English is the most widely spoken language in the world after Mandarin and Spanish and is the principal language of the U.K, U.S.A, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, Hong Kong and many former colonies. In fact, 50 countries have English as their official or primary language with over 375 million speakers worldwide. It takes its origins from the Germanic settlers that came to Britain in Anglo-Saxon times and has been adapted many times over the centuries ever since. It is widely known as the language of communication, being the principal language of the Internet and also the official language of the skies used by air traffic controllers when guiding flights globally. Many films, songs, theatrical performances and books have been made in the language and English Literature is one of the most commonly studied subjects in schools worldwide with famous writers and poets such as William Shakespeare, Robbie Burns, Geoffrey Chaucer, Dylan Thomas, Charles Dickens and William Blake to name a few, all giving valuable contributions especially after the introduction of Caxton’s printing press to England in 1476. Below are listed ten of the best sites on the Internet for resources and information on English Language and Literature with study portals and educational establishments amongst them. Whether English is your first language or you are learning about it, the following sites will be very valuable to you.
1. The Literature Network – http://www.online-literature.com/
The Literature network offers an online index for searching for English Literature with 3000 books, 4000 short stories, 250 authors and 8500 quotes to choose from. Questions can be asked in the forum where recent posts are noted and special sections named Religious, Shakespeare and Periods and Movements can be found. A biography of each author is shown listing notable works and poetry along with related links and articles. Subscription to the site is welcome and a list of popular Literature quizzes is available to test your knowledge on the subject after reading.
2. The Complete Works of Shakespeare – http://shakespeare.mit.edu/
This site is dedicated to the complete works of William Shakespeare as the name suggests and has been providing information on his plays and poetry on the Internet since 1993. Four sections are displayed called Poetry, Tragedy, Comedy and History listing all the appropriate works where plays can be selected by acts or scenes with the participating characters and speech given. The website is a must-see for Shakespeare fans, teachers and students with useful links also provided leading to further information.
3. Oxford University – http://www.english.ox.ac.uk/
This is the website for the Faculty of English Language and Literature at Oxford University, which is the largest English Department in the U.K. with over 1300 graduates and faculty members. Information about the department can be found on the site along with news and upcoming events. Details of available courses with admissions, structure, summaries and specifications are given with resources being offered to faculty members and students.
4. English Education – http://english.edusites.co.uk/
The site has a wide range of resources for English Language and Literature with the newest resources and the hottest ones highlighted. There is an extensive menu containing many topics from which to select information that can be found in articles, workshops, glossaries and videos. Advice is given for studying with reading material available along with revision guides. Further information can be found in the blog and the newsletter.
5. Web English Teacher – http://webenglishteacher.com/
Web English Teacher is designed for teachers to share ideas and find guidance and inspiration for their pupils. Speech and oral presentation is highlighted and information can be chosen from topics such as Drama, Grammar, Book Reports, Journalism, Literature, Poetry, Mythology, Reading, Shakespeare and Speech to name a few. A site map is provided for guidance and the blog contains many good articles for gaining insight into the world of teaching English. Subscription to the site is encouraged and a free newsletter is available after signing-up.
6. British Library – http://www.bl.uk/learning/langlit/index.html
The British Library has a section for learning English Language and English Literature with a timeline available for searching for literature by periods. Special sections can be found for Poetry and Dickens with useful sayings and expressions in English along with their origins. Illustrated articles are shown stating how the language has changed and expanded and old English recipes are given for food and drinks. Many links are provided for further information and a newsletter is available by email.
7. Sir John Deane’s College – http://www.sjd.ac.uk/content/42/English%20Language%20and%20English%20Literature
This is a sixth form college which was originally founded in 1557 and has a department for studying English. The courses follow ‘A’ level and ‘AS’ level syllabus and full details about the course, the college and how to apply can be found on the site. The site clearly states the entry requirements and explores the possibilities of careers after completion. Information about resources is available after signing–up.
8. English Edusites – http://english.edusites.co.uk/index.php/article/aqa-english-language-and-literature-b-ellb1/
Edusites has a portal for learning English offering many courses and study options. The menu of topics is extensive with multiple articles, tips and hints to view. The blog has many postings which provide further information with hot topics and the latest resources advertised. Linguistic terms and traditions are explored and special sections can be found for prose, poetry and language variations. The latest edition of the newsletter can be read and tools, presentations and workshops are available for further information.
9. InThinking – http://www.englishalanglit-inthinking.co.uk/
InThinking is an educational consultancy service which provides training for teachers and administrators in IB world schools. The English Language and Literature courses are in four parts with the requirements, key concepts, outcome and topics stated for each part. Written tasks and oral activities are assessed with glossaries, texts and FAQ’s available in the resources section. A special section is devoted to teaching materials and further information can be found in the blog postings.
10. Open University – http://www3.open.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/qualification/q39.htm
The Open University has a home study degree course in English Language and Literature for those unable to personally attend university or college. A full description of the course with facts, fees and entry requirements are given along with study explanations and advice on research facilities. Career relevance and employ-ability are clearly stated and qualifications are listed for both postgraduates and undergraduates.