New additions to the Community Languages collection.

Have you kept in touch with the latest arrivals of our foreign book collection? You can now view the most recent titles displayed on the First floor of the Central Library, Arts, Music and Literature area. Have a taste by browsing the following sellection of French, German, Spanish, and Chinese books and enjoy!

French Books

PS: I love you
“The story is based on Holly and her husband Gerry who passes away with a brain tumour. Holly found it hard trying to come to terms with what has happened to her. She receives a call from her mother saying there is a note for her. It turns out her husband has left her notes that last 10 months. Each month a new one is opened with something different to help guide her to progress with her life ‘without’ him. This novel is a must read as it would touch the heart of the reader.” – (Drawn by publisher’s description)

German Books

Theo Boone und der unsichtbare Zeuge
“Theo Boon, the son of a lawyer and a lover of law and justice, lost the most difficult case – and he’s only thirteen! During his time in Heimatstadtchen, south of USA he takes on a sensational crime. This seems to be the perfect crime, and soon becomes apparent that the defendant will escape his just punishment. But there is an eye-witness!” – (Drawn by publisher’s description)

“A demonic psychological thriller, the nightmare of a woman. It is the first case for Carl Mørck from the Department of Special Q in Copenhagen. On 2 March 2002, a woman disappears without a trace on the ferry from Rødby to Puttgarden. Everyone suspected the cause being death by drowning. But Merete is not dead. She is being held in a prison made of concrete. A distorted voice comes from a speaker somewhere in the dark: “Congratulations on your birthday, Merete. You’re here for 126 days, and this is our birthday gift to you. The light will stay on for a year unless you give us some answers.” – (Drawn by publisher’s description)

Spanish Books

El tiempo entre costuras
“A fabulous novel covering from the years previous to the Spanish Civil War to the end of the WWII, with scenes covering Madrid, Tanger and Tetuan, Madrid again and Lisbon to finally return to Madrid once again, with intrigue and history development with a formal bibliography of the non fictional aspects of the book which give a hard backbone to the fiction of the novel. In Spanish works just fine even her author has a PhD in English literature and applies many of the techniques used in English to this very Spanish novel.” – (Néstor C. Tirado,M.D)

“As a young girl growing up in Spain, Ana Larragoity Cubillas is powerfully drawn to Puerto Rico by the diaries of an ancestor who travelled there with Ponce de León. Ann travels across the ocean to a remote sugar plantation where she faces unrelenting heat, disease and isolation, and the dangers of the untamed countryside. But when the Civil War breaks out in the United States, Ana finds her livelihood, and perhaps even her life, threatened by the very people on whose backs her wealth has been built. This is a sensual, riveting tale and thrilling history that has never before been brought so vividly and unforgettably to life.” – (adapted from description)

Chinese Books

Quan jia fu mao yi ji jin
“New Knitting tricks by a number of well-known knitting experts selected out from more than a thousand patterns. This book brings together various knitting patterns, and offers ideas and techniques how to use materials for knitting and weaving.” – (Drawn by publisher’s description)

Shuo huang: jie chuan shang ye, zheng zhi yu hun yin de pian ju
“This book focuses on criminal investigations and law enforcement agencies in Europe and America. It offers accounts of the personality traits of suspects and the ways judges, prosecutors, lawyers and police address the various issues. It also includes a collection of insights from psychiatrists, social workers and consultants enabling the reader to develop an understanding how to prevent deception at home and in the workplace.” – (Drawn by publisher’s description)


Recent picks about languages

Syndetics book coverThe language wars : a history of proper English / Henry Hitchings.
“The English language is a battlefield. Since the age of Shakespeare, arguments over correct usage have been acrimonious, and those involved have always really been contesting values to do with morality, politics and class. THE LANGUAGE WARS examines the present state of the conflict, its history and its future…. grammar rules, regional accents, swearing, spelling, dictionaries, political correctness, and the role of electronic media in reshaping language.” (

Syndetics book coverOK : the improbable story of America’s greatest word / Allan Metcalf.
“It is said to be the most frequently spoken (or typed) word on the planet, more common than an infant’s first word ma or the ever – present beverage Coke. It was even the first word spoken on the moon. It is “OK” — the most ubiquitous and invisible of American expressions, one used countless times every day. Yet few of us know the secret history of OK — how it was coined, what it stood for, and the amazing extent of its influence.”–Publisher’s description. (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverRead and write Hindi script / Rupert Snell.
Read and write Hindi script is a clear step-by-step guide to the written language, with plenty of examples from real-life texts to show how it works in context and lots of exercises to reinforce your learning. This new edition has an easy-to-read page design. You can still rely on the benefits of a top language teacher and our years of teaching experience, but now with added learning features within the course and online.”

