My Rating: ★★★★★
Larousse’s pocket-sized French-English bilingual dictionary that I reviewed a few weeks ago is a reprint of the 1996 edition of Larousse French-English Dictionary and published in the USA by Simon and Schuster. I’ve also received Larousse Concise French-English Dictionary (publication dated August, 2011). The present 1440-page dictionary is more than twice the size of the pocket edition and it has 260,000 words, expressions and translations. Although it is larger than the pocket version, it is just of the right dimension and weight for you to handle easily while looking up a word or to carry it from one room of your house to the other.
The increase in size also means an increase of scope and treatment of the headwords. According to the publisher, Larousse Concise French-English Dictionary is meant for those users who have “moved beyond beginner’s level” but are “not intending to pursue French at an academic level”. There is an extensive and up-to-date coverage of general and professional French in the dictionary which makes it an ideal companion not only for the readers of French newspapers, magazines and fiction, but it will also help those who struggle to understand words that occur in publications such as trade literature, brochures and manuals. The dictionary also covers many historical and geographical terms as well as latest abbreviations and acronyms.
Each headword is followed by its pronunciation explained with the help of phonetic transcription, parts of speech, French or English equivalents or translations as the case may be. The entries also include references to verb tables where applicable, idioms or compounds in which the headword is a component, grammatical notes, alternative spellings, set phrases, nuances of translations and usage notes that will help the reader to learn how to express himself in particular situations. Regional varieties of French (e.g. Québec), British and American variants in English have also been incorporated. The most interesting feature of the dictionary is “boxed notes” on culture and society. These are used to define in detail words such as ‘Senate’, for example. The dictionary also warns you about the ‘faux amis’ (false friends). Two examples:
Résumer means to sum up, not to resume.
Rétribution means payment, not retribution.
The section in the middle of the dictionary, between the French and the English headword sections, contains almost 100 pages with exhaustive notes on English grammar, English irregular verbs, French verb tables and detailed explanation on how to write letters including examples of personal and official correspondences and a guide to writing CVs in both the languages.
Thus, in this Concise French-English Dictionary Larousse has stood up to its tradition of providing the learners and readers of both French and English with a delightfully convenient practical tool. It will prove to be an ideal equipment for the purpose of both communication and language learning for anyone other than the specialists like academicians and translators. If you need a handy guide to look up unknown words or unfamiliar expressions on a daily basis, Larousse’s French-English Concise Dictionary is one of the best that is available. Larousse’s French-English Concise Dictionary is priced at US $13.95 and you will, almost certainly, get your money’s worth. Highly recommended.
[Larousse Concise French-English/English-French Dictionary (English and French Edition); Larousse; France]