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What this seminar will cover. Important factors to bear in mind when choosing a bilingual dictionary How to use the dictionary navigation tools to get to the right answer quickly and efficiently Abbreviations and symbols used in the dictionary How the dictionary can help you with:

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What this seminar will cover

  • Important factors to bear in mind when choosing a bilingual dictionary

  • How to use the dictionary navigation tools to get to the right answer quickly and efficiently

  • Abbreviations and symbols used in the dictionary

  • How the dictionary can help you with:

  • How the dictionary can help you with verbs:

  • Avoiding mistakes

  • Extra features

  • irregular plurals

  • gender

  • idioms

  • word order

  • subjunctive

  • tense, subject and object

  • transitive and intransitive verbs

  • reflexive, impersonal, and phrasal verbs

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© Oxford University Press 2005


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What any good dictionary should offer

  • Range of vocabulary

  • Up-to-date vocabulary

  • Ease of use

  • Clarity of design

  • Clear entry structure

  • Large number of examples

  • Pointers towards the right translation

  • Help with forming sentences in French

  • Sample letters and CVs, verb tables, and other helpful material

  • And – only with the Oxford-Hachette French Dictionary – a free pronunciation CD-ROM that lets you type in any French word, phrase, or sentence and hear it spoken back so you can practise speaking French for presentations or exams

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What your dictionary can help you with

son/sa/ses?

warning that téléphoneris followed by à in this context?

examples using let in the perfect tense?

register?

His dad didn’t let me phone my friend Sarah.

finding let =allow quickly?

examples showing let + another verb in infinitive?

mon/ma/mes?

Son père ne m’a pas laissé téléphoner à mon amie Sarah.

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Navigating the dictionary

  • French-English section first, then English-French

  • grey-edged section in the middle separates the two sides

  • printed thumb tabs on the outside margin of every page show which letter appears on that page

  • ‘running heads’ at the top of the page show the first and last words on that page

NB: All this applies to the Oxford-Hachette French Dictionary.

Other dictionaries may have different conventions.

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The sequence of grammatical categories

  • French – English

  • Either:

  • Adjective

  • Noun

  • Adverb

    Or:

  • Transitive verb

  • Intransitive verb

  • Reflexive verb

  • Impersonal verb

    Then:

  • Compounds

  • Idioms

  • English – French

  • Noun

  • Adjective

  • Adverb

  • Verb

  • Idioms

  • Phrasal verbs (e.g. pull in, drop off)

Start

Programs

Microsoft Word

NB: All this applies to the Oxford-Hachette French Dictionary.

Other dictionaries may have different conventions.

Document

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register

Informal

very informal

vulgar or taboo

Navigating an English-French entry (I)

headword

phonetics

noun translations given with gender

meaning signpostsin parentheses

grammaticalcategories

contextualizations in square brackets

senses within grammaticalcategories

contextualization

after verb = object

contextualization

before verb = subject

swung dash replaces headword

phrasal verbs at end of entry

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© Oxford Hachette Dictionary 3rd edition 0-19-860363-0

© Oxford University Press 2005


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Navigating an English-French entry (II)

a kindly face

kindly: adjective

or adverb?

narrow the

meaning by

using context

un visage sympathique

Elle a souri avec gentillesse

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© Oxford Hachette Dictionary 3rd edition 0-19-860363-0

© Oxford University Press 2005


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Navigating a French-English entry

nouns are listed with their gender

links to verb tables at back of dictionary

warnings of translation traps

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Common Grammatical Categories

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Grammatical Categories Exercise

Match these words with the correct part of speech

crabe

bleuâtre

parfaitement

remarqué

bagages

se lever

ou

sur

vpr

prep

nm

pp

conj

adj

adv

mpl

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Swung Dash (or Tilde) ~ and Hyphen -

The swung dash stands for the whole headword so the ending is added:

destitute

les ~sthe destitute, the poor

The hyphen indicates the feminine ending replaces the masculine one:

un mouvement gracieux, une danse gracieuse

Subject Field Labels

Zool = Zoological

Equit = Équitation

  • Check the list of subject field labels in the abbreviations list inside the front cover of the dictionary to see whether it covers areas you are interested in

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Regional Usage

GB = British usage US = American usage

Can = Canadian usage Aus = Australian usage

Helv = Swiss usage Belg = Belgian usage

Ir = Irish usage Scot = Scottish usage

Register

péj, pej = pejorative informal

lit = literal very informal

fig = figurative vulgar or taboo

hum = humorous

pejorative = contempt or disapproval

figurative = metaphorical

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Sentence patterns

sb (somebody) qn (quelqu’un)

sth (something) qch (quelque chose)

shows pattern:

permettre à qn de faire qch = to allow sb to do sth

verb + à + person + de + verb + thing

Ils permettent à leurs enfants d’aller en ville.

