Rivers Keith Hicks

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Rivers Keith Hicks (* 1878 in London ; † March 27, 1964 in Toronto ) was a Canadian Romance scholar and foreign language teacher of British origin.


Hicks, whose father was a merchant for the East India Company , attended the Cranleigh School, studied mathematics at Emmanuel College (Cambridge) , graduated from Tripos (Cambridge) and taught for several years in English schools. In 1907 he went to Canada and taught at Upper Canada College in Toronto. From 1911 to 1912 he studied at Harvard University and earned a master's degree.

In 1913 he married Marjorie Ogilvy Edgar, the daughter of the politician and President of Parliament James David Edgar (1841-1899), and worked as an instructor at Harvard and Dartmouth College . He became Associate Professor of French at Queen's University (Kingston) in 1916 and was Professor of French at Trinity College at the University of Toronto from 1927 until his retirement in 1953 (from 1949 also Dean).

Hicks was a member of the Canadian Committee on Modern Languages ​​from 1925, which published two volumes of Modern language instruction in Canada (Toronto 1928). As part of the emerging word frequency research , together with Harry Egerton Ford, he developed a method of learning foreign languages ​​by reading texts whose vocabulary (with the help of Henmon 1924 and Vander Beke 1929) is processed in such a way that they only require knowledge of the basic vocabulary for understanding .


  • (Translator) Marc Lescarbot , Le Théâtre de Neptune, in: Queen's Quarterly 34, 1926, pp. 215-223; Lower Granville 1949
  • (with Harry Egerton Ford) A new French reader , New York 1930 (numerous editions)
  • (Ed. With Harry Egerton Ford) Prosper Mérimée, Colomba , London 1932 (rewritten in “Français facile”, 1000 words)
  • (with Harry Egerton Ford) The reading approach to French based on the French wordbook and the recommendations of the American & Canadian committees on modern language, London 1933
  • (Ed. With Harry Egerton Ford) Valentine Bonhoure's Le Trésor de Châteauvieux , reduced to a vocabulary of 1200 words, London 1935


  • Vivian Allen Charles Henmon, A French word book based on a count of 400,000 running words , Madison 1924
  • George Emil Vander Beke, A French word book , New York 1929
  • Maud J. McLean and Robert M. Stamp, My Dearest Wife. The Private and Public Lives of James David Edgar and Matilda Ridout Edgar , Dundum 1998 (including photos by Hicks)

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