vendredi 2 mars 2012

Learning French: WordReference dictionary gets a new look

Today I noticed that one of my favourite online dictionaries,, has had a makeover.  

Gone is the jarring orange colour although it does remain incorporated into the icon associated with the site. I am not a typography expert but the font seems much crisper and clearer. I wish I had a copy of the screens previously to be able to determine the other changes. So far I have only detected cosmetic changes. I can't discern any changes in terms of features or content.

The user forums allow registered users (registration is free) to both ask and respond to questions. This is both an advantage and disadvantage of the site as doubts or questions posted can be answered by anyone regardless of their expertise in the topic. For me, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. I can ask questions if the examples don't cover my context and I can locate previously posted questions and responses that relate to my translation query. The context is usually provided so I can make a much more informed choice about the word that I want to select or the appropriate meaning.

In addition to the bilingual dictionaries and forums other features include:

  • Concise Oxford English Dictionary;
  • WordReference Thesaurus;  
  • Context search;
  • Image search;
  • Verb conjugators;
  • Chrome and Firefox shortcuts;
  • Mobile apps for iPhone and Android.
I use the Android 'application' extensively. I am not sure though that it really qualifies as an application as such given that it requires a connection to the Internet and appears to be just an interface to the online version of WordReference. Nevertheless it remains firmly planted on my screen for ready access.

Other bilingual dictionaries apart from French-English are available. If you are learning other languages checkIf you haven't used WordReference before, or if you haven't been back for a while, it is time to have a look.

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