No matter if you're at university or a high school student, writing, listening, and speaking a new language is never a walk in the park! Especially when you study something so different to your mother tongue. Thankfully, however, we have gathered a list of the best online ESL resources which will make learning English a whole lot easier websites, phone apps, courses etc) for beginner students right through to those who are intermediate, advanced, or might even be at university.
Continue reading to discover all the different tools that are available to enhance your knowledge and understanding of the English language.
Apps To Study English On Your iPad/iPhone
You'll find plenty of apps/tools available to learn English by searching with your tablet or phone!
Babbel was established in January 2008 and is a world-first language-learning application, available in 14 diverse languages. You can use it on the web, as well as on Android and iOS.
No matter if you’re a beginner starting from scratch or you’re completing a university course and are just wanting a lesson to strengthening your knowledge, Babbel is ideal for you as it suits everyone’s language needs.
- Vocabulary lessons covering various topics, such as sports or health
- Academic courses with idioms, colloquialisms, tongue twisters and other sayings
- A review of each lesson
An online language-learning platform, Duolingo was launched in 2011 and already has 68 courses for 23 languages.
Similar to Babbel and Rosetta Stone, you'll see Duolingo is also available on iOS and Android.
Duolingo is actually quite different to Babbel and Rosetta Stone in that it:
- Enables you to learn English words by translating
- Provides dictation exercises, which improve English listening
- Has short exercises that you can have a go at whenever they find a moment
- Offers a timed practice option which is great for quickly improving your English
- It's totally free!
Online Tools to Help Students with Translation
Need help with English translations? Why not try these:
Google Translate is the biggest translation tool on the Internet with its technology becoming increasingly advanced. It's an efficient website and a lot more precise than other translation tools.
All you have to do is type in the word or phrase you would like to translate, the website then generates a non-human translation in writing.
For example, let's choose a basic English phrase to French:
The translation has been produced accurately, precisely, and correctly.
Although for longer or more complicated phrases, Google Translate may be unable to generate the translations naturally as it uses non-human algorithms. Such translator tools aren't perfect as they are unable to gauge the exact meaning.
For students after a fast and short translation, Google Translate is the ideal go-to!
And, even better: it's completely free!
Lingue has been available for people since 2007 for many different languages, of course including English! It is a great website to use between your lesson or class.
- Linguee browses through many translated source texts
- Greater accuracy than Google Translate
- Natural human translations
- Ideal when translating words for your writing
All you need to do is enter a short phrase or expression into Linguee and it will come up with highlighted sections of different translations:
Similar with Google Translate, Linguee can be download for free on iOS or Android!
So people looking to prepare for a test or widen their repertoire, why not try Linguee and translate from your mother tongue!
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Excellent Podcasts for Learning English
It is often said listening is an effective way to learn a new tongue. Check out these podcasts.
The English We Speak
On this podcast, you'll see that every week the BBC talk about an everyday phrase or a saying. It offers short snippets of slang that would be quite useful on a trip to any Anglophone country!
Each podcast goes for 3-4 minutes, allowing learners to familiarise themselves with English jargon, from native speakers.
All Ears English
All Ears English has taken a fun way to master language. It gives insight into great conversation starters for example, "How to connect to people in the LGBT community", "How to stay calm when the cashier asks you quick questions in English", or "What's it like to be single in New York City".
This series isn't educational per se, but it's handy if you're looking to travel to an Anglophone country!
Here is where you can take an English speaking course online.
The Best Websites for Learning English
The language-learning software, Rosetta Stone has been available since 2014. It is on the web in 24 languages as well as on iOS and Android.
The founders oguarantee that you can easily learn a new language, such as English, by using their tool, without having to visit that country.
So, how does it operate?
- Rosetta Stone take the position that improving your proficiency should be through more than translation
- It's used a bit different to Babbel
- It's heavily interactive
- You can read through vocabulary on a variety of topics and is also excellent for improving your pronunciation!
- Have the opportunity to test having a conversation similar to a Skype call with one of Rosetta Stone's native anglophone tutors. You would be able to ask your tutor anything to do with English.
We do learn more effectively through patterns, games and fun images.
Rosetta Stone informs you if you have answered incorrectly after each question, not at the end of the quiz like Babbel.
However, Rosetta Stone is similar to Babbel in that if you are interested in learning English, you must subscribe. Through the membership, you have the option of signing up for either 1 year or 24months.
It isn't particularly cheap, but of course it'll be worth!
Like some of the other tools on the market, Memrise is available on the web and on iOS and Android. It was established in 2005 and is now available in 25 languages, of course in the most widely spoken tongue worldwide: English.
Memrise only focuses on vocab exercises, it doesn't specialise in grammar studies, pronunciation, or reading.
- Memrise provides different levels according to where you're at
- It offers basic vocab for beginners, such as "dog" or "sister"
- Those who are more advanced learners can have some insight into more complex vocabulary and phrases that are great for writing skills
- Memrise does not always need an internet connection!
- You can hear words pronounced by native English speakers, which is brilliant for your listening and pronunciation skills
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How does it work?
Memrise has a different approach to the other tools. The application is based around "mems," those you're familiar with from scrolling through Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Users are shown a set of cards (the mems) together with meaning. Each mem contains a phrase or word associated to the photo or audio. The idea is to encourage you to read and memorise the mem with its meaning through the visual quizzes.
Another advantage is that Memrise doesn't need you to sign up for a paid membership, a fun and relaxed way to enhance your English skills.
Whatever your experience, if you're wanting to learn some new vocabulary through photos and mems, then Memrise is spot on for you!
Top Websites for Finding Tutors
Have you thought about the option to hire a private tutor to help you learn and practice your English skills?
Superprof is a free service connecting tutors and tutees via a secure and easy-to-use tuition platform. You have the option of taking lessons locally, face to face, or online around Sydney, Melbourne, or anywhere around Australia!
Superprof offers tutors in more than 1000 subjects (which go much further than academic support). Our dynamic startup has truly revolutionised the one-on-one tutoring experience!
For either the beginner or those who are fairly proficient, Superprof is the right place for anyone as our experienced tutors tailor their classes to the needs and requirements of students.
Since it was founded in August 2013, Superprof has become a high-quality teaching resource for those interested in using a tutor year to year or starting their own tutoring business.
Established in 2007, WizIQ is the world's largest online tutor platform.
How does it work?
WizIQ lets you be a part of an English class anywhere by using a virtual classroom.
- You can communicate with an experienced tutor through a virtual classroom
- Record a video of your live teaching classes for future reference.
- You can share your thoughts with the teacher and other learners, a great way to get some insight into what other students think about the studies!
- There is an option to message other students in the virtual classroom, make new friends from around the world and communicate in English!
If you're unsure about any points, be sure your query will be answered quickly! You can select the telephone icon to direct you to teaching staff who can help you.
WizIQ isn't exactly cheap, it costs around $83 per month but you'll have access to any of their courses and a 24/7 support system.
It's expensive, but it's worth it if you're looking to improve your skills in English!
All in all, online tools such as Rosetta Stone, seem like a good idea until you realise you're not actually interacting in a real-life experience with an anglophone. So if you're ever unclear about something such as a grammar or writing point, you can't really stop to ask the question you need, which can be unhelpful!
If you're looking to experience one-to-one English lessons, consider subscribing to Mytutor or WizIQ.
These are handy tools to learn English when and how you want, from the comfort of your own home.
There is no time pressure and or test involved. You are your own teacher!
The platform that connects tutors and students