The rise of technology and social networks in recent years has provided an unprecedented chance to learn English online in new and exciting ways. However, the the massive range of English learning websites available can be overwhelming and confusing. Here are a few of the best free websites and online services for learners of English. The sites are listed in alphabetical order.
|Anki Web (Free)||AnkiWeb is the online version of Anki, a spaced repetition learning application for Windows, Mac OS, iPhone, and other platforms. Anki helps learners to acquire phrases and vocabulary by presenting them to the user at spaced intervals. In order to use AnkiWeb, a learner must first download and install the desktop version of Anki. They can then add English language ‘decks’ to the application and sync the decks to AnkiWeb, which they can use from any computer with a web browser and internet connection.|
|ELLLO (Free)||ELLLO (English Listening Lesson Library Online) is a free website providing lots of listening exercises for English learners. You can hear people from many different regions and countries, as well as non-native speakers. There are over 2,000 short conversations with people talking about a variety of different subjects and answering questions.|
|English Central (Freemium)||English Central is an innovative solution for language learners who want to practice listening and speaking. The website allows users to view videos relating to a variety of topics with English audio and English and Japanese subtitles. Voice recognition technology is used to analyse the pronunciation of the learner’s recorded utterances, and evaluate how closely they match the native speaker’s pronunciation.|
|ESL Lab (Free)||ESL-Lab contains: short listening activities for beginning and intermediate students; listening quizzes for academic purposes, e.g. TOEFL/TOEIC Tests ; 20 minute ESL vocabulary lessons for students to improve their vocabulary and pronunciation; language learning tips; and long conversations with video.Most quiz screens include a pre-listening exercise, a listening exercise, and a post-listening “TOEIC/TOEFL” style multiple choice test.|
|Inogolo (Free)||Inogolo features audio recordings of the English pronunciation of the names of people, places, and other words not found in most dictionaries. Users are able to search the database of names, and check both the phonetic and audio pronunciations. Users can browse names alphabetically or by tags. A variety of useful pronunciation guides are also provided.|
|Lang-8 (Freemium)||Lang-8 is a free online writing exchange, which allows users to write diary entries – much like a blog – in the language they are trying to learn. Once a diary entry has been written, the user can publish it, and then other Lang-8 members, specifically those who are native speakers of the language that the user is trying to learn, will correct the diary entry. As of March 2011, Lang-8 had over 250,000 users, studying many different languages.|
|PopJisyo (Free)||PopJisyo provides pop-up language translations for English websites or blocks of text. When you move your mouse pointer over an unknown English word, a Japanese translation and explanation of that word appears. Alternative translations are provided with words which have more than one meaning. A list of popular websites is also provided, such as Google News, from which the user can select in order to apply the pop-up interface. It is also possible to generate a word list from all the words in a web page or block of text.|
|Quizlet (Free)||Quizlet (availble both through the browser and via a free iOS app) provides a fun and free way to learn foreign language vocabulary and grammar. A variety of different games are provided (such as dragging and droppping vocabulary items to their definitions, spelling words after listening to them being pronounced, etc) and there is a large variety of course content (such as foreign language vocabulary lists) already available.|
|Rhinospike (Free)||Rhinospike allows learners of foreign languages to request audio recordings of texts written in the language they are studying being read aloud. Japanese learners of English can therefore request native English speakers to make audio recordings of the texts they are studying. In exchange, they are requested to make audio recordings of Japanese texts for learners of Japanese wishing to hear such texts read aloud.|
|Simple Wikipedia (Free)||Simple Wikipedia is a very similar to the main English Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia that anyone can read and edit for free. However, it differs in the respect that it is written in “simple English” in order to be more accessible to non-native speakers of English. Simple Wikipedia’s guidelines suggest that articles should be written using the most common 2000 words of the English language, and grammar should be simplified wherever possible. There are currently over 60,000 articles in the Simple English Wikipedia.|
Do you know any other good free websites for English learners? Please share your recommendations in the comments section below.