Introductory Assyrian Grammar
Author: Samuel A.B. Mercer
Publisher: Dover Publications
Experience in teaching Semitic languages has taught me that the beginner needs a text-book which is both simple and also well supplied with exercises. Hitherto no such book for the study of Assyrian has appeared in any modern language. There are books in English, French, German and Italian for beginners, but none of them are provided with exercises. The larger grammars are reference books and unsuited for the use of beginners. The book most generally used in the study of the Assyrian language is DELITZSCH’S Assyrische Lesestücke. But everyone complains of its dif-ficulty for the beginner.
Assyrian is difficult. Nor have compilers of Assyrian grammars done much to make it attractive to the student. It is with this in mind that I have prepared this little book. I have divided the grammar and syntax into chapters or lessons, and supplied each chapter with copious exercises. I am sure that if the student works through these lessons with care and diligence he will have no trouble with the reading exercises which follow.
The beginner should first memorise the Simple Syllables. These are fundamental and occur most frequently in all cuneiform texts. Не should read chapter two with care, and so acquaint himself with the Ideograms as to be able easily to refer to them in his later work, Chapter three should also be read with care, looking up each sign in the Sign List at the end of the book. Chapter four is for further practice in the Sign List. The aim thus far has been to acquaint the student with his signs. A careful reading of chapter five is all that is necessary. But the pronouns, verbs, nouns, adjectives, numerals, adverbs, prepositions and conjunctions, chapters six to twenty-seven, should be committed to memory, and the exercises on each lesson should by carefully read. Read the Syntax carefully and do the exercises with diligence. After the Chrestomathy is finished the student should read some of the longer passages in DELITZSCH’S Lesestücke (which he should own), and then he will be prepared, with the assistance of BRÜNNOW, A Classified List, Leyden, 1889, and DELITZSCH’S Assyrisches Handwörterbuch, Leipzig, 1896, for independent reading.
The author’s object has been to make this book as brief and concise as possible. Не warns students against thinking that they can acquire an adequate knowledge of Assyrian without much memory-work. If the above directions are followed, the author feels that the object for which the book has been prepared will be attained — namely, to add to the number of students interested in the study of Assyrian.
It remains only to thank my pupil, Mr. KELLER, for arranging the vocabulary, and to express my appreciation of the excellent work done by the Akademische Buchdruckerei F. Straub, Munich. For many hints I have to thank my former teacher, Professor HOMMEL, who also very kindly read the proof.
Samuel A. B. Mercer
Hibbard Egyptian Library, Western Theological Seminary,
Chicago. May 10, 1921.