The Cambridge French-English Thesaurus (Anglais) Broché – 11 décembre 1997
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com
Take, for example, words related to weather, which figure prominently in the writing of several favorite authors of mine. These are broken down into the subsets of weather and climate, weather conditions, rain, wind, fog and clouds, unusual phenomena, cold, and heat. In most instances there are literal English one-word equivalents, but as appropriate the Cambridge thesaurus presents full sentences and indications of which choices equal informal speech. Idiomatic uses are also presented at the end of subsections and are labeled as "locutions", i.e., "idioms." Thus, we have the following: "un coup de tonnerre dans un ciel serein," the French version of a 'bolt out of the blue." Even more figurative is "qu'il pleuve ou qu'il vente," which equates to "come hell or high water."
This one is pretty good, but weak in several areas (see below). I don't know of anything better, but it's only really useful in conjunction with both a good bilingual dictionary -- I highly recommend the Collins-Robert -- and a French dictionary of synonyms -- I've found Henri Benac, Dictionnaire des Synonymes, helpful.
-- It's not at all clear how its French vocabulary is chosen. Common words like "collegue", "essuie-tout", and "pote" are missing, while uncommon words like "branchage", "velleitaire", and "buraliste" are included. Also, common usages of words, e.g. "(c'est) exact" to mean "just so" are missing.
-- There are occasional articles contrasting near-synonyms, but in a work like this, there should be many more. This is where Benac is very useful.
-- The indexes are incomplete. For instance, "towel" only shows up under "bath towel".
-- Although it tries to show both American and British usage, it is clearly British-based, and is often missing the American term, or gives an unidiomatic one.
Having already a good grip on Spanish and a better grip on Brazilian Portuguese, I decided to attempt the French language. After buying many books and finding most of them disappointing at best, this one is a real treasure.
This book is useful for students at all levels. Master the material in this book, and you will be speaking pretty good French. My tutor agrees. It is up-to-date and very well organized. At $..., it is a steal.
A classroom is a terrible place to learn any language. I know people with degrees in Spanish, French, and Portuguese who cannot hold a conversation in their second language. What went wrong?
Here's my advice, if you will indulge me. If you really want to get started French, get yourself
1) The Barron's series of cassettes/discs and listen to them over and over. Talk back to them.
2) A few pocket dictionaries, placed strategically around your environment so that you will find yourself leafing through them. Same with a few pocket grammars.
3) Get the Dilbert translations from www.amazon.fr.
They are great fun, use a lot of slang, and have plenty of informal usages that you hear every day. Tin-Tin is fun too. Don't waste your time on literature! As a beginner, you need to hear/read CONTEMPORARY DIALOGUE. Comics are great for that.
4) Tune in to Radio France International ( RFI )...
5) Get the Cambridge Fr-Eng Thesaurus and carry it everywhere you go.
6) Get a private tutor - for conversation. You need to speak the language in order to learn it, and your first simian grunts will be so grating that you will need to pay someone to listen to them and correct them. Not cheap, but cheaper than spending year after year getting nowhere in a classroom. Pity my tutor, but that's what she's paid for. We are making fast progress.
7) Worry about perfecting your grammar later. Speak, speak, speak. Learn to communicate before you learn to perfect your communication. Go for quantity, not quality, at first. Travel.
8) Buy a spare copy of the Cambridge French-English Thesaurus in case you lose the first.
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