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The present work is intended as a continuation of my First Middle English Primer; it will, I hope, be welcome, not only to those who have already worked with the earlier book, but also to the more numerous class of students who simply wish to acquire the power of reading Chaucer at sight in such a way as to do full justice to the metre, and at the same time to restore, as far as possible, the genuine Middle English pronunciation.
My grammar is based mainly on Ten Brink's Chaucers Sprache und Verskunst, although, as will be seen, I differ from him on many questions of pronunciation. As regards vertu, vertew, &c., I have adopted Henry Nicol's view (Transs. Phil. Soc. 1877-9, vi), which Ten Brink seems to have overlooked. In the treatment of the French elements and the versification I have followed him more closely, as also in the inflections.
The phonetic transcriptions added to the Complaint to Pity and the Prologue may seem too minute and conjectural. But in studying a dead language we must adopt some definite pronunciation, and it is surely better that the beginner should have the benefit of the knowledge and experience of othershowever imperfect the results may be—than that he should be left to flounder about by himself. Those who find a difficulty in realising a phonetic notation would do well to work through a few pages of my Elementarbuch des gesprochenen Englisch.