witch utilized several language arts skills in
combination comes from a ninth-grade class at the University high
School at the University of Iowa. It is reported by M. Agnella Gunn,
now of Boston University :
While my class discussing and reading aloud some short stories
by Saki [H.H. Munro], they commented that in many ways short
stories and plays were very much alike. They decided to try to convert
some of the stories into plays and produce one.
The class members divided themselves into groups according
to the story they chose to work on, and began to plan. We discussed
together the neces;:.ary changes: What could be retained as it stood?
240 Radio News, and Ad vertisementing Communication
What had to be changed? How? What could be dropped? What
must be added? Narrative was re-evaluated and converted into
dialogue or dropped. Such problems a inventing a new character or
carrying information and description by the device of a narrator
handled before those of the casting or directing were met.
The changing of one form into another resulted in a growing
and healthy respect for the skills both of the short story writer and
the playwright. Seeing how a clever phrase could lose its lustier
when it was tampered with resulted in an increasing respect for
form of expression. Finally, the composite classwork on a one-act
production of "Quail Seed" brought about an increased
understanding of the techniques underlying both forms of
expression, increased ability to share responsibility in committee
work, and increased skill in oral interpretation.
The mysterious action of the artist and his model gave ample
opportunity for dramatic action. The guesses of the customers as to
who the strange man was who daily sought the boy ordering
pomegranates and quail seed furnished leads for the interpretation
of character. And the unique descriptive power of Saki [H.H. Munro
gave hints for costumes and background which aroused the
admiration of all concerned.
Other outgrowths which paid dividends in keener self-
appraisal and in increased interest in further experience were the
discovery that memorizing lines was almost effortless when it was
based on real familiarity with the material and that naturalness of
oral interpretation, conversational quality of voice, and ease of
manner are best when they grow out of real understanding.
Interpretation and Appreciation of Drama:
One of the major contributions of speech to the language arts
program is the interpretation and appreciation of drama. In an
elective course in Advanced Speech for the twelfth grade, a group of
highly selected high school seniors did a unit on Shakespeare
following the study of ancient and me dieval drama.
The purpose of the unit was to give these mature students an
understanding of the elements which combined to make
Radio News, and Advertisementing Communication 241
Shakespeare a major playwright, an appreciation of the place of his
plays in the history of dramatic presentation, criteria by which to
judge modem dramas, and a recognition of the universal quality of
great art. The class considered the ideas which Shakespeare
explored, the human values he dramatize, the language forces he
employed to create major poetic expression, and the story outline
he used to communicate these ideas and values effectively. Having
done a unit on classic drama and having been alerted by their teacher
to the modem theatre, the students were in a position to compare
and contrast the "classic greatness" of plays like Oedipus Rex and
the neo-classic formality of the Cid with Shakespeare's techniques,
which led to easily recognized influences upon the modem stage-
in both melodrama and such serious plays as Winterset. In
developing standards for judging the theatre of today, students were
in a position to use measure derived from the past as well as present-
day considerations.
During the course of the three-or four-week unit, each student
read at least one play, most of them read tow, and several read ten or
twelve. The teacher tried to match the plays with the known interests
of individuals. Those read are represented in general by the
recordings listed below, which proved exceedingly useful:
Hamlet-Olivier .................................. 10" Victor LCT 5298
-Gielgud .................................. 2-12" Victor LM6007
Henry VIII.......................................... 12" London LL578
Julius Caesar ..................................... 2-12" Columbia EL 52
Macbeth ............................................. 2-12" Victor LM 6010
Midsummer Night's Dream .......... ..
Othello ............ ~ ................................. .
Richard II ........................................ ..
Richard III (Varrymore) .................. ..
Romeo and juliest ............................ .
The Tempest .................................... ..