They allow their children to go into town.

à qn shows you must use à with the person

montrer qch à qn= to show sth to sb

shows pattern:

  • verb + thing + à + person

  • I showed Pete my new phone.

  • J’ai montré mon nouveau portable à Pete.

  • qch à qn shows:

  • The thing must come before the person in French

  • You must use à with the person

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Phonetics

des hôtels des haricots

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Irregular Plurals

lice

lice =poux

Cross-checking is particularly useful for adjectives ending in –al:

plural is géniaux

plural is bancals

And for hyphenated words:

plural is bandes-annonces

plural is bandes-son

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Gender

1

2

3

4

8

5

6

7

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Idioms

Idiom= a saying whose meaning has evolved so that it is now different from the original literal meaning of the key words within it.

It was a difficult decision for Carol, and it was a long time before she could bring herselfto grasp the nettle.

Louis peut sortir s’il veut; moi, j’ai d’autres chats à fouetter.

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Word Order

shows construction where word order changes:

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Expressions requiring the subjunctive

warning note:

shows when subjunctive is required:

note use of subjunctive:

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Verb Basics

Types of verbs:

  • Transitive and Intransitive

  • Reflexive

  • Impersonal

  • English phrasal verbs

  • Verb tables

  • Verb complementation

Other help with verbs:

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Quick refresher on grammatical verb terms (I)

  • Tense = present, future, past, conditional, imperfect etc.

  • Subject = the noun or pronoun that causes the action of the verb

    • Gertrudeloves Eric = Gertrude aime Eric

    • The dog ate the meat =Le chien a mangé la viande

  • Object= the word or group of words which is affected by the action indicated by the verb

    • Gertrude loves Eric = Gertrude aime Eric

    • The dog ate the meat = Le chien a mangé la viande

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Quick refresher on grammatical verb terms (II)

  • Objects can be further divided into direct and indirect objects:

  • Direct object = the noun or pronoun directly affected by the verb

    - Gertrude aime Eric = Gertrude loves Eric

    - Gertrude l’aime = Gertrude loves him

    - Le chien a mangé la viande = The dog ate the meat

    - Le chien l’a mangée = The dog ate it

  • Indirect object = the noun or pronoun indirectly affected by the verb. In English, indirect objects are usually preceded by a preposition (from, to, at, etc.)

    - Gertrude parle à Eric = Gertrude speaks to Eric

    - Gertrude lui parle = Gertrude speaks to him (or to her)

    - Eric sourit à Gertrude = Eric smiles at Gertrude

    - Eric lui sourit = Eric smiles at her

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Transitive and Intransitive Verbs (I)

Transitive verbs = vtr (verbe transitif ) = verbs used with direct object

  • I wrote the letter = J’ai écrit la lettre

  • Gertrude loves Eric and Wilhelmina= Gertrude aime Eric et Wilhelmina

  • She loves them = Elle les aime

    Intransitive verbs = vi (verbe intransitif ) = verbs that do not have an object

  • He died yesterday = Il est mort hier

  • She ran very fast = Elle a couru très vite

  • Eric and Wilhelmina left yesterday = Eric et Wilhelmina sont partis hier

  • Transitive verbs do something to the object that follows them.

  • Intransitive verbs stand on their own without an object following them.

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Transitive and Intransitive Verbs (II)

  • The same verb can be used both transitively and intransitively:

  • sortir

    - Elle a sortison deuxième album=She brought out her secondalbum = transitive use (son deuxième album = direct object)

    - Elle est sortie =She went out = intransitive use (no object)

  • rentrer

    - Il a rentré la voiture =He brought the car in = transitive use (la voiture = direct object)

    - Il est rentré =He came back = intransitive use (no object)

  • scatter

    - He scattered his papers = transitive use (his papers = direct object)

    - The birds scattered = intransitive use (no object)

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Transitive and Intransitive Verbs Exercise

éparpiller: Il a éparpillé ses vêtements

transitive (vtr) and intransitive (vi)

se disperser: les oiseaux se sont dispersés

dispersés takes an extra -e

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Reflexive Verbs (I)

  • English-French: v refl = reflexive verb

  • French-English: vpr = verbe pronominal

  • Reflexive verbs are verbs whose subject is the same as their object. They describe what you do to yourself. They are conjugated with être.

