ELCOS aims to provide English language learners at Bangor University with the tools and facilities to further develop their English language skills.
In addition to the courses we provide and our Facebook page (for sharing of experiences) we are developing this page to help you understand a little more about English language and how to develop and improve your skills.
The following resources are available:
- Listening to and understanding English
- Reading resources
- Writing resources
- English grammar
- Living in Britain
- Other resources
N.B. The links provided above are to external web sites. Neither ELCOS nor Bangor University are responsible for their content.
GENERAL ENGLISH DICTIONARIES
- http://www.learnersdictionary.com - Although American English, it includes the equivalent British words
- http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/ - Also has a Business English and a ‘Learners English’ option which provides simpler definitions and examples.
- http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english - Includes translations into many languages, including Chinese & Arabic.
Sometimes a thesaurus can be useful to show the connection between words. This one provides a visualisation that may be helpful: http://www.visualthesaurus.com/
Interactive language activities to help develop your vocabulary (e.g. Hangman & Word Guessing) are available from Flax.
SUBJECT SPECIFIC DICTIONARIES
Those studying Psychology must adhere to APA guidelines for writing, and APA recommends/prefers Merriam-Webster's Collegiate dictionary. Unfortunately a free on-line version is not available. This is their on-line dictionary, which does have a Medical version:
- http://www.merriam-webster.com/ - N.B. This is an American English dictionary, which excludes British English spellings, so please use with caution!
This is an audio soap-opera. Soap opera is a term used to describe a fictional radio or television programme that often follows the lives of a group of people.
- Each episode is about 3 or 4 minutes long and has very useful exercises to go with it.
- Good for improving your ability to listen to conversational English.
- Short episodes make it a good programme to listen to every day.
- Exercises to help you improve your vocabulary and test your comprehension.
- Transcript available
This BBC news programme is aimed at children and so is a little easier to understand than the regular TV news.
Click on the “Watch Newsround” link on the right of the page to listen to the programme.
- Listening to the news in English is an excellent way to improve your vocabulary
These podcasts discuss a variety of British-related topics. They are about 12 minutes long
- Provide lots of information about Britain.
- Excellent exercises to help you improve your vocabulary and test your comprehension.
LISTENING to TALKS
A collection of short videos from the Royal Institute on science, technology, engineering, environment, maths etc. Search for topics related to your field of study.
- Short videos (1-10 minutes) long
An amazing collection of talks by world experts on many topics. Talks are all under 20 minutes long. You can search by subject, or browse for topics that interest you.
- Full transcripts available
ACADEMIC LISTENING (lectures)
If you want practise listening to lectures and checking your comprehension, this website has lots of useful exercises. http://www.uefap.com/listen/listfram.htm
Some of the world’s TOP UNIVERSITIES OFFER FREE ONLINE COURSES. http://www.openculture.com/freeonlinecourses connects you to many of these courses listed by subject.
Some of the courses allow you to participate and get a certificate at the end (see coursera.com for examples).
OXFORD UNIVERSITY, UK provide podcasts of many of their lectures at http://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/series
Search by school or department.
YALE UNIVERSITY in the USA also makes many of its lectures available online at http://oyc.yale.edu/courses
The UK’s OPEN UNIVERSITY allows you to study many courses for free and to access their lecture material at http://www.open.edu/openlearn/about-openlearn/tryThe following sites also list online lectures by subject:
- Graded English reading material is available from many sites including: ESL Reading
- For a list of links to reading material see TEFLNET
- Project Gutenberg - Thousands of free, out of copyright books to download, in various formats: Novels (including Dickens), academic works, old travel books etc..
These websites guide you through the major aspects of writing academic English:
- 'Writing for a Purpose'
- http://www.uefap.com (academic writing guide)
- http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/index.htm (guide to grammar & writing)
- http://www.online-utility.org/english/readability_test_and_improve.jsp (this measures individual sentences or longer texts for ease of readability)
- http://englishforuniversity.com/forums/forum/correct-my-sentence/ (for posting questions about your writing – to get online help/comments)
- http://www.englishforacademicstudy.com a guide to academic writing, step-by-step, with information about referencing conventions
- Resources for the Essay Writer - http://www.paperstarter.com/resources/resources-for-the-essay-writer
http://englishforuniveristy.com provides the following links to help students with writing in Academic English:
- The Writing for Assignments E-Library from the University of Plymouth
- Uni-learning from the University of Wollongong
- The University of Victoria’s Hypertext Writer’s Guide
A useful app for smartphones and tablets is available: Academic Writing in English(AWE), available for FREE from the Apple App Store and from Google Play.
At ELCOS we recognise that learning English is only one of the challenges faced by overseas students. There are also a wide range of practical and cultural differences in day-to-day life. In addition to our Buddy scheme and help provided by the International Student Support team, we also run a International Cultures and English (ICE) course for partners of Bangor students.
The following (external) web sites may also be of interest and help:
- Access UK - Living & Learning in the UK
- Prepare for Success - an interactive webtool for students considering coming to the UK.
This is a new diagnostic test for students preparing for IELTS: http://www.exam-ready.com/
Many other on-line courses (in a variety of subjects) are now available from a range of respected providers. A useful list is provided here: http://www.onlinecourses.com/
It includes, for example, the following free iTunes Podcasts for English Language Learners: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/english-as-second-language/id75908431?mt=2&ign-mpt=uo%3D4
- Webinar on the use of story-telling for ELT: http://www.macmillanenglish.com/events/Luke_Vyner/
- The Journal of Academic Writing is an international, peer-reviewed journal that focuses on the teaching, tutoring, researching, administration and development of academic writing in higher education in Europe.