THE following Easy Lessons were written to satisfy the repeated demands made on THE NATION by the Irish public to supply them with rudimental knowledge in the language of fatherland.
They are now reproduced in a book form, revised and improved by the writer. His only object, first in composing and now in republishing them, has bean, to afford those who are mere nurslings in Gaelic the milk of Irish elementary knowledge at once light and nutritive ; and to circulate more widely than ever the language of Old Eire.
Of the six groups which compose the Indo-European family of languages, the Keltic has been proved by J. C. Zeuss, a native of Bavaria, and is now generally admitted to be, the most important as it is the most ancient.
From the analogies introduced in the Lessons between the languages of Europe and Gaelic, the lovers of philology will, it is hoped, derive an additional zest to cultivate a knowledge of Irish, the largest and most extended division of the Keltic group ; while the mere learner, being- amply supplied besides with easy instructive matter, can, without attending to this foreign element, obtain from them sufficient rudimental knowledge of the language of the Gael.
It may be objected that the Easy Lessons, philosophic deductions from teh general and special principles of language are unnecessarily introduced. Those who would so object should bear mind that nothing, no matter how simple, can to a learner appear easy unless he knows the principles on which its objective truth is founded. In order therefore to know whatever we learn, it is necessary to be acquainted with the philosophic truths from which such knowledge is derived. With a few admirable exceptions, the works already published mere or less elementary in Irish, have been written with little or no attention to the philosophy or peculiar genius of the language, and are found, therefore, to be by no means calculated to make the study of our venerable tongue agreeable to students.\
Works still more simple, or at least more concise than the present Volume, may yet be produced. Indeed, should these EASY LESSONS meet encouragement, smaller and cheaper introductory works intended for the use of Schools, shall, with God's blessing, be published.
To make these Lessons as fully available as possible, the learner should not only repeat the sentences formed in each exercise, but from the aid furnished him in the several Vocabularies, he should strive to form new sentences of his own, according to the grammatical instructions imparted in each Lesson. This process he should repeat again and again, saying several times over the same word or words under new combinations. This practice, continued with perseverance, will make the young learner become, in a very short time, a master of the language.
Feast of All Saints, 1859