WCC offers courses in five languages: American Sign Language, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish. To find material on learning English, please visit our English Language Learner‘s guide.
Here are some general search tips and library resources on how to find language materials. For resources on specific languages, jump or scroll down to the second set of tabs.
Subject Search: Go to the library catalog’s Basic Search tab and change the “within” pulldown menu to ‘Subject’. Then, enter the search ‘spanish language’ in the Search: box (This will work with all the languages).
Keyword Search: This will get you more results, but is less precise (this is the method that works best for American Sign Language). It’s also a good way to search if you know you want something specific like a dictionary. Type in “French dictionary” and see what you find.
Advanced Search: Under the “Advanced” search tab and toward the bottom, use the Language: pulldown menu to select the language in which you want the material to be in. Then, you can enter search terms above. This is very useful if you’re looking for things to read or films to watch in another language. With your language of choice selected, try entering terms like “films,” “literature,” or “fiction” and see what you find. Since we don’t have many materials that are actually in ASL, this method doesn’t work as well for that (if you want to try anyway, though, look for “Sign languages” on the list).
While we don’t subscribe to any databases centered specifically around language learning, many of our online databases can be useful for language and cultural study. If you’re searching for language materials, always use the word “language” after the name of the one you are looking for (“German language,” “Japanese language,” etc.)
BBC Languages Main Site – A fantastic resource for free language courses, vocabulary building, forums, video, radio, games and more. Includes basic info on 40 languages and complete courses for 7 of them.
BBC Languages Teachers’ Page – Focus on resources for language teachers.
Culturally Authentic Pictorial Lexicon – Search or browse this site for pictures described with words in both English and another language. Includes pictures for words in French, German, Spanish (several varieties), Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, Russian, and Ukrainian. Also has pictures for ESL students described only in English.
Forvo – An online audio pronunciation guide of over one million words in hundreds of languages. If you don’t know how to pronounce it, you can look it up here.
International Children’s Digital Library (ICDL) – Click the button in the middle and use the language dropdown to read children’s books in the language of your choice.
iMendi – Match up the meanings of words in different languages. Choose from English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, German, or Czech.
LangMedia – Language learning videos recorded in a variety of countries.
Learn a Language – Free online language resources.
The Linguist List – An international linguistics community online.
Omniglot – An encyclopedia of writing systems and languages.
Open Culture – Links to free language lessons in many languages. Lots of options to subscribe to podcasts.
Begin browsing for books on American Sign Language at HV2350 – titles include:
|American Sign Language the Easy Way||HV2474 S67 2007|
|American Sign Language Phrase Book||HV2475 F36 1994|
|ASL Poetry: Selected Works of Clayton Valli (VHS)||HV2469 P64 A85 1995|
|Gallaudet Dictionary of American Sign Language||HV2475 G35 2005|
|Grammar, Gesture and Meaning in ASL||HV2474 L53 2003|
|So You Want to be an Interpreter? Intro to ASL Interpreting||HV2402 H86 2011|
ASL Web Links
ASL Browser – A free online video dictionary.
ASL Dictionary – The dictionary here is also free, but other content is subscription-only.
ASL University – A dictionary and free learning materials, including grammar information.
Deaf Resource Library – A digital library about Deaf culture maintained by Karen Nakamura, an assistant professor at Yale. Includes information about ASL.
StartASL – Begin learning ASL online for free. A lot of the links are ads, so skip over them to view the free material.
Begin browsing in the stacks at PC2001. For French literature, look in the beginning of the PQ section (most of it is in English translation, but you can find some books in French here). We also have a few comic books in French in the PN6747 section.
|Histoire de Babar, Le Petit Eléphant||PQ2603 R93 H57 1979|
|Newspaper French: a Vocabulary of Administrative and Commercial Idiom||PC2460 R55 1990|
|Parlons Affaires!: Initiation au Français Economique et Commercial||PC2120 C6 B47 2005|
|A Reference Grammar of Modern French||PC2105 J83 1983|
The Reference Collection also contains books. For example the Oxford-Hachette French Dictionary: French-English/English-French PC2640 O83 2007, can be found here.
Additionally, the Library also subscribes to the magazine France-Amérique. The newest issue can be found to the right of the main staircase (facing it) in the library, and back issues are on shelves in the northeast corner of the main floor near the elevator. We keep the current year plus two past years.
French Web Links
BBC Languages: French – Free courses for beginner and intermediate levels, French TV and radio, phrases, dictionary, and more.
