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Foreign language books

Gifts for language lovers

Browse Gift Ideas for Language Lovers
Foreign language calendars | Foreign language books | Foreign magazine subscriptions
Electronic translators | Language learning CDs | Foreign Language software & downloads
Music in other languages | Foreign culture books | Traditional foods from other cultures
Art, wall hangings, & posters | World Country Flags | More coming soon!

Why foreign language books? Because a wide array of foreign language books exists, you are bound to find something for any language lover, from novice to native speaker. A beginning to advanced learner might find a bilingual dictionary or a reference work useful, or perhaps a book that provides language instruction appropriate to the learner's proficiency. Stories and literature are available for beginner to advanced levels, too, from graded readers, to dual-language story books, to full-length novels in a foreign language. For a fun twist, you might even try a foreign language edition of Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, or the Da Vinci Code.


Bilingual dictionaries. We have included here only the most useful and highly acclaimed dictionary editions for each language and level. All but those for dead languages are bi-directional. See our page on choosing the right bilingual dictionary before you buy to find out why compact, pocket, and mini dictionaries should be avoided.
(Random House-Webster's) | Arabic-English (Awde / Smith) | Chinese-English (Oxford Beginner's) | Dutch-English (Langenscheidt) | French-English (Concise Larousse) | German-English (Concise Collins) | German-English (Concise Oxford) | Modern Greek-English (Oxford Learner's) | Ancient Greek-English (Abridged Liddell / Scott) | Italian-English (Concise Webster's) | Hawaiian-English (Pocket Pukui) | Hebrew-English (Oxford) | Latin-English (Concise Webster's) | Japanese-English (Oxford Beginner's) | Norwegian-English (Haugen) | Portuguese-English (Concise Larousse) | Russian-English (Katzner) | Spanish-English (Concise Collins) | Swedish-English / English-Swedish (Prisma) | Thai-English (Becker / Paiboon) | Turkish-English (Cambridge Learner's) | Ukrainian-English (Niniows'kyi).

ASL-English (Gallaudet) | Arabic-English (Wehr) | Chinese-English (DeFrancis / ABC) | Dutch-English (Routledge) | French-English (Oxford-Hachette) | French-English (Larousse) | French-English (Collins) | German-English (Oxford-Duden) | German-English (Collins) | Modern Greek-English (Divry) | Ancient Greek-English (Liddell / Oxford) | Hawaiian-English (Pukui) | Modern Hebrew-English (Lauden et al.) | Old Testament Hebrew-English (Brown / Driver / Briggs) | Italian-English (Oxford-Paravia) | Italian-English (Harper-Collins) | Japanese-English (Kodansha's Furigana) | Korean-English / English-Korean (Essence) | Latin-English (Oxford) | Latin-English (Cassell's) | Persian-English (Aryanpur) | Polish-English (Oxford-PWN) | Russian-English (Oxford) | Spanish-English (Oxford) | Spanish-English (Harper-Collins) | Spanish-English (Larousse) | Spanish-English (Webster's) | Business Spanish-English (Oxford) | Tagalog-English (Hippocrene) | Thai-English (Hass / Stanford) | Urdu-English (Oxford).

Browse more foreign language dictionaries at amazon:      

Grammar and vocabulary reference books
Learning words is arguably the single most important component of learning a language.Why? If learners know the grammar perfectly but know no words, they cannot communicate in the language. However, if the learner knows lots and lots of words, even with imperfect grammar, one can understand and make oneself understood. These books help not only to increase learners' vocabulary but also teach them how to use vocabulary correctly and appropriately in real contexts.

Using Vocabulary. This excellent series from Cambridge University Press, which is unfortunately only available for a few languages, effectively demonstrates how to use vocabulary words in the correct contexts: Using French Vocabulary, Using German Vocabulary, Using Italian Vocabulary, Using Russian Vocabulary, Using Spanish Vocabulary.

Schaum's Outlines of Vocabulary. Organized thematically, these books introduce, train, and assess learners' passive and active knowledge of vocabulary and phrases used and needed in everyday situations. Available for: Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish.

Mastering Vocabulary. Each book in this series by Barron's provides 1000s of commonly used vocabulary words organized thematically into discrete categories. What makes these books especially helpful is that an example of real usage is provided for each word. Available for: French, German, Italian, Spanish, Business Spanish.

Using Synonyms. This Cambridge University Press series is geared toward learners who already possess a basic competence in the target language. Because these books provide detailed information on words with related meanings with examples of usage, they are invaluable guides in helping learners locate the right word for a particular context. Using Arabic Synonyms, Using French Synonyms, Using German Synonyms, Using Italian Synonyms, Using Russian Synonyms, Using Spanish Synonyms.

