(reviewed Winter 2011)
Reviewer: Pat Raburn
Recommendation: Recommended (for extensive dictionary availability and original on-line reading sources.)
The website, englishpage.com is an on-line resource geared toward intermediate and advanced English learners worldwide. I was not able to confirm the actual owners of the site but will note a copyright of Language Dynamics at the bottom of their pages. It struck me as a very commercial site given the Google Ads they encourage and the fact that their Dictionary category sends you to etaco.com that is strictly a commercial venture that sells electronic dictionaries in many languages. Etaco’s headquarters are in New York City. They have 300 employees in 16 countries and have been in business for 20 years. They have no mention of English Page on their Web site. This is a sales site for electronic dictionaries and translators.
The Web site targets itself to intermediate and advanced English learners around the globe who predominately are business people between the ages of 18 and 35 years and want to improve their English for career development. About 180 countries have links to them and their claim is millions of visits each month. They also are presenting themselves as a marketing site in that they are soliciting advertisements on their pages.
Scope, Coverage, and Relevance: In summary, this site offers ESL grammar, reading, and vocabulary practice. I was focused most on their reading offerings, but have comments about other aspects.
The Reading Room tab is a link to other multiple sites. After selecting that tab, it sends you to an interface that offers free online newspapers, magazines, books and literature, reference materials, and online libraries. All of these resources are online and they then link you to other sources. The newspaper offerings are LA Time, New York Times, USA Today, and the Washington Post. There are also newspapers from the United Kingdom, South Africa, and India and all the newspapers are of the current daily news. Examples of the magazines offered are Discovery, The Economist, Life Scientific American, and the Smithsonian. The Online Books and Literature points to other sources, for example etext.lib.virginia and also mit.edu. A complete works of Shakespeare is available, in addition to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and others. There is no review of vocabulary or other approaches or strategies for reading. These are only links to actual original works.
In their tabs regarding dictionaries, there are three directions that a user is offered. The initial search goes to an englishpage offering definitions by Etaco. Two other options are on that page: 1) selecting recommended dictionaries by country and 2) more online dictionaries. The recommended dictionaries by country is extensive and it directs you to a unique dictionary for that country which possibly is a “good to best dictionary” for that language but there is no way to judge the quality. The “more online dictionaries” option sends you to “yourdictionary.com” and it provides additional content categories such as business, legal, computer, and finance, etc.
I selected English to Foreign, and was taken to a listing of world countries. Even though this particular page was on the englishpage Web site, it directed you to the online dictionaries offered by Etaco. More than just the definition was given. An additional table offered idioms, verbs, and noun phrases so that the learner could see how the word was used with different collocations and a different part of speech. For example, I tried “perro” and found that they provided additional phrases such as “perro de caza” (bird dog, harrier, hound) and an idiom, “perro ladrador pero mordedor” (his bark his worse than his bite, a barking dog seldom bites). This is an advantage of this website because it provides different context and usages of the word.
Other categories within the Dictionary tab were English to English, Irregular Verbs, Phrasal Verbs, Verbs and Prepositions. This last section provided usage examples of verbs and a corresponding preposition. There were 9 examples for “W”, e.g. wish for, work for, work on. I presume they selected words that have highest frequency but the methodology of selection was not indicated. They also have a tab for buying dictionaries that put you into the commercial sales site of Etaco. Several different types of electronic dictionaries in several different languages were offered.
The selection of online dictionaries was extensive. Offered were not only word definition but also categories such as business, computer, finance, and a Roget’s Thesaurus that linked you to yourdictionary.com. Yourdictionary.com also provided etymology, idioms, identification of transitive verbs or intransitive verbs, nouns, adjectives, and links to other idioms. Embedded in this link was also a section of the most misspelled words (100) and the most mispronounced words (100), for example, across vs crossed, and candidate v. canidate.
Non-Reading Offerings: The site opens with a Weekly Lesson tab prominently displayed in the center of the page. This week was Adverbs/Adjectives and Linking Verbs. Each of the three sections gave a mini-lecture of the rules and then provides either exercise questions or a story for fill-in-the-blank.
This site offers a message forum for their readers. You do need to register in order to post items but you can read prior posts. There are recent posted dates with Jan and Feb 2010 messages.
This is not an academic ESL site with respect to accessing theory and being able to utilize extensive exercises and practice. It does offer the opportunity to link for free to noted English language newspapers, magazines, and books in one site, which is efficient for someone wanting to practice reading. However, there are no accompanying vocabulary or comprehension questions to help guide the learner presumably because it is original and current contemporary content. The vocabulary section of the site provides the actual practice and exercises.
There are brief and quick grammar lessons with exercises that might be useful. The extensive coverage for dictionaries is a plus even though Etaco dominates much of it. I would recommend the site for the access to the online link to original reading sources and for the extensive dictionaries offered.
Subject Headings: reading passages, dictionaries, ESL teachers