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Peu de règles et beaucoup d'exemples, voilà la clef des arts et des sciences



Scholar. WHAT is the meaning of syntax ?

Master. Syntax is the right ordering of words when united to express thoughts, and is founded on the polite custom of the language of which it treats.

S. Instead of so many phrases, why did you not first teach me the laws and rules of syntax, according to the plan indicated by every writer on French grammar, for the use of the English pupil ? M. For one reason only, but which is irresistible. Those

very phrases constitute the language with which I wish you to be acquainted; while all the rules of the language, put together, do not yield a jot.

These principles have guided me in the course of your instruction in French. What is the consequence? You are now, owing to the numerous phrases and modes of expression with which your memory is stored, not only able to speak and understand French, but even to understand and relish the poets, although, a few months ago, you knew not a single word of the language.

Moreover, from the plan pursued with you, besides the advantage of acquiring, in an amazingly short space, a sufficient knowledge of the French language, you have derived another, equally precious, that of improving the faculty of thinking: nor is this to be at all wondered at, considering that the true teachers of all things, Nature and Analysis, have been our only guide in this mode of tuition.



M, The rules concerning the article being many, and it being contrary, in almost every instance, to the genius of the French language, to use a noun as a subject or object in a sentence, without preceding it by the article, I shall begin with it.

Please to give particular attention therefore to the following rules.

Rule I.--The article, though often omitted in English, in French precedes the noun, in almost every instance, and accords with it in gender and number.---EXAMPLES: La crainte de la mort est naturelle The fear of death is natural to à l'homme

man. La paix ramène le repos, la tran- Peace restores rest, tranquillity, quillité, et les richesses.

and wealth. Il apprend le dessin, la danse, et les He is learning drawing, dancing, mathématiques.

and mathematics. L'ignorance est la mère de l'admi- Ignorance is the mother of admira

ration, de l'erreur, du scrupule, tion, error, scruple, irresolution, de l'irrésolution, de la supersti- superstition, ridicule, and prejution, des ridicules, et des pré- dices of all kinds.

ventions de toute espèce. Les Egyptiens accoutumaient leurs The Egyptians trained up their

enfans à l'obéissance, au travail, children to obedience, Jabour, à la sobriété, au desintéresse- sobriety, disinterestedness, the ment, à l'amour des arts ou des love of arts or of letters, and the

lettres, et au désir de l'honneur. thirst of honour. Apportez-moi un essuie-main, un Bring me a towel, tumbler, knife,

verre, un couteau, une fourche- fork, plate, and napkin.

tte, une assiette, et une serviette. J'ai besoin d'un manteau, d'un pa- I want a cloak, an umbrella, and

rapluie, et d'une paire de bottes. a pair of boots.

Rule II. Although proper names of men and cities, in general, do not require the article, proper names of countries, seas, rivers, and mountains, always admit it before them." La France est au nord de la Mé- France lies to the north of the Mediterranée.

diterranean. J'ai passé par la Hollande, l'Alle- I have passed through Holland, magne, et la Pologne.

Germany, and Poland. J'ai traversé plusieurs fois la Ta- I have crossed the Thames several mise en bateau.

times in a boat.

Le Parnasse, le Pinde, et l'Héli- | Parnassus, Pindus, and Helicon,

con, sont les montagnes favori- are the favourite mountains of

tes des poétes. La cime du Mont-Blanc a 2400 | The top of Mont-Blanc is 4800

toises au-dessus du niveau de la mer.

the poets.

| yards above the level of the sea.

REMARKS ON THE ABOVE RULE.- Some provinces and kingdoms, having the same names with the capital cities thereof, always dispense with the article.--EXAMPLES : Naples est un pays délicieux. Naples is a delightful country. Valence est une des plus agréables Valencia is one of the most agreeprovinces d'Espagne.

able provinces of Spain. To or in, when followed by the name of & country of Europe, is expressed by the preposition en, and from by de; but, when followed by the name of any of the four quarters of ihe world, from is better expressed by the preposition and article de l'.—EXAMPLES: J'ai dessein d'aller en Italie, au I intend going to Italy, in the printemps.

spring. J'ai voyagé en Angleterre, en I have travelled in England, Scot. Ecosse, et en Irlande.

land, and Ireland. Comptez-vous rester long-temps Do you intend to stay long in en Prusse ?

Prussia ? D'où venez-vous ? je viens d'Es- Whence do you come? I como

pagne, de Portugal, &c. from Spain, Portugal, &c. J'arrive de l'Europe, de l'Asie, de I come from Europe, Asia, Africa,

l'Afrique, et de l'Amérique. and America.

But, when the country mentioned, is out of Europe, and not generally known, or of little importance, then the articles, au, à la, aux, du, de la, des, instead of the prepositions en or de, should always precede.-EXAMPLES : Il m'a dit qu'il devait aller au Me He told me he was to go to Mexico,

xique, au Bengale, à la Floride, Bengal, Florida, Brasil, and to au Brésil, au Milanais.

the Milanese. Il vient d'arriver du Mexique, du He is just arrived froin Mexico,

Bengale, de la Floride, du Bré- Bengal, Florida, Brasil, and the sil, du Milanais.


