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SYSTEM OF PRONUNCIATION;
A KEY* to the PRONUNCIATION of the VOWELS, ge.
The French alphabet, as we have already observed, consists of twenty-five letters, viz. a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, q, r, s, t, u, 0, 2, 4, 2.
Of the Vowels. The sounds of all the French vowels, with the exception of u, are to be found in the English language.
A. A has two sounds: one short, as in palte; the other long, as in pâte: the first is represented by a, au, ea, in the English words hard, laugh, heart; the second by e, au, dw, ou, ou, in the English words pall, caul, hawk, ought, broad. It is, however, to be noticed, that the French sound in pâte is rather less opeu.
Note. With an ear fastidiously nice, a critic may discover two more sounds appertaining to the French a; the one not so short as in patle, as a in race : the other not so long as in pâte, as a in âge.
However, as suck niceties, frequently liable to objections, and considered of little importance by the latest French orthoëpists, might render our Key more intricate, and perplex the learner, we shall dismiss the subject. D’Olivet, that faithful guide to French prosody, reinarks, on a similar occasion, that it is iseless to dwell too much on the anatomy of sounds."
E. E has four distinct sounds, besides one which is scarcely distinguishable. The first is close or acute, as in vérité, marked with the accent thus (), and the sound is expressed by the English a, ui, ay, ei, as in fale, pail, nay, weight.
The second is grave or open, and is found in the English words there, where, or the French words trumpette, très, colère. It is marked thus (').
The third is long or circumflex, as in the words mėme, crète, denoted by the circumflex accent(), and the sound is discoverable, nearly, in the words there and where, above mentioned. The difference between the grave and circumflex eis trivial; the latter, to a descriminating ear, would seem a little broader.
The fourth is guttural, so called on account of its being pronounced from the throat : we trace it in the French terms je, me, le, refus, and the English her, over, sister.
The fifth sound, commonly denominated mute, we shall, with D'Olivet, define thus: “ It is a mere emission of the voice, which is scarcely heard." It is, however, to be noticed, that the mute e lengthens the preceding syllable, by giving a full sound to the final consonant.
• It is important to mention that the learner, deprived of the assistance of a native of France, al makina te ültempt to teach bimself the sounds of the language of that country, must not begin glonouncing the words given in the exercises till he has attained the promraciation of the Freuch towels, by means of the following mechanical process,-and not until the observations on consonants, diphthongs, the union of erord's, &c. have been impressed on his memory. Period, he may safely attend to the exercises, and pronounce the words a; he conceives the French would do: those exercises being calcolated to display also to the French thepiselves the notatioa and pronunciation of their words, according to the mode of their purest speakers.
A plan of fixing the pronunciation of a language according to 'its genius, and introducing an explanatory Key for the use of foreigners, in order to give them equal advantages with the natives, appears the most natural that can be devised. Experience has proved the correctness of my views in the success of my Vaiversal Pronouncing Dictionary of the French and English languages, from which I have taken the present system, and I refer to its preliminary discourse for further csacldation.
I. I has two sounds: one short, and the other long. The former is found in the French words virilité, minime, and represented by the English i, e, u, 0, ui, in fit, yes, busy, women, guill; the Istter in the French terms ile, glte, and described by the English ea, ee, ei, ie, in meat, meet, deceit, field.
0. O has two sounds, short and long. The first is found in the French terms économe, noble, and in the English some, comt, love. The second in the French words côte, cumone, anémone, dome; and described by the English o, eau, de, od, ow, in no, beau, foe, moasi, blown.
U. U has also two sounds, short and long. The one is found in the French words curule, usufruit : and the other in brûlure, buse.
Note.As 110 such sounds are discoverable in the English Catalogue, the only resource we have is to learn to pronounce the u from those only who are well acquainted with the truc pronunciation. It is worthy of remark, that, by watching the organs of speech in the act of pronouncing that vowel, a mechani. cal mode may be devised, which shall cause the emission of that identical sound. Thus we can discover, from minute observation, that, by bringing the teeth near each other, without closing them, while the tip of the tongue (which assumes a circular forni) touches the fore-teeth of the lower jaw, then protruding the lips, and leaving a passage between them merely sufficient to emit the breath, the u will be readily producer, which is a peculiar sound, anknown in English,
Of the Vowels eu, ou. Eu has two sounds: the one short, and the other long, nearly like that of the gutturale.
