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FOR INTERMEDIATE GRADES
JEAN SHERWOOD RANKIN
WITH A FOREWORD BY
Professor of the English Language and Literature in the University of Minnesota
EDUCATIONAL PUBLISHING COMPANY
The essential facts about language offer a practical problem rather than a science. Teaching should be synthetic, illustrative, not the harmful and apparently unrelated analysis of the theoryridden student.
The proper emphasis should be put upon custom, usage, in all matters of speech. The more mature the scholar, the more should rules be brought into the foreground and the philosophy of language be presented; whereas with younger students the right attitude toward speech can be largely inculcated in the vital way of illustration and example, so that the interest is maintained and the fact brought home to the mind that what is learned has an organic relation to daily living. To make good speech a sort of social obligation will impress a child infinitely more than all the abstractions known as rules of grammar.
There is no more interesting, even fascinating subject than that of language use, whether relative to the old or young. Yet vital books about language are the exception. There seems to be a wellnigh fatal penalty attached to the handling of such a theme; to wit, the dryasdust manner, a lack of all freshness, color and movement. This is all the stranger since we are all implicated in the questions of the use and abuse of the mother tongue and no topic is more eagerly discussed or awakens a more alert attention. The little volume here following contains, it seems to me, a thoroughly acceptable treatment of the principles of language use for the guidance of children.
The University of Minnesota,
To those men and women, not a few, educators in fact as well as name, who have freely assisted in the preparation of this book, by advice, by warning, and by making experimental test of the lessons and methods herein presented, a perpetual debt of obligation is gladly acknowledged. In an undertaking plainly iconoclastic, without constant cordial encouragement from practiced workers in the schoolroom even an unbounded faith in better methods might have given place to discouragement. Altho the educational press, representing the best literary culture of the United States, has long demanded the divorcing of language from grammar in our intermediate school grades, yet heretofore no book has answered this demand.
Aiming to become a direct means toward the betterment of our living speech, "Everyday English" begs to tell to you its own simple story.
May 30, 1902.
JEAN SHERWOOD RANKIN.