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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, 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 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.
as, âme, rêve, ile, ôter, mûr. 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 âme ; l'histoire instead of la histoire. (2.) The Cedilla, a sign like a comma placed under c (before
a, 0, and u), thus ç, giving c the sound of s, as reçu. (3.) The Diæresis, 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.
FR. P. R
5. Numbers.—There are two numbers, Singular and Plural.
6. Parts of Speech. There are nine parts of speech in the French language : 1. Article.
4. Pronoun. 7. Preposition. 2. Substantive, or Noun. 5. Verb.
8. Conjunction. 3. Adjective.
6. Adverb. 9. Interjection.
II.-PRONUNCIATION. The Pronunciation of French can only be learned properly from a master, but a few rules may be of some help.*
like a in arm. âme, soul
broader than a in arm, but not so
broad as in awe. e short
like e in her. é accented été, been
somewhat like a in ale, only shorter. lê long être, to be
like a in air. i, y short ici, here; y, there somewhat like ee in sheep, but shorter. î long gîte, a home
like ee in sheep. o short comme, as
between o and u in bond and bun. dôme, dome
like o in comb. du, of the
No similar sound in English. Pro
nounce with the lips forward, but not quite closed, and the tongue kept away from the teeth.
ai au eau ei eu vu ou
COMPOUND VOWELS AND NASAL SOUNDS.
like o in comb reine, queen like ai in air heure, hour
like e in her, the
lips more apart clou, nail
like oo in cool un, a no similar sound. Utter, with a greater effort
the sound u, from the pit of the stomach, and convey it through the nose, taking care to keep the tougue down, in order to avoid the sound of the n.
* The Rules for pronunciation are from Professor Merlet's “Treatise on Pronunciation. + The consonants in French words printed in Italics are not pronounced.