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I. THE ALPHABET. ACCENTS AND OTHER MARKS. PARTS OF SPEECH.
1. Alphabet. The French Alphabet consists of 26 letters, the same as the English.
A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P,
q, r, s, t,
u, v, w, x, y, z.
W is used only in foreign words.
The names of the French letters are given on p. 4. The letters are divided into Vowels and Consonants. The Vowels are a, e, i, o, u, y. The remaining letters are Consonants.
2. Accents.-There are three accents, which are placed over vowels:
1. The acute ('), placed only over e: as été.
2. The grave ('), placed over a, e, u: as, là, près, où.
3. The circumflex (^), placed over all the vowels except y: as, áme, rêve, île, ôter, múr.
3. Other marks.
(1.) The Apostrophe ('), showing that a vowel has been dropped: as, l'or instead of le or; l'âme instead of la ame; l'histoire instead of la histoire.
(2.) The Cedilla, a sign like a comma placed under c (before a, o, and u), thus c, giving c the sound of 8, as reçu. (3.) The Diaresis, or Trema ( ̈* ), placed over a vowel, showing that this vowel must be pronounced distinct from the preceding vowel: as, haïr, noël.
(4.) The Hyphen, connecting two words: as, a-t-il.
4. Genders.-There are two Genders, Masculine and Feminine.
5. Numbers. There are two numbers, Singular and Plural.
6. Parts of Speech.-There are nine parts of speech in the French language:
The Pronunciation of French can only be learned properly from a master, but a few rules may be of some help.*
*The Rules for pronunciation are from Professor Merlet's "Treatise on Pronunciation."
+ The consonants in French words printed in Italics are not pronounced.
The Consonants not given below have the same or nearly the same sound as in English.
g is hard before a, o, u
soft 66 e, i, y
h is usually silent, but is pronounced in a few words, which must be learned by heart
j is pronounced like jee
when double (l), preceded by i, is pronounced nearly as y
r in the middle of a word is sounded more strongly than in English
s at the beginning of words has the same sound as in English, but between two vowels it has the soft sound of z
t has usually the same sound as in English, but it has the sound of s in many words before i, followed by a, e, o
x is sounded like ks in
Examples. capitale, a capital. ceci, this. reçu, received.
vend-il, does he sell? (pronounce, vent-il).
un grand homme, a great man (pronounce, un granthomme). gant, glove. agir, to act.
Many Consonants at the end of words are not pro
In reading French, when one word ends with a consonant, and the following word begins with a vowel, or silent h, the two words are pronounced together, as if they formed only one word. But this junction does not take place when there is a pause in the sentence. The t in the word et, and, is never pronounced with the following words. The final e, preceded by a consonant, is not pronounced when followed by a word beginning with a vowel: elle a=ell^a.
EXERCISE IN READING.
Les hommes, les enfants, des arbres, nos amis, vos habits, nous avons, vous avez eu, ils ont, pas encore, avec un enfant, ses plus cruels ennemis. — Songez à vos affaires. - Mon oncle est arrivé. Il avait encore beaucoup à faire.—Un homme et une femme. Cet habit est à moi. Les Anglais sont industrieux.-Vous en avez eu assez.-La ville allait être prise.