FRENCH CONVERSATIONAND COMPOSITION
BY HARRY VINCENT WANN, M.A.
PROFESSOR OF ROMANCE LANGUAGESINDIANA STATE NORMAL SCHOOL
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 Frenchmodel, not only is hazardous but often becomes aimless, and at best results in the acquisition of a limitedvocabulary. 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 andanecdotes 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 befound a certain per cent of students who translate readily but who have only a hazy notion as to the practicalapplication 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 selectedfrom 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 excellentgrammar. 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
, the Petit Larousse and Hatzfeld-Darmesteter dictionaries have beenfreely consulted. Students will at first require some aid and encouragement from the teacher, in the use of theall-French vocabulary; but they can be made, in a surprisingly short time, to form the habit of using a Frenchdictionary 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 readingtexts, 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 sameinstitution, who kindly assisted in reading the proof.