  • Reflexive verbs are used with an extra pronoun, called a ‘reflexive pronoun’: myself, yourself, yourselves, themselves, etc / me, te, se etc

    - Je me lève = I get up

    - Puisje me lave et je me brosse les dents = I wash myself and brush my teeth (literally = brush to myself the teeth)

  • The same verb can be used reflexively and not reflexively:

    - Elle a ouvert la porte = She opened the door

    - La porte s’est ouverte = The door opened

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Reflexive Verbs (II)

  • Remember: just because a verb is reflexive in the source language, it doesn’t mean it’s reflexive in the target language. None of the examples in this table is translated by a reflexive verb in English.

  • A reflexive verb table showing a model verb, s’adonner, is on p 1925 at the back of the Oxford-Hachette French Dictionary.

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Phrasal verbs

Impersonal Verbs

  • Impersonal verbs = v impers throughout the dictionary

  • Impersonal verbs use the impersonal pronoun it or il:

    • Il faut que tu sois prêt = You must/It is necessary that you be ready

    • Il pleut = It is raining

  • Falloirand neiger are the only verbs that only ever take il

    English Phrasal Verbs

  • Phrasal verbs are at the end of the entry, marked

  • verb + preposition or adverb e.g. run away

  • Other examples:give up, take off, let down

  • There are no phrasal verbs in French

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Verb Tables

Verbs are listed at their infinitive form:

we went to Italy  look up the infinitive go

they bought a DVD  look up the infinitive buy

elles veulent partir  look up the infinitive vouloir

j’aimis la table  look up the infinitive mettre

je me suis trompé look up the infinitive tromper

il s’agit de ta santé  look up the infinitive agir

check against verb table 57 at the back

Wellington defeated Napoleon

past participle

Wellington a vaincu Napoléon

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Verb Complementation (I)

= the range of structures that can be used after any given verb

  • There are many different patterns of verb complementation in French, e.g.:

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Verb Complementation (II)

She allowed Matt to go out

permettre à qn de faire qch = to allow sb to do sth

Elle a permis à Matt de sortir

She wanted him to leave

to want sb to do = vouloir que qn fasse

Elle voulait qu’il parte

  • The dictionary entry gives you information on all these constructions.

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Adapting examples

Nouns:

  • may have irregular plurals

  • may require modifications to determiners or possessive adjectives (e.g. mon ► ma or mes)

  • feminine nouns may require accompanying adjectives to add -e

  • if you refer back to feminine nouns in a following sentence, the pronoun will be elle/elles or la/les

    Verbs:

  • need to be in the correct form, unless the sentence uses the infinitive

  • need the appropriate reflexive pronoun, if they are reflexive (e.g. nousnousmoquons de lui)

  • need to use the right structures (e.g. permettre à qn de faire qch)

Careful! Sometimes you may need to adapt a given translation

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Cross-checking

Cross-checking on the other side of the dictionary helps when:

  • a French word has several meanings

  • you are unsure which French translation to choose

  • you don’t know if the French word you know can be used in a certain context

  • you want to check the plural or feminine form

  • you want to know how to conjugate the verb

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What else can a good dictionary offer you?

Information about life and culture

Thematic boxes explaining grammatical points and giving extra vocabulary, cross-referenced from the headword

Correspondence – letters, CVs, emails, and linking vocabulary useful for essays

French verb tables

1

2

3

Letter openings

The standard opening greeting for personal correspondence is

Cher/Chère

in other words

In other words, we must be wary of hasty judgments. Autant dire qu’il faut se méfier de jugements hâtifs.

4

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© Oxford Hachette Dictionary 3rd edition 0-19-860363-0

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Review (I)

  • Important factors to bear in mind when choosing a bilingual dictionary

  • Navigating through an entry – English-French, then French-English

  • Explaining abbreviations and symbols:

  • How the dictionary can help you with:

  • common grammatical categories

  • swung dash (or tilde) and hyphen

  • subject field labels

  • regional labels

  • register labels

  • sb, sth, qn, and qch

  • phonetics

  • irregular plurals

  • gender

  • idioms

  • word order

  • subjunctive

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Review (II)

  • How the dictionary can help you with verbs:

  • Avoiding mistakes:

  • Extra features

  • tense, subject, and object

  • direct and indirect objects

  • transitive and intransitive verbs

  • reflexive verbs

  • impersonal verbs

  • phrasal verbs

  • verb tables

  • verb complementation

  • adapting examples

  • cross-checking

Questions

A chance to discuss any ideas or points raised in the seminar

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