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Old 06-25-2012, 12:59 PM   #1
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Best eBook reader for reading French (English speaker learning French)

Hi,

I've currently got a Kindle keyboard and I've found it fine for reading everything in English, but I'm currently trying to improve my French and find it impossible to read in French using my Kindle without having to lug out my giant French dictionary in order to look up multiple words per page. I've tried installing multiple French dictionaries, but the Kindle can't even deal with basic things like articles before words, not mind say conjugations of verbs...

I was wondering if anyone could recommend an eBook reader with an excellent French-English dictionary (possibly French-French dictionary too), which is able to recognise the vast vast majority of words, as well as conjugations of verbs and possibly phrases too. From doing some searching, the Sony readers seem the best equipped to deal with this, although I'm unsure if they can deal with conjugations/phrases.

I'm not entirely closed to getting a tablet either, if it has the ability to look-up words using wordreference/Google translate without having to change apps, but obviously I'd rather avoid the cost/lack of e-ink downfalls...

Any help would be much appreciated!
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Old 06-25-2012, 01:28 PM   #2
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I like my Sony T1, my mother tongue is French but I find it useful to have a good dictionary. It won't conjugate your verbs however and won't really help with gender except superficially.
I also have a tablet (2 actually) and use Aldiko as reading app, it opens google directly in the app. A good predictive keyboard can also be useful if you are writing, I use SwIftkey on the tablets.

Last edited by Cdesja5; 06-25-2012 at 01:31 PM.
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Old 06-25-2012, 03:49 PM   #3
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My iPad has been the best for this. I have found the same issues as you with the Kindle (it does not recognize conjugations) but there is an app called FrenchReader on the iPad that is great. You can highlight a word, or even a phrase, and then tap to translate. It does use Google Translate so you require a live internet connection. That doesn't always work for me. But I can limit my French reading time to times when I do have a live connection, so that is not a deal-breaker. I had the iPad already as well; I am not sure I would buy one just for that.
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Old 06-26-2012, 11:56 AM   #4
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Yeah, that sort of thing on the iPad would be very useful, but iPads are a bit too expensive just for ebook reading…

Just to clarify, I'm not looking for the ebook reader to conjugate verbs, just to recognise the conguations, for example, J'ai fait, je fis, je fais, je ferai – just tell me they all come from the verb 'faire' and what the english equivalent of 'faire' is....

Thanks for the responses so far!
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Old 06-28-2012, 10:38 AM   #5
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The built-in dictionary of the Kindle will do that. It just won't tell you that je farai is the future, j'ai fait is the past and so on.

On my old e-ink Kindle, I was able to download (I think I paid for it) a French-English translation dictionary. But it meant that if I wanted to use an English dictionary later, I had to manually change it back. The system recognized it as an English dictionary and not a French one so it did not automatically use it when I read French books.

If all you want it ferai=to do then you can do that with an e-ink Kindle.
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Old 06-28-2012, 11:13 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by ficbot View Post
The built-in dictionary of the Kindle will do that. It just won't tell you that je farai is the future, j'ai fait is the past and so on.

On my old e-ink Kindle, I was able to download (I think I paid for it) a French-English translation dictionary. But it meant that if I wanted to use an English dictionary later, I had to manually change it back. The system recognized it as an English dictionary and not a French one so it did not automatically use it when I read French books.

If all you want it ferai=to do then you can do that with an e-ink Kindle.
I believe, though, that the issue with the Kindle's French dictionary is that it can't cope with words with articles. It will translate "eau" as "water", but it can't handle "l'eau". That severely restricts its usefulness, because the user has no control over which parts of the word are selected when looking up a word in the dictionary.
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Old 07-02-2012, 04:15 PM   #7
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for the article it was true - and ugly, it isn't anymore since 5.1 firmware. I tested it.
I got a french-french dictionary and a french-english one's.
Both work allr ight event with words with '
i even manage to have my kindle speak english and french (one voice male, one voice female)
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Old 07-02-2012, 04:18 PM   #8
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Excellent - delighted to hear that they've resolved that issue.
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Old 07-05-2012, 01:00 PM   #9
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Oh...that sounds promising. Can anyone point me to how to get the proper French dictionary for Kindle so I can see it'll work properly for me? Thanks!
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:10 PM   #10
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Recently, the Harry Potter novels in French showed up in my local library's collection, and I borrowed the first one to see how well my high school French has held up. I was delighted to find that my Kobo Touch already had a French dictionary, and "translate" was as simple as any other dictionary look up. I was especially pleased that the dictionary it's using (I think Merriam Webster French-to-English) included a lot of common phrases, which was quite helpful. While I did have to look up several words per page, I'll blame my high school classes: words like "wizard" and "wand" were never on our vocabulary lists.

I really enjoyed the experience, as the last time I read a French book, I was lugging around the print book and the dictionary on the bus. Kind of awkward to read, if I was unable to find a seat.
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Old 07-16-2012, 05:40 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by eVeNtInE View Post
Oh...that sounds promising. Can anyone point me to how to get the proper French dictionary for Kindle so I can see it'll work properly for me? Thanks!
The installation procedure is slighly different for each Kindle reader, but you can test the free monolingual French dictionary with the free Kindle app:
  1. Install the Kindle app, download a free French book or side-load one by copying it to the My Kindle Content folder.
  2. Open the French ebook with the Kindle app and select a word. The Kindle app will automatically download the French dictionary.
  3. If it doesn't, select the French dictionary from the popup menu to trigger the download.
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Old 07-20-2012, 10:28 AM   #12
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Ah thank you for that, I've got it working, but it's still unable to define words with an article directly in front of them (eg: l'avenir), but it's the best I've gotten so far, so thanks.
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Old 07-27-2012, 01:04 AM   #13
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perharps it will work if you try french as your kindle language. In setup.

and if you have the language of your book set to french.

It works perfectly for me with this settings.
It even downloaded the dictionary right on the kindle.
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Old 08-24-2012, 04:25 AM   #14
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The Sony T1 is pretty decent for French (and German, Spanish, Italian and Dutch) and I got it for that reason.

It does conjugated words as well as articles (l'existence, d'être, j'aurais, c'est). It's not perfect, in a few tests, it fails c'était, quelqu'un (defines quelque), dis-je and s'exclama-t-elle (likely all verbs like that don't work). But from my usage, it's found most things. It uses the Hachette dictionary which seems alright but a larger dictionary would be nicer.

From what other people have reported the new T2 has the same dictionaries in Europe but in the US it has fewer. Worth checking out and trying out in a store once they get 'em.

Last edited by democrite; 08-24-2012 at 04:29 AM.
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