Here are some links to resources to explore in using data driven language learning.

Lexical tools
  1. Based on the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA), this tool is an absolute goldmine for students who need to find ways to improve their own writing, especially the appropriate and accurate use of collocations and synonyms in writing: http://www.wordandphrase.info.
  2. Compleat Lexical Tutor - For data-driven language learning on the Web: http://www.lextutor.ca/ 
  3. Just the word - for collocations and pattern grammar based on the British National Corpus: http://www.just-the-word.com/
  4. Analyze any text to show high frequency words:
  5. Flashcards - these are web-based and have smartphone APPs
  6. Word clouds
    • The classic tool is http://wordle.net - basic but very useful in seeing frequency in a text
    • If you want to get fancy, you can try http://www.tagxedo.com/ which lets you create word clouds in shapes.  You need to install SILVERLIGHT, but that is a simple plug in.
Cloud-based language tools
  1. GOOGLE translatehttp://translate.google.com/ 
    • NOTE:  If you use GOOGLE CHROME as your browser, you can speak into your microphone and GOOGLE will write what you say.  You have to tell it what kind of accent you speak with.
    • The APP for smartphones is really quite good. You can speak to it, it will transcribe your speech to text and then translate this to the target language, and then speak it in the target language.
    • NOTE:  If you have a GOOGLE ID, you can 'add' words you look up to your own personal 'phrase list' and save them in your GOOGLE drive.
  2. Readlang http://readlang.com/
    • Fantastic resource to encourage more extensive reading.  You can install a browser extension so that it works for any page loaded in your browser.  If you click on any word, a translation will appear.  It works on a phrase level, but in the free version the number of phrase lookups is limited.  If you are logged in to your account, it remembers each word you looked up (and the context) and lets you review them later, or create flashcards automatically.  
  1. Longman Dictionary of Contempoary English: http://www.ldoceonline.com/
  2. Cambridge Dictionaries: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/
  3. Lexipedia (a graphical interface): http://lexipedia.com/
Grammar checkers
  1. http://www.gingersoftware.com/ - free version is quite good at catching most of the common errors.  If you subscribe, it will keep track of errors, give you suggestions and practice activities, and monitor your progress.  If schools subscribe, teachers can monitor all of their students with this.  Not perfect, but if you find that you are constantly highlighting the same simple errors, the use of this could free you up to comment more on content and organization, rather than on nitty gritty grammar points.
  1. https://swiftkey.com/en - predictive sentence construction...it uses corpora to suggest which word(s) you should type next.  Quite useful on a mobile phone.  It is great for helping students not to forget prepositions, etc., and use the correct collocations.
  2. http://graphwords.com/ - very nice visual thesaurus
  3. http://www.snappywords.com/?lookup=english - another free visual thesaurus
  4. http://www.visuwords.com/ - a very thorough visual thesaurus
  5. http://lexipedia.com/ - a good interactive thesaurus and dictionary

Collocation Dictionaries
  1. A very nice Turkish-English version helps students clearly understand different meanings of words at http://wordreference.com - this supports many different languages.
  2. WORDNET collocation dictionary: http://www.onlineordbog.dk/wordnet/en/
  1. This is a neat tool that lets you create your own interactive corpus, creating a clickable word cloud and simple concordance extracts: http://folk.uib.no/nfylk/concordle/
  2. British National Corpus - http://corpus.byu.edu/bnc
  3. Corpus of Contemporary American - http://corpus.byu.edu/coca
  4. If you aren't put off by the interface, the OPUS parallel corpora can be an interesting tool to see the variety of meanings.  The corpus based on subtitles of movies is very good for slang.  See http://opus.lingfil.uu.se/trac


    1. Thanks for posting these really useful links Steve.

    2. Wow - what a great collection of vocabulary links. I wish I had come across your blog earlier.
      What are your plans for 2014 - any special project/research?