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Art. 16- A Grammar of the German Language, for the Use -of Englishmen. By George Henry Noehden. Second Edition. fcvo. pp. 468. Mawman. 1S07.
Art. 17. Elements of German Grammar, intended for Beginners. By G. H. Noeliden. 8vo. pp. 107. Mawman. 1807.
Mr Noehden's grammar is undoubtedly not only the most complete, but also the most correct guide to the knowlege of the German language, that has hitherto been published in England; and in fact it is the only work that can be confidently recommended to the student. Mr. N. is not one of those who, though they have never studied their mother tongue, yet conceive themselves to be fully capable of giving instructions respecting it to foreigners, and even of writing a grammar of it; for he has inquired into the nature of language in general, and has taken great pains to make the peculiarities of his own properly understood. The present edition has received many additions, corrections, and improvements, which manifestlhe author's continued investigation of the subject, and promise that a future impression will be .till more distinguished by accuracy. We wish that he may also direct his attention to some genera] causes of the inflection of words in the German language, and .of apparent deviations from the established rule, which he has mentioned merely as exceptions under their respective heads. Thus for instance the observation, that the short sound of e is disagreeable to the German ear, after the letters /, m, n and r, particularly when they are preceded by another e, would have accourtted not only for the mode of declining the iubstantives of which the author forms his second declension, hut also for many of his exceptions in the other declensions, and for many peculiarities in the conjugation of the verbs. Notwithstanding the great number of irregularities, so much system and logic preva 1 in the German language, that many difficulties in the acquisition of it may be removed by an early attention tosonoe general rules which grammarians "have not noticed. The various forms of the adjective are easily explained, or reduced to one rule, by observing that the repetition of the.mark of the gender is carefully avoided.
It is evident that Mr. N. has been very desirous of making his grammar complete, and enabling the learner to consult it on every occasion; and we have not observed any important omission: but he has sor.ieuir.es taken too much notice of mere provincialisms, or universally admitted faults, and has not always kept himself quite free from them In hh attempt to define and describe' the pronunciation of litters, to which he has, in our opinion, devoted too much space, he tells the reader to pronounce Ring, Gesang, &c. like liini, Gesani;.Sic. which is decidedly a faulty pronunciation ;—and would he really have us pronounce hirrlkhcn like herrli-en; and Gnade like GcnaJt? We admit, however, that he has suffered but few such reprehensible passages to occur; and we must make allowance for. the difficulties attending every attempt to teach pronunciation merely by description and comparison.
The sections on the compound verbs, and on the prepositions, •which are among the most intricate parts of the German grammar, manifest much ingenuity, and will hie found very satisfactory. The whole chapter on the arrangement of words also distinguishes thia grammar very advantageously from all its rivals, though the rule* may perhaps be susceptible of still greater simplification. A proper attention to this author's rules will remove the most im» portant difficulties, of which those who learu the German language usually complain.
We approve the omission, in this edition, of the Appendix which was subjoined to the former: but we wish that Mr. Noehden, or some other person equally qualified, would farther assist the student by a well arranged collection both of select German pieces and of exercises, to elucidate and teach the application of the rules of grammar; because all those, which have hitherto been published, are either thoroughly incorrect, or, from a want of proper arrangement, are unfit to be put into the hands of the learner.
The Elements form a short abstract of the Grammar, and contain merely the first rudiments. This short work is well adapted to iia object, and is quite sufficient for beginners.
Art. 18. Dittionaire univertel Jet Synonymes de la I^erngve Francoisc, &c. 1.1. An universal Dictionary of kSynonyms in the 'French Language, collected by M. de Levizac. I imo.. pp. 427. 66. Boards." R. Phillips. 1807.
The public has been long in possession of the Synonymes frtingc'a of the celebrated Abbe Girard, in which the minute difference, existing fctween words that at first sight appear equivalent and convertible, are pursued and unfolded with so much delicacy and clearness, as to render a work of mere verbal criticism highly interesting as well as instructive.—With very few exceptions, the whole of the Synonymes of Girard are inserted in the present compilation: but they are outnumbered by articles of a later date, collected chiefly from Beauzee and Rmibaud, with occasional contributions by D^Alembert, Voltaire, Diderot, Sic.; the name of the writer being very conveniently subjoined to each article.
Among such a variety of authors, a great diversity of style will naturally be observable: but none fully attain the ease and perspicuity of Girard; and, finding the legitimate field of synonymic elucidation already occupied, some have undertaken to explain differences between words which have scarcely any resemblance, or in which the resemblance consists in 6ound only.
Nevertheless, the additions are on the whole highly respectable; and we recommend M de Levizac's publication to all admirers of Trench literature., even if they be already possessed of the original work of Girard. »
Art. 19. A new Spanish and English Grammar, divided imto two Parts.—The first Part contains all the Spanish Words,abstractedly considered, and inflected under tluir propij Heads. The second containing the Spanish Syntax, illustrated by a Selection, of elegant and entertaining .Extracts irpm some of the best : , Spanish' Spanish authors. By Thomas Planquais, Grammarian, Teacher of the Spanish, Italian, and French languages. 8vo. pp. 494. 12s. Boards. Law, 4cc. 1S07.
