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The vowels have their usual French sounds. Be, ke, de, e, etc., have about the sounds of English but, cut, dun, up, etc., omitting the final consonant. The u in gue is silent. The j of je sounds like si in English vision. W appears in a few words taken from foreign languages, and usually has the sound of v.

ORTHOGRAPHIC SIGNS.

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Accents. — Apostrophe. – Hyphen. – Cedilla. - Diæresis. Three orthographic marks are called accents, – the

acute ("), the grave (), and the circumflex (“).

The acute accent () is used only over the vowel e (6), which then has the sound of a in late. As été, vérité.

The grave accent (') is used chiefly over the vowel e (ə), which then has nearly the sound of ai in air. As près, père. It is used over a and u merely to distinguish

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certain words which are otherwise spelled alike, and does not alter the pronunciation. As à (to) from a (has); là (there) from la (the or her); où (where) from ou (or).

The circumflex accent (TM) is used on any vowel, which is then long. As âge, tête, ile, dôme, bûche. It frequently indicates that a letter has been dropped.

These accents do not imply any stress of voice on the syllable where they occur.

The apostrophe (°) indicates that one of the vowels a, e, or i has been dropped before a word beginning with a vowel or h mute.

a is elided only in the article or pronoun la; as l'âme for la âme.

e is elided in le, je, me, te, se, de, ce, ne, que (but when je, ce, le, and la come directly after the verb, either as subjects or objects, no elision takes place); in jusque and lorsque; in puisque and quoique before il, ils, elle, elles, on, un, une; in quelque before un, une ; and in entre in compound words.

i is elided only in si before il or ils.
No elision occurs before onze, onzième, oui, huit, huitième.

The hyphen (-) marks the connection between two or more words or parts of a word.

The hyphen is used between the verb and the pronouns je, moi, nous, tu, toi, vous, il, ils, elle, elles, le, la, les, lui, leur, y, en, ce, on, when they are placed after a verb of which they are subjects or objects. The other cases of its use will be noticed as they occur.

The cedilla (s) is put under c when it has the sound of s before a, o, or u. As français, garçon, reçu.

The diæresis (•) is placed over the second of two vowels to show that it begins a new syllable. As naïf, noël.

S

PRONUNCIATION.

Simple Vowels.

e

a (short) has a sound between the a of bar and the a in mat. As la, the ; quatre, four ; table, table.

a (long) or â has the sound of a in bar. The mouth should be opened wide. As âme, soul ; bâtir, to build ; sale, dirty ; fable, fable.

a is silent in aôut, Curaçao, toast, Saône.

é has the sound of a in late. As été, summer ; vérité, truth.

è and ê vary in sound between the e of met and the ai of air. The mouth should be opened wide. As près, near ; mère, mother; tête, head ; même, same.

e without an accent has a sound between the u in but and the u in burr. As de, of ; je, I; venir, to come. At the end of words of more than one syllable it is silent; as dame, lady; farine, flour. After two consonants, or at the end of a syllable and preceding a consonant, its sound is very indistinct; merely sufficient to pronounce the consonant before it; as arbre, tree ; samedi, Saturday. It has the sound of é (a in late) before final d, f, r, t, %, when mute; as pied, foot ; clef, key ; parler, to speak ; et, and ; nez, nose. It has the sound of è before c, f, l, r, s, t, x not mute, before a double consonant, and in the words les, des, ces, mes, tes, ses; as bec, beak ; chef, chief; sel, salt; fer, iron ; net, clean ; ferme, farm.

In femme, woman; solennel, solemn; hennir, to neigh; and in all adverbs ending in -emment, the rst e has the sound French short a.

i and î usually have the sound of i in machine. As midi, noon; ile, island ; fini, finished.

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