English and ESL Vocabulary Books
Dictionary of American Idioms | Essential English Idioms | A Year in the Life of an ESL Student: Idioms and Vocabulary You Can't Live Without | Divided by a Common Language: A Guide to British and American English

These grammars clearly outline and explain the major structures in a language system and are easy for the beginning to intermediate language learner to comprehend.

English Grammar for students of other languages: This useful series of books provides the language learner with clear, concise explanations of each English grammar point and then explains the grammar of the foreign language from the comparative perspective of English grammar. Excellent for the foreign language learner who needs to brush up or learn the basics of English grammar. Available for: Arabic, French, German, Latin, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish.

Schaum's Outlines of Grammar include clear, concise explanations of the main points of grammar in the target language with examples of usage. Each section is followed by exercises to test learner's understanding. Available for: Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Latin, Japanese, Russian, Spanish.

Using Languages: Guides to Contemporary Usage: This series is uniquely suited to the language learner who already has a knowledge of the basics and would like to expand and refine his/her grammar repertoire and improve his/her fluency and accuracy. The books are especially sensitive to the particular needs and problem areas for speakers of English. Using Arabic, Using French, Using German, Using Italian, Using Japanese, Using Korean, Using Portuguese, Using Russian, Using Spanish

501 Verbs series provides full verb conjugations for 501 of the most important and most commonly verbs in the target language along with additional references, tips, and examples of usage. Also includes some charts of important verbs, idioms and travel phrases, and some verb tests with answers, and the latest editions include a CD-ROM. Available for: Arabic, English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish. A 301 Verbs edition exists for Polish and a 201 Verbs edition exists for Dutch, Mandarin Chinese , Modern Greek, Swedish, Turkish.

These grammars all provide a very comprehensive overview of a language's grammar system. Many of these have become standard works in their respective languages and have stood the test of years of use. Some of the grammars for lesser taught languages are fairly new, however, and represent a first comprehensive attempt to present the grammar of the language for English speakers. All of these dictionaries are best for advanced learners, translators, language instructors, and others who need detailed knowledge of finer grammar points.
Chinese: A Comprehensive Grammar | Understanding and Using English Grammar | French Grammar and Usage | Hammer's German Grammar and Usage | Smyth's Ancient Greek Grammar | Greek Grammar: Beyond the Basics | A Reference Grammar of Modern Italian | A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar | Wheelock's Latin | Allen and Greenough's New Latin Grammar | An Introduction to Persian | Polish: An Essential Grammar | Spanish Grammar for Independent Learners | Ukrainian: A Comprehensive Grammar | Urdu: An Essential Grammar | Modern Welsh: A Comprehensive Grammar

Foreign language self-instruction books. The program to choose depends on the learner's goals. Those who want to learn to speak and understand spoken language would gain the most from a book with an accompanying audio program. For those who want to develop only a passive reading knowledge of the language, audio is optional, though it may be useful to know how the words sound.
Colloquial Languages: The Complete Course for Beginners series covers an impressive array of languages. Each pack includes a course book and an audio CD and/or cassette that provide clear and practical instruction in foreign languages. (Be sure to read the description carefully. The audio is included when the product is sold as a "pack", but in most instances the book and audio program are sold separately.) Some editions are also available for Kindle. Each course contains recorded dialogues, useful vocabulary, and concise, easy-to-understand grammar explanations, each followed by helpful exercises. An answer key, a special reference section and a bilingual glossary round out each program, which can be used either for independent language study or in the classroom. Albanian, Amharic, Afrikaans, Arabic (Egypt), Arabic (Gulf/Saudia Arabia), Arabic (Levantine), Basque, Breton, Bulgarian, Cambodian, Cantonese, Catalan, Chinese, Chinese 2, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Dutch 2, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, French 2, Scottish Gaelic, German, German 2, Greek, Gujarati, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Italian 2, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malay, Mongolian, Norwegian, Panjabi, Persian/Farsi, Polish, Portuguese (Europe), Portuguese (Brazil), Romanian, Russian, Russian 2, Serbian, Slovak, Slovene, Somali, Spanish, Spanish 2, Spanish (Latin America), Spanish 2 (Latin America), Swahili, Swedish, Tamil, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese, Welsh.

