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WITH AN HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE FORMATION OF FRENCH.
14, HENRIETTA STREET, COVENT GARDEN, LONDON;
Une langue nous deviendrait plus vivante encore, si nous pouvions associer à son étude celle de l'idiome dont elle dérive. A. VINET.
Our object in compiling this new French Grammar has been to provide an elementary manual of moderate size drawn up on a plan calculated to stimulate a practical application of the student's knowledge of the dead languages (especially of Latin) and thus to bring his reflective powers into active exercise.
It is not our intention to enter into a discussion of the merits or demerits of the comparative method of studying languages, but it is our firm opinion that, in the very lowest forms, a judicious reference to cognate idioms and a careful comparison with them, so far from confusing the youthful mind, will invest the dry subject of grammar with an interest which cannot fail to prove most beneficial to the student's progress.
The essential points in which this Grammar differs from others with regard to practical utility and which, upon unprejudiced
inspection, will, we trust, justify its appearance in print, are briefly these:
Constant reference to Latin (see especially SS 27 – 38, the Feminine of Adjectives; SS 90—99, Irregular Verbs; $S 134–151, Syntax of Moods and Tenses; 243, Adverbs of Negation, etc.)
New arrangement of the paradigms of Pronouns on the plan adopted in Latin Grammars, the only way of bringing light and order into this most difficult part of French Accidence.
In the paradigms of the Conjugation of Regular Verbs the Tenses of the Subjunctive and Conditional stand opposite to the Tenses of the Indicative from which they are respectively derived.
In the treatment of Irregular Verbs, instead of the usual alphabetical lists to be mastered by sheer strength of memory without the student even learning wherein the Irregularities consist and how to account for them, we have introduced an altogether new classification, which attempts to combine scientific accuracy with practical utility.
utility. All the irregularities stand out in bold print and are briefly explained by reference to Latin.
In the Syntax a separate chapter has been devoted to the Infinitive mood, which strange to say is entirely neglected or only incidentally alluded to in even the better grammars now
The absurdity of the attempt to write even the easiest piece of French Prose composition without à fair knowledge of the uses of this mood is too obvious to require demonstration (see especially 152).
With regard to the vexed question of the Place of Adjectives before or after the Substantive a fundamental theory is presented in $ 174.
Several important chapters on the laws which regulate the change of Vowels and Consonants in words passing from Latin into French and on the Formation of words were, according to
our original plan, to be embodied in the Historical Introduction; · but finding that our manual already exceeded the size originally
assigned to it, we have suppressed them as less essential in a book of a purely elementary, character.