French Language

If you're not sure where to start your research this guide will point you to some of the best starting points. Don't forget, you can always get in touch directly with any questions you may have. 

Language Dictionaries (a small selection)

  • Le Petit Robert For students enrolled in French classes. You must get the login and password from the French Dept or contact Research Support Services in the Library
  • Word Reference Includes English-French/French English dictionaries as well as a user forum where you can ask questions
  • Larousse French Dictionaries includes a general dictionary with explanatory notes to help you avoid common linguistic errors, a
    dictionary of synonyms and antonyms, dictionary of idioms and expressions, dictionary of homonyms, dictionary of quotations, verb tables, and a number of bilingual dictionaries.
  • Le grand dictionnaire terminologique: The Quebec government official terminology dictionary. Good for finding the proper word for business, government, professions...
  • Termium Plus: similar to above, it is the Canadian government's official dictionary including terms in English, French, and Spanish
  • Trésor de la langue française informatisé (TLFi): the online version of a French historical and etymological dictionary (16 volumes) covering the 19th and 20th centuries. The project ceased in 1994 but the dictionary is still available.

If you want a print dictionary you can borrow for your use, head up to the 3rd floor and browse these call number areas:
(NOTE: even if it is stamped "for reference only" you may borrow it)

  • PC2625 : For French only dictionaries
  • PC2640: For French- English dictionaries
  • PC3637-3643: For Quebec/Canadian French dictionaries



Batchelor, R.E. & Chebli-Saadi, M. (2011). A reference grammar of French
Call Number: PC2112.B356 2011 see availability
(for more detailed linguistic study of the language)

Grevisse, M. & Goosse, A. (2008). Le bon usage: grammaire française
Call Number PC2112.G65 2008 see availability
(older editions also available)

Heminway, A. (2007). Complete French grammar

L'Huillier, M. (1999). Advanced French grammar
Floor 3, PC2112.L485 see availability

Lang, M. & Perez, I. (2004). Modern French grammar: a practical guide

Perramond, D. B. (1997). Composition et grammaire de texte

Other Linguistics

Fagyal, Z. (2006). French: a linguistic introduction
Call Number PC2073.F34 2006 see availability

Gess, R. , Lyche, C., & Meisenburg, T. (2012). Phonological variation in French: illustrations from three continents
Call Number: PC2131.P47 2012, see availability

Huot, H. (2012). La morphologie: forme et sens des mots français
Call Number: PC2171.H957 2012 see availability

Rowlett, P. (2007). The syntax of French
Call  Number: PC2361.R69 2007 see availability

Walker, D.C. (2001). French sound structure
Also available in print, Call Number: PC2135.W28 2001, see availability




General Search tips:

  • Note that even if you limit your search to books or articles published in French often the Subject Headings, abstracts etc will be in English
  • This means that if you want to make sure you don't miss a good source, you can try both French and English keywords.
  • You can combine this into all one search, or do separate searches using English keywords and then another using the equivalent French keywords
    Example: psycholog*  [ the * is used as a wildcard: this search will find all of the following forms psychology, psychologie, psychologique, psychological...
    Example: music OR musique
  • In general, don't worry about diacritics (accents), these are usually ignored in searches. 

Finding Books:

  • Omni : the one-search box on the Library's home page. Look for a specific title, or use keywords to find books on a topic. Use the filters on the results page to refine your search results. For example you can limit to books (content filter) that are written in French (language filter)
  • University of Ottawa library: as a larger and bilingual university the U of O collection in French is much bigger than ours. You can borrow books from them using your Carleton Campus Card. Their E-books can be accessed on site at U of O only. 
  • WorldCat is a database that lets you search the collections of thousands of libraries around the world: if a book exists, it's likely you can find it here. 

Free Full-Text E-book Collections:

There are many sources of free e-books. Sometimes we may have these listed in Omini, but often we do not. Depending on what you are looking for, some of these collections may be useful: 

Finding Journal Articles: 

Subject or discipline specific databases may allow you to find sources you can't find through Omni. They also often include other features (search, sort, result display, download...) that Omni does not have. All will let you find journal articles. Some will include books or book chapters.

Finding Newspaper Articles in French

  • Full text of Canadian French and English newspapers, some from France (e.g. le Monde) , also includes full transcripts from Societe Radio Canada tv broadcasts
    • PDF section: use this if you want to browse the full pdf image of a specific date of a newspaper. You can chose "most recent edition" ,  "specific date" or "date range"
    • If you want to search for articles by keyword, use the search box. Advanced search screen will let you do more detailed search
  • Factiva: for articles in French, delete the English under the Language option. You can also limit searches to news sources from particular geographic Regions or from a specific source (click on "all sources" and just start typing the source name)
  • PressReader: Lets you read full image versions of newspapers and magazines. Download the optional App to save and read issues offline. You can also search for articles by keyword. Many ways to browse publications: by country,  by language (there are 792 French publications!)


Journals which cover French as a language and French studies. Articles may be in English or French

General interest magazines, in French, which may be useful for practicing your reading skills




Language Learning

  • Amélioration du français from the Centre collégial de développement de matériel didactique (CCDMD) material both for students and teachers of French at the CEGEP level
  • Banque d'exercises de français  from the government of Quebec, online exercises to practice French at beginner, intermediate, advanced levels
  • le Français au micro and C'est la vie (especially the Word of the Day segment) are both radio programs from the SRC/CBC that are informative and entertaining on the topic of language and Quebec culture
  • Visez Juste (University of Ottawa) aims to help improve spoken and written French, has sections on vocabulary, grammar, writing/editing, spelling, speaking.


  • We have a lot of music CDs in our collection. You can search Omni for a particular piece of music or artist. If you'd like to search for French music CDs, the best way is to go directly to the Advanced Search, type in a keyword, limit language to French, and Material type to sound recordings:

Listening to Music


In our Collection (For more details see our Find Videos guide)

  • You can borrow videos from the Library's collection for 3 days at a time (with 2 renewals).
  • You can search for videos on your topic that are either in French or have French subtitles by using the "material type" and "language" filters on the left of the screen

Other Videos

Books about developing writing skills:

Ballenger, B. P. (2012). The curious researcher: a guide to writing research papers, 7th ed. 
Call Number: LB2369.B246 2012 see availability

Besnard, C. (2003). Apprivoiser l'écrit: techniques de l'écrit et stratégies d'auto-perfectionnement.
Also in print, Call Number: PC2420.B48 see availability

de Moras, N. (2010). Guide d'écriture: la composition de A à Z
Call Number:  PC2410.M688 2010 see availability

Northey, M. (2007). Making sense : a student's guide to research and writing, 5th ed. 
Call Number: LB2369.N67 2006 see availability

Pilote, C. (2012). Guide littéraire: analyse, plan, rédaction, procédés, genres, courants.
Call Number: PC2420.P57 2012 see availability


MLA Style 

The most common citation style used in literature is the MLA (Modern Language Association) style.  If you're not sure what style to use, check with your professor or T.A.

You can also:


Content last reviewed: January 29, 2021