Abbildungen der Seite

aware of its uselessness; for in treating of the construction of the accessory sentence, he finds it necessary to give a catalogue of the words which indicate that the construction of the accessory sentence is to be used. But unhappily, this catalogue is worse than useless to the student; for it contains some words which do not begin accessory sentences, and have not the power of moving the definite verb to the end of the sentence (the great characteristic mark of accessory sentences), while some other words are omitted which have such power.

of the first description are also, denn, dann, indessen. Also is commonly used to indicate a conclusion, as in this instance : Also sind alle drei winkel in einem dreiecke zwei rechten gleich. But according to Dr. Bernays we ought to write: Also alle drei winkel in einem dreiecke zwei rechten gleich sind.-Ich bin zufrieden mit ihm ; denn er hat seine pflicht gethan—is to be written according to Dr. Bernays: denn er seine pflicht gethan hat. But that Dr. Bernays has not formed a clear and correct idea of the nature of accessory sentences, is evident from the manner in which he treats the word indessen. It is inserted in his catalogue of conjunctions and adverbs, which constitute accessory sentences, (p. 144) and it is likewise placed under the head of adverbial accessory sentences, p. 135, where he gives an instance in the words, -indessen kömmt er wohl wieder. Does Dr. Bernays think this sentence an accessory sentence? and is the finite verb placed at the end of it? Either his rule or his language must be erroneous. The fact is, that Dr. Becker (p. 244.) enumerates indess and indessen, when they signify in the meantime that whilst, among the conjunctions which constitute accessory sentences, and quite correctly. But Dr. Bernays mistakes the word and takes it for the adverb meanwhile, not having observed that indessen, meanwhile, is equal in signification to unterdessen, and in this sense cannot constitute an accessory sentence. The language of Dr. Bernays therefore is correct, but his catalogue is not so. Further, the author has omitted in this catalogue the conjunctions damit, wenn gleich, wenn schon, wie, wiewohl ; all of which begin accessory sentences.

He has likewise omitted to notice, that all indirect questions are to be construed like accessory sentences, as well as the sentences beginning with the adverbs formed by the union of the relative pronoun with a preposition. The rules themselves for the construction of accessory sentences are very incompletely laid down by the author, which will be evident to any one who takes the pains of comparing p. 144 and 145 of his work with what is said on them July-Ocr., 1834.


in Mr. Tiarks' Grammar, p. 236, 20, 21, 22, though we are far from thinking the latter complete.

Next to the construction, the declension of the German substantives offers the greatest difficulty to the student. Lately the German grammarians have ascertained by careful research, that all the substantives of their language can be arranged under two declensions, and accordingly Dr. Becker has introd'uced them into his Grammar under the names of ancient and modern form of declensions. That this division is founded on strict analogy will be evident to any person who compares the modern form of declension with the manner in which the adjectives are declined, and the great similarity in the flexion of all those substantives which are arranged under the ancient form. We are by no means of the opinion that the student, by the employment of a due portion of labour and time, will not be able to acquire a complete knowledge of the manner in which every word in the language is deflected, by following this system. Nevertheless, in a practical point of view, we are partial to the arrangement of the German declension, as established by the late Dr. Noehden in his grammar, and only because we think that the same object will be obtained in a shorter time and with less labour. For according to the new system, the inflection of the substantives cannot be acquired without having previously obtained a complete knowledge of the formation of words, especially of the primitive, primary derivative, and secondary derivative substantives; and this will take up nearly as much time and labour as the acquisition of the declensions themselves, with all their exceptions by Noehden's grammar. If, by the new system, the number of exceptions were diminished, it would claim some preference, but we cannot persuade ourselves that this is the case. The exceptions, therefore, must be impressed upon the memory. Now, we beg leave to state, that we think it much more favourable to memory to arrange such exceptions in a clear way under several heads, than to crowd them together in one

The first has been done by Dr. Noehden in his four declensions, the latter by Dr. Becker under his declension of ancient form. But what seems most in favour of Dr. Noehden's system is, that the student, after having impressed upon his memory the exceptions, is able to decide, by looking at the termination of a substantive, in what manner it ought to be declined. We therefore think that Mr. Tiarks has very judiciously adopted this system, and the few changes introduced by him we are rather inclined to consider as an improvement of it.

Dr. Bernays has arranged his declensions upon the system


of Adelung, except that he has mixed up the feminine substantives, to which Adelung had assigned two separate declensions, with the substantives of masculine and neuter gender, a proceeding which we are not inclined to look upon as an improvement. We think that by rejecting the system of Noehden and adopting that of Adelung, or rather his own, Dr. Bernays has rendered the acquisition of the language more difficult.

But what we especially object to is his manner of treating this as well as some other parts of speech. He divides the matter, which ought to hang together, into many pieces, which he places under different heads, so that when the student has found what he wishes to have explained, he is referred back to so many other places where the required information is given, that he must always waste much time and often lose sight of the principal object of his search. Dr. Bernays seems not to be aware that a good grammarian arranges his matter in such a way, as to convey in a concise manner a clear view of the whole and all the parts which belong to it, and that every thing which creates embarrassment and confusion must inevitably retard the acquisition of a language.

