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I was curious about resources (in particular free internet resources) that other people use on this site to research their answers to French usage/grammar questions. I am primarily interested in reputable references beyond what a basic Google search could yield.

I found these (several are overlapping in scope):

For frequency of usage of words, expressions in books:

This one is the "ultimate" for usage, but it is not free. There is an online version too:

This is one that all students in France know about, mostly for conjugations, but it now covers orthography and grammar too:

This one is a free resource geared towards learning French, containing exercises, dictionaries, conjugation tools and more:

A list of words that can be used for computer processing:

A "lexique" with some statistical data:

Scanned dictionaries, including old ones:

The Bibliothèque Nationale de France contains old dictionaries, grammars, and of course a lot of books. Many are accessible online.

What other similar resources exist out there? In particular, I am interested in resources/data about the frequency of usage of words, expressions, etc. in France.

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  • @Catomic - thanks - I'll add some of your links to my post so it's easily visible for people coming to this page. – Frank Jan 18 '17 at 17:05
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    Is it possible to make wiki posts on French SE ? This one could be a good subject. – Teleporting Goat Jan 18 '17 at 19:18
  • @TeleportingGoat - please upvote if you like the question :-) – Frank Jan 18 '17 at 19:50
  • @Frank: french pupils uses bescherelle in schools for more than 40 years. L’un de ces livres contient d’ailleurs tout les verbes conjugués de la lange française. Tout les écoliers on un jour utilisé ce dernier. – user2284570 Jan 18 '17 at 23:13
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Great idea !

I think you have absolutely to add https://www.projet-voltaire.fr/

As a french, I personally used it when I have doubt

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    Legit and useful - adding it :-) – Frank Jan 18 '17 at 19:51
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    I think Frank should refrain from adding this private (for profit) resource to his list. – GAM PUB Jan 20 '17 at 17:46
  • After reading your comment, I would said that's wrong because Projet Voltaire had some blog article that talk about somes common mistakes as " ça / ca / sa " or " à / a " and more exemples, but I searched those articles and they seem to not exist anymore, so if you want to delete this ressource, I will be totally agree. You can replace it with francaisfacile.com – shudent Jan 20 '17 at 18:30
  • Hmmm - yeah, if it's for profit, it's not too great. I'll probably replace with francaisfacile.com then. Thanks for letting me know. – Frank Jan 20 '17 at 18:52
  • As a french? I think private here is no good. – Lambie Jan 20 '17 at 20:32
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I use a number of the resources you listed as well, perhaps most often Linguee.

I'm sure you're aware of this because of its prominence on Google searches, but my personal list also includes WordReference. It has a few very helpful features, including easily disambiguated definitions that differ by part of speech, precise sense, formality level, etc., as well as frequent collocations. Most entries also include a link to one or more forum posts at the bottom where people of varying closeness to the language offer their opinions on grammar and usage questions. It also includes the Collins dictionary, pronunciation, and conjugation ready to hand. One of the weak points in its reliability is its example sentences, though. Since you mentioned that you're looking for resources that deal with usage in particular, the number of WR forum posts about a given entry can be a good indicator, in my experience, for estimating the appropriateness of a particular term, and perusing a few threads and taking the average opinion in them can help balance out any one site's analysis of a question.

Of course, the principle of taking large samples from a wide variety of sources and gleaning any consistencies you can find after cancelling out the nonsense applies no matter the resource. :)

I'm not sure if you have to deal with technological subjects in your French usage, but I also find Microsoft's bidirectional Language Portal a handy reference for frequent computer terms. They have a bunch of variations of each term listed by program.

  • I have added WordReference. – Frank Feb 3 '17 at 3:29
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La nouvelle version du DVLF vient de sortir : https://dvlf.uchicago.edu

Voici l'annonce qu'a fait l'équipe :

The ARTFL Project at the University of Chicago is delighted to announce the release of version 2.0 of the Dictionnaire Vivant de la Langue Française (DVLF). The DVLF is an experiment in French community lexicography. While the DVLF offers many traditional lexicographical resources, including definitions from several historical French dictionaries, it also allows users to add words, definitions, usage examples, and other types of information to the site. Additionally, the DVLF features a tool that provides users the opportunity to vote on the perceived quality of example sentences taken from the project's corpus and, in the process, rank the examples in real time.

The new version of the DVLF offers a much improved service with faster performance, new collocation and associated words data, expanded examples, and a new responsive web UI. We invite you to visit the site, and we welcome your feedback at dvlf@artfl.uchicago.edu.

Thank you,

The DVLF Development Team (Tim Allen, Charles Cooney, Clovis Gladstone) and ARTFL (Dir. Robert Morrissey, Asst. Dir. Mark Olsen)

Je n'ai pas trop utilisé cette ressource, mais après avoir fait un premier essai je crois qu'elle sera utile.

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