I’ve tried contacting Ray Ortali, author of Entre Nous. He is 90, so he may not be interested in corresponding, but his book is so good in so many ways.
It is an edited transcription of a number of conversations in a group format covering various topics, the first one, where I am, being higher education. Some special terms are explained, idioms are given, some vocabulary, but it is clearly for people who can read French already. I’ve had to look up terms like l’aggregation = National Board Certification (of teachers). That is understandable and they do try to inject in the conversation some sort of definition of these terms. Some usages are not clarified, in fact, quite a few. I was stumped on “en cause de”. I looked through all my books and could only find one instance of it, in the old French-French Larousse where it seemed to mean “to blame”. Then at the Great Visiting Nurse Service Auxiliary Book Sale I found a recent (90s) unabridged Larousse French-English English -French dictionary and found not just a definition but a whole paragraph illustrating the usage of this particular phrase. “involved” works a little better (I also found this on one of the translation sites) but “blame” also. However, my sense of certainty was boosted greatly by the Larousse entry.
Now, here’s the point: I have a good amount of material in Russian and Latin but I am also working on other languages: Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Norwegian, and Greek. It’s not that I don’t have materials in those languages, but this notion of a real conversation transcribed offers so much useful and everyday language. I know, I’m strange: I could just turn on my TV for Spanish and even the other languages all have “news in slow X” sites, but I like printed material, annotated. For Urdu, BTW, I could use this also but I assume most people who might access this blog do not teach or even know Urdu. I use Barker, who has lots of material out, but this idea of transcribed conversations is great and I hope someone else has done what Ortali has done for French.