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Richardson's Arabic Grammar. This is a quarto volume, of something less than two hundred pages. The technical part of it appears to be taken from Erpenius, and other grammarians. The rules are exemplified by numerous extracts from the Arabian poets; so that the work is rendered amusing if not instructive. There are a few quotations from the Alcoran, from Abulfeda, and other prose authors. At the end of the book is the story of the Barber's fifth brother, from the "Tales of a thousand nights and a night;" accompanied with an English translation, which is rendered easy to the learner, by figures of reference placed over the words. These examples are, however, defective, in not having the letters accompanied with vowel marks to direct the pronunciation. This grammar is useful for beginners, but I do not assert that it is a work of the first merit.
Herbin Grammaire Arabe.-This is a quarto volume, of less than 250 pages. Its engraved title exhibits a fine specimen of Arabic writing, and at the end of the volume are several plates, which explain and exemplify the various modes of writing in use among the Turks, Arabs, and Persians. The treatise on oriental calligraphy, given as an appendix, is amusing as well as instructive. M. Herbin appears to have been indebted to Erpenius for his grammar rules, at least to those which relate to the movable alif, waw, and ya. He has printed tables, exhibiting the conjugations at large, by means of the vowels fathà, dammâ and casra, and the wèsla, meddà, teshdid and gesmă, without giving the words themselves, the meaning and pronunciation of which are regulated by those distinctive marks: These words the learner may select from his lexicon, according to the respective conjuga>tions to which they belong, and placing each radical letter under or over its respective point or mark, and the servile letters being placed where necessary at the beginning, middle, or end of the root, the verb is thus conveyed through all its persons, numbers, moods, and tenses. This is an exercise to the student; but I am inclined to think that a part of the labour to which it subjects him, might as well have been performed by the printer. At the end of the grammar are some extracts from Abulfeda, and a number of fables from Lokman, with the French pronunciation, and an interlineary French translation, and the Arabic roots explained at the bottom of the page. The Arabic text is accompanied by a liberal translation, in good French. There are also some Arabian
proverbs, without the pronunciation, which, as well as the fables, appear to have been selected from Erpenius. They are accompanied with a French translation. In the beginning of the grammar, there is a passage from the Alcoran, in pointed Arabic. The powers of the Arabic letters are explained with uncommon precision. This work is valuable, were it only for the treatise on oriental calligraphy; and perhaps may, on some other accounts, be preferred to Richard
Savary: Grammaire Arabe-This is a splendid quarto volume, containing upwards of 530 pages, printed on thick vellum. It is a posthumous work, done at the imperial printing office at Paris, in 1813, under the inspection of M. Langles, the editor; who has given a Latin translation of the whole grammar, and added, by way of appendix, the seven voyages of Sindbad, with a number of specimens of Arabic poetry, accompanied with a French translation. In this grammar, the verbs are conjugated at large, through nearly all their forms; and the nature of the compound verbs being well explained, it gives a clearer view of the structure of the Arabic language than any grammar I have seen. His conjugations are generally given in the colloquial Arabic, which omits the dual number, and slightly varies from the literal in one or two of the persons. He omits the terminating vowel in Arabic roots, because it is not pronounced, and also in many instances the gesma, which character we expect to find where the pronunciation of a syllable is closed by a consonant. Thus: is by him written because so pronounced, but the r should be marked with a gesma. The French pronunciation is given in all the conjugations, not only in the text, but also in the Latin translation at the bottom of each page, by which means the book is swelled to a useless bulk, and also disfigured; for the Arabic words with their French pronunciation, appear twice on every page, and the characters used in the Latin translation are inferior both in size and beauty to those in which the French text is printed. The seven dialogues, at the end of the grammar, are printed in a large and beautiful character. They are each accompanied with a French and a Latin translation; and some of the first of them have, besides these, the French pronunciation, and an interlineary French translation. The editor has repeated four of these dialogues, in the Egyptian dialect. In the appendix, the seven voyages of
a a a
Sindbad, and likewise the Arabian songs, are printed in the same small unsightly character which is used in the Latin translation of the grammar. The French translation of Sindbad is, I believe, given as literal, but it might in some places be more so, without offending either against elegance or perspicuity. In the translation of the Arabic odes, there are some few very apparent deviations from the original. I believe the grammar of M. Savary to be superior to any extant; but the Latin translation is superfluous, and few students of grammar would wish to burden themselves with an unwieldy quarto volume, when the same matter could be easily condensed into a much more portable and convenient size.
Wasmuth's Arabic Grammar.This is a small quarto volume, containing between 60 and 80 pages. It is in Latin, and was probably composed at a time when the vowel marks were considered indispensable, in all elementary works on the oriental languages. It consists chiefly of grammar rules, briefly exemplified. The largest quotation in the whole book, is the first chapter of the Alcoran, added, I think, merely to fill up a page, and this chapter is known to contain only seven very short verses. I gave this work but a single perusal, and am not able to judge particularly of its merits the print is small, but legible and correct; it contains much in a small compass, and it is fitted to convey instruction rather than amusement.
