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COMPLETE FRENCH CLASS-BOOK ;
GRAMMATICAL AND IDIOMATICAL FRENCH MANUAL,
For the Use of British Schools and Pribate Students: .
PROGRESSIVE ILLUSTRATIONS AND EXERCISES,
ON A PLAN PECULIARLY CONDUCIVE TO THE ACQUIREMENT OF FACILITY IN SPEAKING
AND WRITING THE FRENCH LANGUAGE.
FRENCH MASTER IN THE GLASGOW ATHENAEUM, THE COLLEGIATE AND COMMERCIAL ACADEMY,
THE WEST OF SCOTLAND INSTITUTION FOR LADIES,
C'est ici un livre de bonne foi, lecteur.--(MONTAIGNE.)
EDINBURGH: ROBERT SETON, NORTH BANK STREET.
GLASGOW: DAVID BRYCE, BUCHANAN STREET.
Price Six Shillings, Bound.
24 £ a 22.
So many grammars of the French language have been published in Great Britain, that another work on the same subject may appear needless; and, notwithstanding the earnestness with which I have written this book, and my great wish to be useful to both masters and pupils, I cannot repress some feeling of anxiety in offering it to the public.
During my experience as a teacher, I have either used or read almost every French class-book printed in this country, and I have never met with one, I shall not say suited to my own views, but displaying the language in its present condition, and drawing a continual comparison † between French and English, in a manner calculated to lead the student to a sound and speedy knowledge of the French tongue. My aim has been, therefore, to supply this desideratum; that is, to compose an original and complete work in one volume, carrying the pupil from the most elementary stage to the most advanced course of French syntax, conversation, and composition.
In order to fit myself for my task, I have examined all the standard works connected with my subject, published in England and France. I have made a careful selection of sentences from the various authors I was reading with my pupils, and with these I have framed lessons for translation and reading, and progressive exercises which will be found more practical, and, I trust, less tedious, than those that have hitherto been written. In the first part of the Grammar, I have made every page as complete as possible, by presenting at one glance the principles, the illustrations, and the exercises, thus saving learners that waste of time and unnecessary trouble attendant upon the arrangement of most French grammars at present in use.
I have prefixed to the Grammar entertaining stories, of which a close English version will be found at the end of the work, for the purpose of
+ Mon livre n'offre qu'une théorie continuelle de rapports comparatifs entre le français et l'anglais, graduellement classés et successivement développés, selon l'ordre des idées et la possibilité des progrès. Le soin extréme que j'ai apporté dans ce travail me fait espérer que les étrangers pourront jouir du double avantage de s'exercer en même temps dans les deux langues.
being turned again into French by advanced pupils. I have also given copious vocabularies and phrases, to be used as general exercises in conversation ; and at the end, I have placed extracts from such British authors as Goldsmith, Walter Scott, Macaulay, &c., as affording the best language for the purpose of translation into French. In a word, my object has been to make the book as complete as possible, though I was aware that, by doing so, I deprived myself of the chance of success that often attends cheap publications; but I wished to obviate the inconvenience arising from a multiplicity of books, and I may confidently state that this Manual is cheaper than any series of French school-books yet published.
I lay claim to some originality in having arranged the conversational lessons to be found at p. 136 and p. 185. I am certain, from my own experience, that they will prove more beneficial than the dialogues so generally used. I had often thought how difficult it was to find subjects of conversation with pupils who, beyond their attending the class, were utter strangers to me. For some time I expected them, either on their entering or leaving the room, to ask me in French a question which I answered. But soon I discovered that the questions were generally upon the same hackneyed topics—the weather, the lesson, my health, &c.--and invariably began with AVEZ-Vous or VOULEZ-VOUS. In order to obviate this wearisome and unprofitable practice, I dictated every lesson a certain number of questions, which I expected to be answered at the next day of meeting (according to the system explained at page 185). When I began to compose this work, it appeared to me that it would be rendering a great service to both teachers and learners to supply them with a series of questions, well calculated, if rightly used, to insure readiness in understanding and fuency in speaking the French language. Some may object to many of the questions on the plea of their requiring answers that cannot be expected from pupils of the age of most of those who study French in schools. I do not expect every boy or girl to know the exact reply to every question, but as the instructor is to answer first, to serve as a model in the peculiar phraseology of the language, † the objection is at once removed. Moreover, the questions are of a very diversified, and generally of an unconnected character ; but my aim in this has been to afford means for exercising, through the medium of the French language, the mental faculties of the student-in fact, to make them think and express themselves in French. Besides, why should they not acquire information through the medium of the language they are learning, as well as through their mother-tongue ? French has become in Great Britain an indispensable part of education, and has supplied with many, especially with young ladies, the place once exclusively occupied by the dead languages; it is, indeed, their chief mental discipline, and the time has come when it should no longer be treated as if it were to be taught only to parrots.
| For the use of private tutors and students, I shall shortly publish answers, not only to the questions forming the Conversational Lessons, but also to the different questions scattered through the work, as well as a key to all the Exercises. I shall always be happy to receive suggestions from competent teachers, and ready to give any explanation that may be required concerning the use of the book to those who, without being masters of the language, superintend the French studies of pupils under their charge in other branches.
In conclusion, I beg to solicit the indulgence of my readers for the errors that will be found in the work. The whole of it was written, and most of it printed, when my classes were in operation; and considering how difficult it is to be always correct in the first edition of a book of this description, in which two languages engage the attention of both author and printer, I hope that I shall meet with that indulgence, on the ground of my having wished to produce, if not a perfect, at least a useful and earnest book.