Resources for French Students

These are very brief descriptions and do not take into consideration the specific attributes of each resource; please stop by the Language Learning Center where our staff will be able to assist, or email us at

(* = on-campus specific tool) - This online dictionary will give you French-English translation or English-French translation. It will also conjugate any verb for you and has an online forum where you can look up or ask grammar questions. This dictionary is so helpful to have open while writing papers or reading assignments. There is a tab on WISE that links you to this site or you can go directly to: (

LE PETIT ROBERT: An online French dictionary, it defines words, provides synonyms, conjugates verbs in all tenses, and offers a comprehensive list of useful French phrases. Access Le Petit Robert on any computer connected to campus internet. For help on using Le Petit Robert, read our guide here.

Quizlet - Quizlet's flashcard function can help you study for tests and learn new words. And the best part is: you don’t have to spend all that time and paper writing them down! Create flashcards or search Quizlet’s flashcard database. You can practice them online or download them to your personal computer. Studying just got way easier.

*Le Correcteur - bilingual French-English dictionary that is available for use here in the studio. Link to product review here.

BBC French - A resource that aids with contextual vocabulary, including audio pronunciation, games, and videos.

RFI (Radio France International) - A website with audio and script of French News.

*Systeme D - Language software intended to expand students’ French vocabulary and grammar via comprehensive references and drills. This program combines the features of a word processor with databases of language reference material, a searchable dictionary, a verb conjugating reference, and audio recordings of vocabulary, and example sentences. Students will quickly learn to read, analyze, see word associations, and understand the link between language functions and linguistics structures in French. Link to virtual tour of product here.

Bon Patron - Bon Patron is an online text editing database that Willamette subscribes to. What does this mean, you ask? It means Bon Patron will edit your essays for you! Simply copy your writing into the text box, click “Vérifier le texte,” and Bon Patron will check your spelling and grammar. Trust us, it’s much better than Word spell check.

To use *Bon Patron Pro, go to: on any computer on campus. You can use the regular Bon Patron from your computer, but the LLC subscribed Willamette campus to a special Pro version with extra features. Taking even 10 minutes to check your paper, your grade will show the difference.

Check out the tutorial.

Tex’s French Grammar - A website with self-correcting grammar exercises, pronunciation audio and grammar tutorials.

Le Point du FLE - Provides rules and exerices in grammar and help with many forms of verb congugation.

Tutoring - Get essay help, ask grammar questions and practice your language skills with native French speakers! Click “Sign-up” on the left side of WISE to schedule an appointment with your language assistant.

Mixxer - Through Skype, you can be matched up with a native speaker, who is also interested in learning English. Don’t stress, you’re both sharing and learning!

French word processing in the LLC

The LLC at Willamette University, in the World Languages Studio of the first floor of Ford, is a mac lab with 18 macs, and 10 PC laptops.
Each computer also has Systéme D v.6.0, a writing assistance program for French.

Microsoft Word

PC Windows XP English (United States) Keyboard

1. Typing special characters: to type special characters in Microsoft Word, you must do it in two steps. The first step involves pressing the control key plus other keys simultaneously.

The second step is typing the letter you want. Here is a chart that explains how to type the
various characters:

á - control key + " , then a
à - control key + ~ , then a
â - control key + shift + 6 , then a
é - control key + " , then e
è - control key + %7e , then e
ê - control key + shift + 6 , then e
ë - control key + shift + ; , then e
ô - control key + shift + 6 , then o
æ - control key + shift + 7 , then a
ç - control key + < , then c

2. To use the proofreading tools to proofread in French, highlight the selection you want to proofread; then, go to the "Tools" menu up at the top, go to "Language," and click on "Set language. "Select" French (France)" from the dialog box that appears. Then click on "Spelling and Grammar" under the "Tools" menu to proofread the selection.

Macs, OSX English (United States) Keyboard

á, é, í, ó, ú: option + E + a, e, i, o, u
à, è, ì, ò, ù: option + ~ + a, e, i, o, u
ä, ë, ï, ö, ü: option + U + a, e, i, o, u
â, ê, î, ô, û: option + I + a, e, i, o, u
ç: option + c
Œ: option + q


(Mac OS 9 only)

  1. Click on the Apple in the top left of the screen.
  2. Single click "Keycaps". A little keyboard will appear on the desktop.
  3. Hold down the option key- the accents will apear.
  4. Single click the accent you want.
  5. Type the letter you want accented and it will appear in your document.


Use this website:

In lab study resources

Systemé D. L art de se debrouiller

Location: Systéme D can be found on the computers in the main WITS computer lab (Smullin 119), the Language Learning Center, and the Writing Center. It is currently only on PC computers. To Begin: Go to the Start Menu>Programs>French>click on Système D.

Once the program is opened go to "File" and click on "New" (Ctrl+N). A new file will open up.

What for: writing assistant software designed for beginners as well as for more advanced students. Offers pronunciation, grammar reference and vocabulary reference. Features reference to clusters of words on functional topics. This software offers easy access to accentuated letters without the use of the keyboard. Bilingual spell check is also included.

  1. Typing special characters: in Systéme D, there is a small tool bar where there are buttons for the special characters. If it is not open when you start up the program, go to the "View" menu and click on "Accent Tool Bar."
  2. Proofreading: in the editor tool bar located above the composition, there is a button
    with a red check mark on it. Click on the button to spellcheck your document.

Le Correcteur

Location: Le Correcteur can be found on the computers in the main WITS computer lab (Smullin 119), the Language Learning Center, and the Writing Center. It is currently only on PC computers. To Begin: Go to the Start Menu>Programs>French>click on Correcteur 101. Once the program is opened go to "File" and click on "New" (Ctrl+N).

A new file will open up.

What for: advanced writing assistant software, recommended for students in intermediate and upper level classes. Le Correcteur consists of a lexical assistant, a dictionary, a conjugate assistant and a grammar assistant.

If you are having technical difficulties, this is a good site to use for accents: - when you click the letter with the accent you want, it automatically copies it for you!