The first is expressed by the French words jeune, people, pleurs, heur, malheur, and tolerably described by the English e, i, u, 00, 42, in over, sir, cur, blood, earth: the French sound being rather more open than the English.
The second is similar to that in jedne, bleus, vueur, but has no correspooding sound in English: it may, however, be formed by dwelling a little longer on it, immediately after protruding the lips in such a manner as to leave a barrower passage between them for the emission of the breath, than the vowel e in over in such a process requires.
Ou has a short and long sound: the former is conveyed in the French words poule, boule, coule; and the English u, ou, 0, 00, in pull, could, wolf, wool. The latter in the French words gout, sodler; and the English ou, oo, in group, pool.
Of the four Nasal Vowels, an, in, on, un.
AN. The sound of this vowel is also represented in French by aen, am, ean, en, ent, app, but in this Key it is only represented by an or an, according as it is short or long. This nasal sound may be extracted from the English words want, wand. The learner, in extracting this sound, inust carefully avoid modifying it by any motion of the organ of speech, as it is a simple emission of the breath like all other vowels, but, passing through the nose, instead of the mouth, and of course is unassisted by the organ of speech, dissimilar, on that account, to the English mode of pronouncing the name Ann.
IN. The sound of this vowel is also represented in French by aim, ain, im, ein. In this Key eir lias been preferred. That sound may be extracted, with a sufficient degree of accuracy, from the English word shan't. I repeat the important caution, that the learner must carefully avoid modifying the souud represented by ein, in, &c., which is merely a simple emission of the breath, passing through the nose only, and of course without any motion of the organ of speech.
ON. The sound of this vowel is also represented in French by emn, om. In this Key on has been preferred. That sound may be extracted from the English word wont. Tbe observation just repeated must not be lost sight of. Avoid, therefore, pronouncing on as in the English word won.
UN. Un is sometimes described by eun, um; but in this Key it is expressed by eun only. Grammarians have all agreed that no such souod exists in the English langnage: but, with high deference for such anthorities, after cousiderable investigatiou, we shall venture to say, that it can be traced in the English word grunt, which will be readily acknowledged to be sufficiently accurate, by people well versed in the English and french sounds. At the same time, the scholar must keep in view the mechanical process before prescribed, by which he is enabled to pronounce the nasal vowels without modification or help of the organ of otterance.
The learner having acquired a competent idea of the sounds of the French vowels, his attention is requested to the following directions, to render him couversant with our scheme.
Throughout this Key we have established two distinct marks of quantity, to guide us in the pronunciation of the syllables ; one denoting brerily, thus de. scribed ), and the other length, set down in this form (*). It has already been remarked, that some syllables are shorter, and some longer than others; mmute accuracy would, perhaps, require two additional marks, but the apprehension of creating confusion forbids more. The introduction of several marks (which might be all placed on the same word) would tend to frighten and not allure; to perplex and not improve; while, from the simplicity of the present system, we seize on the pronunciation of a word almost at a glance.
Besides the two marks of quantity (**), we have introduced the acute and grave acrent of the vowel e. With respect to the mute e, it is always known by the mark placed on the short syllable thus č.
The learner should also bear in mind that the j is always pronounced like s in pleasure or leisure, and so is g before e ori; that c, before a, o, u, is expressed by
, k, and that que and qui are described by ke and ki.
Etercises on the Vowel a. Ce page a caché ma coge.
Cě*.pa-je-a ka shé-ma-ka-jě. La mascarade a fait tapage.
La-mas. ka ra-de-a fè-ta-pa-jě. Je vous blâme de mâcher du plâtre. Jě-vous-blā.me-dě* mā-she-du-plā-tră. Ce pâtre estt au pâturage.
