Tower of Babelfish
Learn English

Learn English with these Resources

Until I translate the site, if you’re reading this, you’re at least an intermediate student.

To learn English up to fluency, you’re going need a way to learn correct pronunciation, a frequency dictionary to complete your base vocabulary, and a good grammar book.  You’ll also benefit from a thematic vocabulary book for specialized vocabulary and maybe a book or two, once your base vocabulary is solid.  Make sure you read the Method sections of the website, then check out some of these recommended resources (pictures are links):


First off, get a feel for how pronunciation works in English.  The video tutorials here should help.

Perfecting your English Pronunciation This book and DVD set is excellent (and cheap!) Once you’ve seen the video tutorials here, get this. She teaches a general American accent.

In terms of online resources, check out Rachel’s English. Aside from a bunch of handy videos, she has a sound chart that lists the various spellings of English in detail. You can use that along with my alphabet article to get comfortable with English’s wacky spelling system.

Your base vocabulary

Your goal is to find the words you’re missing.  Get a frequency dictionary or frequency list and make sure you know at least the top 2000 words.

I’ve made a list of 400 words to start you off! After that, try some of these:

 Free Internet Resources

The General Service List (GSL) is a well designed frequency list that I use with my students.  There’s a wonderful (though difficult) training tool on the GSL here.  The Academic word list, for English students who wish to read academic papers is here.

Frequency Dictionary

The Routledge Frequency dictionary series is excellent, with example uses and everything.  This version will be more current (and more accurate) than the GSL, and having a book in hand is sometimes more enjoyable to work with than a website.

Grammar book

There are a lot of options here; so far, my pick would be the English Grammar in Use book with CDs and answer keys.  It gets wonderful reviews.  Here are the beginner, intermediate and advanced books:

English Grammar in Use    Advanced Grammar in use    Essential Grammar in Use


You can read anything that you enjoy.  If you like Harry Potter, get Harry Potter.  If you like crime novels, get John Grisham. Just get an audiobook with it; it will help push you through the book quickly.


There are some wonderful monolingual English dictionaries that use simple vocabulary to describe words.  Get one and start using it as soon as you can (and if you’re reading this, you can, so get it. :)

In terms of online resources, I’m a big fan of the English Tense tutorials over at  You’ll also be really well served by Simple Wikipedia and Simple Wiktionary - two of the best resources for English learners.