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The Project Gutenberg EBook of French Conversation and Composition by Harry Vincent Wann This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net Title: French Conversation and Composition Author: Harry Vincent Wann Release Date: March 28, 2004 [EBook #11748] Language: English / French Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK FRENCH CONVERSATION *** Produced by Robert J. Hall. FRENCH CONVERSATION AND COMPOSITION BY HARRY VINCENT WANN, M.A. PROFESSOR OF ROMANCE LANGUAGES INDIANA STATE NORMAL SCHOOL PREFACE This little volume has been prepared with a twofold purpose in mind: to provide material (1) for conversation and (2) for a review in the elementary principles of the grammar. To attempt to stimulate spontaneous conversation, even on simple subjects, without the aid of a French model, not only is hazardous but often becomes aimless, and at best results in the acquisition of a limited vocabulary. Furthermore, it requires a skilful teacher to adapt to such purposes the substance of a text prepared with a totally different end in view. The author, in the course of five years' experience with conversation classes in the University of Michigan, had difficulty in finding material for this work in a form that was adapted peculiarly to his needs. Plays and anecdotes were found to yield the best results. Another need is that of books offering a systematic review of the first year's work. In every class will be found a certain per cent of students who translate readily but who have only a hazy notion as to the practical application of some of the most fundamental principles of the grammar. It is hoped that this book will help to fill the two needs above referred to. The anecdotes have been selected from a large number used by the author in conversational classes and drawn from a great variety of sources, many of which will be readily recognized. He is in a number of cases indebted to Claude Augé's excellent grammar. Most of the anecdotes have been adapted to the author's purpose of illustrating grammatical principles. Questionnaires have been inserted. In the preparation of the vocabulaire, the Petit Larousse and Hatzfeld-Darmesteter dictionaries have been freely consulted. Students will at first require some aid and encouragement from the teacher, in the use of the all-French vocabulary; but they can be made, in a surprisingly short time, to form the habit of using a French dictionary by preference, and of doing a large part of their thinking in French. It is suggested that the book be used on certain days of the week only, to supplement the student's reading texts, and provide the sort of exercise indicated by its title. It is not intended as a reader. The author's thanks are due to his former colleague, Professor Hugo P. Thieme, of the University of Michigan, for many helpful suggestions and criticisms, as well as to Professor René Talamon, of the same institution, who kindly assisted in reading the proof. TABLE OF CONTENTS ANECDOTES GRAMMAR REVIEW.--LESSON I. Use of definite and indefinite articles.--Simple interrogation.--Contraction of de and à with definite article.--Possessive case of nouns.--Chez. ANECDOTES GRAMMAR REVIEW.--LESSON II. Possessive adjectives. ANECDOTES GRAMMAR REVIEW.--LESSON III. Position of adjectives.--Irregular adjectives.--Compound subject, agreement.--Forms and use of lequel. ANECDOTES GRAMMAR REVIEW.--LESSON IV. Future and conditional tenses.--The demonstrative adjective.--Meanings of present tense.--Est-ce que.--Use of past tenses. ANECDOTES GRAMMAR REVIEW.--LESSON V. Voici.--Voilà.--Il y a .--Expressions with Avoir.--Se trouver.--Aimer mieux.--Venir de . ANECDOTES GRAMMAR REVIEW.--LESSON VI. Comparison of adjectives and adverbs. ANECDOTES GRAMMAR REVIEW.