Cee-pā-trè- tot pā-tu-ra-jě. Exercises on the acute É, and the similar sounds er, ez, ai, in the final syllables of
terbs—oit in the third person singulur of the imperfect of the indicative, and of the conditional present of rerbs, spelt according to the old orthography.
Je préfère l'été le thé au café. Jě-pré-tê-ré-lé-té-lé-lé-o-ka-fé. er Il faut aimer, chanter, danser, jouer. l-fő-lè-mé, shān-té, dân-cé, joù-é. cz Vous aimez, chantez, dansez, jouez, et Vou-ze-mé, shānté, dān-cé, joù-é, é-vou
vous vous amusez.
* This e would be gutteral in tragedy and orations, but in familiar discourse and comedy it is suppressed, and the preceding consonant pronounced as if incorporated with the following syllable; in such cases the guttural e is often rendered mute.
+ It is a general rule that final consonants are joined to words beginning with a vowel or an h mute; yet it is a rule with many exceptions. When doubt in. terferes between rule and exception, let harmony be consulted; for should the final consonant, by its connexion with the next syllable, produce a discordant sound, to prevent jarring, dissolve the partnership. D'Olivet has pertinently remarked, “ The French prefer an irregularity to a discordance.” We shall dis. cuss this subject more fully when we treat on the upjon of words.
ai J'aimerai, je chanterai, danserai, jon- Jè-mě-ré, jē-shān-tě-ré, dān-cé-ré, job-ré, erai, et m'amuserai.
é-ma-mū-ze-ré. oit Il disoit et assuroit qu'il liroit, cause. I-di-zé-é-a-su-ré-ki*-li-ré, ko-ze-ré, shin.
roit, chanteroit, et danseroit. tě-ré, é-dān-cě-ré. Exercises on the grave È; on the similar sounds ai and ei, in the first and middle syl.
lables of toords; on et in the final syllables; and on e not accented, but followed by
two consonants or a final c, f, l, r, which must be emphaticully pronounced. è J'admira's le bon caractère du Jad-mi-sē.le-bon-ka-rak-tè-re-du-pè-re,
père, de la mère, et du frère. dě-la-mè-re, é-du-frè-rē. ai Vraiment j'aime à plaire. Vrè-man-jè-mě-a-plè-rě.
Le salaire d'une vaine gra. Lě-sa-lè-ré-du-ně. vè.ně-gra-mè-íč.
mnaire. ci La veine est pleine. Il demeure La-vè-ně-e-plè-ně. I-de-meu-ra-lan-ce.
à l'enseigne du peignet. nieu du pè-nieu. et Il met le bidet du cadet dans le l-mè-le-bi-de-du-ka-de-dan-le-bos-kè.
bosquet. ell, ess, Sa belle dentelle est sur sa ftoi. Sa-be-le-dan-tè-le-e-sur-sa-toe-lè-tě. Pluett, &c. lette. Plus de sagesse et dě-sa-jè-cě-é-moein-de-prou-è-cě. moins de prouesse.
f, l, r. Ce chef grec maudit du ciel est en Ce-shè-fd-grèke-mo-di-du-cyèl-e-tanenfer.
Exercises on the circumfles î ; on the similar sounds ai, aie, ais, aix, ets, aits, ès; and Erercises on the e mute. « Un vase plein et une bouteille* pleine, Eun-vā-ze-plein-é-u-ne-bou-tè-lieu-plē
on ois, oient in the imperfect of the indicative and conditional present of verbs, spelt
after the old orthography, é La tempête empêcha la conquête. La-tan-pe-tě-an-pe-sha-la-kon-ke-tě. Cette fête est bien bête.
e-le-na-poein-dě-te-tě. al Naitre sans maître,
Ne-tre-san-nue-tré. aie Je suis aise que sa pluie soit guérie. Je-sui-èze-ke-sa-plē-sve-ghe-ri. ais Je ne vais jamais au palais sans dé- Je-ně-vē-ja-me-o-pa-lê-san-dé-zi-ré-laair sirer la paix.
pē. ets Mes projets m'ont donné bien des Mè-pro-jē-mon-do-né-byein-dè-ré-grē.
