Tuesday, October 31, 2006

orbis

Those of us who went to school in what used to be Czechoslovakia probably feel like throwing up every time someone mentions the name of John Amos Comenius (a.k.a. Ján Ámos Komenský). The father of modern education, one of the greatest sons of our country, our largest university (and my alma mater) is named after him, his birthday is a sorta school holiday (ok, that's a minor plus point) blah blah blah. You know what it's like - you get something shoved down your throat long and hard enough, you start hating it too. And worst of all, they never actually tell you why something is important, only that it is. That is the main reason I did not learn the full truth about Comenius until relatively late, when I started learning Latin. It was only then that I found out that Comenius authored what many consider the first modern language textbook, Janua linguarum reserata (also known as Porta linguarum reserata, published in 1631). This textbook of Latin for schoolchildren, though still heavily vocabulary-based, not only provided teaching and learning advice, but also gave context to aid the children in understanding and learning the new words. Surely, (I hear some of you say), this is nothing new or groundbreaking. Aaah (I answer), but it was back then. Memorizing long lists of words was the only way to learn languages and providing context was nothing short of revolutionary. And don't call me Shirley!

Comenius followed Janua with a workbook and grammar exercise book, Januae linguarum reserata aureae vestibulum (1633). It was, as you can see from the title, intended to a be a preface to Janua, but more importantly, it contained pictures. The idea of picture dictionary appealed to both Comenius and - judging by the popularity of the workbook - to his readers as well. Moreover, Comenius believed that learning words was no learning at all and that if the children were to learn the language properly they had to learn about the concepts behind them and their relationship to the world as well. And so in 1685 in Nurnberg he published what is probably his most important work, the dictionary-encyclopaedia Orbis (Sensualium) Pictus. The first bilingual Latin-German edition was an instant success and rightly so: not only does it provide context and aims to teach words according to their semantic fields, it also contains a lovely introduction to phonetics. But what is more important, it is probably the first schoolbook which treats learning as fun and the child as a partner. Just consider the introduction:

M. Veni, Puer! disce Sapere.
P. Quid hoc est, Sapere?
M. Omnia, quae necessaria, rectè intelligere, recte agere, rectè eloqui.
P. Quis me hoc docebit?
M. Ego, cum DEO.
P. Quomodo?
M. Ducam te, per omnia, ostendam tibi omnia, nominabo tibi omnia.
P. En adsum! duc me, in nomine DEI.

Even after all these years, Orbis Pictus still remains a wonderful tool for learning Latin. Lord knows it did help me and so if you're on the same path, be sure to check out one of these versions: Hungarian (with Hungarian text and woodcuts from the 1685 Levoča version, NB the spelling), English, Russian (selected chapters only), the 1658 German and Latin original (incomplete), Latin only and a modern Latin-English version with new pictures to bring the book up to date.

And here's an added bonus for those of you who know my real self: check out the Hungarian version of the chapter on Agriculture and note No. 16.

Hihihihi.

19 comments:

David Marjanović said...

Awww, a Hungarian insider joke... I feel so left out... :o(

Conrad H. Roth said...

As I commented somewhere else, I love Comenius too. I have a lovely modern edition of the Orbus Pictus at home, along with a translation of the fascinating "Panglottia" on the universal language. Great stuff!

bulbul said...

David,

I'm sooo sorry.
It's not much of a joke, more like a fun fact: that word no. 16, that's my last name :o)

Conrad,

nice of you to drop by :o)
I have a modern Latin-Czech version of Orbis, too, plus a quadrilingual tractate/lecture on books and how to read them (can't remember the name right now). One of the used books stores here is selling a 18th century edition of Janua Linguarum. I've been thinking about getting it, but gosh darnit, it costs more than my monthly mortgage payment...

Conrad H. Roth said...

"One of the used books stores here is selling a 18th century edition of Janua Linguarum. I've been thinking about getting it, but gosh darnit, it costs more than my monthly mortgage payment."

Yes, but when you get evicted, Comenius will keep the rain off your head. I say go for it (but then, I have a bad habit of buying books I can only 'sort of' afford...)

David Marjanović said...

Ah. I already feared :o)

cjmr said...

I don't believe it took me this long to actually click through to your blog. (bangs head on desk) Having seen the error of my ways, I'm putting you on my sidebar with Language Hat.

And I love Orbis, which I didn't know existed before today.

Anonymous said...

