Virtual Library

This WWW Virtual Library: International Affairs Resources is an Internet directory of over 2000 annotated links to high-quality English-language sources of information and analysis in many international and global studies topics. Sites are carefully selected for their long-term value, favoring those with cost-free, authoritative information and analysis online.


Translations, Dictionaries, and Glossaries
Sites for Learning English
Languages and Language Learning Generally

  Note: Internet broadcasts in many languages are accessible through the International Radio and Television page of this WWW Virtual Library: International Affairs Resources.

Translations, Dictionaries, Glossaries

Try Google Translate, the Bing Translator, and SYSTRANet to translate text and web pages. Context-based Linguee is "a unique translation tool [among several European languages] combining an editorial dictionary and a search engine with which you can search through hundreds of millions of bilingual texts for words and expressions." IATE, the European Union's inter-institutional terminology database, gives translations of EU technical terms, abbreviations, acronyms, and phraseology among two dozen European languages.

Cambridge Dictionary-- Look up meanings of English-language words, idioms, and phrasal verbs, plus translate English words to and from other languages.

Dictionarist-- Talking dictionary service which "provides translations in English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Russian, Turkish, Dutch, Greek, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Hindi, Indonesian, Polish, Romanian, Ukrainian and Vietnamese." Wide variety of English language tools, including interactive translators, flashcards, crosswords, English and English-Spanish-English dictionaries, thesauruses, and more.

Dictionary of Slang-- Large source for English-language slang, from a UK perspective. The links section is a rich compendium of sources on slang usage in English and a few other languages.

Free Dictionary-- "The world's most comprehensive dictionary: English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch, Norwegian, Greek, Arabic, Polish, Turkish, Russian, Medical, Legal, and Financial Dictionaries, Thesaurus, Acronyms and Abbreviations, Idioms, Encyclopedia, a Literature Reference Library, and a Search Engine all in one." Also check the
Free Thesaurus, "a comprehensive online thesaurus of synonyms, antonyms, and related words" in English, and the Farlex Grammar Book, a guide to English language grammar, punctuation, spelling, and pronunciation.

Freelang-- Multi-purpose site for language learners, offering free online and downloadable dictionaries in many languages, common expressions in many languages, fonts, quizzes, news, and more.

Language Dictionaries and Translators-- From Word2Word, links to numerous dictionaries and translators, online language courses, chat sites in many languages, audio, language-specific search engines, and language learning and practice aids.

Lexicool-- "Directory of all the online bilingual and multilingual dictionaries and glossaries freely available on the Internet... for translators, linguists, language students and all those interested in foreign languages... currently has links to over 8000 dictionaries and glossaries, many... created by translators working in specialist fields."

Linguee-- Very useful translation facility between English and various European and Asian languages, showing both meanings and the chosen words and phrases in varied sample expert usage contexts in both languages. Dictionary app available for mobile use.

Merriam-Webster Online-- "The most up-to-date [English-language] dictionary on the Web," with thesaurus, video clips, word of the day, word quizzes, and section on the Spanish language. There is also a Merriam-Webster Visual Dictionary Online and a Learner's Dictionary of American usage for ESL, EFL, and TOEFL test students.

One Look-- Dictionary search engine to find the meaning of words in English and several other languages, covering millions of words in over a thousand online dictionaries.

Oxford Dictionaries-- Word meanings and items on the English language and its grammar and usage worldwide. Note the Oxford English Dictionary and the Oxford Words blog.

Verbix-- "Independent non-profit organization that aims to promote and protect linguistic diversity... This site contains verb conjugations for hundreds of languages, ranging from national and international languages to regional and even extinct languages." Online English language dictionary that provides narrative definitions for frequently looked up words and explains the difference between often confused words, with over 100 million sentence examples. "Easiest to use on-line dictionary and thesaurus... simple, straightforward definitions that actually make sense along with example use cases for the most popular words, [plus] quick-click access to more in-depth information including specialty definitions and related articles."

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Sites for Learning English

American English-- From the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State, a "resource center for teaching and learning about American English language and culture. This website provides a variety of engaging materials and resources for teachers' professional development and for students in the classroom."

American English Speech-- Free online audio speech course from Carnegie Mellon University, emphasizing the "standard" pronunciation style.

BBC Learning English-- Large, varied, thorough, and well organized site for English learners at most levels from the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Dynamic Dialects-- "An accent database, containing an articulatory video-based corpus of speech samples from world-wide accents of English. Videos in this corpus contain synchronised audio, ultrasound-tongue-imaging video and video of the moving lips." Collaborative project among several UK universities.

English Grammar-- Blog that offers tips, lessons, videos, and so forth: "Grammar lessons, exercises, and rules for everyday use."

