French-English Dictionary???

Old Jul 10th, 2002, 04:31 PM
David McCahan
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French-English Dictionary???

I'm looking for a recommendation for a medium-sized French-English, English-French dictionary to take with me while traveling in France. The pocket-sized, of which I have three, are limited by their size in the number of words they can carry. The desk-size Larousse which I have is 40 years old and, although not too big, is clearly out-of-date. (It's 6" X 9" X 2 3/4".)

I'd like to find a comprehensive one which is lightweight and able to be found here in the US. Any suggestions?
Old Jul 10th, 2002, 04:39 PM
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David: I honestly don't know what different sizes are available, as I own only a humongous hardback one and a pocket-sized one that is only French-French, but I do love the Robert dictionaries. If they have a small, travel-sized French>English one, I'd recommend it.
Old Jul 10th, 2002, 04:57 PM
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I have a medium-size Berlitz one, which isn't too heavy, and it's pretty good.If you have a Berlitz school where you live they sell them there, or on the internet.
Old Jul 10th, 2002, 05:13 PM
T La
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HARRAP'S ENGLISH-FRENCH/FRENCH-ENGLISH MINI DICTIONARY is quite thorough and its tiny, so it can fit anywhere
Old Jul 10th, 2002, 05:34 PM
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i resently went to italy and i got the dorling kindersley travel guides italian phrase book. i was quite useful. i am leaving for france thurday and i picked up the dorling kindersley travel guides french book and i will test it usefulness there. it is nice and small with different phrases for different situations. good luck.
Old Jul 10th, 2002, 06:39 PM
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only a devil's advocate question:

given how hard L'Academie Francaise lobbies for purity in their language, how truly out of date would a 40 year old dictionary be?

I know, I know, there is slang, but still - you aren't moving there right? if you are just looking to get by for your vacation...
Old Jul 10th, 2002, 07:01 PM
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I want to make sure you are describing correctly what you are looking for. I have looked at dictionaries recently. These seem to be the current classifications:

Mini: 20,000 ~ 70,000 entries. I like Collins in this range, at upper end of this category.

Pocket: 60,000 ~ 100,000 entries. Pocket book size. I usually don't buy dictionary in this range.

Concise (upper limit of travel size, still bulky): 140,000 ~ 170,000 entries.

College: 200,000 ~ 350,000 entries. I like Larouse. Collins don't have enough entries.

Unabridged: 600,000+ entries. Never purchased one in this range.

Also, if you have a palm compatible PDA with 2.5MB or more available, you can get Collins version for $35 from for example HANDANGO. The number of entries look like between their mini and pocket size.
Old Jul 11th, 2002, 06:47 AM
David McCahan
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Excellent replies for which I thank you. The point about the language not moving forward in some years is a good one. Most new things in the French language may be related to computers and the like most of which could be deduced. Also, we are trying to enhance our understanding and use of the language so slang is important to us.

Greg's descriptions are the best way to define what I'm looking for. Pocket book size is the bare minimum I'm seeking. This is not something I plan to carry with me while I'm out during the day except in the car. We are constantly coming across words and signs during our travels that need definition. We write them down and look them up when we get back to where the book is.

On this trip we plan to spend a month in France: one week in a school near Lyon, two weeks in a cottage in Provence, and ten days in a flat in Paris. This means we have a fixed base and having a book with us is not a burden.

Based on Greg's descriptions, the college size seems to make sense to me. So, Larousse is probably it in that range unless someone has a better idea.
Old Jul 11th, 2002, 06:59 AM
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one of the best books to bring to france is the lonely planets food of france pocket guide it has all of the food translations that you will not find in a regular dictionary and it has other words its a regular english /french dictionary in one and a guide book with maps ect
Old Jul 11th, 2002, 09:23 AM
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I have Collins (pocket and mini), Harraps and a Larousse (mini and French-French) and always simply take my Collins or Larousse mini on trips for convenience. I think you are assuming those little minis have fewer words than the regular pocket size, but they don't, in my experience -- the type is just smaller. I have the identical Collins in a pocket-size and the mini and I have used both extensively and have never found a difference.

I think the Larousse has somewhat more argot and phrases than the Collins, if that's any help.
Old Jul 11th, 2002, 09:50 AM
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Barron's french at a glance is two books in one phrase book ,&dictionary, has travlers aids maps city guidwe rail and metro map travel food and shopping tips light weight third edition for $6.95 book is 6x 3 3/4inch
Old Jul 11th, 2002, 10:21 AM
David McCahan
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Being a man of action, I've just shopped and visited my local Barnes and Noble. I settled on the Larousse Concise version which claims 130,000 translations. However, the back cover says it has 100,000 words and phrases. Looks complete enough for my purposes and comes in paperback.

Re menus, I haven't found anything better than Marling's guides. We have them in French, German, and Spanish and they have proven themselves invaluable.

Thanks to all for your interest and suggestions.

Bon voyages...David
Old Jul 11th, 2002, 06:23 PM
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Hi David,

I'm a bit late in my response, but for anyone else who may be reading, my best advice is to visit a university bookstore. I was just looking at a relatively small one the other day and found no less than FIFTEEN small dictionaries that would fit your bill. The selection at nearly any college or university bookstore should probably be quite good.

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