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Europe, must begin in America, as the natives at home, with PRONOUNCING and SPEAKING like every body, and finish with literature. (For LITERARY STYLE, see Part II.)

Such are the reasons which have determined us to prepare the present Part I. to these special ends. And it is, in fact, a separate work, where the reader will find not only a complete practical method for teaching and learning French pronunciation, but also over two thousand French paragraphs, carefully selected for imitation and exercises in SPEAKING, - that is, as subjects of extemporaneous

, narratives, and as standards of the simple, unaffected, idiomatic Paris style, in which they must be treated in USUAL CONVERSATION. And we verily believe that the learner, with this double instrument, can both easily and thoroughly acquire a native-like pronunciation and conversational style.

On these two distinct studies - the sole objects of this volume — we have now to give some necessary explanation and directions.

PRONUNCIATION.

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When we began teaching French pronunciation, some ten years ago, we met and gradually perceived in our way four natural obstacles, — that is to say, inborn in men, and inherent in the thing, viz. :

1. The English accent and emphasis, which our pupils would persist in applying to French words.

2. Our utter ignorance of our own native accent, which we ought to have substituted for their native accent.

3. The uncertain value of the same letters, which, in various spellings, too often produce quite different sounds in French, as in English.

4. Finally, the fatal permanent fact that a great many French vowel and diphthongal sounds, which are also English sounds, are not produced by the same corresponding letters in both languages.

Now, after some patient efforts in searching and opposing these primary causes of all evil, we are fully satisfied that they can be promptly removed or neutralized by every body; and then all the dreaded difficulties of French pronunciation will no longer exist.

Of the respective national accents we shall speak in another page. We here must begin with the last two impediments, and tell the student our plan in a single word: we have affixed one of his native sounds - AN ENGLISH LABEL to every French letter, or assemblage of letters, in all doubtful cases; so that he will feel not only at home in every step, but supported to the end by a regular After a careful comparative study of French and English pronunciation, we have found all our native sounds in English, except only three vowel shades, (u, eû, un.)

The result of our research we have stated in a large school chart, soon to be published, separately, under this analytical title: “A SYNOPSIS OF THE WHOLE KINGDOM OF FRENCH SOUNDS, COMPARED WITH ENGLISH SOUNDI, INCLUDING ConSONANTS ; IN WHICH SIMPLE AND COMPOUND VOWELS, AND DIPHTHIONGS, ARE DIVIDED INTO NATURAL FAMILIES, AND RESPECTIVELY CLASSED UNDER A COMMON STANDARD OR FATHER-SOUND, GENERALLY BOTH AN ENGLISH AND French ELEMENT.”

Of course a school synopsis should not be packed up in a book; and it was only after abridging some items, and by cutting the whole chart to pieces, that we could possibly make its substance enter this volume; but enter it must, and even to command every subordinate particular, as being itself the very ground and foundation of our work.

Qui veut la fin veut les moyens.Our publishers having most liberally complied with the necessity of giving a new form to a new thing, such requisite dimensions were adopted with regard to type, paper, binding, etc., as could afford room, in this Pronouncing Reading Book, not only for FIVE SYNOPTICAL TABLES, without folding, but also for our key printed in full from page to page throughout the work.

So, after all, we have the large School Chart, complete, before us. In this synopsis, (or these synopses,) we have classified the chaos of simple and compound vowels, and diphthongs, by reducing the whole of them to twenty-four original sounds, in every case (but three, mentioned above) an ANGLO-FRENCH ELEMENT.

Each of these standards, or father-sounds, is the head of a specific series, where the most usual words in French are respectively to be found.

