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Selection of materials

The Language Materials Project (LMP) aims to encompass as completely as possible the teaching materials available in the United States for the languages we cover. Selection criteria depend on whether the item under scrutiny is a pedagogical material (i.e., intended for use in teaching a second language) or an authentic material (intended for native speakers of the language.) In order to limit the potentially vast number of materials that could be cited on the LMP database, we employ the following criteria for inclusion.

Criteria for pedagogical materials:

1. Pedagogical usefulness or relevance: we only include material that is pedagogically useful or relevant to the teacher, the student, or the curriculum or materials developer. This includes three different types of material.

First, any material designed to systematically teach any aspect of language.

Second, any material designed to support the teaching of a language, including: dictionaries, workbooks, lists of idioms or expressions, specialized vocabularies, lists of verbs, learners' dictionaries, tests, or pedagogical grammars, readers, reference materials such as bibliographies or directories that may serve as a resource for language instruction, computer aided instructional material, audio tapes, video tapes, and websites designed for language teaching.

Third, any material about linguistic theory that directly applies to language instruction.

2. Information in English: we only include materials with at least some information in English, such as a preface. Only in rare circumstances do we include items without any English, particularly when a) there is a dearth of materials for the language in question, or b) when the item comes highly recommended from specialists in the field.

3. Publication information: if the material is pedagogically relevant but does not have standard publication information, it is generally not included. Some examples of this type of material may be reading lists from professors, classroom outlines, lesson plans, or unpublished dissertations. If there is a dearth of materials for a language, we may include an item that has minimal publication information, but in no case will we include a printed  item that lacks both an author and a publisher.

4. If the material is not published on paper, but distributed through digital media, the first two criteria still apply. Additionally, we require that the item be available through a stable public source such as an institutional website, and that the software functions as intended.

Criteria for authentic materials:

1. Pedagogical usefulness: although the item was not originally designed for classroom use, it should lend itself to a variety of uses by a creative teacher.

2. Foreign origin: the item must have originated in a country where the target language is spoken.

3. Sustainable source: the item must be available over a long term. Thus we prefer to cite items that are distributed by established organizations such as publishers, archives, universities, public agencies, or corporations.

4. U.S. availability: the item must be easily obtainable by teachers in the United States, either from a U.S. distributor or a foreign source that is equipped for international commerce. Selected items that are not readily obtainable are digitized and posted on the LMP website for downloading.

5. Legal availability: items posted on the LMP website must be legally free of copyright restrictions. Items created by the LMP are provided with a Creative Commons license. (See our intellectual property page for a complete discussion of this topic.)

A special note on content of authentic materials

Materials that are taboo in one culture may be completely acceptable in another. In selecting authentic materials, we have attempted not to impose American social norms, but to provide a broad range of what is available within the target culture. Such breadth may entail the inclusion of materials that are offensive to some Americans, but we leave it to the teacher to determine each item's appropriateness for a given classroom situation.


 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

  • You may use and modify the material for any non-commercial purpose.
  • You must credit the UCLA Language Materials Project as the source.
  • If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one.

Creative Commons License