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Teaching and Learning English as a Foreign Language by Charles C.

Fries
Review by: Robert A. Hall, Jr.
The Modern Language Journal, Vol. 30, No. 1 (Jan., 1946), pp. 55-56
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the National Federation of Modern Language Teachers Associations
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/319334 .
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REVIEWS

55

FRIES, CHARLES C., Teachingand LearningEnglishas a ForeignLanguage.

Ann Arbor: Universityof Michigan Press, 1945. Pp. viii, 153. Lithoprinted.$1.75.

Frieshas beendirector
of theUniversity
Since 1941,Professor
of Michigan'sEnglish
LatinAmericans)
engagedinteaching
Englishtoadultforeigners
LanguageInstitute,
(chiefly
theteaching
and
by the"oralapproach."In thisbook,he statestheconclusions
concerning
ofEnglishas a foreign
outofhiswork.The book'ssublanguagewhichhavegrown
learning
arenotconfined,
to theteaching
andinterest
ofEnglish;as Friesstates
however,
ject-matter
ofdealingwithEnglishas a
thisbookis devotedto thespecific
problems
(p. vi), "Although
it is myhopethatthediscussion
oftheseproblems
willalso contribute
to
foreign
language,
andlearning
ofotherlanguages."
oftheteaching
offact,
a generalconsideration
As a matter
contributions
ofrecentyearstothetheory
offoreign
Fries'sbookis oneofthemostimportant
andas suchshouldbe calledto theattention
ofeveryteacher
in thisfield.
languageteaching,
The mostimportant
is itsthorough,
aspectofFries'sbookforgeneraltheory
complete,
of the applicationof linguistic
scienceto the teachingof languages.
and sane discussion
overa hundred
andfifty
Thisscience,
becomeknownto
although
yearsold,has onlyrecently
of languageteachers,
anditsapplication
to practicalproblems
morethana handful
is stilla
and consequent
matterofconsiderable
misunderstanding
dispute.Friesexpoundsthetheoreticalbasesofthe"oralapproach"-thetermhe usesforwhatI haveelsewhere
termed
the
a ForeignLanguageas an
"oral-intensive-scientific"
approach--inChapterI, "On Learning
a languageprimarily
Adult"(pp. 1-9), and explainsfullythereasonsforlearning
as speech,
it withaccuracyandas a setofautomatic
habitswithin
a limitedvocabulary,
and
mastering
its structure
as analyzeddescriptively
and scientifically.
The laterchapters
understanding
to pronunciation
ofthistechnique
theapplication
setforth
(II, "The Sounds:Understanding
the'StreamofSpeech,'" pp. 10-26),grammatical
structure
andProducing
(III, "The StructheUse oftheDevicesofArrangement
ture:MakingAutomatic
and Form,"pp. 27-37),and
VocabularyContent,"pp. 38-56,and V, "Convocabulary(IV, "The Words:Mastering
threesections
textualOrientation,"
pp.57-61).TheAppendix
(pp.62-153)contains
exemplifyand materialsdevelopedby the EnglishLanguageInstitute;of especial
ing the technique
Procedure
inMarking
LimitedIntonation"
is thesection"Step-by-Step
(pp. 62importance
forth
fordealingwithwhatis at thesametimeoneofthemostimpora technique
74),setting
ofalllanguagestudy,
features
andonewhichwillhenceforth
tantandoneofthemostneglected
haveto be a majorpointofattention.
to quoteextensively
is great,butmustbe resisted.
The temptation
Yet we cannotomit
thesetwoverysignificant
passagesfromChapterI:
themastery
No matterif thefinalresultdesiredis onlyto readtheforeign
of
language,
ofthelanguage-thestructure
and thesoundsystemwitha limitedvothefundamentals
be through
recordis buta
speech.The speechis thelanguage.The written
cabulary--must
ofthelanguage.To "master"a languageit is notnecessary
to read
representation
secondary
whether
onecanreallyreadthelanguage
doubtful
without
first
it,butitis extremely
mastering
of thenewlanguageas a languageit orally.Unlessone has masteredthefundamentals
andreception-the
thatis,as a setofhabitsfororalproduction
processofreadingis a process
in his ownnativelanguage."Translation"on an exceedingly
ofseekingwordequivalents
lowlevelis all thatsuch"reading"reallyamouhtsto (p. 6).
or grammar,
Generalizations
are a regularfeatureof the"oral
structure,
concerning
relatedto theoralpracticeofthelanguage
theyare alwaysintimately
approach,"although
thatare givenconcerning
structure
oruse are alwayssummaries
orgen... thestatements
thestudents
drawnfromtheactualsentences
havealreadypracticed
andundereralizations
The lessonmaterials
in thebookbecomeforthestudents
thenotesthey
stoodthoroughly.
Neverare thestudents
theyhavejustbeenled through.
mighthave takenoftheexercises
assigneda lessonin advanceforsilentstudybeforecomingto class.... Thentoo,as has
the"oralapproach"as hereadvocateddependsforitseffectiveness
beeninsisteduponbefore,
inhearing
andinspeaking
theforeign
notsolelyuponthefactthatthereis muchoralpractice
XXXI (1945),pp. 223ff.
1AAUPBulletin,