The Teach Yourself series includes a course book and CD. It can be used for independent language learning or to supplement formal instruction. Included are interactive dialogues, grammar instruction, practice exercises with answers, useful vocabulary, verb tables, cultural notes, and a bi-lingual glossary. The series covers an wide array of languages: Arabic, Gulf Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese, Dutch, American English, Finnish, French, German, Hindi, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, (Business) Japanese, Korean, Nepali, Norwegian, Persian/Farsi, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Spanish (Latin America), Swedish, Tagalog, Thai, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese, Welsh, Xhosa, Zulu.

Learning to read and understand a foreign language is a somewhat different process than learning to also speak and write or to understand spoken language. Learners can progress much more quickly because fewer skills must be acquired. Students of Latin or Attic Greek normally need acquire only a reading knowledge of these languages because they are no longer spoken. However, there are practical reasons why someone might want to develop a passive knowledge of even modern languages -- to understand foreign literary texts, for example, or to have access to research published in another language. Because written language is more structured and contains far less variation than spoken forms, developing a reading knowledge can occur much more quickly. This is true even with languages that cover wide geographical expanses, such as English, Spanish, or French, which often have multiple standard written forms. The following books are some of the best that are specially designed for to help learners acquire a reading knowlege of a foreign language:
Reading French in the Arts and Sciences | Reading French: A Guide for Students of Religion and Theology | French for Reading | Skills and Techniques for Reading French | German for Reading Knowledge | German Quickly: A Grammar for Reading German | Reading German: A Course Book and Reference Grammar | Introduction to Attic Greek | Greek: An Intensive Course | The New Reading Hebrew | Reading Latin | Reading Real Russian | Spanish for Reading | Spanish for Reading and Translation

Dual language literature books. These books have stories or excerpts in the original language with English translations on facing pages. Each also includes vocabulary notes, biographical/critical introductions to the texts, and more. Works are arranged alphabetically by language.
Teahouse, by Lao She (1899-1966), one of the most renowned contemporary Chinese writers, famous for his novels and plays. Chinese-English dual language edition.
Selected Short Stories of Shen Congwen, who was one of modern China's great writers (1902-1988) and one of the finest Chinese prose stylists of all time. Chinese-English dual language edition.
Selected Stories of Xiao Hong, one of China's most well-known writers in the 1930s. Includes some of her most famous short stories: "On the Oxcart," "Spring in a Small Town," "The Family Outsider," "Flight from Danger," "Vague Expectations," "The Bridge," and "Hands." Chinese-English dual language edition.
Bilingual Series on Modern Chinese Literature is a series of volumes containing dual language works of Chinese literature.
French Stories 10 unusual stories by French literary masters from Voltaire to Camus. French-English dual language edition.
Nineteenth-Century French Short Stories by six of France's greatest authors. French-English dual language edition.
Candide, by the great French Enlightenment thinker Voltaire. French-English dual language edition.
Five Great German Short Stories: 19th and early 20th century greats: Kleist’s "The Earthquake in Chile," Hoffmann’s "The Sandman," Schnitzler’s "Lieutenant Gustl," Mann’s "Tristan," and Kafka’s "The Judgment."
The Brothers Grimm Selected Folk Tales / Ausgewählte Märchen 27 world-famous and lesser known fairy tales of these German brothers. German-English dual language edition.
Selected Poetry of Johann Wolfgang Goethe arranged chronologically with verse translations. German-English dual language edition.
Faust. One of the world's great classics by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. German-English dual-language edition.
Great German Poems of the Romantic Era. Over 130 poems dating between 1770 and 1903 by 23 poets, including Goethe, Schiller, Hölderlin, Tieck, Heine, Mörike, Storm, and Nietzsche. German-English dual-language edition.
Deutsche Erzählungen. Narratives by 11 well-known German-speaking authors of the 19th and early 20th centuries. German-English dual-language edition.
German Short Stories 1 and German Short Stories 2 each contain literary works of eight 20th century German and Austrian authors. German-English dual-language edition.
Kafka Best Short Stories. 5 stories by one of the greatest modern writers. German-English dual-language edition.
Siddhartha & Demian by Nobel prize winning 20th century author Hermann Hesse. German-English dual-language edition.
Italian Stories: 11 stories including texts by Boccaccio, Machiavelli, Pirandello, and Moravia. Includes vocubulary notes. Italian-English dual-language edition.
Famous Italian Operas. 145 arias from "Rigoletto", "The Marriage of Figaro", "Lucia di Lammermoor", "Madama Butterfly", "La Bohème", 45 more. Italian-English dual-language edition.
Divine Comedy by Dante includes 33 unabridged cantos from the original. Italian-English dual-language edition.
Breaking into Japanese literature. 7 classics of increasing difficulty. Reading is aided by Japanese-English dual-language format and a customized glossary. MP3 files of all stories available via an Internet link.
Russian Stories: 12 tales by Chekhov, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Pushkin, Bunin, & other masters. Russian-English dual language edition.
Spanish-American Short Stories, 17 stories from the Caribbean and Central and South America by well-known authors,1867 to 1922. Spanish-English dual language edition.
Spanish Stories of the Late Nineteenth Century, 11 stories by 4 outstanding writers (1870-1900): Juan Valera, Pedro Antonio de Alarcón, Emilia Pardo Bazán, and Leopoldo Alas ("Clarín"). Spanish-English dual language edition.
Twentieth-Century Latin American Poetry, chronologically arranged, contains the works of over 75 poets, including such giants as Neruda, Dario, Reyes, Vallejo, Borges and Paz. Spanish-English dual language edition.

