The TV5 monde multilingual dictionary is a feature of the Langue Française web site of the French language television network Tv5 Monde. It offers online access to a French-English and English-French dictionary, an online verb conjugator and other resources.
Type of Material:
Reference, online homework help, verb conjgation help
Identify Major Learning Goals:
Users will increase vocabulary and dictionary skills in French.
Target Student Population:
All students of French.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
No prequisite skills.
This straightforward tool will appeal to users who seek quick and efficient access to a responsive French dictionary. Not only are there adequate entries in both French and English, there is a substantive collection of related expressions, synonyms, homynyms and neologisms. Every word of each definition is also a hyperlink that leads the user to that word's definition. This is particularly useful to the user who wants to use the target language only in his word study. The verb conjugator will also be a welcome feature to students as they proofread and edit their work in French, particularly as they work online.
A simple search of the French word "gourmand" resulted in the definitions "qui aime la bonne chère; qui mange avec excès". At this point, a user could click on "bonne chère" to find out that the expression "faire bonne chère" means "bien manger", or eating well. In this search, the user not only learns the definition of the original search term, but a related expression as well.
The English /French dictionary is equally useful with hard to pinpoint expressions like "Board of Directors". A simple search of the word "board" revealed a paragraph of related administrative terms in French including "Conseil d'administration". The number of entries in the English/French dictionary under the word "money" is staggering.
Additionally, the dictionary has a good collection of colloquial terms and slang.
Keeping up with neologisms, particularly with technology terms, is an ongoing challenge for this and any dictionary. A search of the term "blog" brought up a definition with the French term "blogue" suggested for the anglicism. However the French term "blogue" was not found in the French dictionary. "Podcast" and "wiki" are not yet in the tv5 dictionary. In other domains,
one would expect to see terms such modern terms as "outsourcing" and "money laundering " defined in French.
The frequency of proper nouns is uneven. While the term "maghrébin" is defined as someone from the Maghreb region, "Maghreb" is not defined. "Madagascan" is in the dictionary, but "Madagascar" is not.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
This resource is best used by the self-directed learner for reference purposes. Faculty can also design a dictionary skill lesson, suggesting particular searches to their students and verifying results. One of the basic challenges in language classes, is the precise use of the target language. When students use French dictionaries as opposed to multilingual ones, they improve their vocabulary and reading comprehension in the target language. The ability to click quickly from definition to definition with this dictionary makes it a particularly supple tool. If the student remains in the French dictionary, s/he gets more immersion practice. On the other hand, when s/he must resort to translation, the English definition is a click away as well.
Beyond mere word retrieval, the user also has access to a number of word-related games accessible from the same page as the tv5 monde dictionary. Crosswords, sodoku and other word puzzles are all on the same page. The tv5 dictionary can surely be used with all of them for a more engaging way to drill vocabulary.
There are also links to online dictations from the master Bernard Pivot, and a set of self-correcting online quizzes with feedback. It is a real bonus to have all these resources grouped together.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The dictionary has a straightforward and uncomplicated interface that will be appreciated by the user. It focuses more on functionality than design. The dictionary eliminates the need for multiple reference texts and is easy to consult from anywhere where there is Internet access. The user who accesses it from a wireless connection in a cafe or airport will really appreciate this convenience.
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