29047126483369175 I play dofus Replica Watches for one year, I Replica Rolex Watches want to get some Replica Watch kamas to buy Replica Chanel Watches item for my character. So, I search "Replica Swiss Watches" on google and found many website. As Exact Replica Graham Watch the tips from the forum, I just review the Swiss Replica Watches websites and choose some Replica Montblanc Watches quality sites to Replica Cartier Watches compare the price, and go to their Replica Breguet Watches online support to make Replica Breitling Watches the test. And Last Chaos Gold I decide to use Replica BRM Watch at the end. And Tag Heuer Replica Watch that is the Replica IWC Watch beginning..

Hua Cai said...

chrome hearts sunglasses
uggs on sale
michael kors outlet
coach outlet
pandora outlet
true religion uk
louis vuitton handbags
michael kors outlet store
nike outlet store
cheap nike shoes sale
adidas outlet
ray-ban sunglasses
air max 90
ugg boots
coach outlet online
polo ralph lauren
louis vuitton outlet online
michael kors outlet
adidas shoes
fitflops shoes
ugg boots
michael kors handbags
ugg uk
chicago blackhawks
michael kors outlet
lebron shoes
uggs outlet
tods shoes sale
air max 90
michael kors outlet
michael kors outlet
ferragamo shoes
coach outlet online
nike free running
nike free running
20160804caihuali

xjd7410@gmail.com said...

michael kors canada
ugg sale
coach outlet
gucci handbags
michael kors outlet online
ghd flat iron
michael kors outlet
ray ban sunglasses outlet
louis vuitton outlet
coach factory outlet
uggs outlet
true religion
ralph lauren outlet
uggs
kobe 9
coach outlet
ugg boot uk
coach outlet clearance
tods outlet online
ray ban sunglasses
nhl jerseys
coach outlet store online clearances
mbt shoes
michael kors outlet
mont blanc pens cheap
cheap nfl jerseys
uggs on sale
coach factory outlet
uggs uk
chenyingying20160810

raybanoutlet001 said...

nike huarache
adidas nmd runner
michael kors handbags clearance
cheap oakley sunglasses
michael kors outlet
replica watches
nike trainers uk
cheap oakley sunglasses
michael kors uk
gucci borse

dong dong23 said...

cheap ray ban sunglasses
true religion jeans
christian louboutin shoes
ugg boots
replica watches
fitflops sale clearance
hollister outlet
ugg slippers
pandora jewelry
ray ban sunglasses
201611.17wengdongdong

John said...

polo ralph lauren
coach outlet store online clearance
ray bans
fake rolex watches
nike cortez classic
coach outlet online
moncler pas cher
louboutin shoes
coach outlet online
oakley vault outlet store
20161130yuanyuan

Karen said...

The NFL Flag for Tennessee Titans is viewable from both sides with the opposite side being a reverse image.Fly this flag with any of our tailgate poles or 6' aluminum flagpoles and adjustable flag brackets.
football flags sale
house divided flags nflcheap Philadelphia Eagles banners
Tampa Bay Buccaneers house divided flags, House Divided Flags,Sports Flags 3x5, Sports flags and banners,nfl House Divided Flags

Anne Lin said...

Il nuovo Chelsea 16-17 terza maglia è di colore bianco e blu, invertendo i colori del nuovo kit di casa Chelsea. Il Chelsea 2016-17 terzo kit include un leone in rilievo sulla manica sinistra, simile ad altri nuovi 2016-2017 Adidas terzo camicie tra cui il Real Madrid 2016-17 terzo kit.magliette da calcio poco prezzo,
maglia calcio poco prezzo Maglia Lazio 2017
Magliette Napoli

Unknown said...

michael kors outlet online
adidas nmd r1
pandora jewellery
pandora jewelry
cheap oakley sunglasses
canada goose jackets
ghd hair straighteners
valentino shoes
canada goose outlet
ray ban sunglasses

琐事 said...

valentino shoes
michael kors handbags wholesale
ecco shoes
cheap mlb jerseys
tennessee titans jersey
air force 1 shoes
ferragamo shoes
cincinnati bengals jerseys
pandora jewelry
oklahoma city thunder

dong dong23 said...

seattle seahawks jerseys
christian louboutin shoes
oakley sunglasses
michael kors outlet online
ugg boots
michael kors handbags
mont blanc pens
christian louboutin outlet
ralph lauren polo
canada goose outlet
201612.28wengdongdong

Gege Dai said...

louis vuitton outlet online
fitflops
mulberry handbags
louis vuitton
michael kors outlet
yeezy boost 350
rolex watches
borse gucci
michael kors
toms shoes
20170217lck

Unknown said...

chaussure louboutin pas cher
chiefs jersey
replica watches
versace shoes
instyler max 2
michael kors uk
ugg boots
ralph lauren
valentino shoes
basketball shoes