Carol Fehringer's carefully conceived new Reference Grammar of Dutch is intended to bridge the gap for English-speaking learners between their beginner's and intermediate-level course books and the most exhaustive formal grammars.
Students who have been introduced to Dutch via courses such as Code Nederlands will particularly benefit from this work.
Organised "more like a dictionary than a traditional grammar", an alphabetical sequence of well-chosen points works efficiently in combination with a good index, and ensures that points of difficulty are emphasised. The entries are specifically focused on English speakers and their problems, with much use of translation. Unlike Bruce Donaldson's Dutch: A Comprehensive Grammar , the book will not be of great use to non-native English-speaking learners. On the other hand, Fehringer is much more pedagogically minded than Donaldson. She aims to help users with limited knowledge of formal grammar, prefacing entries on Dutch structures with remarks on their English equivalents and also supplying a glossary of grammatical terms.
Much thought has gone into presentation, with highlighted tables of linguistic forms, standardised displays of advanced and supplementary points, and other details. Fehringer even provides a chart of how the work might be used as a systematic course book. There is also a section of exercises with answers. The main issue, though, is the book's grammatical explanations, and these are highly serviceable. The explanations are lucid and comprehensive enough for the needs of most student learners. This, combined with the work's attractive presentation, affordability and the Cambridge imprint, will ensure it is widely used.
Michael Perraudin is senior lecturer in German studies with Dutch, University of Birmingham.
A Reference Grammar of Dutch. First eEdition
Author - Carol Fehringer
ISBN - 0 521 64253 1 and 64521 2
Publisher - Cambridge University Press
Price - £45.00 and £16.95
Pages - 185