--LESSON VII. Partitives and expressions of quantity. ANECDOTES GRAMMAR REVIEW.--LESSON VIII. Conjunctive pronouns. ANECDOTES GRAMMAR REVIEW.--LESSON IX. Compound tenses.--Avoir and Être as auxiliaries.--Agreement of past participles: Avoir verbs. ANECDOTES GRAMMAR REVIEW.--LESSON X. Agreement of participles: Reflexive verbs. ANECDOTES GRAMMAR REVIEW.--LESSON XI. Agreement of participles: Passive verbs.--Substitutes for the passive. ANECDOTES GRAMMAR REVIEW.--LESSON XII. Agreement of participles: Intransitive verbs conjugated with Être. ANECDOTES GRAMMAR REVIEW.--LESSON XIII. Disjunctive pronouns. ANECDOTES GRAMMAR REVIEW.--LESSON XIV. Possessive pronouns.--Word order in interrogative sentences.--Definite article used for possessive adjective. ANECDOTES GRAMMAR REVIEW.--LESSON XV. Pronominal use of en and y .--Order in the sentence. ANECDOTES GRAMMAR REVIEW.--LESSON XVI. Relative pronouns. ANECDOTES GRAMMAR REVIEW.--LESSON XVII. Demonstrative pronouns. ANECDOTES GRAMMAR REVIEW.--LESSON XVIII. Use of prepositions with infinitives. ANECDOTES GRAMMAR REVIEW.--LESSON XIX. Interrogatives.--Relative que in emphatic inversions.--Idioms. ANECDOTES GRAMMAR REVIEW.--LESSON XX. Negatives.--Order of negative particles with infinitive.--Omission of pas.--Que introducing oui, non, etc.--Idioms. ANECDOTES GRAMMAR REVIEW.--LESSON XXI. Articles.--Omission of indefinite article.--Distributive use of indefinite article.--Numerals.--Age.--Dates.-Fractions. ANECDOTES GRAMMAR REVIEW.--LESSON XXII. Impersonal verbs.--Use of falloir.--Present participles.--Relative clause used for active infinitive or present participle.--Weather and time. ANECDOTES GRAMMAR REVIEW.--LESSON XXIII. The causative construction.--Active infinitive with faire, laisser, entendre, and voir. ANECDOTES GRAMMAR REVIEW.--LESSON XXIV. Idiomatic use of tenses.--Inverted order. ABRÉVIATIONS VOCABULAIRE 1. L'HONNÊTETÉ RÉCOMPENSÉE Le grand Molière donna une fois, par erreur, un louis d'or à un mendiant tout déguenillé, qui lui avait demandé l'aumône. Le pauvre homme, en s'éloignant, s'aperçoit de l'erreur et court aussitôt après Molière. «Vous vous êtes trompé, lui dit-il: vous m'avez donné un louis d'or au lieu d'un sou.» Molière, étonné, lui dit de le garder, et lui en donna un autre pour le récompenser de sa probité, en s'écriant: «Où l'honnêteté va-t-elle se nicher?» Quelle erreur Molière a-t-il faite un jour?--Le mendiant s'en est-il douté?--A-t-il agi selon les principes acceptés de la généralité des hommes?--Molière a-t-il été touché de ce trait de probité?--Quelle récompense a-t-il accordée à ce phénix des honnêtes hommes?--Les hommes sont-ils d'ordinaire si honnêtes? Racontez cette anecdote en cent mots. 2. LA VISITE RENDUE Le nom de Voltaire est universellement connu. Il n'en est pas tout à fait de même de son ami Piron; toutefois suffira-t-il de dire qu'il a été l'auteur d'un grand nombre de satires et de chansons spirituelles, quoique licencieuses. Une fois Voltaire et Piron étaient allés passer quelque temps dans un château. Un jour Piron écrivit sur la porte de Voltaire le mot Coquin. Sitôt que Voltaire le vit, il se rendit chez Piron, qui lui dit: «Quel hasard me procure l'avantage de vous voir?--Monsieur, lui répondit Voltaire, j'ai vu votre nom sur ma porte, et je m'empresse de vous rendre ma visite.» À quel titre le nom de Voltaire est-it célèbre?--Le nom de Piron est-il aussi connu que celui du philosophe?--Dans quel genre at-il montré du mérite?--Où séjournaient les deux auteurs?--Quel tour Piron a-t-il joué à Voltaire?--Qu'est-ce que celui-ci a fait surle-champ? Faites ce récit de mémoire. 3. LE DOMINO JAUNE Sous Louis XVI, à l'occasion de la naissance du dauphin, une grande fête fut donnée à Versailles, et l'histoire anecdotique du règne a attaché un plaisant souvenir au bal qui
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