Page:A Grammar and Vocabulary of the Language of New Zealand.djvu/13

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

PREFACE.

insight into the system of Alphabetical Writing; a thing hitherto unknown in that country.

The other particular object of the work, is the instruction of the European Missionary in the Language of New Zealand; whereby he may be enabled to communicate the blessings of Christian Instruction and Civil Improvement: and for this end it was, that Examples in declension and conjugation have been given, after the manner of European Grammars; when, in fact, there exists no such thing in the language in question; as is also the case in the Sister Dialects of Tonga and the Malayans[1]: the declension of nouns being formed by the addition of particles or prepositions; and the conjugations of verbs, by the assistance of adverbs, pronouns, &c. which determine the person or tense required with sufficient accuracy. There is, moreover, nothing like the distinction of gender inherent in the forms of either verbs or nouns: whence it would follow, that words arranged in the order of Syntax would undergo no difference of form or termination from the influence of any other parts of speech: and hence it is, that so very little is given of Syntax, and that all that is given relates merely to the order of words.

The Vocabulary has been arranged according to the Alphabet laid down in the first page, (the New-Zealand words taking the lead,) principally with a view to the instruction of the Missionary in studying the Examples given in the body of the Grammar.

That either the Grammar or Vocabulary is as perfect as may be wished, no one will take upon himself to affirm: but when the unfavourable circumstances are considered, under which the materials have been collected and the work composed, it is hoped that it will be found not to fall very far short of reasonable expectation, both in extent and accuracy. At all events, a foundation has been laid; and we may hope, by the blessing of God, hereafter to see a fair superstructure.

  1. See the Grammar of the Tonga Language by Mr. Martyn: and Mr. Handen's Grammar of the Malay.