The study of Russian offers to the beginner difficulties in many respects comparable to those which make the classical languages so difficult of access numerous and complicated inflections for nouns and pronouns; a verbal system of rare flexibility; a syntax simple in its principles, but very different from the syntax of the modern languages of western Europe; a freedom of construction which is in striking contrast to the frigid framework of the pnglish, French, orG erman sentence; and a vocabulary of incomparable richness. To help him surmount these many difficulties, the student finds at his disposal grammatical summaries, collections of texts, and dictionaries. But much time will be lost before he has acquired enough grammatical knowledge to master texts which have no commentary to explain them, and his patience will suffer by this study of theoretical grammar, which keeps him at a distance from the language itself. Moreover, if there is a truth on which linguists have come to agree, it is this, that it is not by the grammar that a language is learned. However complicated and delicate be its mechanism, a language is learned by reading only, provided always each difficulty, as it arises, receives an immediate explanation. This book has no other ambition than to put such practice, from the first day on, within the stude nts reach. The student beginning the study of this Reader is expected only to possess a minimum knowledge of Russian grammar the alphabet; some elements of pronunciation learned, if possible, from a native teacher; a fair notion of the declensions; a general view of the conjugations; some idea of the phenomenon called aspect of verbs, and, in particular, of the opposition of the two aspects termed respectively perfective and imperfective.
(Typographical errors above are due to OCR software and don't occur in the book.)
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