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THE French alphabet is composed of the following twenty-five letters, which are divided into vowels and
The compound vowels are ai, eu, ou: ai has two pronunciations, è or é. The pronunciation of u is not like any English
In the French language there are three accents which are placed on the vowels to modify their pronunciation; but they belong principally to the e.
L'accent aigu (é), the accute accent; as in été, summer; vérité, truth; célébrité, celebrity.
L'accent grave (è), the grave accent; as in père, father; mère, mother; fidèle, faithful.
L'accent circonflexe (ê), the circumflex accent; as in même, even, same; prêter, to lend; pâte, paste; apôtre, apostle.
The circumflex accent often represents a letter which has been suppressed, as in pâte, formerly spelled paste; même, mesme; forêt, forest; épître, epistre, epistle; âge, aage, age, etc.
If e be without the accent, it is generally either pronounced short or not at all, and is called e mute.
Table, pronounce tabl'; porte, door, pronounce port; venir, to come, pronounce v'nir; besoin, pronounce b'soin, etc.
The accent aigu is only used on the e; the accent grave is also used on a; the accent circonflexe, or the long accent, occurs in the vowels a, e, i, o, u, and lengthens them-âme, tête, île, côte, flûte.
Besides the three above accents, the French language has the following accentual marks:
The tréma (ï, ë), two points which are sometimes placed over a vowel: haïr, to hate; ambiguë, ambiguous.
The cédille (ç), which is sometimes placed under c before a, o, u: effaça, effaçons, reçut.
The apostrophe ('), which takes the place of a, e, or i; l'amie, l'enfant, s'il, for la amie, le enfant, si il.
The trait d'union (-), hyphen, which joins two words: porteplume, dit-elle, êtes-vous ?