Smartphone Apps Beat Paper Versions
Any language learner needs a good dictionary. But which is better, a traditional bound book or a smartphone app? If you can only have one or the other, I recommend investing in a good smartphone app that does not require an internet connection when referencing it.
This App-based dictionary is easy to use; it does not require an internet connection (once installed), so you can use it anywhere; and it presents verb conjugations. With the conjugations, this app is really two resources in one. This is not a free app. You will find others available for less (and even for free). But the Ultralingua French-English Translation Dictionary has no advertisements and, again, it lives on your phone and not in the cloud so you can use it when the internet is not available.
In practice, looking up words is clumsy on either a phone or in a book; but using the phone is a little less cumbersome, and you are more likely to have your phone with you at any given time than your dictionary.
A great feature of this app is the ability to easily review the history of words you have looked up. Also, you can "star" words for review and then easily access these words for later study when, say, you are at a restaurant or waiting for a bus. Star words as you read them in context and then try to remember the circumstances in which they were used when you later review them. This is a great technique for increasing your vocabulary.
What could be better about this app? This dictionary does not indicate whether or not verbs are transitive or intransitive. And because French verbs so often vary from their English counterparts in this respect, presenting this distinction would be extremely helpful.
What About a "Real" Dictionary?
Language and book lovers will no doubt appreciate having access to a real, bound, paper dictionary. Watch for them at used bookstores. I reference mine occasionally, but I utilize my app-based dictionary much more often.