I’m always on the look out for sites that offer good solutions for English language students.I have to say that what’s available on the net isn’t very impressive, considering both paid and free content. There’s definitely something lacking online. Many sites offer very simple content, or content that seems to be simply scratching the surface of 2nd language learning. Other sites are better designed from a graphics point of view, but propose more of the same Grammar McNuggets as regularly described by Scott Thornbury. Grammar McNuggets being rigid, pre-packaged grammatical forms that don’t take into consideration the chaotic and fluctuating nature of language use.
I’ve recently turned my attention to the BBC Learning English website, which is one of the most famous and visited language websites in the world, due in no small part to the BBC’s global reach. I’ve spent some time on it recently and have tried to approach it from a learner’s point of view. I’ve found it to be a bit limited to be honest and have to say it feels a little disjointed. With the wealth of materials at their disposal (video in particular) something more innovative could definitely be done. One area I did like though, was the express English section. It’s a type of vox-pop that gives different speakers 1 minute to talk about various themes. I thought it useful because it’s possible to hear a variety of accents, and the English transcript is given too, thus aiding comprehension.
Give it a listen!