Author Topic: Some good Vocabulary Resources--Academic Word List & Cool "Dictionaries"  (Read 18440 times)

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Offline Randall Sadler

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You?ll find some useful resources related to learning/teaching vocabulary below.  As you?ll notice, they range from a very nicely structured ?academic word list? that includes a tools you can use to check existing texts, to some visual dictionaries that will let you see words and their relationships in a way that is quite different from a traditional dictionary!

The academic word list

Academic word list--highlighter tool and it creates gap exercises!

I've provided a couple texts below for you to try out in the Academic Word List highlighter tool.  As you can see, one is from popular fiction, while the other is definitely academic in nature.  Paste them into the highlighter tool separately and see what you find out!  Tip:  The bullet number selected in the highlighter tool definitely effects the number of words you?ll see highlighted?the higher the number, the more inclusive the list.  As you might imagine, this tool could be a VERY good way to have an objective evaluation of how academic a text is for a reading class!

Harry Potter Excerpt:
Nearly ten years had passed since the Dursleys had woken up to find their nephew on the front step, but Privet Drive had hardly changed at all. The sun rose on the same tidy front gardens and lit up the brass number four on the Dursleys' front door; it crept into their living room, which was almost exactly the same as it had been on the night when Mr. Dursley had seen that fateful news report about the owls. Only the photographs on the mantelpiece really showed how much time had passed. Ten years ago, there had been lots of pictures of what looked like a large pink beach ball wearing different-colored bonnets--but Dudley Dursley was no longer a baby, and now the photographs showed a large blond boy riding his first bicycle, on a carousel at the fair, playing a computer game with his father, being hugged and kissed by his mother. The room held no sign at all that another boy lived in the house, too.

Business Communication Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 2, 144-157 (2006)

The past two decades have seen an increased emphasis placed on the relationship between communication and ethics, a subject that philosophers have debated for centuries. An analysis of textbooks as disciplinary artifacts reveals that students enrolled in communication courses across the university are often presented with conflicting or contradictory ethics instruction. Commonly, business and technical communication textbooks advocate a foundational approach toward the subject, whereas interpersonal communication textbooks, as taught within the liberal arts, support a nonfoundational view. Rather than bolstering students? understanding of the importance of ethical communication, such broad-based contradictions might lead to an overall ambivalence toward the subject. A critical pedagogy?one that acknowledges and explores this tacit disciplinary debate on ethics?would provide students a more comprehensive philosophical and historical basis for determining their own perspectives on ethical communication.

Handy Vocabulary Levels Test--online test

Here are three visual dictionaries (well, kind of dictionaries..).  Give them a shot!!!


Visual Dictionary

Visual Thesaurus (paid, but has a free trial)

I'd be very curious to hear ideas from others about how these tools might be useful for teaching and/or "how" you'd use them in your class.  What do you think?
« Last Edit: April 21, 2020, 09:57:57 AM by Randall Sadler »
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Asst. Prof, Linguistics, U. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Offline Imogenius

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Re: Some good Vocabulary Resources--Academic Word List & Cool "Dictionaries"
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2009, 09:44:36 AM »
I've already found the AWL Highlighter to be a great resource.  Remember to check that it hasn't cut off your article though, because it has a word limit.
Imy Berry

Offline juvalracelis

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Re: Some good Vocabulary Resources--Academic Word List & Cool "Dictionaries"
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2009, 10:55:06 PM »
I like the illustrated dictionary and will introduce it to my class on Friday... I can even turn it into a writing assignment to elicit their feedback!  (Don't we all love illustrations?)

And to touch upon Imy's post, I agree that AWL is a great tool.  The bigger problem:  What do you do when you're a textbook bound class? 

Offline rachelchen0105

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Stringnet-awesome collocation, well, not just collocations!
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2011, 01:31:42 AM »
Hello all,
    I'd like to introduce this cool website created by my former collegue, Pro. David Wible.

It has the common function you can find in other Corpus or collocation websites, such as COCA, but the most amazing I find is the "index" function.
For example, you type in "play role" in the search box, other collocation search engine might bring you with "No Results. Sorry." But Stringnet will show you a beautiful index of phrases that have "play....role" in them. Such as "play [art] [adj] role in" or "play a [adj] role in. "
That means, the search engine wouldn't treat "play role" as an inseparable chunk but a key stem.

Another thing is, you can also click the [art] to see what articles you can put in the [ ] or click [adj] to see what adj you can use.

How cool is that? Enjoy!


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Re: Some good Vocabulary Resources--Academic Word List & Cool "Dictionaries"
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2011, 01:40:23 PM »
It really is a good website! I have used COCA for teaching collocations. Now, I'm going to introduce this website as well! =)

Offline yuhuiho2

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Re: Some good Vocabulary Resources--Academic Word List & Cool "Dictionaries"
« Reply #5 on: February 29, 2012, 07:43:15 PM »
I just found a cool word list generator website, you can choose any levels, any forms, and even the initial sound of the word!!

Offline miyunsuh

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I love visual dictionary online because it provides words by subjects and contents which English language learners in schooling need to learn!

Precise but clear and simple enough pictures match words!

Also, "gapmaker" looks useful to create sentence-complete questions for students!

Offline adunse

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 Check out Membean. I just ran across this website when I was looking for the root meanings and other related words.

In the test prep part of the website, they include the part of speech, pronunciation and a level.  There are also tiles that include other helpful study point for the word: context quiz, word parts, memory hook "mneumonic" device, examples from print, a word constellation 'map,' and related words. 

Here is an example: ineffable

On a different part of the site, you can find an interactive word tree with roots and related words.

Here is an example: -dict "say"
« Last Edit: April 28, 2014, 12:47:33 PM by adunse »

Offline omid

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There are also non-academic word lists that beginning to low-intermediate students might really appreciate. The list I'm attaching here contains 3000 words that the Oxford Learner's Dictionary uses to explain vocabulary in its entries:

I wouldn't be an advocate of giving this list to the students to memorize or anything, but the list can be a good resource for the teachers in deciding what vocabulary to have in designing new materials and what words to leave out for beginner or low-intermediate levels.

Offline hveitch2

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Hi all,

I am adding a compilation of more resources for Academic Words and the NGSL. I can't attach an Excel document, so I provided a link for the NGSL which you can download at your convenience.

AWL Lists: I attached three PDFs that have the AWL words organized into three categories: alphabetical, frequency, and word families. These are helpful for students and you can implement these however you see fit!

Most common stems and roots: These documents are great for learners to build vocabulary and understand word roots and stems. This is a great tool for students who want to be able to rapidly expand their vocabulary and knowledge of different terms.

NGSL: I'm providing a link to the NGSL, which is similar to the AWL but focuses on word frequency. They have a lot of intricate excel files that organize words in various ways. Here's the link: [size=78%][/size]