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56

THE MODERN LANGUAGEJOURNAL

materialsselectedand aruponhavingsatisfactory
language,but also and fundamentally
It is the practicaluse of thelinguistic
principles.
rangedin accordwithsoundlinguistic
in thechoiceand sequenceofmaterials
and the
oflanguagedescription
scientist's
technique
"new
thatis at theheartoftheso-called
ofmethod
thatgrowoutofthesematerials
principles
approachto languagelearning"
(p. 7).
makeFries'sbook
Theseand manyothersimilar
passages,in facttheentirediscussion,
forcurofthe"new"approachandas a corrective
valuable,bothas an exposition
extremely
rentmisconceptions
it.Forthosewhoalreadyknowthe"oral-intensive-scientific"
concerning
a solidbaseoftheoretical
Forthosewho
understanding.
approachanditsvalue,itwillprovide
to cleartheir
are ignorant
ofthefactsorwhoare stillhostile,it shouldbe required
reading,
and erroneous
beliefs.In short,Fries'Teachingand Learning
mindsof misunderstanding
inforeign
isanabsolute"must"forallwhoareengaged
language
Englishas a Foreign
Language
teaching.
ROBERTA. HALL,JR.

BrownUniversity
RhodeIsland
Providence,

Books Received
MISCELLANEOUS
The Philosophical
NewYork,1945.
JosephT., Dictionary
Shipley,
ofWordOrigins.
Library,
Price$5.00.
F. S. Crofts
de Bososa,MargaretNance,EnglishComposition
Students.
forSpanish-Speaking
and Co., NewYork,1945.
MauriceE., Proustand Painting.International
Chernowitz,
University
Press,New York,
1945.Price$3.75.
Man ofJustice.
NewYork,1945.Price
Howell,Soskin,Publishers,
Meyer,Adolph,Voltaire:
$3.50.
FRENCH
Press,Cambridge,
Mass.,
Grant,Elliott,M., TheCareerofVictor
Hugo.HarvardUniversity
1945.Price$3.50.
V-5(Un romanpolicier).Brentano's,
NewYork,1945.Price$1.50.
Mandelstamm,
Valentin,
De Saint-Exup6ry,
NewYork,1945.
Consuelo,
Oppide.Brentano's,
NewYork,1945.Price$1.50.
Brentano's,
Bur6,Emile,ErnestRenanetAllemagne.
de Philologie
Initiation
de l'anglais.Bibliothbque
d l'6tudehistorique
IV,
Delcourt,Joseph,
Aubier,1944.
FightingFrance,FRANCE FOREVER Year Book 1945, New York. Price $1.25.

GERMAN
Frederick
Literature.
Lohan,Robert,TheGoldenAgeofGerman
UngarPublishing
Co., New
York,1945.Price$2.75.

SPANISH

of ChicagoPress,1945.Price
Syntax.The University
Kany,CharlesE., American-Spanish
$6.00.
vecinos
mexicanos.
The RonaldPressCo.,
Macy,Pierreand Rudd,MargaretT., Nuestros
New York.Price$2.00.
R. L., Molinos,M. M. and Corbett,
E. D., EasySpanishAmerican
Reader.LongGrismer,
mans,Greenand Co., Inc.,NewYork.Price$1.50.

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