Collins Pocket French Dictionary – A free online French-English/English-French dictionary with over 40,000 entries. Scroll down to search or browse.
Free French Language Tutorials – Lots of great learning resources by a speaker of French as a second language who teaches at a university in France.
Begin browsing at PF3001. For German literature, look in the beginning of the PT section (most of it is in English translation, but you can find a few books in German here). We also have one comic book in German in the PN6747 section.
Some examples of the German books we have:
|Berlitz Self-Teacher, German||PF3121.B424 1987|
|Deutsche Erzählungen / German Stories: a Bilingual Anthology||PT1327.S745D4 1984|
|Deutsch, na Klar!: an Introductory German Course||PF3112.D48 1999|
|Märchen der Brüder Grimm (Grimm’s Fairy Tales)||PT921.K56 2000|
Books available in the Reference section include the Collins German-English, English-German Dictionary PF3640.C64 1999
German Web Links
BBC Languages: German – Free course for beginners, resources for intermediate level, German TV and radio, phrases, and more.
Collins Pocket German Dictionary – A free online German-English/English-German dictionary with over 40,000 entries. Scroll down to search or browse.
Practice German Online – Resources from the Goethe Institut.
Begin browsing in the PL501 section. We also have some Japanese manga in the PN6790 section. Here are some examples of what we have:
|Basic Japanese: Book One||PL539.3.T86 1987|
|Chobits v. 1-8||PN6790.J37C536 2001|
|Kanji no michi: 1000 kanji shūtoku tekisuto = A road to kanji||PL539.5.R63 1990|
|Let’s Learn Hiragana||PL551.M58 1985|
The Reference Collection includes: Random House Japanese-English, English-Japanese dictionary PL675.R36 1997
Japanese Web Links
Bauddha.net – This is a website where you can view English texts and their Japanese translations next to each other for free. Scroll down to their Book List and use Google Translate if you need to in order to read all of the titles. To read a bilingual book, click on the title you want, then click the gray button you see on the next screen. A new window will pop up with the texts. They have classics (novels, short stories, and plays), fairy tales, philosophy, and political texts (mostly speeches).
BBC Languages: Japanese – Not a full BBC language course, but it does have language facts, phrases, and some excellent links to online courses, dictionaries, newspaper, games, etc.
Charles Kelly’s Online Japanese Language Study Materials – Lots of resources by a guy who grew up in Japan.
Classical Japanese Network – Classic Japanese poetry with romaji spellings and English translations.
Japanese-Online – An online community with access to various lessons. It’s free, but you have to register and create a user i.d. to log in.
Jim Breen’s WWWJDIC – A free online database of multiple Japanese dictionaries, including Kanji look-up. Extremely useful.
NHK World English – Japan’s public broadcasting web page. News, TV, and Japanese lessons.
Radio Japan English Site – Read news about Japan and listen to Japanese streaming radio stations.
Begin browsing at PC4001 (upstairs in the Stacks). For Spanish literature, look starting at PQ6001 (some is in English translation, but we have many books in Spanish too). Here are some examples of the books we have:
|De Larra a Fuentes: Literary Selections for the Intermediate Level||PC4117.D318 1975|
|¿Habla Español?: an Introductory Course||PC4112.H25M3 1985|
|Medical Spanish||PC4120.M3B6 1991|
|Short Stories in Spanish||PQ6267.E8S56 1999|
The Reference Collection includes: Simon & Schuster’s International Dictionary: English/Spanish, Spanish/English PC4640.S48 1997
The library subscribes to the Spanish edition of the magazine Américas. The newest issue can be found to the right of the main staircase (facing it) in the library, and back issues are on shelves in the northeast corner of the main floor near the elevator. We keep the current year plus two past years.
The database Western Newsstand includes the full text of several Spanish language newspapers. On the Advanced Search tab you can limit results by language.
Spanish Web Links
BBC Languages: Spanish – Free course for beginners, resources for intermediate level, Spanish TV and radio, phrases, dictionary, and more.
Collins Pocket Spanish Dictionary – A free online Spanish-English/English-Spanish dictionary with over 40,000 entries. Scroll down to search or browse.
Lingus.tv – Spanish language learning videos.
The library also has various materials collected or donated over time that cover some other languages, including Italian, Korean, Russian, Hindi, Farsi, and others. Try searching our catalog if there is another language you are interested in, and we may have something about it.