Daniel Jake Eberts

Language Learning through the Ages

This collection focuses on foreign language textbooks, with a particular eye to changes in language and the instruction thereof over time. For many a student, the language textbook is the primary, or even the sole, contact with a given foreign culture and tongue. How have our textbooks changed over time, and what does this reveal about the evolution of foreign language instruction as a field, as well as the target languages themselves?

-Daniel Jake Eberts, 4th-year winner

View his full essay

View his full bibliography

Selections from the collection

Daniel and Mr. Brooker examine a volume from the Collection Poucet.

Photo by Alan Klehr, Churchill+Klehr

Installation view

Photo by Alan Klehr, Churchill+Klehr

Installation view of the Collection Poucet

Photo by Alan Klehr, Churchill+Klehr

My favorite books are a set of three adorable pocket Dictionnaires from French into English, Italian and German, each no larger than a business card. I unearthed them from a milk crate in a weekend market in Geneva, where I lived in the summer of 2017 while working for the U.S. Permanent Mission to the United Nations.

Collection Poucet: Dictionnaire Français-Allemand.

Photo by Alan Klehr, Churchill+Klehr

This is one of a set of three tiny, red pocket dictionaries that were designed to indeed be kept in one’s pocket. The spacing, of course, leaves little room for any sort of grammatical explanations or nuanced definitions.

Kinderduden: Mein Erster Duden

Photo by Alan Klehr, Churchill+Klehr

Dakota Grammar

Photo by Alan Klehr, Churchill+Klehr

This is one of the earlier books in my collection, and like many Native American grammars, was written by missionary. It is fascinating not only in its linguistic content, but also the rich cultural background provided via the stories and legends Riggs recorded—evidently for the first time in writing—of the Dakota people he lived with for so long. This edition is from 2004.