Languages and Literature Information


English as a Second Language

Activities for ESL Students

This site contains many practice quizzes on different aspects of the English language. There are also several levels of difficulty depending on how advanced you are. In addition, there are bi-lingual quizzes available so you can see and compare English to your native language.


Whether you are approaching English as a second language or studying it as a foreign language, English Club can probably help you out. This site provides a variety of approaches to studying English so you are more likely to find something useful. has many different ESL activities, from the basic rules of grammar to jokes.

ESL Partyland

ESL Partyland has sections for both teachers and students. There are a number of quizzes and lesson plans available to help you out.

JCPL Learning to Read English

On this page, we list several websites that provide texts in basic English to help you practice and build your skills.

Learn English at is an excellent educational resource created by the Goodwill Foundation. Their reading resources include activities to help build English literacy for native English speakers and for ESL students coming from a variety of language backgrounds.

Randall’s ESL Cyber Listening Lab

This ESL Lab has sound files on many different topics, with difficulties ranging from beginner to advanced.

Universal Class English as a Second Language Courses

If you are new to the English language or want to build your English reading and writing skills, Universal Class offers a wide range of courses. The classes are instructor-led and can be accessed 24/7. Go at your own pace through the lessons and exercises, and receive a certificate of completion for your efforts. Universal Class courses are free for JCPL patrons. Create an account to begin learning today.

USA Learns

A site for adults to improve English speaking, pronunciation, listening, reading, spelling, writing and grammar. (From their main page, 12/6/2013)

Learn a Language

BBC Languages

The BBC Languages site provides guides and instruction for over 40 world languages. Each language section has an interactive test to help you identify your current proficiency level.

Cherokee Language Lessons

The official website of the Cherokee Nation offers many wonderful educational resources. A portion of the site includes helpful tools for anyone interested in learning the Cherokee language. Register for an upcoming class or view lesson archives from previous classes to learn the Cherokee syllabary and vocabulary. You can also download pdf files of interesting books and resources (such as a yearly calendar) in Cherokee.

Endangered Languages Project

The Endangered Languages Project is a massive collaborative undertaking to increase awareness of endangered languages and to support language preservation around the world.


“Ethnologue: Languages of the World is a comprehensive reference work cataloging all of the world’s known living languages. Since 1951, the Ethnologue has been an active research project involving hundreds of linguists and other researchers around the world. It is widely regarded to be the most comprehensive source of information of its kind.” (From their website, 2/2/2015)

Foreign Language Online Dictionaries

This is a dictionary of dictionaries. Find links to specialty dictionaries and translation sites for hundreds of languages.

Use this global dictionary to search in 275 dictionaries on the Internet. Translate from 69 source languages into 73 target languages – 400 language combinations. (from their home page, 2/1/2015).

Google Translate

Google Translate is a free translation service that provides instant translations between dozens of different languages. It can translate words, sentences and web pages between any combination of our supported languages. With Google Translate, we hope to make information universally accessible and useful, regardless of the language in which it’s written. (from Inside Google Translate, 2/1/2015)

Learn a Language

Learn A Language offers tools to learn 8 of the more popular world languages.

Mango Languages

The Johnson City Public Library offers our patrons access to this outstanding conversational language learning tool. There are 56 different world languages to choose from for English speakers, 17 courses in English for non-English speakers, and four scholarly and religious languages (such as Hebrew, Latin, and Greek). Create an account and track your progress as you learn a new language, brush up on an old one, and expand your horizons. Mango also offers an excellent translation tool and some foreign language films to help build your comprehension skills.


The Tennessee Electronic Library also offers Tennesseans the opportunity to build their language skills through PowerSpeak. PowerSpeak offers courses in eight popular languages for English speakers as well as English classes for Spanish and Mandarin speakers. Language skills are built through interactive lessons that progress in difficulty. Create a free account to save your progress as you build vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation skills.


Citations and Copyright

Citation Machine

Select your citation style (MLA, APA, Turabian, or Chicago), the type of citation (book, magazine, website, etc.), and fill in the blanks and this website will create your citation for you.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization advocating open creativity and sharing of ideas while also empowering creators to choose their own level of copyright protection for their work. Search the Creative Commons across popular websites to find music, videos, images and other media for content that creators have licensed through Creative Commons.

IFLA Citation Style Guides

If you need to know how to cite something, this site will link you to guides for many different styles. Very useful, particularly when writing a paper or report.

U.S. Copyright Office

Intellectual property has legal protection just like physical property. Visit the U.S. Copyright Office’s website to find important information about copyright and fair use, search copyright records to contact copyright holders for use permission, and register your own work.

Literature and Writing

Arts & Letters Daily

Brought to you by the Chronicle of Higher Education, Arts and Letters Daily brings you reviews of new books, essays and more. It is a great site to keep up to date on the latest publications.

Find classic works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and prose. Bartleby also provides an excellent full-text searchable reference shelf. If you have a famous quote and you are not certain of its source, try searching Bartleby.

Fagan Finder Quotations and Proverbs Search

Use this search engine to find famous quotes or parables across many databases such as Bartleby, BrainyQuote, and ThinkExist.

Internet Public Library Literary Criticism

The ipl2 Literary Criticism Collection contains critical and biographical websites about authors and their works that can be browsed by author, by title, or by nationality and literary period. (from their site, 2/2/2015)

Lexical FreeNet Thesaurus

Find words that are related, rhyming, or even anagrams at this interesting thesaurus, a useful reference for writers.

Oxford Dictionaries Commonly Confused Words and British and American Terms

These are two great resources on the Oxford Dictionaries website. The first site is a quick reference list to help you learn the different meanings for words that sound alike and are sometimes misused. The second site is a great reference for anyone who reads British literature or watches British television shows and finds themselves occasionally confused by the use of unfamiliar words.

Project Gutenberg

Created in 1971, Project Gutenberg is a volunteer-based project that strives to create and provide access to free e-books of literary works available in the public domain. Download Kindle or epub editions, or read classic works in your browser.

Purdue OWL

“The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional material, and we provide these as a free service of the Writing Lab at Purdue. Students, members of the community, and users worldwide will find information to assist with many writing projects. Teachers and trainers may use this material for in-class and out-of-class instruction.” (from the site’s main page, 2/25/2015)


Famous for summarizing works of literature, the Spark notes website offers study tools for math and history as well as English and literature.



Return to the Online Information Desk to find more online resources. If you need additional assistance finding information, contact the Johnson City Public Library Information Desk at (423) 434-4454.