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The second series comprises a list of thirty verbs which enter in the composition of a large number of familiar idioms and popular proverbs. It is divided into two parts. In the first part each verb is taken up separately, and the most common of its idiomatic uses are given, with an exact and easy explanation. Each of these is numbered, and examples for illustration, with corresponding numbers, are to be found in the second part.
Students may be drilled in three different ways: 1. Give them the idiom to explain, and to illustrate by the example.
2. Give the meaning of the idiom, and let them supply the idiom and the example.
3. Give the example, and ask for the idiom and its explanation.
In order to give them the practice they need, it will be well to have them construct examples of their own with the idioms the use of which is common, or presents some difficulty for them.
The third series comprises fifty proverbs, proverbial phrases, and peculiar words, the origin of which is more or less known. Their histories are both instructive and interesting, and well adapted to colloquial purposes. Many persons, even among the French, ignore them; thorough students ought to be acquainted with at least some of them.
A proper exercise consists in having them use. these phrases and words in original examples.
The fourth and last series is designed as a help to pronunciation.
In French there are many words of the most familiar kind, the pronunciation of which is not uniform, such as donc, plus, tous, sens, etc.; others deviate more or less from the ordinary rules. Able scholars sometimes are not sure whether they should sound the c in donc, the I in gril, the s in jadis, the t in but, etc. Students who read attentively and frequently the directions and examples condensed in the Pronunciation Series will be able to steer clear of doubts and mistakes. I need not say that only reliable authorities have been consulted. The most popular in matters of pronunciation is the Théâtre Français.
The book may be used with profit not only by students desirous of learning to speak, but also by those whose main object is to only learn to read. It will acquaint them with many common forms of speech and familiar idioms.
To those who, by their own efforts, want to learn more than time and space allow me to present, I would recommend for reference:
Littré's Dictionnaire de la langue française ; La Rive and Fleury's Dictionnaire des mots et des choses;
Brachet's Dictionnaire étymologique ;
Rigaut's Dictionnaire de l'argot;
Genin's Récréations philologiques ;
Rozan's Petites ignorances de la conversation;
Cauvet's Prononciation française et diction.
My aim shall have been attained if I have afforded them an incentive and an aid toward the object in view-that is, toward the mastery of the beautiful language which takes pride in poets like Corneille, Molière, La Fontaine, Racine, Lamartine, Alfred de Musset, Victor Hugo, etc., and in writings in prose that are unexcelled even by the classical masterpieces of the Greeks and Romans.