Syndetics book coverYufa! : a practical guide to Mandarin Chinese grammar / Wen-hua Teng. “A Practical Grammar of Contemporary Chinese explains the major topics of Mandarin grammar in clear and concise language. Real language examples and plenty of varied and imaginative exercises show how grammar works in practice. This innovative new book facilitates learning by presenting a systematic, jargon-free guide to Mandarin Grammar. The book is broken into three sections: the core structures of Chinese grammar; use of language in context; and useful expressions and patterns.” (

Syndetics book coverAll in a word / Vivian Cook.
“Delve into the Hidden Nature of Words. How do we learn words as a child? How are words born, and why do they die? Why do some never get spoken and others never written? Charmingly illustrated and overflowing with a rich assortment of games, lists, puzzles, and quotes, All in a Word contains everything from polite words to crass words, from p-c words to Shakespeare’s words, from food and wine words to jazz and drug words. It’s an irresistible exploration of the abundance and variety of words. Book jacket.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRomanian practical dictionary : Romanian-English, English-Romanian / Mihai Miroiu. ” This new dictionary is designed to meet the needs of a wide range of different users, particularly travellers, businesspeople, translators, and students. It is equally useful to English speakers and Romanian speakers.” (

Need a bilingual dictionary? Or any dictionary at all?

Studying a language? Brushing up your French/German/Spanish/Italian for an overseas trip? Oxford Reference Online has bilingual dictionaries available for all of the above – and it’s free to use for library cardholders. (Also included are Irish, Welsh and Latin dictionaries.)

Languages don’t interest you? Oxford Reference Online also includes subject reference resources like science dictionaries, medical dictionaries, dictionaries of quotations, names and places, law, mythology, folklore, psychology – pretty much any kind of dictionary or companion guide you can imagine.

(I think my personal favourite in terms of resources I never expected to encounter, but am chuffed exist, would have to be the Dictionary of Opera Characters, closely followed by the Oxford Companion to the American Musical. Log in and check them out)

As a side note, here’s a selection of other language learning resources you might be interested in:

  1. Q's course in Māori Spanish Language Builder Le chat chapeauté The Very Hungry Caterpillar ; translated into Chinese Arabic practical dictionary At the library: Language kits – the library has these available to borrow in many different languages and they’re $3 to borrow for 4 weeks. We also hold foreign language novels for adults and picture books for children (here’s an example of the French language children’s ones – replace ‘French’ in the search box with your language of choice to search for these in another language), magazines, grammars, vocabularies, and of course dictionaries that you can borrow. Want something more visual? We have foreign language films with English subtitles you can borrow to brush up on your listening comprehension skills (these are $4 for 1 week). Try our languages subject guide for tips on searching for these on our online catalogue.
  2. Also via the library, but this time online: downloadable language learning audiobooks. Try a search on Overdrive Audio in our eLibrary for languages – you’ll be surprised how many language learning audiobooks come up. Easily transferred to your mp3 player of choice.
  3. PressDisplay – another database the library subscribes to that cardholders can access for free. PressDisplay gives you instant access to over 1700 newspapers from 92 countries in 48 languages. Want to read Le Monde in French while eating breakfast at home? Now you can – and it will appear on the screen laid out exactly like the print version.
  4. BBC Languages – this should be your first stop online. Free audio and video courses, quizzes, and all kinds of excellent resources.
  5. Yahoo News/Google News in different languages, e.g. here’s the German language Google News. Change the country code at the end, e.g. .nz for New Zealand, .de for Germany, .fr for France, to get the version you want. Similarly, reading Wikipedia articles in other languages can be a good test of your reading skills in that language as well, and if you know the subject matter of the article, you’re on familiar territory anyway – which can help! Here are all the different language Wikipedias.
  6. Browser extensions for language learning. There are a great deal of these for Firefox – have a browse and find one you’d like to try. (You’ll need to scroll down the page for a fuller list of popular language learning add-ons).
  7. iPhone apps. We found this article that lists 50 iPhone apps for learning languages, for all you lucky people who happen to have an iPhone. Flash cards!
  8. In-person resources in Wellington… For a small fee (not specified on their website), you can get a public membership to Victoria University’s Language Learning Centre at their Kelburn campus. Other paid courses are run at the Goethe Institut – for German, and the Alliance Française for French. And we’re sure there are more – maybe try a search on
  9. Sometimes iffy, but often useful: Google Translate. Will give you a (very!) loose translation, and can be good if you need an idea of what a page in a language you don’t read is saying. Oh, and did you know there’s a Te Reo interface for the Google search engine.
  10. Hm, and the World Cinema Showcase is coming up too!