The highly honouring proposal was made to me on the part of the Publishing firm, at the suggestion of Prof. Nöldeke, and with the sanction of the Author's representatives, to prepare a second edition of the present work. A wish which had been cherished for many years by the Author, who has been removed from us, was thereby to be fulfilled. Prof. Dillmann had gathered together a large number of notes in his own interleaved copy of the Grammar with a view to a revised edition, and had continued the process till shortly before his death. A foundation was thus laid for the present edition, which, at the express desire of the representatives, takes, upon the whole, the form of a reproduction of the original work, with the author's numerous additions and relatively few emendations.
In consequence of the restriction thus laid upon me in the work of revisal, the original character of the book has been absolutely preserved. But another consequence of course was, that it became impossible for the new editor to undertake any thoroughgoing alterations in individual passages. Prof. Dillmann himself, if it had been permitted him, would doubtless have undertaken a much more vigorous recasting or regular revision of the book. Beyond trifling alterations of expression, and the tacit correction of manifest errors of the Press, I have merely rectified certain mistakes, — proved by facts to be such, — and which Dillmann would at this time of day have acknowledged. The entire responsibility, as well as the entire merit, accordingly remains with the Author, even in this second edition. My contributions — in the way of correction of the original work and addition of a few notices of the literature of the subject — are marked by square brackets.
I thought I might venture upon greater liberty in the use made of the Author's Manuscript additions. In particular, the lengthy and frequently recurring extracts from later writings, — which Dillmann had entered in his copy, manifestly for his own readier guidance, — have been replaced by mere references to the works concerned: other material too, especially all that seemed to lie beyond the scope of an Ethiopic grammar, has been left out of account. On the other hand I considered that I was acting in the spirit of the Author in endeavouring to extend, support and adjust the lists of examples, often very briefly stated by him, and in many cases consisting of a single Ethiopic word, — a labour which was facilitated, and in many cases in fact made possible, only through Dillmann's ‘Lexicon Linguae Ethiopicae’. Occasionally, instead of a long series of supporting-passages I have given a direct reference to the ‘Lexicon’.
The now antiquated second Table of the first edition, with the “older Forms of Ethiopic writing”, has been set aside for various reasons.
A few additions, marked “NÖLDEKE”, originated in the course of reading the proof-sheets, which Prof. Nöldeke revised at my request on account of the extensions of the new edition springing out of Dillmann's copy. Of course the distinguished scholar just named does not thereby incur any responsibility for my performance. But, beyond an honest endeavour to restore as well as I could the work of the much revered dead, it was his lively interest in this work and his continual assistance with head and hand, which alone gave me the needful courage to undertake the task and to conduct it to its close. For this service I hope he will kindly accept here my heartfelt thanks.
Lugano, 25th April, 1899.