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PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION.
The favour with which this work has been received has encouraged the Author to renewed exertions, in order that the present edition may at least sustain the reputation of the former.
To render it as complete as possible, a variety of improvements, suggested by the experience of a life devoted to the art of teaching, have been adopted, and they will, it is hoped, be found important auxiliaries for obtaining a perfect knowledge of " the Universal Language,” as it is spoken in the present day among the élite of the metropolis of France.
The Rules on the structure of the French Language, throughout the work, are in accordance with the latest results of grammatical and literary research *, having been recently collated in Paris by the author, in conjunction with several eminent members of the Société grammaticale.
The orthography adopted in the new edition of the Dictionary of the French Academy + has been strictly
* See, page xii, a list of Authors whose works have served as a basis in the composition of this Grammar.
+ Dans cette nouvelle édition (la sixième), l'Académie a sanctionné l'orthographe dite de Voltaire, c'est-à-dire qu'elle remplace l'o par l'a dans les mots faible, monnaie, connaitre, paraitre, Français, Anglais, etc., ainsi que dans la terminaison des imparfaits et des conditionnels : je voulais, je voudrais, etc. Elle a également décidé que les mots terminés en ant ou en ent, tels que puissant, élément, etc., retiendraient le t au pluriel : puissants, éléments, etc. (See note 48, page 43.)
adhered to; and, being thus modelled on the best standard of the present time, this work may be considered as bearing the highest lexicographical authority that can be found in modern French literature.
The Grammar is divided into two parts, the first of which is in English, the second in French. These again have four subdivisions,Pronunciation, Accidence, Syntax, and an Appendix. The two latter form the Partie française. The Rules are numbered throughout for the purpose of reference. Translations and notes explanatory of the more difficult portions of the Exercises are given at the end of the book.
The practice of the elementary construction of sentences is arranged according to a plan perfectly original, which is, to give the pupils a composition in French for reading, parsing, translating into English, and then retranslating into French, previously to any attempt at composition from the English phrases in the Exercise which immediately follows*. This system, from its commencement, initiates the pupil in the natural method of learning a living language, namely, the act of reproducing impressions received by the ear only (see page 21). In the present work the following is the method of tuition pursued :
1. Every example or exercise of any given lesson is * The attempt to compose or write exercises in a language before being at all versed in its general construction, is like endeavouring to copy without a model, and is an undertaking which fatigues the mind without producing any equivalent success. Imitation is natural to us, and is a task easy and agreeable; but we cannot imitate that which has not been in some shape presented to us, and to a certain extent become familiar to the mind.
spoken aloud, translated, and thoroughly analysed by the Instructor.—2. After having duly repeated the subject thus selected, each pupil writes a free translation, which is then corrected; and this, at a subsequent lesson, is reproduced, and orally rendered into French by the pupil, who thus imitates the language of the original.-3. Phrases in the lesson are then formed into new combinations : by this elementary attempt at composition, the student, as early as his progress will allow, becomes accustomed to the useful practice of expressing his own ideas in the language he is desirous of acquiring. The system will be found more fully developed in the Méthode d'enseignement given at the end of the book.
The author's departure from the usual practice of grammarians, in writing in French the syntactical portion of the Grammar, has not been prompted by any desire of novelty, but has resulted from a thorough conviction of the great utility which would thus be effected by the union of grammatical theory with conversational practice. In support of this opinion, the author is happy to adduce the concurring testimony of one whose excellence as a teacher must ensure respect for his judgement:
“It is a very old and equally true remark,” observed the late Professor Ventouillac, (of King's College, London,) “ that although many Englishmen speak and write French with considerable grammatical accuracy, there are few, if any, who do so with such idiomatic purity as not to be immediately recognised as foreigners. This
fact having been so long acknowledged on all hands, it is singular that no one has endeavoured, first, to find its cause, and next, to provide a remedy. The cause may probably be found in the exclusive use made by learners of grammars written in English. By such means, all that the pupil learns is to translate English into French; and hence it is that there are so few Englishmen whose French is not liable to the reproach implied in the appellation of English-French. The surest way to obviate this difficulty is, doubtless, to use, as soon as the pupil can read French, a grammar written in that language. Convinced of this, many professors have been induced to make use, with the more advanced pupils, of the grammars of Boniface, Noël et Chapsal, Letellier, and other writers of considerable reputation on the Continent. But these grammars, though excellent in their kind, have not been found to answer the purpose; for being written in French, for the use of natives, they contain many things unnecessary to a foreigner; while, on the other hand, a very great number of points on which instruction is absolutely necessary to a foreigner, have altogether, and very properly, remained unnoticed *.”
The Partie française in the present work will, it is hoped, supply this deficiency. It has the advantage of being written in French, and is nevertheless peculiarly adapted to the English student. By thus studying
* Having been entrusted during the last illness of Professor VENTOUILLAC with several classes of the French Department in King's COLLEGE, LONDON, the author of the present work had a practical opportunity of learning the views which his lamented friend entertained on the subject of writing Une grammaire française à l'usage des Anylais.
French rules in the French language, by reflecting on them, and by applying them to sentences selected exclusively from the best writers of France, the student will gradually acquire a habit of thinking in French, an object so desirable yet so seldom attained, but without which a foreigner can never hope to speak or write French with idiomatic purity.
PREFACE TO THE FOURTH EDITION.
A very careful revision, additional examples, chiefly from living authors, useful supplementary details illustrative of modern phraseology, with remarks explanatory of the peculiarities of familiar conversation, and to the classical student valuable observations showing the grammatical connexion between the French and Latin languages,—are the principal improvements of the present edition, which in other respects is similar to the last.
No exertion has been spared to render the work deserving of the high encouragement it has received, and to offer to students a grammar containing everything necessary to secure a full and perfect knowledge of the French Language. It has also been the author's endeavour to convey instruction according to a mode com