I regret that I cannot enumerate among these, the grammar of M. De Sacy. He was the instructor of Herbin; and his work, which is in two octavo volumes, with figures, was compiled for the special school of living oriental languages at Paris. It was published a little before that of Savary.
I will now, aided by my recollection, notice the few books by whose aid I have laboured, though in vain, to acquire one of the most renowned languages of the east.
The first Arabian work which fell into my hands was, the Annals of Egypt, during the reigns of the Fatimite califs, the Aiubite sultans, and the succession of monarchs who held the sceptre of Egypt, of the Turkish and Circassian dynasties. The language is simple, naked, utterly destitute of ornament, and confined to the bare narration of facts, which are recounted in the briefest manner. We are told of famines and earthquakes, of miracles and wonderful events, of insurrections and murders, of tyranny and usurpation,
and of such vicissitudes as are not uncommon at the courts of oriental sovereigns: yet the work is not entertaining, and does not exhibit a very strong claim to literary distinction; though Maured Allatafet, by whom it was composed, is represented as an Arabian author of some reputation. It is useful, however, to beginners, to whom the extreme boldness and simplicity of the style, render it particularly acceptable. It is accompanied with a Latin translation, and an appendix of explanatory notes, by Mr. Carlyle, of the univer sity of Cambridge. It is comprised in one small quarto volume, in plain Arabic, without points, and is legibly printed; but the Arabic text in the latter part of the book abounds with typographical errors.
Doctrina Christiana. This is a catechism, published, I believe, in the time of Cardinal Richlieu, under his direction, for the purpose of gratuitous distribution in the East. It contains the Creed, the Paternoster, the Ave Maria, and the Decalogue abridged or altered; the whole explained by question and answer, according to the doctrine of the Catholic church. It is in pointed Arabic, accompanied by the original Latin, and is a valuable little book for learners.
Refutations of the Alcoran, by Maraccio, confessor to Pope Innocent the Eleventh: (one large folio volume.)-This is a work of great literary merit, and may be regarded as a treasure by those who would become conversant with the language, laws, legends, traditions, religion, manners, and customs of Mahometan countries. It contains a correct copy of the Alcoran in pointed Arabic, with a Latin translation; and commentaries, in the same language, abounding with extracts from various Arabian authors, translated into Latin. The commentaries are placed at the end of each chapter, and are followed by the refutation in Latin; in which the author has treated Mahomet and the moslems with very little ceremony. This book may be safely recommended to students. The language of the Alcoran is supposed to be the purest, the most grammatical, and the most classical, of all the Arabic works that have found their way into countries professing the Christian faith.
History of the Saracens, by Georgius ebn Elmacino: in plain Arabic, with a collateral Latin translation by Erpenius, one vol. folio.This is a valuable work. The style is simple and unadorned, but is free from the extreme conciseness of Maured Allatafet. The events of each reign are narrated
with method and precision; and the lineage, birth, life, death, character, and person of each calif, are noticed in the history of each respective reign with scrupulous accuracy. This work comprehends a part of Allatafet's Annals, to which it is in almost every respect preferable. It is larger; the events it records are more important and interesting; its Latin translation is collateral; and it is written in a more elevated style.
The Bible, in Arabic, with points, accompanied by a collateral Latin translation-is the most valuable to students of the books I have yet named, or that I am able to name, since it contains all the gradations of style from the most simple to the most abstruse: and, so various are the subjects of which it treats, that he must have a most extensive knowledge of Arabic, who is able to understand, in that language, all that is contained in it from Genesis to Maccabees, and from the gospel of St. Matthew to the revelation of St. John. In my own studies, I have confined myself chiefly to the Pentateuch, and the historical books, with the exception of the Psalms, Job, and a few chapters of Proverbs; and am aware that the didactic and prophetic writings present difficulties, which are to be overcome by perseverance and assiduity alone. This Bible is of itself a library, and in the present scarcity of Arabian books, 1 earnestly recommend it to all who are endeavouring to acquire a knowledge of the oriental tongues. The language of husbandry and of common life may be learned from Genesis; that of law and of mechanic arts from Exodus; that of natural history and medicine from Leviticus; that of war and military movements from Numbers; that of paternal exhortation from Deuteronomy; that of geographical delineation from Joshua; that of traditionary narration from Judges and Ruth; that of biography from Samuel; that of history and state affairs from Kings, Chronicles, Ezra, Esther, Jeremiah, Judith, and Maccabees; that of astronomy and natural philosophy from Job; that of poetry from the Prophets, Canticles, and Psalms; that of ethics and divinity from Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, Ecclesiasticus, and Wisdom. Adding to these the books of the New Testament, which present still further varieties of subject and style; the Arabic student will find abundant scope for the exercise of his talents -an ample field for literary toil.
Account of the War between the French and Austrians, in the latter part of the year 1805.-This is a collection of official papers, translated into Arabic from the original French,