This is the « Petit Goursau », a dictionary of words seldom used to respond to the wait of a public who loves the French language.
We think that all the chic or distinguished words are only pronounced by brilliant, educated people, perhaps even savants. We imagine them to easily dispense of these words, as though they were magicians, in a conversation, during a speech, in their writings, thus impressing their audience. These same people use no less than 25,000 French vocabulary words while other think, express themselves, and write with only 5,000 basic and popular words.
This testifies to the inequality that we have in the usage and the practicing of French, when we have side by side in our country both the language of the aristocracy and of cultivated people and the language of the common man, more current and sometimes vulgar.
This dictionary compiled of a first selection of some 4,000 savant words aims to remedy this injustice. The objective is to bring within reach of everybody the words seldom used or little known, but which nevertheless are cited regularly on television, on the radio, in the press or in books.
These essential words must be known by anybody who wishes to express themselves in an exact and precise French. An education which is equally of a nature to eliminate the large divide that separates those who show off their eloquence among circles of the educated and those others who have not had the chance to learn the language of Molière in all of its splendor and richness.
As for me, my desire in conceiving such a dictionary of little-used words is that these words no longer be the privilege of the elite or of sholars, but become the attribute of everyone.