This section showcases websites that contributors have found particularly interesting and useful for the teaching of various languages. You will find here annotated links to established repositories of teaching and teacher-training resources, pronunciation sites, sources of images, listening materials, educational games, and many other inspiring and unusual resources. Please add to the list!
Resources for Multiple Languages (see below)
Language-Specific Resources (click on the language of your choice)
RESOURCES FOR MULTIPLE LANGUAGES
🙂 = also for learners
Although this site has not been updated in several years, it is still a treasure trove of materials (including audio and video) for the teaching or self-study of multiple languages.
COERLL (★★★) 🙂
The Center for Open Educational Resources & Language Learning (COERLL) is one of 16 National Foreign Language Resource Centers funded by the US Department of Education. The overall mission of these federally-funded centers is to improve the teaching and learning of foreign languages by producing resources (materials and best practices) that can be profitably employed in a variety of settings. COERLL’s work is organized around seven basic areas:
- Applied linguistic research
- Teaching materials for Arabic, Chinese, Czech, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Malayalam, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Turkish, Spanish, and Yoruba
- Language assessment
- Teacher development, in particular a complete course on language teaching methods and Tadriis, an Arabic teaching methods website
- Less commonly taught languages
- K-12 initiatives
- Outreach and dissemination.
COERLL’s core mission is to produce and disseminate Open Educational Resources (OERs) for the Internet public (e.g., online language courses, reference grammars, assessment tools, corpora, etc., offered freely for anyone to use). In addition, COERLL aims to reframe foreign language education in terms of bilingualism and/or multilingualism. As such, all COERLL resources strive to represent more accurately language development and performance along dialectal and proficiency continua.
Cultura is an intercultural project based at MIT whereby two groups of students from two different cultures who are studying each other’s language connect on line in order to develop an in-depth understanding of each other’s culture through the exploration of concepts and institutions (friendship, the police, the family, equality, etc) as well as reactions to the same situations (a mother slaps her child who is having a temper tantrum, you are stopped by the police, etc.).
Cultura has been used to connect students in the US with students in France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Russia, and Spain.
The Cultura site contains tools, advice, and materials for language instructors who would like to set up such an exchange, as well as an invaluable archive consisting of the dialogues produced since 1997 by the partnering classes that have used the template.
DIGITAL DIALECTS 🙂 beginners
Engaging games for learning vocabulary in 77 languages. For children and older learners.
Your students may well have discovered this site by themselves, as it has become extremely popular since it was launched in 2012. Duolingo combines a free language-learning platform with a crowd-sourced translation business. As they progress through the lessons, students are invited to translate increasingly complex authentic texts, which are checked and corrected by other students. The translation of those texts for customers who pay Duolingo for the service makes the business self-sustaining.
Materials: Some grammar instruction is provided for certain languages and some levels, as well as vocabulary lists.
Techniques: Students learn a foreign language through a combination of exercises involving mostly dictation and translation of isolated sentences. When they are advanced enough they start reading authentic texts and translating them.
- Gamification: Progression from one skill level to the next mimics that of a computer game and encourages students to push themselves to the next level.
- Crowd-sourcing: The translation activity on the site is crowd-sourced, and so are the creation of new language courses and instruction modules (by volunteer bilingual “experts”) and feedback (through discussion forums).
- Data-driven approach: The system analyzes students’ mistakes and difficulties to improve instruction.
- Creation of an online community: User’s forums are one of the most useful and helpful aspects of the method. They are spaces where users swap study tips and information about external resources, as well as ask and answer questions about the languages they are learning or already know.
Duolingo’s almost exclusive reliance on translation exercises (mostly into the source language, to boot) does not foster the acquisition of oral fluency or writing skills (to say nothing of cultural knowledge), but its very addictiveness can prove powerfully motivating. Many users understand that Duolingo is only one study tool among others and they actively share supplementary resources through the discussion forums. Furthermore, for more advanced students, participating in collective translation projects where other translators comment on their work can be pedagogically very beneficial.
A very active blog replete with excellent pedagogical ideas that can easily be adapted to a variety of themes in any language, even though the many ready-to-use activities presented on this blog are designed for learners of French.
A free and open peer-reviewed collection of online teaching and learning materials and faculty-developed services contributed and used by an international education community.
MERLOT is a program of the California State University System partnering with education institutions, professional societies, and industry.
There are 16 such centers funded by the US Department of Education. Their overall mission is to improve the teaching and learning of foreign languages by producing resources (materials and best practices) that can be profitably employed in a variety of settings.
In 1990, the Department of Education established the first Language Resource Centers (LRCs) at US universities in response to the growing national need for expertise and competence in foreign languages. Twenty years later, there are sixteen LRCs, supported by grants under Title VI of the Higher Education Act, creating a national network of resources to promote the teaching and learning of foreign languages. Led by nationally and internationally recognized language professionals, LRCs create language learning and teaching materials, offer professional development opportunities for teachers and instructors, and conduct research on foreign language learning.
While some centers concentrate on specific language areas and others on foreign languages in general, all share the common goal to develop resources that can be used broadly to improve foreign language education in the United States.
