Resources and Recommendations

Internet pages, ELT and linguistic literature

Note: as I am revising my posts in the year 2020 during the Corona crisis I am astonished how ‘old’ some things already feel and how much has changed due to the world of digitalization during the last seven years (I started this blog in 2013, wrote most in the following three years and haven’t written much the last three…)

More recent recommendations can now be found in my newest posts written during the Corona crisis. A lot is happening at the moment, a lot is changing and I have been online more than ever. For those less technically inclined the learning curve has been steep. I have been forced to go into my accounts and products, change settings and the like, finding my way through more or less cryptic IT instructions and surprised at some of my successes (IT people and me don’t always seem to speak the same language, and often I feel that people from the world of IT assume too much familiarity with terms, processes etc than non-IT people like myself can possibly have). For the time being, I will leave the older entry below as it was and come back later.

(old entry from 2013)

As already mentioned in some of the posts about individual web pages, there is loads of stuff on the internet for language learners and teachers alike (see post on BBC webpage, and Macmillan dictionary).

The BBC Learning section has been overhauled and is a great place to go not only for extra language practice. Also highly recommendable for those (but not only) with little time: BBC Six Minute English. Here you can listen to a current topic being discussed or talked about. Additionally you can read and follow by reading the script.

One internet page for teachers is onestopenglish. It is not for free; the subscription costs around 30 Euro a year, but I believe you get a lot for your money, among other things free copiable material. You find whole lessons with pre-reading and follow-up exercises related to articles under Guardian Weekly, for instance.

I frequently visit the website of the New York Times. For more intermediate learners of English Voice of America could be interesting. VOA provides simplified versions of current news both in written and audio form.

Youtube has evolved from being a forum for private videos to a platform where all kinds of institutions publish their visual material. Here one of my favorites is TED and the series How it’s made.

I always recommend listening to as much in English as you can. Here I prefer TV series to feature films, as in many TV series you have more conversation. Movies often have a lot of white noise that obstructs comprehension, and good films, being creative pieces of art, often emphasize visualizations more than conversations. Nevertheless, watch your favorite movies in the original and if you have the DVDs, switch on the English subtitles. Note 2020: In the mean time, we are living in the age of Netflix, Amazon Prime etc. and subtitles are provided. The subtitles of youtube videos are often computer generated and need to taken with a grain of salt.

If you’re into cooking, Jamie Oliver’s ‘Jamie at Home’ series is something to watch in the original. Though Jamie Oliver has a strong regional accent (Essex), everything he says is a comment on what he is doing in the kitchen or the garden, so I believe you can learn to understand him after a while. However, if you get the original UK version, you also find English subtitles (the German version provides only German subtitles and a German voice over – I would strongly recommend the English original.)

Some notes on TED: Ted Talks have been growing and becoming quite numerous. This adds to one of the problems of our times – too many choices. Here I recommend going to “playlist”. If you are new to TED talks, go to The 25 Best Talks. Jamie Oliver’s talk is also among them.

Publications specifically for German learners of English:

World and Press and Read On: Both are collections of articles from selected newspapers, mainly British and US. They cover different topics ranging from current political affairs and economics to science, history, lifestyle and various topics of social interest.

Spotlight Magazine

Business Spotlight


The following are recommendations for teachers of English, and/or literature I have referred to in posts. I will gradually add to the list.

Patsy M. Lightbown & Nina Spada, How Languages are Learned, Oxford 1999

Ronald Carter, David Nunan (eds.) The Cambridge Guide to Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages, Cambridge: 2001

Colin Baker, Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, Clevedon: 1996

Michael Lewis, The English Verb, LTP: 1986 (latest edition Thomson/Heinle 2002)

R.A. Close, A Teachers’ Grammar, LTP: 1992

One of the leading linguists who has written many books on language, also for non-specialists or a more general audience is David Crystal. A great introduction into the study of language is his Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language (1996).

Celce-Murcia, Maranne and Diane Larsen-Freeman, The Grammar Book: An ESL/EFL Teacher’s Course;  Newbury House publishers – Row (1983); Heinle and Heinle (1998)

Chalker, Sylvia and Edmund Weiner, The Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar, 1994, Sylvia Chalker, Oxford University Press


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