Also known as the Prussian Method in the 19th Century, it was first
used to teach classical languages (Latin and Greek).
Main Purpose

To learn the target language through literature and translation.
Theory of Language

The study of a foreign language benefits the individual by creating a mental discipline and

It develops the intellect through the study of literature.
Theory of Language Learning

Learning a foreign language through careful study of its grammatical rules and developing the capacity to translate words and sentences from one language to another.
Salient Feature

Acquisition of grammar rules deductively through literary texts, translation, the use of dictionaries and language.

  • Explores literature.
  • Better understanding of L1 through the study of L2 grammar and translation.
  • Learning of literaryvocabulary.

  • Little emphasis on communicative skills of the L2.
  • Lack of creativity and interaction.
  • Assumption that students would never use the target language.
Learning Model

Related to behaviorism, although not indicated in theory.
Activities and Techniques

  • Bilingual vocabulary lists.
  • Sentence structure analysis.
  • Translation to a literary passage.
  • Reading comprehension questions.
  • Fill in the blanks.
  • Memorization.
  • Use of dictionaries.
Related links

Theory into Practice
Article Reading