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Art. VII. German Grammar, adapted to the Use of Englishmen.
'"that a good grammar and dictionary of the German Ian-
An Introduction, of 21 pages, contains an historical account of the different German dialects, which, in writing, have / gradually coalesced in. what is now called High German .-a -0 term that ought not to be confounded with what is denominated Upper German, or that dialect which is spoken in the more southern parts of the Empire, and which is contrasted with Nether German, spoken in the north.
* Those two idioms, the Upper and Lower German, essentially differ from one another, not merely in the pronunciation of the same words, but in the words and phraseology themselves. They diverge mere widely than the Attic from the Ionic, or the Ionic from the Doric, in antient Greece. The Upper German is in its elocution hissing and guttural, and abounds in deep and broad sounds. The Lower German, on the contrary, has a clear and soft enunciation, and generally avoids such sounds as are harsh and unpleasant to the ear. It renders the organs of speech supple and flexible, whereas the former so contracts or distorts them, that, in some degree, it disqualifies them for the pronunciation of any other language. Hence we find that those inhabitants of Germany, among whom the Lower German prevails, acquire with facility the pronunciation of foreign tongues, while those of the south, or Upper Germany, have to struggle with insurmountable difficulties.'
Dr. Noehden, who is probably a Lower German, gives the preference to that dialect; which, he thinks, is more harmonious than its rival. We have known Germans who thought otherwise: especially those who came from Franconia. The Upper German was cultivated at a much more early period than the Nether German, and maintained its pre-eminence until the reformation! when Luther, by embellishing his native dialect, the Upper Saxon, gave rise to a new language, which has been refining
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ever since, and U now called simply the German tcngue: because it has ceased to be a provincial dialect, and has relinquished ail local peculiarities.—The questions, (hen, are, where is it best spcken I and in what part of Germany is it most eligible for a foreigner to learn it?—The preference was long given to its birth-place, the Electorate of Saxony; -and particularly to Meissen and Dresden: < but of late years (says the author) :his prerogative has been disputed by other towns, and in other provinces; for instance, in the circle of Lower Saxony, such as Hamburgh, Brunswic, Hanover, Gdttengen, Sec. and some in the north of the Upper Saxon Circle, as Berlin: in short, all the places of note, within the verge of the Lower German dialect.' Dr. N. observes that the natives of Lower Germany possess a great facility in pronunciation, and more easily dives: themselves of their provincial habits, than the Upper Germans; and hence, he thinks, they speak High German with a superior degtce of purity and accuracy.
The provincial aberrations in the Upper Saxon mode of , speaking are these; — a want of discrimination between b and p: d and t; g and i; for example, they pronounce baum, paum; dtr, ter; gctt, kott. They confound / with sht and say shprtchtn tor iprtchen, and dursht for durst.—On the other hand, the principal misnomers of the Lower Saxons are these;—They change the hissing sounds where th-y should not, and say slagtn for schlagen. They pronounce the letter g, like our y, and Say yott for gott; yarten for garten, &c. At Berlin, we believe, this is the common pronunciation, which is certainly more smooth than the other; although the present writer tells us that it is ' unjustifiable,' and that the true sound of that letter is the same with that of our hard g.
The grammar itself is divided into two parts, of which the former treats on etymology, and the latter on syntax. Respecting the pronunciation of the letters, we think, the author is rather prolix, and might have greatly condensed his matter. Sect. 3. on the accent, is well worth attention. In the other parts, we observe nothing uncommon; except, as we have already stated, the remarks on the arrangement of -words. This is the subject of the 3d ch. of part second, and should be carefully perused by every learner of the German language. Indeed it is almost indispensably necessary: since 'the Germans have a settled method of arranging the parts of speech in a sentence, which is at present so incorporated with the genius of the language* that any deviation from, it may be regarded as a grammatical offence. —There have been some authors, we are told, who have wished to depart from this system, but they failed; and their ineffectual endeavour has only served as a test of the prevailing usage.
The appendix contains a few extracts from Wiehnd, Herder, Goethe, and Schiller, with a liter.il English version for the use of beginners: followed by a very short collection of phrases; which, we arc inclined to think, might hive been better chosen, and not seldom better translated. Here we cannot help observing that, in an elementary,book, that translation of words and phrases which conies nearest to the idiom of the words and phrases to be translated is always to be preferred, though it be not always, perhaps, so elegant as other expressions. For example; we would have der tnagen translated, the maw; ileidung, cloathing; schweincfleisch, swine-flesh: adding, when necessary, the more common terms, stomach, cloaths, pork, Sec. In like manner, we would not render sie essen nicht, M you do not eat," but «' you eat not:"-~nor eilen sie nicht t( do not be in a hurry," but "hurry yourself not." Even when a literal version deviates from the English idiom, it would be mor<$ useful to the learner to have it presented to him. For in* stance: woflen sie zu mittag bey mir essen : w'wi!lyou at mid-day with me eat." i. e. will you dine with me.—Darfich sie bifterr, '* dare I you beg."—Wie writ ist Berlin von hier; ** How wide is Berlin from here."—Kami ich titer ui, ht hier bleiben? "Can I overnight here stay?" It is inconceivable? how much a Chrestomathia of this sort contributes to the rapid progress of the scholar. We speak from experience.
The author promises us a dictionary, English and German, and German and English, in octavo: in how msny volumes, he says not: but in order to be in any degree like a complete Lexicon, it cannot be comprehended in less than four. In the German and English part, we recommend it to Dr. Noehden. to take Schwan's German and French for his model. * 1
Art. VIIL The History of France, Civil and Military, Ecclesiastical, Political, Literary, Commercial, &c. &c. from the Time of its Conquest by Clovis, A. D. 486. By the Rev. Alexander Ranken, one of the Ministers of Glasgow. Vol, 1. 8vo. pp. 540. 9s. Boards. Cadell jun. and Davies. 1 Soi.