3-12" Victor LM 6115
3-12" Columbia SL 153
12" Allegro 8001
12" Audio Rarities 2203
3-12" Victor LM 6110
12" Roya11440
Before letting the students settle down to reading in class for
the better part of a feek, the teacher read aloud three or four typical
scenes, each from a different play. He did this to give a concrete
242 Radio News, and Advertisementing Communication'
example of how to interpret drama, how to read character soliloquies,
how to pursue hints for future action and how to relate each scene
to what has gone before. Sometimes recording were used to illustrate
the voicing of lines by different actors, or such varied interpretation
of character as exist between Sir Laurence Olivier's Hamlet and
that of Arthur Hohn Gielgud.
Often the unit is timed to coincide with a Shakespearean play
which is on campus or is coming to a town theatre. Sometimes a
television performance is available like Macbeth or Hamlet.
Frequently preview film are used, like Hollywood's (MGM) Julies
Caesar, Sir Laurence Olivier's Henry v or Hamlet, Max Reinhardt's
(MGM) Midsummer Night's Dream, the new Italian film with
English dialogue for Romeo and Juliet or the older film from MGM,
starring Norma Shearer and Leslie Howard. Often a very poor film
like Orson Welles's Macbeth, which can be used along with
- condemnatory reviews by professional critics, makes a good
jumping-off place for the development of critical judgment.
Activities carried on during the unit are many and varied. Small
group of students who have read the same play produce illustrative
, scenes from it. Panel discussions compare, for example, the
Shakespearean tragic hero with the Sophoclean tragic hero, or
'Shakespeare's renascence view of man with the medieval view as
personified in Everyman. Sometimes individual students give oral
interpretations of famous soliloquies. For the intellectually alert, a
stimulating project is to investigate those criticisms which have
been completely adverse to Shakespeare, like Voltaire's, and those
which have been enthusiastic like Lessing's. Inasmuch as the
colourful Minnesotan, Ignatius Donnelly, wrote voluminously on
the subject of the Bacon-Shakespeare conflict, the whole controversy
that still surround the actual authorship of the plays is a research
subject of great interest to Minnesota students. Again, individual
pupils sometimes pursue research into the changes that have been
wrought on Shakespeare's plays quite literally (as by Garrick and
CollyCibber) and by way of interpretation, a study of how the healthy
Elizabethan action, for example, has been currently watered down
into psychopathic mind-action after the influence of Freud.
Radio News, and Advertisementing Communication 243
Students who are more manual-minded and less interpretative
engage in a wide variety of activities: the construction of models of
Eliza bethan stage accompanied by demonstration speeches
illustrating how they were operated in relation to some specific
play, the construction of Elizabethan costumes, a study of
Elizabethan music, examination of Elizabethan foods, a search for
present-day colloquialisms derived from Shakespeare ("Something
is rotten in Denmark," for example), or a similar investigation of
descriptive passages made necessary by the absence of scenery from
Shakespeare's stage.
Interest runs high in this unit, and the level of performance is
mature. The objectives stated in the beginning are largely reali_zed.
Above all superior students work up to capacity and like it.
Criteria for a Sound Speech Program
Increasing recognition is being to the importance of speech in
the high schools of today. The emphasis upon the arts of
communication places speech and listening on an equal footing
with reading and writing. Training in speaking and listening begins
at least five years earlier than training in reading and writing and
continues for numbers of students throughout college. Some high
schools have set up separate departments of speech in the belief
that work can function most efficiently if relatively autonomous.
The Commission on the English Curriculum envisions a program
in which speech takes its place among the offerings of the total
program in the English language arts, Hopping to bring about in
this way a close interrelationship among the various aspects of the
program in communicative arts. Because of the effort toward
integration, it is especially important to guard the place of speech
in the program and to see that its claims are not ignored in a
traditional emphasis upon reading and writing; for in the school of
a democracy the ability to think clearly and honestly, to speak with
vigour, and to examine critically what is said by others is of
paramount importance.
