Kernerman Dictionary News • Number 12 • July 2004

Dictionnaire du français usuel:

an innovative French learner’s dictionary


Dictionnaire du français usuel (DFU) is intended explicitely for learners of French. It was designed as an aid to vocabulary-related tasks, to help learners familiarize themselves with new words within a well-structured context. The dictionary is available both in print and in personal and network CD-ROM versions.

DFU contains 442 highly structured articles, which are built around extremely common entry words. Within the articles are described and explained some 15,000 non-specialized words, meant to enable the users to express themselves with ease, both in speech and in writing. Thus, DFU may be classed as a dictionary for production.

Developing this unique lexicographical structure was motivated by two main objectives: first, to develop the learner’s vocabulary through the use of semantic networks, moving from what is already known towards new material, from highly frequent words to moderately frequent ones; second, to encourage the search for the right word by making comparisons with near-synonyms, antonyms, and the like.

The dictionary allows for words and their meanings to be explored in three major ways:

(1) through semantic networks;

(2) through themes;

(3) through the word index.

The words are shown in simple examples that illustrate their various usages, following an order and structure that highlight and clarify each meaning as well as the lexical relationships to the entry words and to other words in the dictionary’s lexical network.

One of the innovations of DFU is that various entries include two or three “star” words, for example SAVOIR and CONNAITRE [to know] or FILS, FILLE and GAR
ÇON [a son, daughter, girl, boy].

The dictionary articles provide subjects for writing assignments and their necessary vocabulary. The structure of the articles also makes it easy for learners to prepare for text analysis by having them start with a main idea, choose a theme and then read the related articles.

This unique concept gives teachers of French all the latitude they need to help their students expand their vocabulary within a helpful and well-designed framework.

Although based on strong linguistic foundations, DFU avoids the use of complex terminology whenever possible and steers clear of any linguistic jargon in order to maximize its user-friendliness. The vocabulary targeted literally opens the door to nineteenth and twentieth century French literature. However, the words are presented in present-day easy to understand examples.

The result
is a uniquely conceived language learning tool, featuring a well-developed structure and innovative design.


Dictionnaire du français
· 15000 mots utiles en 442 articles

Jacqueline Picoche et Jean-Claude Rolland

Bruxelles, Duculot-De Boeck. 2002. 1064 pp.

Versions papier, cédérom (PC, Mac et en réseau)

ISBN livre 2-8011-1266-6 cédérom 2-8011-1295-X

(featuring the preface, methodological principles, sample entries, etc)


sample entry page CONSEIL p.188


K Dictionaries Ltd
10 Nahum Street, Tel Aviv 63503 Israel
tel: 972-3-5468102 • fax: 972-3-5468103