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FOR COMPARATIVE PURPOSES.
A. H. SAYCE, M.A.,
FELLOW AND TUTOR OF QUEEN'S COLLEGE, OXFORD;
MEMBER OF THE GERMAN ORIENTAL SOCIETY,
The distinction between the material and formal parts of a language is nowhere better illustrated than in the case of one which is being gradually recovered from its native records. A dictionary, in the true sense of the word, is impossible: we can have only a vocabulary which is being continually enlarged and corrected. But although the power of speech in producing new words is unlimited, the number of forms under which these words find expression is practically closely defined. A comparatively small number of written works will afford sufficient material for the outlines of a grammar: more extensive means of comparison serve merely for correction and greater detail. Until, however, we know all the actual forms possessed by a language at the various periods of its literary career, we cannot be said to have more than a general acquaintance even with its formative part; we can deal only with its coarser features, and these would be probably much modified by a more intimate knowledge of the niceties and finer texture of the grammar. And while this is of the highest importance for an accurate