As the construction of the languages of our southern neighbours is simple and uniform, little mure is necessary to the student at his first introduction, than an exhibition of the regular and irregular verbs, with a cursory view of the other parts of speech. From this step, he may boldly proceed to actual translation ; though the drudgery of continual reference to the dictionary will be materially lessened, if he make himself previously acquainted with the more common words and phrases, by the help of a vocabulary and well selected dialogues. With Tegard to these fundamental points, Mr. Planquais' Grammar appears to be unexceptionable: but in a work containing nearly 500 pages, information of a higher nature might reasonably be expected. We accordingly hoped to find, in the first place, a theoretical and practical elucidation of the use and force of the different tenses of the verb, in the proper application of which the chief (we had almost said the only) difficulty of the learner consists; the Spanish language having retained two of the Latin tenses which the Italians and French have wholly lost. A few more pages might also have been filled with remarks on the most striking peculiarities of Spanish phraseology. There was room, likewise, for a"full exposition of the rules of Spanish versification, in all itsrvaried forms, many of which are unknown to the rest of Europe.—None of these objects, however, are attempted by Mr. P: but the volume is swelled by extracts from Cervantes, Lope, Mariana, Saavedra, Isla, and Yriarte, which would indeed have formed a valuable exercise for the student, had they not been accompanied by a literal but rather incorrect translation.
Art. 20. Evening Amusements, or the Beauty of the Heavens displayed: in which several striking Appearances to be observed on various Evenings in the Heavens during the Years 1805, 1806, 1807. and 180S, are described, &c. by W. Fiend, M.A. llmo. 3a. each Vol. for each Year. Mawman.
We have been tardy, and remiss in our duty, in not having sooner noticed and recommended these ingenious volumes. At a •mall price, we find here prepared for those who enjoy youth and leisure, very easy and amusing Lectures in Astronomy. For every month, and for individual days, the particular state of the heavens is described; and when the reader shall have devoted ten minutes to the author's statement he may step into his garden, ainl verify the description. . _
Mr. Frend suggests several very simple modes of mapping the Stars, of forming pasteboard quadrants, &c; ;in<l the account of these may be perused at any time, and at leisure. The book itself is not to be read through by a continual and strenuous effort: if so studied, it will probably fatigue: but the whole year may pass away before it shall be completely examined. A few pages daily,—thofe that are assorted to the respective days—should only be consulted; and then the utility of the work will be felt. Thus used, it will certainly neither fatigue nor disgust.
These tractates In some degree supersede the use of the globes; and in several cases they describe more than globe* alone can shew, that is, they describe the moon's path, the situation of tl e planets, &c. They are also less expensive than globes, and more handy. Yet with the Nautical Almanack and the Globe every thing (we believe) may be understood which these volumes propose to make plain; and although w£ strongly recommend them to the public, we by no means advise that the use of the globes should be discontinued.
Art. 2t. Portable Mathematical Tables, containing Logarithms of Numbers ; proportional Parts, Artificial Sines and Tangents, &c. to every Degree and Minute of the Quadrant ; and a Table of Square and Cube Roots to No. 180. By Thomas Whiting. i2mo. 4s. Boards. Longman, &c.
A very commodious and portable set of Logarithmic and Trigonometrical Tables, nearly of the same size as Lalande's Tables Portativet. For all common purposes, the present Tables are sufficiently exact, and they are much more manageable than the bulkyTables of Taylor, which in ordinary cases have no advantage over these: for where it is likely that a considerable error in observation and experiment may occur, such error renders numerical accuracy^ Icyond a certain extent, totally unnecessary and useless.
Art. 22. Jin Heroic Fpi tie to Mr. Winsor, the Patentee of the Hydro-carbonic Gas Lights, and Founder of the National Light and Heat Company. 4to. is. 6<J. Spencer. 1808. If projectors cannot succeed with their schemes, poets of the sly Jatirical tribe know how to manage projectors, and to administer that ridicule to which vaii and over-confident pretenders are so richly intitled. Mr. Winsor's Gas Lights have here procured for him the notice of a poet of no ordinary powers, from whose mind the stream of poignant wit flows with more abundance and more brightness than inflammable air from pit-coal. The satire is directed with great skill; and all readers (Mr. W. excepted) must feel obliged to the author of this Heroic Epistle.—The poem opens with a sublime address to Mr. Winsor as ' the Hesper of Science,* and records the wonders expected from his hydro-carbonic gas in diffusing corporeal light; afcer which a wish is expressed for the extension of light to the mind, on account of the wonderful consequences which would result from it:
'O ! could thy Gas with equal power convey, , To the mind's eye an intellectual ray, With flame sethcrial decompos'd from coal, Illume and Hydro Carbonate the soul; Our streets, so long with walking Idiots curst, Where " Dunce the second elbows Dunce the first," Might see parade their crowded path along, A novel species—an enlightened throDg; Ret. May, 1808; H E'e«
E'en Bond-street loungers bright ideas gain.
When the poet's satirical car has been for seme time in motion, it acquires a momentum by which it runs from Mr. Winsor in PallMkii to the upper end of Albermarle street, and stops all at once at the Royal Philosophical Lecture-Shop. Here the poet, standing ■up, rtaJj a Lecture on Lectures:
'See from rhe Institution's crowded fane.
Though, however, the poet digresses, he docs not lose 6ight of the lightand-heat-giving Mr. Winsor, nor does he take leave tiH he pronounces that gentleman's apotheosis j—or, which is a more appropriate designation till, he has converted him, after death, iiu* * patent planet:
* And when—ah Winsor! distant be the day,
Then 6ome sage Sidrophel, with HERscHEL-eye,