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Part I. consists of a series of lessons on the elements of grammar as an essential preparation for easy reading, while Part II. furnishes a systematic grammar of modern French for later study and general reference. To this part a series of exercises has been added dealing with the various topics treated in the text. It was thought best to group these exercises together at the end, in order not to impair the usefulness of the Grammar as a book of reference by inserting the exercises immediately after the paragraphs to which they refer. Each exercise, however, is furnished with section references which will enable the pupil to turn readily to the theory upon which the exercises are based.
The Reader, which may be used with advantage after the completion of Part I. of the Grammar, has been made up of interesting selections, for the most part complete in themselves, and affording considerable range as to topic, vocabulary and idiom. The exercises inserted at the end of the Reader are based on the idiom and vocabulary of the text, and are intended to give practice in the reproduction in French of the substance of the selections.
The authors take this opportunity of expressing indebtedness to a number of teachers, whose advice and criticism have been of much assistance in the preparation of the present volume.
March 26, 1901.
This edition has profited greatly by criticisms kindly suggested by several instructors, in particular by Madame Hélène J. Raiche, of Wellesley College.
NOTE TO THE SECOND EDITION.
By a decree of the French Minister of Public Instruction, dated February 26th, 1901, certain deviations from commonly accepted rules of grammar are permitted at all examinations held under his control. In the Appendix (see last page of this volume) will be found a reference list explaining the bearing of these deviations upon the various sections of the Grammar affected thereby.
I. General Distinctions. The pronunciation will be explained, as far as possible, by comparison with English sounds, but it must never be forgotten that the sounds of two languages rarely correspond. Important general distinctions between English and French are the following :
1. English has strong stress (87) and comparatively weak action of the organs in articulation.
2. French has weak stress, while the action of the organs in articulation is very energetic.
3. Hence, French sounds, both vowels and consonants, are almost all 'narrow,' i.e., uttered with tenseness of the organs concerned in their articulation. (To understand 'narrow' and 'wide,' compare the narrow sound of ea in 'seat' with the wide sound of i in ‘sit.')
4. Tongue and lip positions for French vowels are more definite, and more promptly taken, than in English. Lip-rounding (as in ‘who,' ‘no,' 'law') and lip-retraction (as in 'let,' 'hat') are much more definite and energetic in forming French vowels.
5. The tongue, both for vowels and consonants, is, in general, either further advanced or further retracted than in forming English sounds requiring tongue action.
6. English long vowels (like a in ‘fate') are diphthongal (especially as pronounced in the South of England), while French vowels, whether long or short, are uniform throughout their utterance.
7. The nasal vowels of French are entirely foreign to English. They are formed by allowing the soft palate to hang freely, as in ordinary breathing, thus causing the air to escape through both nose and mouth at once. If, for example, the a of 'father' be uttered with the soft palate hanging freely, the resulting sound will be approxi. mately that of the nasal [ã] in 'tante' [tãit]. The position of the soft
palate in forming this sound may be readily observed with a mirror. It must be carefully noted that there is absolutely no sound of n, m, or ng, in French nasal vowels, and hence that great care must be taken neither to raise the tongue nor close the lips until the sound is complete.
2. Sounds. The French language has thirty-seven sounds, exclusive of minor distinctions. The orthography, like that of English, is irregular and inconsistent. Hence, to avoid confusion in indicating the pronunciation, we shall employ a phonetic alphabet (that of the Association Phonétique Internationale”), in which each sound is represented by but one symbol, and each symbol has but one sound.
3. Table of Symbols. In the following table, the examples are in ordinary orthography, the heavy type indicates the sounds which correspond to the symbols, and the phonetic transcription is given within brackets :
EXAMPLES. i ni, vive [ni, vi:v).
b beau, robe [bo, rob). у pu, muse [py, my:z].
d dame, fade (dam, fad]. été [ete).
f fort, neuf [fɔ:r, næef]. creux, creuse [krø, krø:z]. g gant, dogue [gã, dog). le [lə).
aha ! [a(h)a). près, père (pre, peir). k car, roc, [kar, rök]. E fin, prince [fę, prēıs].
1 long, seul [lō, sæll. neuf, neuve (næf, næ:v).
mot, dame [mo, dam]. de un, humble [ẽ, W:bl]
ni, âne (ni, ain). patte, part (pat, pa:r).
agneau, digne [ano, din). pas, passe (pa, pa:s).
P pas, tape (pa, tap). tant, tante [tã, tã:t].
drap, par (dra, par). note, tort [not, to:r).
si, pense [si, pã:s]. õ rond, ronde [rõ, rõ:d].
chou, lâche [su, la:s]. sot, chose [so, so:z].
tas, patte [ta, pat). tout, tour (tu, tu:r).
vin, cave (vē, ka:v). j viande [vjã:d].
zone, rose [zo:n, ro:z]. प lui [lyi).
je, rouge (3ə, ru:3]. oui (wi].
sign of length.