It is well, therefore, to set up certain criteria of a sound program
in speech which must be observed whether it is taught in relation to
or in segregation from the other arts of language:
244 Radio News, and Advertisementing Communication
1. It should provide for all students-those with defective
speech, poor speech, average speech, or superior speech,
2. It should be inclusive in scope and substantial and varied
in offerings in the regular required courses in the language
arts, in special elective courses, and in extracurricular
3. It should be taught by teachers whose program of
preparation includes specific training in the arts and
science of speech.
Provision for All of the Students:
In too many instances the students already competent in
speaking are the ones who receive the lion's share of available
training. They are the window dressing with which the teacher
impresses the school and the school impresses the public. The
situation is natural; up to a point it is desirable. Youngsters capable
of responding brilliantly to special instruction deserves the
opportunity to develop their talents. Fellow student are stimulated
by example, and society has need of their accomplishments. But
society has need also of the contributions of their less able
At the same time, the school should be teaching the inarticulate
to speak, making the poor speakers average and the average
speakers good. Remedial services for the handicapped are
imperative, a speech clinic, for example, and wherever possible a
specialist in general speech and speech correction, to assist
classroom teacher throughout the school system. There should be
instruction in the fundamentals of voice and diction and there
should be application of these fundamentals to the speech activities
of everyday life for all pupils in the regular language arts courses.
In addition there should be special opportunities in the speech arts
for advanced student on elective courses and in the extracurricular
The well-rounded speech program is commonly concerned
with providing experiences and rendering services in three areas:
(1) applied speech, lending to proficiency in the kinds of daily speech
Radio News, and Advertisementing Communication 245
activities speech improvement, with emphasis upon speech
fundamentals landing to refinement in the individual's mode of
speaking; and (3) speech rehabilitation or speech correction, leading
to the removal of defects. These areas extend to the activities of oral
interpretation and those of social and business communication,
such as conversation, interviewing, discussion and conference,
public speaking, and debate. In all of these, social etiquette and
parliamentary procedure offer indispensable codes of conduct.
As already demonstrated, radio, television, telephone, recorder,
and record player are media which stimulate interest and vitalize
instruction. Some of the activities mentioned under applied speech
are more important than others. Many teachers, for example, feel
discussion to be a more valuable social medium than debate and
less likely to develop contentious habits of thought and manner.
Declamation offers less, according to the thanking of some teachers,
than informal oral interpretation and dramatics.
Speech Electives: Speech electives serve two groups of student.
There are those who, recognizing their need for guided speech
experiences beyond those available in the regular required courses,
wish advanced work in public speaking or additioral practice in
oral interpretation. On the other hand, there are those gifted young
people who seek the satisfaction of using and developing superior
ability in such areas as dramatics and radio productioTl. The latter
tend to outnumber the former. Deterred by heavy curricular
requirements or vague fears of not being able to "make the grade" in
specialized speech activities, many boys and girls who would profit
from these electives fail to avail themselves of their benefits. To the
superior student, the school's obligation is heavy in proportion to
his abilities. Especially through work with dramatics and public
performance will this talented gain experience in teamwork and
group responsibility factors tending to improve citizenship and
social behaviour. It should be noted here that it is a disservice to the
student to permit him to look upon such studies as career training.
The school makes no pretence of turning out actors, radio
announcers, and other professional performers. Emphasis should
be placed upon development of skill and deepening of
understandings and appreciations. In most small schools, a single
246 Radio News, and AdvertisementingCommunication
elective course combines practice in all the fields which engage the
interest of advanced speech students.
Extracurricular activities in speech. Extracurricular activities
. supplement the credit-yielding courses, provide further special
opportunities for able students, and facilitate the production of plays
and radio programs and the development of verse-speaking choirs
and discussion teams. In many schools these activities are handled
largely through clubs. The device gives continuity and organization
to the work. Care must be taken to keep membership accessible to
all interested students. As with the electives, the purpose of these
activities is to help produce an effective and well-rounded person
rather than a professional performer.
