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G is pronounced hard before a, O, U, r, and l, as gant, glove; gomme, gum; grand, great; gloire, glory, &c.; and soft before e, i, and y, as germe, germ ; agir, to act ; gymnase, gymnasium.
G, when coupled with n, has generally what is called the liquid sound, as in dignité, dignity. But g has its hard and distinct sound in stagnation, inexpugnable, régnicole.
J is pronounced as in jeune, young ; jardin, garden.
L final, and ll in the middle of a word, preceded by an i, generally have the liquid sound, as in travail, work; brillant, brilliant ; brouillard, mist; mouiller, to wet.
S, at the commencement of words, has the same sound as in English, as soldat, soldier. When placed between two vowels, it has generally the sound of Z, as in rusé, cunning.
T, at the beginning of words, is sounded as in English, as in tourment, torment; but ti, followed by a vowel, is generally pronounced like c, and in words ending in tion : action, attention, portion, ambition, partial, patient, ambitieux, except question, digestion, bastion, mixtion, where it is hard.
X has the sound of ks, as in luxe, luxury; of gz, as in exemple, example; of ss, as in Bruxelles ; and of Z, as in sixième, sixth.
Final consonants are not sounded in French ; habit, coat; repas, repast; impót, tax ; retard, delay. Except proper names derived from the Latins, the Greeks, and the Spaniards, Anacharsis, Pallas, Vénus, Ximenès, Romulus. It may be said, in this respect, that most terminations, in French, are sounded as simple vowels. Thus, pronounce as
a, drap, cloth ; rat, rat; chat, cat; logea, lodged. å, dégât, havoc ; appâts, charms; repas, repasts; las,
tired ; almanachs, almanacs. é, parler, to speak; je dirai, I will say; pied, foot; clef, key. è, il met, he puts ; il parlait, he spoke ; du lait, milk. é, mes, my; tes, thy; ses, his ; les, the ; filets, nets; paix,
peace. i, lit, bed ; il dit, he says. i, lits, beds ; délits, crimes ; ils rient, they laugh. ó, chaud, warm ; nouveaux, new; pots, pots. u, il lut, he read ; il eut, he had. ou, loup, wolf; vous, you. The diæresis, or tréma ("), gives a distinct and separate
sound to the letter on which it is placed; as, hair, to hate ; naif, simple; Judaïsme, Judaism.
As an Exercise on the above rules, and the means of obtaining information from the master on such points as could not be introduced within the limits of this chapter, it is recommended that the teacher should read, and the pupil repeat after him, a certain portion of the following words, till the pronunciation of the latter be sufficiently settled to allow of his reading consecutive sentences. ne parlez plus,
speak no more. trois poulets,
three chickens. sur sa jambe,
on his leg. dans ma chambre, in my room. garçon,
a good boy. il y a quelqu'un,
there is somebody. dans un bois,
in a wood. c'est pour moi,
it is for me. vers les cieux,
towards the heavens. sans besoin,
without need. dans un coin,
in a corner. des bijoux,
some jewels. un cadeau,
a present. le lendemain,
the next day. par sa fidélité,
by his fidelity. ils parlent",
they speak. s'ils viennent*,
if they come. quand ils chantent*, when they sing. voilà le signal,
there is the signal. il est à Boulogne,
he is at Boulogne. où est mon chapeau ? where is my hat ? dites votre catéchisme,
say your catechism. il viendra aujourd'hui, he will come to-day. allez travailler,
go and work. soulagez ce vieillard, relieve that old man. cueillez cette fleur, gather that flower. mon habit est mouillé,
my coat is wet. quand reviendrez-vous ? when will you return? il est toujours le même, he is always the same. elle est dans le salon, she is in the drawing-room. prenez-vous du sucre ?? do you
take avec bien du plaisir,
with much pleasure. voilà un rosier,
there is a rose-tree. êtes-vous content?
are you satisfied ? une bonne action, a good action. sans expérience, without experience.
*ent, in verbs, is sounded like e muet,
GRAMMARIANS have divided words into classes. These classes, or Parts of Speech, are, the Substantive, the Article, the Adjective, the Pronoun, the Verb, the Adverb, the Preposition, the Conjunction, and the Interjection.
