idiomatic sentences, whose formations are utterly foreign to our mode of speaking, thereby disaccustoming our minds from thinking in English, and becoming familiarised with the foreign ways of expression and thought. For this, after all, is the great difficulty; this is the point of the whole problem. We must learn to think in the foreign language itself. We must no longer think about our French or about our German, but in the language itself. No one can speak a foreign language who does not think in it. Of course, when we reside abroad it is easily understood how we acquire the power of thinking in a foreign language. There we are surrounded by Frenchmen, Spaniards, Swedes or Germans; we hear nothing but the foreign vernacular, and, being continuously obliged to make use of these strange sounds, we imperceptibly get so accustomed to them that, finally, they come just as readily and unconsciously to our tongues as the sounds of our own native language. The words become, in fact, so fully our mental and bodily property, that, as the French say, ' we possess them1 and think in them. How is a language learned? What is the meaning of this phrase, 'To learn a language' ? It means to translate our own individuality into comprehensible sounds. It does not mean to study grammatical peculiarities. It is not to be attained by the study and translation of the classic works of literature. It is vain to attempt it by any school system. It must be accomplished, by a sort of mental reconstruction—of our whole outer and inner life. We must live over again the various incidents and sentiments of our life and must learn to express them in a foreign tongue. Life's various scenes have to be represented anew in strange sounds, which, constantly repeated, will soon become second
natureto us. Again and again we have to hear and repeatthese sounds ; again and again we must apply themuntil at last they become just as familiar to us asthesoundsof our native tongue. There will then nolongerbe any talk of translation from one languageinto the other. The words will have becomeso thoroughly impressed upon our memory thatthey come just as easily, readily and unconsciously to our lips as the sounds of our mother-tongue. Remember that we possess but one intelligence, and our • thoughts must ever be the same,whether we express them in English, Russian, French or German. Language appeals, therefore— atfirstat least—solely to the ear, tongue and memory, and though our intellect superintends and guidesthe whole initiatory process, it does not and cannotcome into real action until the foreign sounds comejust as unconsciously to our tongue as the soundsof our native language."
We make no apology for this lengthy excerpt fromDr Rosenthal's observations on the rational studyof foreign languages, for the justness and lucidityof his remarks are beyond question. We hopethat they will not be lost sight of by those who havethe interests of the Gaelic language at heart, andsome of whom may at this time be contemplatingsome addition to our already superfluous stock of Gaelic grammars. The scientific aspect of the languageis receiving an amount of attention from scholars which, in comparison of past neglect, cannot butbehighly gratifying to our national pride; but thereissome danger lest the purely antiquarian instinctsof the master minds of native and foreign Celticscholarship should lead to the unmerited neglectof the living language. There is no doubt thatacompilation such as Dr Rosenthal has already