Speech and drama teachers themselves are the first to say that
some of the finest training in their field is enjoyed as a by-product of
extra-class or extracurricular activity programs, the latter sometimes
called co-curricular, or conceived of as part of the curriculum itself.
Where these are developed for the sake of student growth and not
for the personal glory of director on individual performer, excellent
result obtain. Here again, a nice balance is not easy to achieve; but
it is certainly worth the effort it requires.
Speech Therapy: Therapy is a science rather than an art.
Without it many boys and girls not only fail to succeed in the speech
arts, but, because they are socially frustrated, develop serious
maladjustment in personality. The mission of the program of speech
correction is to save the defective student from defeat. Here the boy
barred from dramatics by lisp received help; the girl whose foreign
accent cost her a good. job has fault corrected. Improvement of speech
is accelerated by raised hopes and better mental health.
It is obvious that the correctionists in any school system cannot
shoulder the remedial program alone. If the school is large and
therapists are few, many students in need of corrective help will be
neglected unless the entire faculty participates in the program,
especially the teachers of the language arts courses. They may assist
in these ways:
1. By helping to make a screening survey of the speech of the
student body as early in the school year as possible. Once
Radio News, and Advertisementing Communication 247
the program is in operation, all but seniors may be surveyed
in Mayor June for the following year, leaving only the
incoming freshmen to be considered in the fall. A logical
group to conduct this survey is the English or language
arts faculty, who meet every student in the school and have
responsibility for both oral and written expression. The
director of speech therapy, at a meeting of the department
of English or language arts, may suggest testing materials
and procedures and ask that the teachers list all students
who give evidence of needing speech help.
2. By helping with remedial measures when the therapist
confers with the student listed. Using appropriate
diagnostic procedures, the specialist finds cases where the
teacher can, with guidance, render effective assistance. It is
often desirable to request the presence of the teacher at a
later conference between correctionsist and student. On .
such an occasion, the teacher has opportunity to observe
the procedures used to aid the pupil and can, after the
departure of the boy or girl, discuss plans with the
consultant for giving further help in the classroom. Certain
cases of faulty speech may be satisfactorily handled in this
manner with only occasional checking by the therapist.
With other types of defects the classroom teacher will deal
only indirectly. To correct stuttering, for example, classroom
procedures can be recommended that will produce
conditions in which the student can be expected to
experience a maximum of success. Actual treatment of such
case will, however, be confined to the clinic.
Some students require the continuous attention of the therapist.
Where possible, a schedule of speech correction classes should be
set up whereby small, homogeneous group can meet one more times
a week. Student may be groped according to types of difficulties:
problems of rate (stuttering), problems of voice (inaudibility,
nasality) nasality-in-clouding cleft palate speech, hoarseness)
problems of sound (foreign accent, sound substitution, lisping,
248 Radio News, and Advertisementing Communication
in programming are inevitable. High school
schedules tend to be tight rigid. Here again the whole school faculty
can co-operate. Nothing that the school offers the speech defective
is so vital to his future as the removal of his handicap. When this
fact is recognized by a staff, program troubles disappear. The
sympathetic teacher relieves the students of worry caused by missing
class work while in clinic, for apprehension of incurring the disgrace
of low marks may seriously retard the work of correction.
To the speech correctionist falls the duty of enlisting the aid of
all the agencies promoting the physical and mental well-being of
the pupil. He should utilize the services of the health and guidance
departments. In addition to a substantial background in speech
pathology and therapy, he should have sufficient acquaintance with
the work of other specialists-such as the physician, the psychologist,
the psychiatrist, or the oculist-to know when to seek their help and
how to interpret their findings.
Unfortunately, many teacher function in small school systems
where the services of a speech correctionist are not available. In
conjunction with a selected member of the staff, probably the school
nurse or guidance officer, they should become familiar with the
speech services available through the state teachers colleges, and
the state department of education or welfare, so that they may help
handicapped student to avail themselves of whatever clinical
assistance is provided through these agencies.