Hence twenty-four series of such words which stand there, with regard to the main sound, not only as embodied rules and exceptions in French pronunciation, but also for all absent regular French words besides. Thus, within the frame of

. our method, is the whole French language itself implicitly DIVIDED INTO TWENTYFOUR NATURAL FAMILIES OF WORDS, ACCORDING TO THE AFFINITY OF SOUNDS. Nor did we neglect any other useful particular; and therefore a special section has also been provided there, to state and prove the fact of the exact similarity of French consonants with their like articulations in English. Each father-sound is conspicuous. It is, first, represented by its usual French

, letter, or letters ; then embodied in two standard words, one English, the other French ; and, finally, noted down by the side of said letters, with a prefixed figure, which, being invariably the same, will invariably reproduce the same sound, whatever may be hereafter its exceptional spelling.

Likewise, invariable figures have been given to such articulations as may be

produced by various or different consonants in either language, so that, with this regard also, the right sound is invariably to be found for practice.

Therefore the main vowel sound is fixed, the main articulation is fixed; that is, the whole difficulty is settled, by this chart, for every French word.

It is quite evident that such a result would never have been obtained without the aid of figures -(we waive all controversy) - they will speak for themselves. Who first made use of this means for teaching pronunciation we could not ascertain. We only know that F. Urbain Domergue, a celebrated French grammarian, had recourse to it in Paris as early as 1716; and so did Carlotti after Domergue. At all events, in direct line we owe nothing to them, but much to Robertson, the modest, patient, and talented author of the best practical work ever published on the whole French language," (Paris, 1853–1854.) In the explanation of his own phonic signs, Professor Robertson has recorded these honorable words: “For the primary notion of this system of signs we are indebted to Professor Carlotti, and we gladly pay him our tribute of acknowlcdgment.” (Vol. I. p. 11.)

. Well, what the high-minded Robertson says of Carlotti, we will most gratefully say of himself; and although our phonic signs will be found somewhat different from Professor Robertson's system, it is to him, and to him alone, that we are, in our turn, indebted for the primary notion of ours. But French pronunciation, is our native pronunciation; and after upwards of ten years' teaching, experimenting, hammering on the subject in a thousand various ways, finally we have come to this conclusion : that, in order to render it hereafter an casy study for the foreign student, there is but one rule, one really sure practical means, viz. : IMMEDIATE L’ERMANENT COMPARISON IN EVERY CASE.

On this cnlarged stand-point we had soon to modify Carlotti and Robertson's figures, adding freely to them as many new phonic signs as were necessary, according to our own views, to make up a permanent, thorough-lighted standard key to all French sounds COMPARED with English sounds. In these last words the whole of our method is defined ; it is COMPARATIVE PRONUNCIATION, an old, hackneyed, defective little thing, or rather nothing, till Robertson had made something of it, but to which special hard labors, in the silent work of time, could alone give the full proportions of a system. We have tried it. Others will also come after us, and smooth farther on the right common way to progress. Indeed, if we did not shrink from one single step in the long clearing of all its rough and thorny ground, — the hardest of ungrateful, unprofitable tasks, --it is because we have been constantly supported by a firm will and honest hope to add our humble mite of usefulness to

"Cet art ingénieux

And to this end — to paint the French language and speak French to the eye

we now present to the reader the practice of French pronunciation wholly condensed in this volume, and the volume in our key. We reproduce its complete analysis and synthesis, in type, from nature in sound, giving every sound in every word, and all words in every sentence, as stereotyped SPOKEN FRENCH, as they actually are on the lips of a Frenchman in the easy, rapid utterance of usual conversation and fluent good reading.

To this exercise, which even beginners will immediately be able to practise with the key, we have willingly given an incomplete name, (parsing,) because, being an old school word, it will have the advantage of being readily understood by all in its analogical application. We shall soon have a few words more to say on this new training - the PRACTICAL PARSING OF FRENCH SOUNDS.

But the reader must first look at our chart of sounds, which, as he already knows, has been divided into five synoptical tables, expressly for this work.

EXPLANATION OF THE SYNOPSES.

No. I. is the arrangement of vowels and diphthongs alluded to in the general title, and partially described before. Here is the framework of the whole system:

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An adopted word, to be found in all English and American Dictionaries.

The French circumflex accent, over an English letter, indicates that the same sound is, comparatively, a little broader or longer in French pronunciation.

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