The aim of this site is to link to “the best free cultural & educational media on the web.” A rubric that is of particular interest to foreign language educators is Learn 48 Languages Online for Free: Spanish, Chinese, English & More .
If you can read French / Si vous lisez le français. This very lively French-language site caters primarily to teachers of French as a foreign language but several of its rubrics address very general aspects of foreign-language teaching, such as how to use the latest digital tools, how to teach migrants, or how to motivate students. Of particular interest to teachers of all foreign languages are Pratiques de classe (classroom practices), Outils numériques (digital tools), and Mes cours mes projets (examples of pedagogical projects).
Audio-Lingua is a collaborative bank of authentic audio resources, recorded by native speakers of Arabic, Catalan, Chinese, Corsican, English, French, German, Italian, Occitan, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. The mp3 files are classified according to the reference levels defined by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. You can listen to the audio files online, download them one after another or also register for the podcast.
“Easy Languages is a non-profit video project that aims to help people learn languages through authentic street interviews. The videos also showcase the street culture of the participating partner countries, through its portrayal of typical, everyday situations—situations that otherwise wouldn’t be covered by regular media. Episodes focus on different topics, and are produced at various locations around the globe. Every Easy Languages video is subtitled in its local language and in English.”
If the language does not use the Roman alphabet, a transliteration is also supplied. The proficiency level necessary to understand the videos generally varies from elementary I (A1) to higher intermediate (B1) or advanced (B2). For some languages, new episodes are added every week. The language in the videos is completely authentic and spontaneous. Some videos focus on grammar, pronunciation, or a theme like shopping or food, but they usually consist of people’s answers to a single question such as “What makes you happy” or “what do you think of this city?
If you access the videos from Youtube, you will find them very conveniently organized by playlists.
Languages: Afrikaans, Arabic, Croatian, Dutch, English, Filipino, French, German (the largest number), Greek, Hungarian, Indonesian, Japanese, Khoekhoekowab, Malay, Mooré, Oshiwambo, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, and Thai, among others. (38 to date)
A company specializing in text-to-speech software, Acapela makes available on its homepage a remarkable free demo tool that allows you to type short texts (up to 300 characters) in 21 different languages into a window and have them read back to you by a synthetic voice. Different accents and voices are available for a lot of languages, and the vocalization sounds surprisingly authentic.
TECHNOLOGY RESOURCES FOR LANGUAGE LEARNING (★★★)(Columbia LRC)
The Columbia Language Resource Center has compiled a list of web resources that can be used by both students and instructors to enhance the language learning experience. Tools such as wikis, blogs, videoconferencing platforms, screen capture software, digital storytelling tools, portfolios, filesharing and presentation tools, among others are referenced. (The page and all the links do work, although you may get a “page not found” error message at first).
Create your own comics with thousands of ready-made (but modifiable) backgrounds, props, and fully posable characters You can already do wonderful things with the free version alone, but there are moderately priced versions that allow you to do much more. Note that if you are using the free version, you can only export your creations by making screen captures.
See related article on Teachworldlanguages.
Official online tutorials (Note that certain features are not necessarily available in the free version, or may have changed.)
Linguee is a translation tool allowing users to translate words or phrases from Bulgarian, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, Swedish, into (almost) any of these languages.
It uses authentic bilingual texts that exist on the web to propose multiple examples of authentic sentences in the original language together with their translation into the target language so as to guide the user toward the most appropriate translation of a particular word or phrase in a particular context.
Reverso is a dictionary and translation tool allowing users to translate from Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, and Spanish into any of these languages. It also provides translations of individual words and phrases from and into English and Polish and English and Korean. It can be used as a monolingual dictionary for some languages, among which are English and French. It is collaborative and crowd-sourced and therefore growing constantly.
In principle, it can be used to translate individual words, phrases (such as idiomatic expressions, compound nouns, etc.) and whole sentences. The translation of whole sentences is usually of very poor quality but the tool performs extremely well in the case of individual words or phrases for the pairs of languages for which it has the most data (i.e. English and Spanish, French and German). The main reason for this is that the distinguishing and most valuable feature of this tool is its use of authentic bilingual texts that exist on the web to propose multiple examples of authentic sentences in the original language together with their translation into the target language so as to guide the user toward the most appropriate translation in a particular context. This feature, however, only works between languages that are often translated from and into one another and for which, therefore, there exists a large corpus of bilingual texts available on line.
Reverso also has a powerful conjugation tool for English, French, German and Spanish — it can recognize any verb form and is able to conjugate reflexive verbs.
Word Reference is a dictionary and translation tool which is most useful when translating from or into English. The languages it features are, to date, Arabic, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish.
Spanish to French and French to Spanish, Spanish to Portuguese and Portuguese to Spanish, Italian to French and French to Italian translations are also available through Word Reference, as well as some monolingual dictionaries (English, Catalan).
Very good for translating individual words: suggested translations are presented with synonyms and example sentences. The translation of phrases is hit or miss; sometimes the expression is recognized as a unit, sometimes not.
Word Reference has a nice conjugation tool for French, Italian, and Spanish.
One of its distinguishing features is the language forums where users can ask questions about translations, grammar points, vocabulary, etc., and get answers from native speakers as well as read archived exchanges between users.