Excerpt from A Grammar of the German Language, Designed for a Thoro and Practical Study of the Language as Spoken and Written to-Day This book is intended to furnish to students Of the German language and literature an outline of German grammar, based not upon some ideal conception of how the language should be spoken, but upon the actual varying usage of the intelligent classes in the German Empire, Austria, and Switzerland. An earnest attempt has been made to make the work a valuable book Of reference, so that the ...
Excerpt from A Grammar of the German Language, Designed for a Thoro and Practical Study of the Language as Spoken and Written to-Day This book is intended to furnish to students Of the German language and literature an outline of German grammar, based not upon some ideal conception of how the language should be spoken, but upon the actual varying usage of the intelligent classes in the German Empire, Austria, and Switzerland. An earnest attempt has been made to make the work a valuable book Of reference, so that the general student might find in it an impartial and rather full presentation of the facts Of the language founded upon the works of scholars and also an independent study Of the polite and colloquial literature itself. In order to attain to the greatest possible completeness in the given space, it was thought best, not to present the materials gathered in the course of the work on the subject, but only to give precise statements of results illustrated in most cases by a few apt examples. In this way a great many more points have been treated than in large scholarly works where the prominent aim is to present the materials gathered in long researches. The plan to make the book as complete as possible has been materially furthered by the slow develop ment of the work thruout a period of over fifteen years. From year to year new points presented themselves and Old ones appeared in fuller outline, so that continued search and occasional accidental finds have added much to the original draft of the work. The full index will place the contents of the book at the disposal of the student. This treatise Often differs considerably from German works in subject matter and manner of presentation, as it is written entirely from the standpoint of the needs Of English-speaking students. Hence considerable space is often devoted to points scarcely mentioned by German scholars, or not treated at all. Thruout the book much attention has been paid to classification in order that the individual life of the grammatical categories might be carefully studied. It is hoped that the results of this course will prove to have not only a scientific but also a practical value. Thus, for instance, in order that both of these aims might be attained, the inﬂection of nouns is presented in the minutest detail. Here it is hoped that full treatment will lead to Clearness. This part of German grammar is so inconsistent and confused that only a full picture can give an adequate idea of the inﬂec tion ait actually is. However clear the inﬂectional groups may appear to one versed in historical grammar who is familiar with the various causes that have produced the present forms, to the general student these groups are not entirely clear unless the list of words composing each group is complete, as there is Often no formal sign by which one may be guided in assigning a word to its proper group. Here, indeed, the German himself constantly blunders, how then can a foreigner without the fullest light expect to see clearly? The confusion is often increased and natural tendencies arrested by learned men, who, looking at the questions from different stand points, suggest different forms as the correct usage. Also the best authors of our time reﬂect in their works the general uncertainty with regard to form. Of course, final decisions cannot be given in such cases, and it only remains to record the ﬂuctuations of usage. The dire confusion at this point will ultimately lead to considerable changes in the language itself, and indeed certain tendencies toward uniformity and simplicity are apparent. In treating this difficult subject the words of foreign origin have been included. The unscientific method of excluding such words, so generally followed by German scholars, has led to false impressions as to the real size and importance of the existing classes of German nouns.
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