Page:Compendious Syriac Grammar.djvu/9

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TRANSLATOR'S PREFATORY NOTE.

 

It appears desirable that the leading modern grammars of the four best-known Semitic languages, in their classical forms, should be readily accessible to English-speaking students. And in this connection, probably few competent judges will dispute the claims of the following treatises to be regarded as authoritative and leading, viz:—Wright's Arabic Grammar (as revised by Robertson Smith and De Goeje); Kautzsch's Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar; Nöldeke's Syriac Grammar; and Dillmann's Ethiopic Grammar. Of these the first two already exist in English, Wright's work having been in that form from the outset, at least under his own name, and Kautzsch's Gesenius' having been presented in a similar form a few years ago, in Collins and Cowley's excellent translation. The grammars of Nöldeke and Dillmann, however, have not hitherto appeared in English, although their pre-eminent position in their respective departments of Semitic philology is perhaps even less open to challenge, than that of the other two. It is to supply this want in the educational apparatus available for English students, so far at least as Noldeke's Grammar is concerned, that the present translation has been attempted.

Of course it may be said, that students of Syriac will in all liklihood be sufficiently well acquainted with German, to be able to consult the original for themselves. I trust that such is the case; but those students and scholars amongst us, who are most familiar with German, will probably be the first to welcome a translation of such a work, if only it has been executed with reasonable fidelity and care. There are obvious advantages in an English version for an English eye, however accomplished