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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the Year of 1882, by Xavier Méfret, in the Office o
the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C.
Printing Office of LE PETIT JOURNAL, 603 Washington Street.
RULES IN READING
1. Read slow, and with a great deal of attention, as there are several inconveniences attending fast reading; for you will not only be liable to make many mistakes, but perhaps learn to stammer; neither is it possible for you to prononce at first, what you are reading, so distinctly as you ought.
2. If you are not sure of knowing how to read a word at first sight, do not guess at the pronunciation of it, lest you should contract the bad custom of miscalling words ; but spell it within yourself, before you offer to prononce it with a loud voice.
3. Be very careful in minding your stops, as they are pointed; or else neither
you that read, nor those that hearken to you, will be able to make sense of your reading.
4. Never make any stops between your words where there are none introduced; neither utter hemms, nor haas, still observing to pronounce what you read with ease, and in the same manner as if you were holding a familiar conversation.
The result of these general rules is, that your pronunciation ought to be natural, that is to say, without art or affectation; clear, that is to say, dis
; tinct and intelligible; smooth, that is to say, without any constraint or hea sitation.
1. The French alphabet has twenty-five letters :-
Grammatical Signs. There are three accents, the acute accent ("), the grave accent ("), and the circumflex accent (TM).
The acute is placed over the vowel e, and gives it an acute sound, as in été,
The grave, placed over e, gives that vowell a broad or open sound, as in progrès, progress.
The circumflex is found over certain vowels that are long, as in grâce, grace. It indicates also the suppression of a letter, as si in côte, (old French coste), coast.
The grave accent and circumflex are also used to distinguish from one another certain words spelt alike; as, des, of or from the. dès, as soon.(cru, believed.
crú, grown du, of or from the. du, due.
mûr, ripe. la, the, her, it.
à, at, to. 2. The apostrophe (') indicates the suppression of the final vowell in any one of the following words; LE, the, him, it; LA, the, her, it; JE, I; ME, me; TE, thee; ȘE, oneself; DE, of, from; CE, that; NE, not, and QUE, that, when the next word begins with a vowel or an h mute, as, låge for le âge; l'honneur for le honneur; l'aurore for la aurore; l'héroïne for la héroïne. The suppression of i occurs in si, if, only before il, he, it; ils, they; as, sil, s'ils.
The cedilla (') is used under the letter c, before the vowels a, o, u, to show that the ç is to be sounded like an s; as in ça, that; garçon, boy; reçu, received.
The diæresis (*) denotes that the vowel over which it is placed, is to be pronounced distinctly from the vowel preceding or following it; as, naïveté, baïonette.
The hyphen (-) connects together certain words; as, suis-je ? am I? c'est-à-dire, that is to say
Any printed rules for pronunciation can only be an approximate guide, as there are sounds in our language that have no corresponding sound in the other.
We give below, some of the most useful examples.
e, unaccented, at the end of a word is generally silent, except in words of two letters.
é with the accent aigu (acute) sounds like a in blade.
If il or ill is preceded by another vowel, the i is not pronounced, and the l takes the liquid sound.
j sounds like the French g before e and i.
In the monosyllables je, me, te, le, ne, de, ce, que, as well as in lorsque, puisque, quoique, the e sounds like u in but. In les, mes, tes, ces, it sounds like è.
In double consonants, only one is pronounced.
Accents or Stress.
The stress on a particular syllable of a word generally takes place in French on the last syllable of a word, or on the penultimate, if the last syllable ends with an. e unaccented; as té in fierté, pride; ro in rose; va in avare, avaricious; ri in avarice.
It takes place also on certain syllables, formed of full-sounding or sonorous vowels, which may be the penultimate of dissylables or the antepenultimate of polysyllables; as fran in Français, va in élévation.
Union of Words.
For the sake of euphony the final consonant of a word is sounded with the initial vowel of the following word, as in vos_amis, your friends.
This union of words takes place whenever they are so connected with each other that there can be no pause between them; as, vous êtes un enfant, you are a child.
T of the conjunction et, and, is never sounded.
Division of Words into Syllables. In French words a consonant between two vowels is always joined to the following vowel or vowels, as in a-to-me, atom; i-gno-rant (gn is here a liquid consonant); i-nu-ti-le, useless; é-toi-le, star.
When there are several consonants, the first is joined to the preceding vowel ; as in ac-teur, actor; al-pha-bet.
L and r, after a consonant, generally belong to the following vowel, as in tableau, picture; pa-trie, country.
S, s = esse.
V, v =
X, X ex.
ouai. H, h aitch.
zed. I, i ai.
R, r Les voyelles sont : d, e, i, o, u, ainsi que y et w à la fin d'une syllable. Toutes les autres sont des consonnes.
REMARQUES SUR LE Th. Th a le son dur comme dans THICK, épais; et plus souvent le son doux comme dans THE le, la, les.
Pour prononcer le th doux, dans le mot the qui précède, vous portez la langue un peu entre les dents, en essayant de prononcer le z français.
Pour prononcer le th dur, vous procédez de la même façon, seulement au lieu de prononcer th comme si c'était un 2, vous le prononcez comme si c'était un s français, en maintenant, au début, la langue plus fortement entre les dents, de manière à produire une espèce de vague sifflement,
Dans l'article THE, la prononciation de l'E tient de l'i français long quand le mot suivant commence par une voyelle et de l’e muet quand il commence par une consonne.
OBSERVATION. On ne peut apprendre la prononciation d'une langue qu'en entendant parler cette langue. Des règles nombreuses sur la prononciation anglaise ne font que la rendre plus difficile, et occupent une place qu'on peut mieux employer.