Faculty-recommended dictionaries and reference books:
Collins Robert French Unabridged Dictionary
Small, paperback French-English dictionaries and on-line dictionaries (WordReference.com) are adequate for basic information -- looking up the gender of a word, checking spelling, a quick translation -- but they will not be adequate for reading and writing in upper level classes. The Collins Robert French Unabridged Dictionary (French-English_ is one of the best available. A copy of this text can be found in the Language Resource Center, Meier 145.
Le Robert Micro: Dictionnaire de la Languge Française Edition Poche
Before you study abroad, consider ordering this pocket French-French dictionary. It's perhaps not small enough to fit in your poche but certainly of a size that will easily fit in your cartable! A copy of this text and other Le Robert pocket texts can be found in the Language Resource Center, Meier 145.
Bescherelle: La Conjugaison Pour Tous
If you want an excellent verb conjugation
reference book, look no further. This concise,
efficient yet thorough
guide outlines the conjugation of no fewer than 12,000 French verbs. A copy of this text can be found in the Language Resource Center, Meier 145.
Read a French alumni's description of how she uses writing in her job.
Guide de correction -- French professors use a common correction guide that students will want to become familiar with in their first Valpo French course.
A Vos Plumes -- From the French Writing Center at the University of Virginia, an extensive collection of practice exercises and other resources for students of French.
For the love of language
Larousse has published a series of books in a series called "Le Souffle des mots."
One of our favorites is La Nuance: Dictionnaire des subtilités du français. This text explores the nuance between pairs of words, for example the difference in auteur/écrivain, faim/appétit, sauvage/barbare, fragile/faible,
among many others. For each pair of words, the text explores in detail
the nuances of meaning that distinguish the words. Each entry also
includes numerous quotes from the French literary tradition,
illustrating the use of each word in a literary context. If you love
exploring vocabulary and appreciate precision of expression, you will
enjoy this read. A copy of this text can be found in the Language Resource Center, Meier 145.