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02/04/2003 Archived Entry: "C'est dommage...."

Those of us who use the Internet to prop up a floundering second language often find a treasure trove of places to visit. Alas, Dicos d'Or, a site which featured the fine art of the French dictation, is no more.  Dicos d'Or was much more than a dictation station--quizzes on French slang and wine terminology, interactive language games, all the right stuff for online language learning. The old address now directs us to http://www.lire.fr, a somewhat typical magazine-format site for book reviews. It contains what's left of the old Dicos d'Or--the results of the national dictation contest, as well as the text of the dictations, but no audio. Blah. I could reread my French textbook if that's what I was looking for.

Although http://www.ifrance.com declares "La dictée est la bête noire de chaque génération d'enfants," for us middle-aged academics, it's just a bit of afternoon fun. What's a faltering French major to do, jonesing for a good dictation?

Les dictées de Prof en ligne:
http://www.cssh.qc.ca/coll/profenligne/dictee.html

This site uses Real Audio, and has just seven dictations. The voice is clear and speaks slowly, though if you aren't accustomed to a Canadian French accent, you might be thrown off a bit. Your written dictation is sent by web form, apparently to a live person. I haven't heard how well I replicated the dictation on "les oiseaux migrateurs," but I can guess (C-, at best).

French in Action: http://www.mtholyoke.edu/lits/csit/lrc/fia/

Who can forget Mireille and Hubert, of the French in Action video series? Mt. Holyoke College has the complete PBS French in Action course online. This includes many dictations, as well as listening exercises, etc. You'll find a sparse index at the URL above.

Making this course publicly available probably violates copyright in a hundred different ways, so don't be surprised if it disappears. And, there's no interaction or way to check your answers.

After that, the well runs dry.  I did run across some software for creating French dictations, called DICTEST, by http://www.oneliner.be/. It looks like good software, but it's PC-only, so this MacAddict™ won't be downloading it. But, it's dirt cheap ($13.50, 15€), and links to a grammar database for automated correction. Please, someone, download it and create des dictées en ligne! (Or, at least tell me where I can find more.)


Replies: 3 comments

I haven't come across any dictations but maybe the civilisation francais site will be of interest

Fiona Lawtie

Posted by Fiona Lawtie @ 05/09/2003 11:18 AM PST


Sorry I forgot to write the web page address
http://www.cortland.edu/flteach/civ/Index.html.

Posted by Fiona Lawtie @ 05/09/2003 11:19 AM PST


Maggie, I too have been looking for some French online interactivities, and from a workshop I gave to our Romance Languages dept, you can see that there is some potential for some great voices, content, and activities:
http://international.ouc.bc.ca/movies/modlang/francais/
Alas, the two profs who did the recording show no interest in producing online content. Maybe some positive comments from your readers Maggie directly to them would spur them on to greater things.

Posted by Brian Rhodes @ 09/20/2003 11:39 AM PST


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