Education: Linguistic Quickstep

The Army taught thousands of G.I.s-to speak foreign languages—even "unspeakable" ones like Thai. Its secret weapon was a phonograph with made-to-order records. Old-style language teachers scoffed at the Army method, even after the Army method worked. It wasn't the records that brought results; they claimed; it was the intensive, purposeful way the G.I.s studied, and the small-size classes they studied in. But when the Army released the records for civilian use, educators were among those who scrambled to buy them.

Last week 225 colleges and 300 schools were experimenting with the Army's records in language classes. Cornell was already convinced, now uses...

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