Idioms And Phrases And Sayings


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How We Find Foreign Phrases in the 21st Century

People seem pretty adamant about learning foreign vocabulary in isolation. Why don’t they teach you chunks of language instead of just one word at a time?

The real problem is not that phrases are useless. Quite the opposite, phrases are a great way to use vocabulary in context. They allow your brain to learn new words in a way that’s natural to lớn it. You’ll absorb things in easy, digestible “chunks” (a really cool technique known as “chunking”).

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The real problem is just that paper phrasebooks just don’t match the needs of the modern language learner. Granted, the phrasebooks offered by Lonely Planet & others are very portable & straightforward to use for travelers—who often have limited internet & technology—but if you’re looking for phrases with specific vocabulary then phrasebooks can be a bit unwieldy.

They’re perfect for travel, but not so good for learning vocabulary by chunking.

The solution for chunking is khổng lồ use online, searchable phrase resources—often known as digital phrasebooks or online phrasebooks. This post provides you with a danh sách of some of the best ones out there.

How to Find Phrases with the Right Vocabulary

First, a searching trick. While many of the resources listed below have a built-in search feature, not all of them do. However, this is the 21st century. Google can tìm kiếm almost anything and get great results, as can any reputable tìm kiếm engine. So, here’s a quick tip for searching any of the sites on this list.

You don’t even have lớn go lớn the online phrasebook trang web and tìm kiếm for words there—it’s even easier than that.

Instead, go lớn your search engine’s homepage and tìm kiếm for this: “” site:.

For example, khổng lồ find phrases containing the French phrase “mon oncle” (my uncle) on, you’d type “mon oncle” into the Google search bar. Use the quotation marks whenever you want to tìm kiếm for an exact phrase. Simple.

12 Super Searchable Online Phrasebooks for Learning Words in Context

Below are some of the best, searchable resources for finding foreign phrases.



Linguee is a phenomenal, multi-language resource. It provides a dictionary written by experts & a really cool tìm kiếm feature. This search draws from billions of bilingual online texts, most which have been professionally translated by humans, providing accurate translations between 25 different languages.

Searching in quotation marks will give you results of specific phrases in your target language, showing how translators have solved the translation of this exact phrase in different contexts.

Sources are from a variety of settings, including sites devoted to complex language such as business websites, poetry & technical documents. This is a search engine for real world languages.

By clicking on the “more languages” on the home page you can translate from any language, not just English, which means this search feature is great for laddering language learning.

Google News search and Google Book Search


Google News is not just great for keeping on top of current world events. It’s also an amazing tool for language learners lớn find phrases in context.

Firstly, you should choose your target country. There are news sources from many countries in the world. This is great because it means you can search, for example, for Brazilian Portuguese instead of European Portuguese.

Google Book search does exactly the same thing, but with thousands of books from the last 200 years. By using the “Search Tools” option on the results page, you can tell Google to lớn only tìm kiếm new books.

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Searching for any word in your target language will bring up a load of reliable sources containing that word, which means that you will also get a load of useful phrases used in context. Again, putting a phrase in quotes will return examples of that specific phrase, which is really useful.



Linguanaut is “classic style” phrasebook. The huge advantage of it is the number of different languages it covers và the clear layout of its phrases. As well as detailed language-specific lessons in 15 languages, it contains dedicated phrasebooks in 50 different languages, ranging from Arabic khổng lồ Zulu. Some of them even have audio recordings.

You can search this site for specific words & phrases by searching in Google

Single Serving


Sometimes you just need a small phrasebook which you can print out and put in your pocket or wallet.

If you’ve ever found yourself in a foreign land with five minutes left on your internet cà phê session, desperately searching online for a menu of helpful phrases khổng lồ print out, you’ll know how hard that precious information is to find.

Amongst its other language resources, Single Serving provides just that: Free, one page, printable phrasebooks in 24 languages. One day, you’ll thank me.



Like Google News above, Wikipedia is a vastly under-appreciated language learning resource. Not only does it give you well-written phrases, it gives you whole topic-specific articles in your target language!

There are two ways to search for phrases on Wikipedia. One is lớn navigate to lớn your target language site (e.g. for French) và use the built-in search. The other is to lớn use Google (e.g. Search for: “quelque chose” Personally I prefer the second way, as Wikipedia’s own tìm kiếm looks mostly at the article titles.

Your whole Google tìm kiếm results page will look like a long list of highlighted French phrases which contain the words “quelque chose” (something).



Omniglot is a mega-resource for languages. It is incredible và if you have not checked it out yet I highly recommend you do. Among its resources there are tons of phrases in over 200 languages, including less common languages lượt thích Klingon và Pig Latin.

The main phrasebook section contains the most common useful phrases in these languages và some even have audio recordings. There is also a fun section marked “‘useful foreign phrases,” which includes such phrases as “Pe tele ni lupe i le vao nei?” which is apparently Samoan for “Are there many pigeons in this bush?”

If you are learning multiple languages at once, there is also a helpful section where the same phrase is translated into multiple languages on one page.

To search omniglot, you’ll have to use the Google trick, i.e.



Although SmartPhrase only contains 7 languages, it is a great resource for finding phrases in those languages and their equivalents in English.

To start you can search for a word or phrase & it will tell you where you can find phrases containing those words. Phrases are grouped by helpfully specific topics, e.g. “Travelling by train,” which means that you can easily find only the phrases you’ll need in a particular situation.

It also contains a fun “Random Phrase Generator” which includes a “Test Yourself Mode” where the English definition is hidden from you, flashcard style.



Despite its minimalist website design, Engoi is actually an extensive & very useful resource for multi-language learning. For starters, you can choose between 15 interface languages, making it a great option for laddering or comparing two languages.

In general, most of the site is just lists of words, not whole phrases. However, what makes this site useful are its use of categories. Very quickly, you can have a các mục of words relating to, say, “parts of a book” in one danh mục from which you can start building your own full phrases. Some language pairs also have audio recordings.

You can search only a particular phrasebook by using Google, for example will allow you to tìm kiếm for your vocabulary in the Italian-French dictionary.