English as 2nd Language--'s colorful and helpful guide to ESL.

ESL Cyber Listening Lab-- Very useful site with many English language conversations in audio files and accompanying sheets, "mainly designed for (1) self-access learning where students do the listening activities on their own, and (2) teacher-directed learning."

Howjsay-- Instant audio feature presents correct pronunciation for well over 170,000 English language words, in Standard British English, with World English alternatives.

Learn English Feel Good-- Grammar, vocabulary, comprehension, and pronunciation exercises and quizzes for beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels, with audio and video, idioms, phrasal verbs, resource packages, US/UK language differences, and "Travel English." Links to several related cost-free sites on learning English from the same organization.

Learning English-- From the Voice of America, an excellent and rich "multimedia source of news and information for millions of English learners worldwide. Our audio programs and captioned videos are written using vocabulary at the intermediate and upper-beginner level. Our programs are read one-third slower than normal English speed. Online texts, MP3s and podcasts let people read, listen and learn American English and much more."

Linguasorb-- Offers helpful "verb conjugation resources, grammar lessons, vocabulary lists... with audio, translations, practice quizzes and more" in English.

U.S.A. Learns-- Growing from a U.S. Department of Education project, "an easily accessible Internet learning tool that contains instructional materials... to teach basic English skills and help adults improve their English proficiency... [and] designed to allow learners with low-level literacy skills to use the tool independently, but it can also be used with a teacher or tutor." Requires free registration.

Using English-- "General English language site, specialising in English as a Second Language with a wide range of resources for learners and teachers of English... Different varieties of English are used; there are contributors from the United States, Canada, Pakistan and non-native speakers, but much of the site uses British English as it was set up in the UK." Includes forums.

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Languages and Language Learning Generally

Center for Applied Linguistics-- From a private, non-profit American organization of language scholars and educators, a fine online reference for the best language learning and teaching resources for teachers and students. Free online resources include "downloadable digests, informational brochures, frequently asked questions and more."

Duolingo-- Very highly rated free interactive site with lessons (reading, listening, and speaking), feedback, and guidance in over a dozen languages. iPhone and Android apps are available.

Effective Language Learning-- Foreign language guides, learning tips, sources for free lessons, and reviews of commercial language courses.

Ethnologue: Languages of the World-- "The comprehensive reference work that catalogs all the [over 7000] known living languages in the world today," with information and statistics viewable by regions, countries, and various cross-classifications.

Free Foreign Language Lessons-- Well arranged and annotated directory for lessons in many languages through several types of media and feeds, from Open Culture.

Global Studies and Languages-- From MIT OpenCourseWare, free downloadable courses in many languages, literatures, and cultural studies, as taught at MIT.

Goethe-Tests-- Thousands of free online language tests in many languages and ability levels, with answers, from the Goethe-Verlag in Munich, in "25 languages and 600 language combinations."

Interagency Language Roundtable-- U.S. federal government "interagency organization established for the coordination and sharing of information about language-related activities at the federal level." Provides free information and self-assessment tools to check one's own level of foreign language mastery, translation and interpretation skills, and intercultural communication skills, using the ILR scale employed by the U.S. federal government.

Internet Polyglot-- Free lessons in many languages and between many languages, with pronunciations.

Language Guide-- "Offers free sound integrated resources for learning languages [for over a dozen languages]... developed collaboratively with the help of volunteers." "Place your cursor over an image and hear the word associated with it pronounced."

Language Learning Wiki-- Based on "the very best language learning videos from YouTube," presented as "language courses in what we believe is one of the best ways to learn a language." Offers free instruction in many major languages, guided by a professional staff of advisors, "to create an authoritative website with language grammar and verbs."

Learn a Language--- Created by the U.S. Institute of Languages, a site where you can learn up to 19 foreign languages cost-free with audio lessons and games.

Learning Languages on the Web: Online Tools-- Review article, with hyperlinks, from the February 2013 issue of College and Research Libraries News, of the American Library Association.

Mixxer-- From Dickinson College, "free educational community for language learners and teachers to find a language partner for a language exchange. The language partner is someone who speaks the language you study as their native language and is studying your native language. As a member of the Mixxer community, you can communicate with your language partner via Skype to practice speaking. You can also submit documents and ask native speakers to correct your writing." This site allows you to type unique characters in many European languages easily, even if you don't have a specialized keyboard, then to edit your text in the box and copy it to your document, e-mail message, etc.

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This section of the WWW Virtual Library system was created, and is edited and maintained, by Dr. Wayne A.Selcher, Professor of International Studies Emeritus, Department of Political Science, Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, PA 17022-2288  U.S.A., as a volunteer and non-profit public service. This website copyright 1997-present by Wayne A. Selcher. E-mail: