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A bout a year ago the publisher of the Series of Brief Grammars of the Ci-ermaiiic Dialects invited me to prepare the Old English member of the series. At that time the pressure of otlier duties did not justify me in promising him more than a revision of an earlier set of lectures on Old English grammar, adapted to conform to the general plan. The brief sketch which follows, therefore, makes no pretension to be anything more thau such a revision, although much has been added in the process of recopying which was foreign to the original draft. Hitherto, Old English grammars have virtually been iounded upon the language of the poetical texts, This is to be deplored, especially when we consider that the manuscripts in which they are contained are uniformly late; that the texts themselves were composed at an earlier period, and frequently in another dialect; and that in our present versions ancient forms are almost hopelessly jumbled with more modem ones, and specimens of the most widely separated dialects are occasionally united in the same composition. In the present treatise, on the other hand, the langue of the older prose writings has, to a greater extent than heretofore, been chosen as the basis of grammatical investigation, since it is safe to assume that they represent in some measure a single dialect. Besides the cbaraeterizaion of the West Saxon, which is everywhere made the i prominent, an attempt has also I teen.
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