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RULE III.- When national adjectives, of European nations, or of the four quarters of the globe, or such adjectives as relate to cities in general, are used in English, before a noun denoting some commodity, production, or peculiarity, relative to that country or city, the adjective is translated, in French, by the name of the country or city itself, and placed after the poun of commodity, &c. which is imme. diately followed by the preposition de.-EXAMPLES :

Les fruits de France valent mieux | French fruits are better than the que ceux d'Angleterre.

English. Le drap d'Espagne est excellent. Spanish cloth is excellent. La bière de Flandres n'est pas Flemish beer is not so good as the

aussi bonne que celle de Ho- Dutch.

llande. Les vins d'Asie sont fort estimés. | Asiatic wines are highly esteemed.

de Tyr était fort re- The Tyrian purple was much cherchée.

sought after. Les côtes d'Angleterre sont bien The English coasts are well dedéfendues.


La pourpre

Remark, that, although we may say, with equal propriety, la noblesse Française, and la noblesse de France, the French nobility, we cannot say, le roi Français, but le roi de France, the French king.

If the national adjectives of countries, out of Europe, or those of countries not generally known, be used, the article du, de la, &c. should be used, instead of the preposition de.-EXAMPLES: L'or du Pérou fit commettre bien | Peruvian gold induced the Spades crimes aux Espagnols.

niards to commit a great many

crimes. Les mouchoirs de l'Inde sout al Indian handkerchiefs are now présent très à la mode.

much in fashion. Les vins du Mantouan sont fort Mantuan wines are very good.

bons. S. Do proper names of individuals and cities ever take the article?

M. Yes, in particular cases: ist, we can place the article plural before the names of great men, as it has been remarked in a former part of this volume, to which you are referred (page 137).

2. Before the name of a woman in the singular only,) by way of derision or contempt.

3. It is sometimes used before the names of actresses.--ExAMPLES : La Brinvilliers était une fameuse | Brinvilliers was

a famous poiLa Saint-Huberti a charmé tout Saint-Huberti charmed all Paris

Paris par la mélodie de sa voix. by the melody of her voice.

N.B. Before the proper name of the first example, the words femme appelée, a woman called; and before that of the second, the words ac. irice appelée, an actress called ; are understood.

The article is also placed before some names originally Ii alian; as, Le Tasse, Le Carrache, &c. before the first; the word poéte, and, before the second, the word peintre, being understood. French proper names of men and cities, take the article only when they have kept up

their original appellative signification; as, Les plaidoyers de le Muistre, the

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pleadings of Le Maistre; les tableaux de Le Moine, the paintings of Le Moine ; le Châtelet, (for le petit cháteau,) la Rochelle, le Havre, le Caire (la ville, in Arabic), &c.

Observe, the article may be used in French before adjectives, prepositions, adverbs, conjunctions, and the infinitive of some verbs, which thereby become so many nouns. As we have attended before (in page 137) to this property of the articles, the learner is referred back for examples.

Rule IV.- The indicative or definite article, instead of the declarative or indefinite, as used in English, is, in French, placed before nouns of measure, weight, and number.—EXAMPLES : MESURE.

MEASURE. Le drap vaut tant la verge.

Cloth is worth so much a yard. Le charbon se vend trois chelins Coals sell (or are sold) at three le boisseau.

shillings a bushel.

WEIGHT Les chandelles se vendent trente Candles are sold at fifteen-peuce sous la livre.

a pound. Le foin coûte à présent une demi-Hay now costs half-a-guinea a guinée le quintal.

hundred-weight. NOMBRE.

NUMBER. Les œufs se sont vendus jusqu'à Eggs have been sold as high as vingt sous la douzaine-et les

ten-pence a dozen ; and cabchoux jusqu'à deux piastres le bages, as much as two dollars a cent.


hundred. Remark, that, in the following examples, and the like, the article indicative, or definite, is elegantly rendered by the preposition par. - EXAMPLES : Elle donne à son maitre de musique She gives her music-master a guiune guinée par leçon.

nea a (or per) lesson. Je prends trois leçons d'armes par I take three lessons in fencing a semaine.

week. RULE V.-Whenever the word some is expressed or understood, in English, before a noun, singular or plural, or an adjective preceding a noun, in the singular only, it is rendered, in French, by du, de la, de l', or des, and accords with the gender and number, and the initial letter of the substantive.

EXAMPLES FOR THE NOUN, SINGULAR OR PLURAL. Envoyez-moi du poisson, de l'ail, Send me some fish, garlic, oil,

de l'huile, de la moutarde, et mustard, and anchovies.

des anchois. J'ai acheté du papier, de la cire I have bought paper, sealing-wax,

à cacheter, de l'encre, et des ink, and some ready-made pens. plumes toutes taillécs.

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