Fantastic Resources to help you improve your English

In the age of the internet, the task of learning languages has been made a whole lot easier. The effort required is still the same. There are still no shortcuts, you need to have the passion and interest to make great strides forward and progress. Time + effort + passion + structure = improvement.

However, previously money was a big part of the equation. For example, I purchased books, memberships to cultural centres, newspapers, spent money on flights to go abroad, paid for courses but these days there is an abundance of resources and many of these are either free or very affordable.

Here are some great websites to visit if you are looking for free or affordable online resources to help you move forward with your English:

1. SpeechRevision

Logo SpeechRevision

A great way to practise your speaking by recording an audio, uploading it and receiving feedback on areas you need to improve on.

Ideal for: Speaking

www.speechrevision.com


2. Italki

Logo italki

A great site to get in contact with other language enthusiasts and exchange your language for their language.

Ideal for: Speaking

www.italki.com


3. HelloTalk

Hellotalk

A very useful language learning application for your smartphone that connects you to native speakers of the language you are learning.  You can type and receive corrections, record and send audio soundbites of you speaking or make video or audio calls. It also has a similar feature to Twitter solely for those native speakers or learners of your chosen language.

Ideal for: Speaking

www.hellotalk.com


4. Ted Talks

Logo TED Talks

One of my favourite websites! It’s not only great for language learners but anyone who loves learning and has a curious mind. You can find talks on a variety of interesting topics and follow along with subtitles in English or other languages if you are not completely sure. There is also an interactive transcript. Here you can be exposed to all different types of accents.

Ideal for: Listening

www.ted.com


5. Tuneinradio

Logo tunein

I only started using this about a year ago but it’s great to download to your phone and be able to listen to live radio and audio content from around the world in many different languages.

Ideal for: Listening

tunein.com


6. Audible

If you enjoy listening to books as well as reading them you will enjoy this page which has thousands of books in English. It also gives you a breakdown of how many hours you have listened which motivates you to listen more! For an affordable price, you can receive one credit a month which will get you an audiobook.

Ideal for: Listening

www.audible.com


7. Ororo TV

This site allows you to watch films in English with subtitles in English. You can also slow down the speed of the audio to better understand. There is a wide variety of films, sitcoms, and English tutorials.

Ideal for: Listening

ororo.tv


8. The Evening Standard

Being from London I have grown up reading this newspaper.  It’s available both in print for free and online and gives you up-to-date international, national and  London news in an easily digestible manner.

Ideal for: Reading

www.standard.co.uk


9. The New York Times

English is not only spoken in the UK but in many other countries. It’s often interesting to get a different viewpoint from the US. Although, this is not the only American viewpoint. The only snag is that it is not completely free like The Guardian but paying a reasonable subscription fee helps support the journalists.

Ideal for: Reading

www.nytimes.com


10. The Guardian Newspaper

The 4th most read newspaper including online and print according www.pressgazette.co.uk. The winner of the 2014 newspaper of the year at the British Press Awards. Probably, my first go-to website for news for its generally unbiased reporting.

Ideal for: Reading

www.theguardian.com


11. Word Reference

Despite the emergence of other online dictionaries, I still use wordreference.com as I enjoy using the forum at the bottom where you can see and participate in discussions regarding a certain word or phrase.

Ideal for: Vocabulary

www.wordreference.com


12. Memrise

Great application and website for language learners to learn through repetition and memory techniques (although it’s not solely for languages).  It combines audio and images as well as memory techniques to help you recall words and phrases more easily.

Ideal for: Vocabulary

www.memrise.com


13. Duolingo

As their site says, “Each lesson includes a variety of speaking, listening, translation, and multiple-choice challenges”. I like the gamification aspect and the way they neatly organize the content into lessons that can be revisited anytime you want.

Ideal for: Speaking, Listening, Vocabulary…

www.duolingo.com


14. Flo Jo

This site caters to those taking Cambridge English exams. It has plenty of practice material and ESL teachers love it. It has been going many years too. I especially like the writing makeovers with the coded writing activities which I often use with my students.

Ideal for: Listening, Reading, Writing…

www.flo-joe.com


15. Cambridge English website

Naturally, if you are learning English to pass an official exam you’ll want to know as much as possible about the tests, levels, format, and grading of the exams. All the information is here for those taking Official Cambridge English exams.

Ideal for: Listening, Reading, Writing…

www.cambridgeenglish.org


16. BBC News / BBC Podcasts / BBC iPlayer

The news stories are easy to understand and follow. It’s well organised and if you like British television you can use BBC iPlayer to catch up on shows and programmes you missed. One of the things I love about the BBC is its radio service. You can listen to fascinating audio content about a whole host of different topics. These can later be downloaded as podcasts or relistened to on the BBC site. One of my favourites is “From Our Own Correspondent” a weekly radio programme that provides insight and analysis of global news stories and issues.

Ideal for: Listening, Reading

www.bbc.com


17. Readlang

I was recommended the well-known Polyglot Alex Rawlings who I interviewed on my podcast. It’s a plugin that is great as you can translate words on online newspapers as you are reading. You can then store these words later and create activities to memorise them.

Ideal for: Reading

www.readlang.com


18. Short of the Week

This website has been going for 10 years now and is fantastic. You can find bitesize short films and select by genre, country, language or length.

Ideal for: Listening

www.shortoftheweek.com


19. Linguee

If you need to look for a reliable translation of a single word or phrase in a more formal or academic context, Linguee is great.

Ideal for: Vocabulary

www.linguee.es


20. The Cambridge English Dictionary

This online dictionary allows you to save wordlists that you can later turn into activities. It also give you an indication of the equivalent European Framework level of the word or phrase you look up.

Ideal for: Vocabulary

dictionary.cambridge.org

This article is also available in: Spanish

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