Furnishing Teacher with Training in Speech :
It is obvious that no teacher can hope to handle even the general
aspects of a broad program in the language arts without specific
training in speech. Preparation confined to college English, which
too frequently excludes speech, can never be sufficient for teaching
the program envisioned in this volume. Preparation in college
speech without strong supporting work in literature, reading skills,
and composition would be equally ineffective.
In recording of this twofold fact, there is a definite trend in
program of teacher education to combine work in the two fields in
the training of teacher in 1953, according to figures in the United
Radio News, and Advertisementing Communication 249
States office of Education, the number of English teacher graduated
was, roughly, equal to the demand for them. The colleges and
universities of this country, however, trained three times as many
teacher of speech as there were positions available in speech alone.
It is important that the two fields come together to meet the needs of
the schools.
Major universities like those of Syracuse, Kansas, Utah, and
Minnesota now have extensive majors in the language arts, which
by uniting the old major and minor requirements maintain the same
level of scholarship formerly required in each subject separately.
The major may be in speech with a strong supporting minor in
English, or in English with a strong supporting minor in speech.
_ With this kind of background, teachers are in a position to do justice
to the speech program outlined in this chaptt:!r. For speech correction
and clinical services, they must add considerable work in the science
of speech and in related sciences, into which they may move with
increased confidence which comes from classroom experience.
High schools which have more than one teacher in the language
arts commonly select them with the various aspects the program in
mind-someone with major interest and specialized training in
speech, someone in reading, someone in writing, and someone in
literature. In department of even moderate size there should be at
least one speech specialist. In situations where the department
chairman is lacking speech training, he should ask advice of the
department member who knows most about speech. In service
training in the speech arts is recommended where teachers' pre-
service preparation has not included the fundamentals of speech.
In addition, certain consultants will be required for remedial reading
and speech correction. It should be possible for teachers to secure
broad training in speech without undue specialization. Completely
differentiated requirements for "general speech" and "theatre arts"
in some instances split college speech departments beyond the point
of usefulness to the small school, in which, according to the figures,
more than half the country's tea'chers are at work. A sensible program
of co-operation could greatly enhance the possibilities for achieving,
in the average American secondary school, the program for which
criteria have just been given. -""
250 Radio News, and Advertisementing Communication
Administrative Responsibility for the Speech Program :
The success of any educational program depends upon the
understanding and support of the school administration. This seems
particularly true of the program of speech, which makes its best
contribution only if the vital nature of its of fering is appreciated
and protected.
The good administration promotes interdepartmental and
interdepartmental co-operation. Responsibility for the improvement
of language competence should be accepted by all teachers in all
departments. The success of an ail-faculty effort to promote linguistic
proficiency depends to some extent upon the staff's sharing a
realistic philosophy of language founded on common
understandings. Insofar as possible, the student should meet with
consistent attitudes to ward the impO'rtance of effective English
expression on the part of all teachers as he moves from class to
class. Only through the school administration can this favourable
climate be produced. A useful approach would be for the
administrator to request that the department dealing most directly
with reading and expression undertake, in one or move faculty
meeting, to lead the staff in discussion of the problems most readily
discernible in all classrooms of the school and make available to
them current materials and thinking in the field. Another method
would be for the administrator to appoint an interdepartmental
committee on communication under the chairmanship of an
interested and trained teacher.
The administrator should be sensitive to the teaching load of
individual members of the staff. There is a tendency to treat certain
speech activities as extras which may be added to a teaching load
without recognition of their time- consuming nature. A dramatic
production, for instance, requires uncounted hours of patient and
creative effort. Yet a teacher may be asked to direct extracurricular
plays with no thought of modifying the responsibilities he already
carries. The same may be said of the oratorical contest, the speech
choir, the student form, and the radio club. An alert administrator
recognizes the importance of these activities and adjust the
programs of teachers working with them.