Rudiments and Practical Exercises, for learning the French Language, by an easy method. With a great variety of Idiomatical Expressions, by which Learners may be enabled to write and speak the French language with propriety… The fourth edition, with several new chapters, rules, and exercises.

  • Scot, Alexander
  • Edinburgh: Printed for William Creech 1794
  • ESTC T193348; Alston XII 513b.


SKU: 2058 Category: Tags: ,


8vo, pp. vii, [i], 358. Original sheep, spine divided by gilt rules, black morocco label. Some leaves rather soiled from use, occasional ink spots, creases, and paper flaws. Binding rubbed, rear flyleaf excised, front flyleaf loosening, hinges cracking but strong. Contemporary ownership inscription of Robina M. MacBrayne, Glasgow, to flyleaf.


A scarce and early edition of what became quite a popular guide to learning French, frequently reprinted through the first half of the nineteenth century. The author, 'A. Scot', is somewhat ambiguous. ESTC identifies him as 'active 1785' but apart from snippets on the title-pages of a few works around this time - the first edition of this work (London 1781, for Longman, Cadell and Creech) identifies him as 'Fellow of the University of Paris' - there appears to be no real information about him.
It seems possible that the attribution is meant to suggest the 16th-century linguist and jurist Alexander Scot (d. 1615), a native of Aberdeen who lived much of his life in France and wrote a grammar of Greek which was popular in the 17th century. However, this Alexander Scot had no particular association with Paris - he studied in Tournon and settled in Bourges. He also shares a name with a musician and a poet of slightly earlier in the 16th century, but of even greater ambiguity - the musician and the poet may in fact be the same person - though at least one of them seems to have been recorded as studying in Paris. Or there may well have been an 18th-century linguist 'A. Scot' whose further biography remains unknown.
Whatever the author's identity, this popular language book is rare in all early editions, with ESTC recording copies of this fourth edition in the BL, NLS, and Queen's University in Ontario only. No second edition is listed there, while the first, third, and fifth (1798) are as rare or rarer.

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