Karel Capek
War With The Newts

Against the model Ecoles Zimmermann more progressive teachers raised a number of serious objections; in particular, it was asserted that for the upbringing of adolescent Newts the obsolete humamstic system for young children was not at all suitable; the teaching of literature and history was definitely repudiated, and it was recommended instead that as much attention and time as possible should be given to practical and modern subjects like natural science, the technical training of the Newts, physical exercises, and so on. This, the so-called Reform School or the School for Practical Life, was in its turn passionately attacked by the defenders of the classical education, who proclaimed that the Newts could only be brought in touch with the human cultural commonwealth through a foundation of Latin, and that it was not enough to teach them to talk if they were not taught to quote the poets and declaim with the eloquence of Cicero. Out of this a long and rather bitter controversy arose, which was finally solved by the schools for Salamanders being made State Schools and the schools for human youth being reformed so as to approach as near as possible to the ideals of the Reform School for the Newts.

It was only natural that in other parts of the world a campaign developed for regular and obligatory schools for Newts under State control. This occurred in turn in all the maritime countries (of course with the exception of Great Britain); and because these Newt schools were not saddled with the old classical traditions, and therefore could avail themselves of all the latest methods of psycho-technics, technological education, junior cadet training, and of other recent pedagogical achievements, they soon developed into the most modern and, scientifically, most advanced educational system in the world, which rightly became the envy of all human teachers and schoolboys.

Hand in hand with the Newt schools the language problem emerged. Which of the world languages ought the Salamanders to learn first? The original Newts from the Pacific islands expressed themselves, of course, in pidgin English as they picked it up from the natives and sailors; many spoke Malayan or other local dialects. The Newts bred for the Singapore market spoke Basic English, that scientifically simplified English which manages with a couple of hundred phrases and no obsolete grammatical fuss; and so people began to call this reformed standard English, Salamander-English. At the model Ecoles Zimmermann the Newts expressed themselves in Corneille's tongue, not of course on racial grounds, but because it is part of a higher education; on the contrary, in the Reform schools Esperanto was taught as the medium of communication. Besides, about that time five or six Universal Languages came into existence, designed to replace the Babylonian confusion of human tongues and provide one common speech for the whole world of men and Newts; of course there were many disputes as to which of these Universal Languages was the most useful, consistent, and universal. In the end, of course, it so happened that in every nation a different Universal Language was propagated.

  The World was all before them, where to choose
Their place of rest, and Providence their guide:
They, hand in hand, with wand'ring steps and slow,

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Through Eden took their solitary way.