regrets. aits Ces portraits sont imparfaits. Ce-por-tre-son-tein-par-fe. ès Ces excès et ses accès de fureur, ont Ce-zèk-ce-é-cè-ak.cè-de-fu-reur, onnui à ses progrès.
ndi-a-cè-pro-grē. ois, J'étudiois et je lisois pendant qu'ils Jé-tu-diē-é-jě-li-zē-pan-dan-ki-ržė-é-saoient rioient et s'amusoient,
Exercises on the final eu, eu, euse, reux, eux, eû, uhich are pronounced
nearly alike. Ce jeune homme obtiendra Ce-jen-no-mě-ob-tien-dra-peu-a-peu-el peu à peu le vaudu peuple. veu-du peu-plč. Elle a les yeux bleus. è-la-lè-zieu-bleu.
Elle est honteuse et peureuse, è-lè-hon-tcū-ze-e-peu-reú-zč. aux, eux, ell J'ai fait des vaux pour eux Jé-fè-de-veū-pou-reū-pan-dau-lé-deu.
pendant les deux jours de jour-de-jeu-ně.
* In familiar discourse the l is not generally pronounced.
See the pronunciation of oi, in the table of diplthongs, p. 115.
Le médecin ordonna une médecine. Lě-mé-de-cein-or-do-n2 11-ně-mé-de-ci
Exercises on the short and the long i. i L'idée de l'indivisibilité est ridicule. Li-dé-de-lein-di-vi: zi-bi-li-té-e-ri-di-kule L'infinité de l'éternité.
le. Lein-fi-ni-té-de-lé-ter-ni-té, On nous apporte à dîner dans ce gtte. On-nou-za-por-tě-a-di-né-dan-ce-jī-tě. Nous le vímes et lui dîmes.
Exercises on the short o.
Mon bouquet d'anémones et kè-da-né-mo-ně-é-le-vo-tě.
Nous étions dos-à-dos. A propos. Nou-zé-tion-do-za-do. A-pro-põ. ots Où sont les pots d'abricots? Ou-son-lè-po-da-bri-kö? au, aux La peau d'un beau veau. Des La-po-deun-bo-vo. Dè-so-do. seaux d'eau.
Exercises on the short and the long u. u Elle a perdu son usufruit.
è-la-pèr-du-son-nu-zu-frèi. l Les meres ne sont pas mares. Lè-mū-re-ně-son-pa-mū-rě. Je brûle, tu brûles, il brôle.
Je-brū-le, tu-brū-lč, i-brū-le
pour soutenir son coup d'ail*. tě-nir son-kou-deulieu.*
Tou-doū, mé-cțeu-lè-fou. nus, ori Est-ce que le goût de vous sotler è-cě-ke-lé-goū-dě-vou-sou-lé-vou-za-pri?
vous a pris ? Exercises on the nasal vowel an, and on the similar sounds am, en, em, ent, aen, aon
Le Saltan en parlant au divan Le-Sul-tan-an-par-län-o-di-van-ko
comme un tyran fit maudire meun-ti-jan-fi-mo-di-re-son-ran.
cum, en L'ambassadeur entra en jurant Lan-ba-sa-deur-an-tra-an-ju-rān-dan-sadans sa chambre.
shan-brē. Nons parurons ensemble au prin- Nou-par-ti-ron-au-san-blo prein-tan.
Le paon et le faon jonent dans Le-pan-é-lé-fan-jou-dan-la-kourē.
Exercises on the ruasul dowels ein, in, im, ain, aim. ein Le serein tombe sur son sein. Le-cě-rein-ton-bě sur son-sein. in Ce malin coquin joue du clavecin. Cé-ma-lein-ko-kein-jou-du-klavě.cein. im L'impdt du timbre.
Lein-po-du-tein brě. air Demain nous aurons du pair. De-mein-pou-zo-ron-du pein. am La faim chasse le duim du terrain. La fein-sha-cč-le-dcin-di-tē-rein,
See the liquid ll mu the table of consonants, p. 117.