We hope that he will take this point into consideration, and in a new edition arrange what is said in pp. 17-40, under the declensions themselves to which it properly belongs.

We shall add a few words on the Grammars of Mr. Rowbotham and of Mr. Klauer Klattowsky. Mr. Rowbotham has modelled his work on the grammar of Meidinger, written in French, and still we believe sometimes used in France, but almost unknown in England. This grammar does not profess to give a correct and complete knowledge of the language, (it has, indeed, none of the qualities requisite for that purpose,) but to bring the student in a short time to a smattering, as it is called, by means of a great number of exercises: this object may doubtless be obtained by using Meidinger's Grammar. But we doubt if Mr. Rowbotham's work will produce the same effect. The English author has probably thought that he could improve on the plan of his predecessor by considerably shortening the exercises which are to be translated into German, and by adding others to be translated from German into English. But we think he would have done better had he followed closely the steps of Meidinger, who was a most experienced teacher, and if he had not shortened the exercises to be translated into German, or added those to be translated from German into English. Besides, we must observe, that Mr. Rowbotham's work contains many instances of incorrect German expressions. Mr. Klauer Klattowsky has inserted in his 'Manual for SelfTuition,' a short German grammar. It is written in German, and contains only the first principles of German grammar. But why did not the author write it in English? Surely it was not because he did not wish it to be studied.

Yet a grammar which exhibits only the elements of a language will never be looked at except by persons who begin to study the language, and such persons will not be able to understand the grammar of Mr. Klattowsky, till they have obtained by other means nearly all the grammatical knowledge contained in it. At this stage of their progress they will not of course waste their time by reading a grammar which tells them nothing new. We apprehend, therefore, that Mr. Klattowsky's Grammar, for the reasons which we have given, will not be read by any body, and we certainly cannot recommend it.

ENGLISH SCHOOL-GRAMMARS. 1. An Abridgment of English Grummar, by Lindley Murray.

Twenty-sixth Edition. 2. The Principles of English Grammar, by William Lennie,

Teacher of English, 10, Nicholson Street, Edinburgh.

Eleventh Edition. 3. English Grammar, by the Rev. J. Russell, D.D., Rector

of St. Botolph's, Bishopsgate, and late Head-Master of Charterhouse School. Published under the direction of the Committee of General Literature and Education, ap

pointed by the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge. Ir appears to us that treatises upon grammar ought to be written with a view to two separate objects, the one to give purity and accuracy to language-the other to teach it with purity and accuracy. Analytical investigation and philological disquisition must enter largely into works of the former class; while nothing would be more manifestly out of place than any dissertations in works of the other class which profess to initiate youth into a knowledge of the art of speaking and writing with propriety.” That this distinction between the province of the Grammarian, (in the higher sense of the name,) and the grammar-teacher, has not always been kept in view by writers upon the subject, is a fact well known. The “ Hermes” of Harris, and Horne Tooke's “Diversions of Purley,” may be mentioned among works of the former class. Had the same precision of purpose that distinguishes these, marked also the lower class of publications on grammar, it would have saved us the trouble of pointing out what appear to us certain defects in all the elementary treatises upon English grammar.

In performing this task we shall not enter upon any discussions that may come within the range of the higher class of works on the subject of grammar. Our present business is not with the philologist, but with the teacher of the English language. We wish to ascertain whether the grammars generally put into the hands of youth develop intelligibly the principles of our native tongue, and teach (what is their prosessed object) the art of speaking and writing correctly in the best manner that can be devised, or even in a satisfactory manner.

We should not be disposed to pass a hasty judgment upon them, merely because the plan upon which grammars are constructed makes the acquisition of language irksome to he learner. After all has been done that can be done to lessen the toil of learning, we fear the path to it will always be somewhat rugged, and that its sweets, as Cato intimated, must be sought in its fruits. Nothing can be effectually acquired without labour. Certainly we are not prepared to recommend any change in the present modes of education, by which, for the sake of saving the pupil trouble, superficial shall be substituted for complete knowledge of any sort. The inquiry, “Is a thing well taught?” always precedes with us the question, “ How is it taught ?" All methods of instruction, which profess to supersede self-application, ought to be regarded with suspicion. The faculties of mind must be tasked to exertion, before any lasting impressions can be made upon them; they must be severely exercised, before they can ever possess intellectual strength.

The discipline to which we should be disposed to resort for the improvement of the mind, is not, however, of that degrading kind, which breaks the spirit under the pretence of brightening the intellect; nor of that technical character so often practised even in respectable schools, which cultivates one faculty at the expense of all the rest.

We would work the faculties only to invigorate and make them fruitful. That seems to be the perfection of teaching, which adds to simplicity of method and perspicuity of explanation, a manner that forcibly sustains the attention of the pupil, until the principles or facts have been worked into his mind, and made his own.

To expect, in works intended for elementary instruction, the skill of a clever teacher combined with the merits of a good treatise, may appear a little unreasonable. But after making every due allowance for inadvertences and imperfections, we ought surely to find in works of this description some approximation to a high standard. At least it cannot be denied that

« ZurückWeiter »