Imatges de pÓgina
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THAT the Irish is the best préserved diàlect of the ancient and extensive Celtic language, is allowed by the most liberal and enlightened antiquarians. To the géneral scholar, therefore, a knowledge of it is of great importance; as it will enable him to trace the origin of names and customs, which he would seek in vain in any other tongue. To the inhabitant of Ireland it is doubly interesting: ' In this lán, guage are preserved the venerable annals of our country, with as much fidelity, as is usually found in the primitive records of any nation; while the poetic and romantic compositions, with which the Irish manuscripts abound, afford the finest spé

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cimens, cimens, of elegant taste and luxuriant imagination.

But it is, particularly, from the absolute necessity of understanding this language, in order to converse with the natives of a great part of Ireland, that the study of it is indispensible. If Irish be no longer the language of the court, or the senate, yet the pulpit and the bar require the use of it; and he that would communicate moral instruction, or investigate the claims of justice, must be versed in the native tongue, if he expects to be generally understood, or to succeed in his researches. In travelling, and the common occurrences of agriculture and rural traffic, a knowledge of Irish is also absolutely necessary.

It has been said indeed that the use of this language should be abolished, and the English prevail universally. But without entering into the merits of this position, while the Irish exists, and must exist for many years to come, it is surely reasonable and desirable, that every person should be able to hold converse with his

countrymen;

countrymen; as well as to taste and admire the beauties of one of the most expressive, philosophically accurate, and polished languages that has ever existed.

Some works have been published, to guide the student of Celtic'antiquities, in his curious and interesting researches, into the Irish tongue.

General Vallancey, in particular, has acquired well merited fame, by his very ingenious treatises on this subject. Still, however, a grammar, by which the learner might be taught to compose, as well as to analyze, appeared to be wanted. That which is now offered to the public is an attempt to supply this deficiency. How far the author has succeeded, must be left to the determination of those who are qualified 'to judge. Of this, at least, he is conscious, that no pains have been spared, to render it as complete as possible; and that nothing has been, knowingly, passed over, that seemed of any importance. The syntax, in particular, on which most important subject former grammarians treated

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very slightly, has been elucidated at very considerable length; and, it is hoped; in a rational and satisfactory manner.

The phrases and dialogues, in the second part, are calculated for general use; and the dryness of grammatical precepts will be relieved, by thie simple and original specimens of native manners and 'superstitions, contained in the latter dialogues. It has been found, by experience, that many persons, who did not enter into the study of the ancient language, have been enabled, by learning such phrases and dialogues as these, to begin an intercourse with the natives, which continued practice has brought to facility and elegance of conversation.

It was, at first, intended to make the third part very copious, and a large quantity of matter was prepared for that purpose. But the two first parts had swelled the book to a size so far beyond what was at first intended, that the third was necessarily confined to a few specimens. Should these be favourably received, a conside-rable volume, of the same kind, will be

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published, in a short time. In the mean time i the present volume contains all that is really necessary for general use.

In the publication of an original work, · some typographical errors are almost un

avoidable. The following is a list of the most considerable: the rest, it is hoped, will not occasion any difficulty to the reader.

ERRATA.

PAGE 24. LINE 3. for gealaċd, read gealac. 32. 21. for na sagart, read na sagairt.

28. for toe rot, read the rod. 33.

3. for the note, read the nose.

4. for an seafaċ, read an tseafac. 68. 20. for an ndeann me? read a ndean

me? 73. 15. for am I not given ? read am I

given? 97. 18. for cold night, read dark night. 112.

35. for leata, read leatsa.
122. 9, 10. for not your, read not wear

your.
135. 25. for cair, read air.

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