♦"pHE division of his subject, which Mr. Ranken has adopted, •*■ will naturally bring to the recollection of our readers Dr. Henry's History of Great Britain, and the mode which he pursued in the composition of it. In his preface, Mr. R. has thus stated the reasons for his adoption of this plan:
* Many years have elapsed since I began my enquiries into French history, and to write essays on that subject. The plan which I pre
ferred when I resolved to publish, required fjoth that these essays should be considerably altered in their form, and that others more recently composed should be added: this will account for that variety which may appear in the style.
'The plan was not suggested by Dr. Henry's Hi tory of Great Britain; but in attempting to arrange the several essays afterwards, a similarity was observed; a:id on larthtr deliberation I resolved to adopt his plan, and proceed in composing what was then wanting to complete it. I admire his work, and will be content if I shall be thought to have successfully imitated it.
'The First Book, therefore, which this Volume contains, is divided into Seven Chapters. The First Chapter is the History of Civil and Military Affairs; the Second, is the History of Religion and of the Church; the Third, is that of Laws and Government; the Fourth of Literature; the Fifth, of the Arts; the Sixth, of Commerce; and the Seventh, of Language, Customs, and Manners.*
The author considers the conquest of France by Gov'ts as the origin of the French monarchy; and he docs not extend Lis inquiries higher than that period, because he justly represents their previous annals as involved in impenetrable dark.uess-and obscurity. The Franks, before that time, were; German Tribes, having no sovereignty but over their own families, without any certain or settled territory, and almost without a fixed name. 'From the conquest of Giul by Julius Csesar, (observes -Mr.' Ranken,) till its conquest by Clovis, the history of the Gauls belongs to the history of the Roman Empire, and could riot with propriety, nor with success be detached from it.'-r-This period, as also a considerable^ part of that which is discussed in the present volume, is illustrated in Mr. Gibbon's great work; and it would form no unpleasant nor unprofitable occupation to compare the statements of the two historians. The plainness and simplicity of Mr. Ranken , arc strongly contrasted by the study of ornament and the affec* 'tation of singularity which are so evident in Mr. Gibbon; and "this opposition of manner and style struck us more forcibly in .the character of Charlemagne, than in any other instance. If it should be urged that the present writer is too favourable in his account of that illustrious monarch, it must be allowed that "the historian of Rome" (a title which Mr. G. was fond of appropriating to himself) has been unjust to his merits, and treated his memory with unbecoming levity.
The detail of the conduct of the different Princes of the Merovingian race is curious and interesting, though our feelings are frequently shocked by the enumeration of those enormities which were too common in all countries at so early a period of society. Pepin le Gros (also called d'Hcrisfal, from his Palace of that name,) first successfully contended with the monaichs of that
Twee; und the victory which he obtained over Thierri in the year 687, at the Battle of Tertri, altogether annihilated their authority, though it still left them in possession of the title of ling. 'Some writers here terminate tne Merovingian, and begin the Cirlovingian Race; hut Thierri, and several rn -re of the same family, his successors, continued nominally kings. They wcrp brought forward on ccrt.iin sokmn occasions a* puppets, with all the outward ensigns of royalty, and even surI'ouoded by guards; but it was more to prevent tht-ir rnter» course with the people, than either for state or safety.' The policy obsrrved and the humanity exercised by Pepin, and by his son, Charles Martcl, served to confirm their power, and to enable their successors to assume what alone was wanting t> them, the name of royalty. Pepin, the second son of Charles Martel, had placed Childeric the 3d on the throne irt tlie. year 743, and he was the last of the Merovingian race; who, beginning wiih (Jlovis, to the number of thirty-two kings, had filled the throne of France for 270 years. The causes which contributed to the fall cf the one race and the riss of the other are thus stated by Mr. Rankcn:
« Rudeness, ferocity, and cruelty, generally characterised them till the reign ol Clotaiie II.; after him the empire was less divided, and )csj distracted by civil wars. But the kings themselves became more sensual, superstitious, and indolent. Their frequent and lorg minorities, particularly after the reign of Dagobert, contributed to the diminution of their dignity and power, and to the increase of the authority and supreme power of the mayors. As the one descended, the other naturally rose, till the people were at last accustomed to look on the latter as their sovereigns. In the progress of a century, veneration for antiquity itself loses its influence ; and respect is transferred by new associations, and by ntw generations of men, from those whose fame is known by means only cf history or tradition, to those whose character and atchievements are every day the subject of attention and admiration.
The first Pepin and Charles Martel were both illustrious examples of this effect. Their military skill and valour, their political sagacity, their general good fortune in advancing them personally, aggrandised the state. Pepin, the son of Charles, had already shown, both in his eastern and western expeditions, and in his general administration before and after the resignation of Carloman, that he was not inferior to any of hi.i predecessors. His civil governmert was vigorous, yet mild and gentle; sufficient for restraining licentiousness and criminal disorders, ar.d calculated at the s?iue time to promote and maintain industry, justice, and peace. His public conduct was not more ingratiating, than were his personal affability and agreeable manners. If a few of the nobles were envious, or jealous of his high rank and power, they were just sufficient to render him the more prudent and cautious. His h'ber.il'fy to the church, and hi? particular sttentie.n to the dcrgy, secured their favour; and their npprobaticu and influ
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