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It having been found that above five thousand of the words and phrases employed in these extracts were not given in any of our School dictionaries, it was determined to make the proportion in which such words and phrases occurred in any piece the criterion of its difficulty to an average English student.
On this principle the extracts were divided into three parts, the first containing not more than ten such words and phrases to the page; the second part not more than eighteen; and the third comprising the more difficult selections.
In arranging the extracts in each part it was thought desirable to aim only at securing as much variety of style as possible in the consecutive pieces.
The extracts are of sufficient length to give the student an opportunity of observing the style of the respective writers and of comparing it with the German Idiom. There are some writers whom it was desirable to include, but from whose works it was not easy to select a characteristic passage sufficiently short for the purpose. In these cases, the greater length of the extract has been a practical necessity, and will not, it is hoped, be found inconvenient.
The First Part is the longest, and forms one-half of the entire collection, as it is expected to be the most used.
Parts II and III contain each about fifty pages less than its preceding part. Each part is sufficient to give employment to a Class for about four successive classes of learners. The practical teacher will appreciate the advantage of being able to use a book for four consecutive years without being obliged to give the same piece twice over during that period.
The notes given in a separate part at the end of the book have been made as short as possible. They do not contain anything that a student may find in a good dictionary. Wherever a difficult passage presented itself, of which it was convenient to give another version in English, more suited for literal translation into German, this course has been preferred, on the ground that it furnishes a better exercise for the student than the mere copying of the words of a German phrase.
The hints for translation, to which the reader is sometimes referred, are added to the notes, and contain such rules as are not generally found in an ordinary Grammar. It will be seen that these hints occur in Part I more often at the beginning of each set of forty pages. This quantity was estimated to be the task of about a year, and it was thought desirable to repeat the rules more frequently at the beginning of the year than during the latter part, when the student might fairly be expected to know them.
Notwithstanding the great labour and care which the author has employed in collecting, translating, revising and annotating these Graduated Exercises, he will not be surprised if some errors have escaped him. He will feel grateful to anyone who will point out to him such errors and make any suggestions whereby the book may be improved in future editions.
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