French Text Book

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French Text Book

Postby dtp883 » Thu 26 Aug 2010 5:41 am

In my French Class, we are using a textbook called Discovering French Nouveau!: Bleu 1A. The really strange thing about this book is that it uses IPA, in its pronunciation lessons. This struck me as odd; the IPA seems a little too esoteric for a high school level beginning French text book.
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Re: French Text Book

Postby Caenwyr » Thu 26 Aug 2010 8:41 am

I'm not sure! I strongly believe it's best to start with the correct methods right away, instead of learning some transition system first, and then building up to IPA. Otherwise, by the time you've finally figured out how IPA works, you won't need it anymore! In which case I'd be worried about your pronunciation.

If you ask me, IPA is the best way to transcribe (and therefor learn) concepts that are strange to the student, such as nasals (un bon vin blanc = /œ̃ bɔ̃ vɛ̃ blɑ̃ /, NOT /ən bɒn vin blæŋk/) and the guttural r (bonjour = /bɔ̃ 'ʒuʁ/, NOT /bɒn'dʒuɹ/). Why invent yet another system to write these sounds, while there's a perfectly good one in place already!

Of course one could question the universality of a phonetic alphabet based almost entirely on the roman alphabet, but that's another discussion.
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Re: French Text Book

Postby linguoboy » Thu 26 Aug 2010 3:53 pm

It may also depend where you're from. The OED uses (modified) IPA for its transcriptions, whereas most American dictionaries use variations on Webster's respellings. So I would expect the average fifth former to be better acquainted with IPA than the average high schooler.
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Re: French Text Book

Postby dtp883 » Fri 27 Aug 2010 3:55 am

McDougal Littell is the company. And the P.O. Box is in Illinois, so, I don't know.

However, this book says that their are only three nasal vowels/ɑ̃/, /ɔ̃/, and /ɛ̃/, leaving out /œ̃/. It also uses /ɜ/ in place of /ʒ/, and, strangely, /ɸ/ for /ø/. I know that they look similar, but <ø> is actually a letter!
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Re: French Text Book

Postby linguoboy » Fri 27 Aug 2010 3:46 pm

dtp883 wrote:However, this book says that their are only three nasal vowels/ɑ̃/, /ɔ̃/, and /ɛ̃/, leaving out /œ̃/.

That accurately reflects the current situation in many colloquial varieties, including that of Paris.

dtp883 wrote:It also uses /ɜ/ in place of /ʒ/, and, strangely, /ɸ/ for /ø/. I know that they look similar, but <ø> is actually a letter!

That's just sloppy!
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