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Author argues that present (1940s) language teaching neglects spoken word teaching, which is the (a) core of language. He calls for the “living foreign tongue” to become a unique experience in language classrooms. This is a point of change between Grammar-Translation and Direct Methods, but through interaction he provides groundwork for communicative methods.

Key points

  • “After all, language was, long before it was ever written, and still is primarily the interchange of ideas in sounds and words and sentences of living people”
  • “Agree therefore with Leonard Bloomfield (“About Foreign Language Teaching,” Yale Review, 1945, p. 625): “To the extent that you have learned to speak and understand a foreign language, to that extent you have learned to respond with a different selection and emphasis to the world around you, and for your relations with people you have gained a new system of sensibilities, conventions and restraints”
  • “Now the whole man, his mind, memory, and imagination must combine with phonetic and physical or psycho-physical ability. Speaking, as we know, and the foreigner in particular, engages the whole person, not just one talent or one facet”
  • “If we have aroused pleasure in our subject the learning, memorizing process will soon lose the drudgery of a task and become a joyful labor of love.”


  • Speaking is really important for language learning, although no empirical evidence.