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In good truth it seems hopeless to expect that Englishmen should ever get to understand their native tongue till they are taught it, and by teaching I mean, till they study its structure and literature, just as they study the structure and literature of any other language of which they are wholly ignorant. Hitherto on the contrary it seems to have been assumed as granted that we take in our mother's tongue along with their milk; our instruction in English rarely reaches beyond the CJ J nursery, or if continued is conveyed to us under the dreary auspices of Lindley Murray. I may mention that the short Praxis appended is of my own selection, and I hope it may prove useful to beginners in the Old Norse. At the introduction of Christianity and for some time after they were in general use over the whole North, in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Iceland, and we have demonstrably heathen runic stones, on which Thor is invoked; but if they were invented by the monks for any secret use, their employ- ment on gravestones would be against tin's view; if on the other hand they had been framed by others after the Latin or Greek alphabet , for the sake of forming a national system of writing, it would have been impossible that they should have been spread so far in so short a time, and besides we should not miss so many needfu! At the same time they are spoken of so often in ihe oldest Sagas as signs for writing in the heathen times, e. in Eigia on the charmed stake set up against King Eric B'odyxa, in Grettla, and many others; HUNKS nay in songs which are manifestly heathen, as Rigsmal. Bjorri of Skardsa, John Gud- mundson the learned, Ruginan, John Olafson of Grun- nawick in his Runologin; Eggert Olafson has also treated this subject; but of all these the first only has been printed.
In Njala and the late Stockholm Edition of Sturluson's Edda and the Skalda it is carefully preserved. The Icelandic Alphabet now in use is therefore the following : a a g ge n enn u u b be h ha o 6 V vaff (c se) i i P pe X ex d de j jo S (q kit) y y 5 stungit de k ka r err z seta e e 1 ell s efs p porn f eff in emm t te ae ae (aj 5 6 9. The Icelandic Pronunciation is in the highest decree regular , and corresponds exactly to the system of spelling, which is however arranged after a peculiar manner, the most suitable certainly that could have been invented for this lang- uage, but wholely differing from the present Swedish method. Some vowels have two such mixed sounds, the one formed of v with its true hard sound never occurs at the end of a sylla- ble, and therefore leaves Ihe reader in doubt only in compound words, e.g. It would thus be of little use to etymologize so strictly in a single case against the established analogy of countless instances. between ft, and pt, for which reason it has been entirely changed by many moderns into ft both in prose and verse, e. eplir (or eftir) after, lopt (or loft) air, lift 46. as an etymolog- ical sign for s before which d or t has fallen away, e. lanz for lands, veizla feasting for veitsla, from veita to fca:t, lezt 20 CONSONANTS for let-st, helzt from heldr rather, bezt from betr better, etc. Olaf Thordson Hvitaskald in the appendix to the Skalda, John 1 a f s o n of Grunnawick in his Islenzka retrittan ; and also Eggert Olaf'son, under the title: "Nockiar 6re- gluligar reglur urn pa5 hvornveg rett eigi a5 bokstafa pa mi lifandi islendsku tiingu" - have written on the Icelandic ortho- graphy with this alphabet, of which treatises only the first named has been printed. if)rou handicraft, art, ijjran repentance, the first should be read if)rdlt, the second i Sran; in (he words, 6fro\ impatience, 6r whetted his eyes upon the worm" says Sturluson in the Edda ch. But in declension // and nn are wont to be retained when they are essential, e. fall falls, a fall, allr, alls, all, hallr a stone, halls gen., bann a ban banns. So also in foreign words in which ti before a vowel has the sound of si, e. spazia margin from spatium, disputazia, sitazia, porzion, qvittanzia, but never where the sound be- comes ts e. In spelling and reading the Icelanders always divide words according to their etymological nature, so that conson. To this it may be answered, that the present Age is responsible for the sins of those that preceded it, if it can atone for them and will not 5 no one will deny that this is a case where the entail might be docked with the greatest advantage; as to its adding very little to the mutilation, any one who has the heart to read Novels, Annuals, and a cer- tain class of Periodicals, must be aware that these are TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE. V just so many mints for forging- base and barbarous words, some of which are continually becoming current in the mouths of those who have not taste enough to distinguish gold from brass; and as to the efforts of the Age to bring about a better state of tilings, they are, and will remain as good as useless so long as the main remedy is neglected.
GRAMMAR OF THE ICELANDIC OR TRANSLATED FROM THE SWEDISH OF ERASMUS RASK BY GEORGE WERBE DASENT ML A. hardly know 5 blind Titans, exhibiting- superhuman energy, doing- a great deal of work, but doing 1 it, as the blind are like to do, ill. gfir dissatisfied, hirfiligr suitable, avinning T winnings, twaer pappirs- arkir two sheets of paper.