SkELL: Sketch Engine for Language Learning reveals word usage

I’ve had “review Sketch Engine for e-Resources” on my to-do list for quite awhile now, because the site looks promising and like it may take some time to dig into. This tool can provide quite a bit of information about word usage: the various searches one can conduct are well-documented in a paper published by […]

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Find common phrases with your words in Netspeak

A colleague’s student just introduced us to Netspeak, a project of Bauhaus Universitat of Weimar, Germany. The point of this website is to help writers select words and phrase structures when writing in English. Netspeak uses a huge Google database (corpus) of 1-word to 5-word phrases or “NGrams” that appear frequently in publicly-available web pages in […]

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MICUSP corpus of written academic papers

MICUSP, the Michigan Corpus of Upper-level Student Papers, is composed of papers with a grade of A from the University of Michigan written for upper undergraduate and early graduate courses. This searchable database makes it possible to see disciplinary differences in academic writing, to observe the various ways that a particular word or phrase is […]

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OWL (Online Writing Lab) ESL/EAP Resources

The Online Writing Lab (“OWL”) hosted by Purdue University is a classic reference site for citation styles, advice on organization, and tips on a variety of genres of academic and professional writing, from job application cover letters to research papers.

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Use “Just The Word” to find phrases that sound great

Just The Word is a powerful tool for figuring out how a word patterns with other words: what are possible grammatical phrase structures for a word, and what words go with your search term? Just The Word uses a subset of 80 million words of the British National Corpus, a database of published written language and transcribed […]

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Preview a Reading with VocabGrabber

VocabGrabber, a tool from Thinkmap’s Visual Thesaurus, allows users to paste in up to 100 pages of text, and then see a visual display of the most frequent and most relevant vocabulary. If you have a transcript of something you want to listen to, you can also grab the spoken vocabulary in the same manner, […]

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Extraordinary academic English learning website

Monash University in Australia hosts an academic English language self-study website, Language and Learning Online, with vast breadth and depth in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and grammar. The challenge may be in deciding where to start. If you’d like an overview of everything offered, the site map may be helpful. The site is indexed not just […]

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Writing for Law School

CALI, the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction, offers hundreds of free online lessons and tutorials, many of which focus on writing in legal genres. Because legal writing organization, logical structure, and vocabulary can differ dramatically from other academic and professional writing, this focus on writing specifically for legal purposes is particularly useful. For example, one […]

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Academic vocabulary and writing practice

Happy New Year! Sometimes, a gift arrives by email. I received one just before the new year: a link to Reading and Writing Tools for Academic English, a site designed by Eoin Jordan and Andy Snyder, instructors at  Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University. This site offers a suite of nifty tools, games, and practice for academic reading, writing, […]

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Funky English online community

What does “funky” mean?  According to vocabulary.com, it can mean “offensively malodorous” or “stylish and modern in an unconventional way.” www.funkyenglish.com appears to embrace the second definition by developing an online social community for English language learning. Ironically, however, language instruction itself on the site is quite traditional and conventional. Nonetheless, Funky English may be a useful […]

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