Paper dictionaries are used more and more often to gather dust on the shelves, while their electronic twin brothers grow stronger and get new users. Each French dictionary is a bit different. What are the pros and cons of the most popular French online dictionaries?
Le Petit/Grand Robert
These are the must haves for advanced learners. In paper, Le Petit Robert is an abridged version of Le Grand Robert. composed of six volumes. The Robert dictionary was published for the first time in 1967 and since then has been the most popular French dictionary. Each entry is developped, which most of the time allows us to find what we are looking for. Both online versions are available for 5 days for free.LINK
These are the Larousse’s numbers: 35 000 definitions, 92 000 synonyms, 29 000 antonyms, 34 000 expressions and 15 000 homonyms. Each entry includes such information as: definition, expressions, difficulties, quotes and a sound file with proper pronunciation. The Larousse Dictionary allows you also to play quizes testing your knowledge of spelling and vocabulary. There is a forum where French learners (but also native speakers) can ask questions. LINK
Centre National de Ressources Textuelles et Lexicales
This is definitely the most advanced dictionary available for free. It includes many paper resources transformed into digital versions. Its author is Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) – the French national agency for science. The biggest flaw of the CNRTL dictionary is its layout, which most likely will make you close the web browser than use it. Also, sometimes it is quite difficult to find what you are looking for. However, as far as the amount of information is concerned, CNRTL can be a tough competitor for the Robert dictionary. LINK
French online dictionaries – comparison
There is a fair amount of diversity among the French online dictionaries, which is good because everyone can find a dictionary suited to their needs. Apart from the bilingual dictionaries, at the fist stages of learning French you can certainly rely on such dictionaries as larousse.fr or even fr.wiktionary.org. More advanced learners could use Le Petit Robert or CNRTL.
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