Classics in foreign language literature
FRENCH: Le petit prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry | Les liaisons dangereuses, by Choderlos de Laclos | Les miserables, by Victor Hugo | Les trois mousquetaires, by Alexandre Dumas | Les Fleurs Du Mal, by Charles Pierre Baudelaire | Fables, Jean de la Fontaine | Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert | Notre Dame de Paris 1482, by Victor Hugo | Un raccourci sans le temps, by Madeleine L'Engle.

GERMAN: Der Vorleser, by Bernhard Schlink | Der Besuch der alten Dame, by Friedrich Dürrenmatt | Tonio Kröger, by Thomas Mann | Romeo und Julia auf dem Dorfe, by Gottfried Keller | Die Räuber, by Friedrich Schiller | Die Leiden des Jungen Werthers, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | Bahnwärter Thiel, by Gerhardt Hauptmann | Das Parfum, by Patrick Süskind.

GREEK: A Greek Anthology. Includes excerpts from Homer, Herodotus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristotle, Plato, Plutarch, more.

LATIN: Wheelock's Latin Reader. A selection of prose and poetry from a wide range of classical authors and briefer passages from medieval and late Latin writers.

SPANISH: Cien Años de Soledad, by Gabriel García Márquez | Don Quijote de la Mancha, by Cervantes | La casa de los espirtus, by Isabel Allende | Como agua para chocolate, by Laura Esquivel | La muerte de Artemio Cruz, by Carlos Fuentes | Pablo Neruda's Selected Poems (Edición bilingüe) | El Alquimista: Una Fabula Para Seguir Tus Suenos, by Paulo Coelho.

More Spanish language literature.

And for fun:

Harry Potter in other languages:
  BOXED SET of ALL 7 BOOKS: English original, French,

  Book 1: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone:
English original, Arabic, Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), French, German, Ancient Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Latin, Lithuanian, Russian, Spanish, Urdu, Welsh.

  Book 2: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets:
English original
, Arabic, Chinese (simplified), French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Latin, Lithuanian, Russian, Spanish, Urdu.

  Book 3: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban:
English original
, Arabic, Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Lithuanian, Russian, Spanish, Urdu.

  Book 4: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire:
English original
, Arabic, Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Lithuanian, Russian, Spanish, Urdu.

  Book 5: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix:
English original
, Arabic, Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish.

  Book 6: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince:
English original
, Arabic, Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Russian, Spanish.

  Book 7: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:
English original
, Arabic, Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Russian, Spanish.
J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings in other languages:
  Prelude: The Hobbit
English original, French, German, Spanish

  Book 1: Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring:
English original
, Chinese (simplified), French, German, Italian, Spanish

  Book 2: Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers:
English original
, Chinese (simplified), French, German, Italian, Spanish

  Book 3: Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King :
English original
, Chinese (simplified), French, German, Italian, Spanish

Dan Brown books in other languages:
  Book: The Da Vinci Code:
English original, Arabic, Chinese, French, French audio edition [13 CDs], German [Title: Sakrileg] / German audio edition [4 CDs], Italian, Spanish [Title: El Codigo Da Vinci]

  Book: Angels and Demons:
English original, French, German [Title: Illuminati], Italian, Russian, Spanish [Title: Angeles y Demonios]

Browse Gift Ideas for Language Lovers
Foreign language calendars | Foreign language books | Foreign magazine subscriptions
Electronic translators | Language learning CDs | Foreign Language software & downloads
Music in other languages | Foreign culture books | Traditional foods from other cultures
Art, wall hangings, & posters | World Country Flags | More coming soon!

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