English is essentially bad Dutch with outrageously pronounced French and Latin vocabulary. Eugene Holman (in John Cowan's Essentialist Explanations)

English is a West Germanic language, a subdivision of the Germanic languages that also includes German, Dutch, Afrikaans and Yiddish. This page focuses mostly on British English.

Why learn English? See Manuel Practices His English (YouTube).

YouTube Channels and Websites for Learning or Improving Your English

YouTube has many channels that offer English lessons. The list below only contains channels by native speakers of British English. Wherever possible, the description also says where the teachers come from, because that typically affects the accent they use in their videos.

Pronunciation and Accent


Note also that English has many names with counterintuitive pronunciations.

Intonation and Rhythm


You may be wondering about my accent. Of course, technically, I don't have an accent. I'm from England, this is just how things sound when they're pronounced properly. English stand-up comedian Jimmy Carr during a gig in Montreal in 2003

Humour related to pronunciation:

Regional Accents

London & Cockney

Scottish English Accents

Other Accents


Listening Practice


Books on English Grammar

Linguistics Textbooks on English Grammar

These books are not primarily aimed at learners of English, except for those who are studying English at university.

Online Resources on English Grammar



Phrasal Verbs

Reading / Literature

There are quite a few websites that provide book recommendations for learners of English. They usually don't take into account that learners may want to focus on a specific variety of English, typically either British English or American English. For this reason, the variety of English has been added to each title in the lists below.

Also worth adding to the above lists:


The references below are mostly about writing at an advanced level.

Teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language

Teaching English in China can entail risks, since the Chinese Communist Part wants education to be patriotic.

Other Links

Style guides:

English language teaching (EFL, ESL):

Learning English on your own (self study, autonomous learning):

Knowledge of English around the world:

Basic grammar links:

English Language Tests

There are many organisations that offer English language tests and certificates. Many of these certificates focus on a specific goal, e.g. English for academic purposes, for business purposes or for international communication.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

IELTS is an international standardised test of English as a foreign language.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

Other resources related to tests and skill levels:

Varieties and History of English

There are many varieties of English. For information about varieties of English other than British English, see for example the following Wikipedia articles: American English, Canadian English, Australian English, New Zealand English, Irish English or Hiberno-English, Scottish English, Indian English, Pakistani English, Sri Lankan English (or Ceylonese English), International English, World Englishes, Euro English, …

In 1943, the British Council produced a short documentary on the History of the English Language (just over 14 minutes long). It explains where the English language comes from and gives many examples of words borrowed from other languages. Since it was produced during World War II, there are a few instances of propaganda and anti-German bias in it. (There are also a few factual errors.)

Other links:

Miscellaneous Links

Natural conversation:

Expressions, phrases and manners:

Other videos:

Some random funny videos: