High expectations, seventeenth century style

I came across this extract from the seventeenth century diarist John Evelyn, lamenting his precocious son who had died aged five. It is from 1658. I think Evelyn jnr would have had little trouble passing the Year 1 phonics screening test…

‘At that tender age [he was] a prodigy for wit and understanding… At two years and a half old, he could perfectly read any of the English, Latin, French, or Gothic letters, pronouncing the three first languages exactly. He had, before the fifth year, or in that year, not only skill to read most written hands, but to decline all the nouns, conjugate the verbs regular, and most of the irregular… got by heart almost the entire vocabulary of Latin and French primitives and words, could make congruous syntax, turn English into Latin, and vice versa… and had a strong passion for Greek.’

Blimey.

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~ by goodbyemisterhunter on February 13, 2014.

One Response to “High expectations, seventeenth century style”

  1. Reblogged this on The Echo Chamber.

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