Substantives serve to express the names of persons or things; as Jean, John ; Louise, Louisa; livre, book. Substantives are either common or proper.
The substantive common is that which is used to name all beings or things of the same kind ; such as homme, man ; roi, king ; ville, town, &c.
The substantive proper can be applied to one person or one thing only, as Pierre, Peter; Londres, London.
Amongst the substantives common, we must distinguish those that are collective.
The substantives collective are those which, though in the singular, present to our minds the idea of a collection of objects of the same kind; as une armée, an army; une flotte, a fleet ; le peuple, the people ; la foule, the crowd, &c.
OF THE GENDER AND NUMBER OF SUBSTANTIVES.
There are two genders in French, the masculine, and the feminine.
The masculine gender belongs to men, and to animals of the male kind. The feminine belongs to women, and animals of the female kind. But as the French language does not admit of the neuter gender, all inanimate objects, such as table, tree, pen, are either of the masculine or of the feminine gender.
There are two numbers; the singular and the plural. The singular number relates to one person or thing only ; as un homme, a man; une table, a table, &c.
The plural relates to more than one person or thing. Ex. des hommes, men; des tables, tables.
There are substantives that are never used in the plural, others that are never used in the singular.
Substantives that are never used in the plural. 1st. The names of metals. Ex. de l'or, gold; de l'argent, silver ; du cuivre, brass ; du plomb, lead, &c.
2ndly. The names of virtues and vices. Ex. l'avarice, avarice ; la charité, charity ; la foi, faith ; la haine, hatred ; l'orgueil, pride ; la prodigalité, prodigality, &c.
3rdly. The names by which the five senses are denoted. Ex. la vue, the sight; le goût, the taste ; l'odorat, the smell; le toucher, feeling ; l'ouïe, hearing.
4thly. Proper names, except when they are used metaphorically.
5thly. To the foregoing may be added the following, which are not reducible to any general rules : Partillerie, artillery.
la faim, hunger. L'attirail, implements.
la fumée, smoke. le bonheur, happiness. la fuite, flight. la colère, anger.
la gloire, glory. le courroux, wrath.
la honte, shame. l'enfance, infancy.
la jeunesse, youth. le lait, milk.
le salut, safety. le miel, honey:
la soif, thirst. la noblesse, nobility.
le summeil, sleep. la pauvreté, poverty.
la vieillesse, old age. le sang, blood.
Substantives which are never used in the singular. épinards, spinage.
ciseaux, scissors. ancêtres, ancestors.
dépens, cost. entrailles, entrails. épousailles, espousals. fonts, font. · frais, expense. funérailles, a funeral.
ON THE FORMATION OF THE PLURAL.
1. In general the plural number of substantives is formed by adding an s to the singular. Ex. le père, the father ;
les pères, the fathers. la mère, the mother ; les mères, the mothers, &c.
2. All substantives of which the singular ends in s, x, or z, remain the same in the plural. Ex. le fils, the son ;
les fils, the sons. une noix, a walnut;
des noix, walnuts. le nez, the nose ;
les nez, the noses. 3. Substantives ending in au, eau, eu, cu, ieu, or ou, form their plural by adding x instead of s. Ex. un chapeau, a hat;
des chapeaux, hats. un manteau, a cloak ;
des manteaux, cloaks. un lieu, a place ;
des lieux, places. un chou, a cabbage ;
des choux, cabbages. 4. The following differ from the above substantives, and form their plural by adding an s:
un matou, a great cat ; des matous, great cats. un trou, a hole;
des trous, holes. un clou, a nail ;
des clous, nails. 5. Substantives ending in al and ail have their plural in
Ex. un animal, a living creature ; des animaux, living creatures. 'un cheval, a horse ;
des chevaur, horses. un mal, an evil;
des maux, evils. un travail, a work;
des travaux, works. 6. Except the following, which form their plural in s. un bal, a ball.
un gouvernail, a helm. un évantail, a fan.
un épouvantail, a bugbear. un détail, an account.
un sérail, a seraglio un portail, a gateway.