Thursday, April 19, 2007

Multimedia possibilities

I've been playing with a new (at least to me) service that has potential to let us provide some very rich multimedia to our students. The service is called Mojiti and it facilitates modification of digital video with other media such as text ( in this example English subtitles), comments, audio, etc. Once you have your finished video, you can easily post it on a blog like I have done here. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Should we ban term papers?

The title of this post is taken from a recent article I read at a web site called Cognitive Daily. It has a number of interesting articles posted almost daily relating to cognitive psychology and includes articles about language. Some of the articles I have enjoyed recently include one on how associating words with some aspect of survival makes them easier to remember. Another was about how recognizable different English accents are and included a link to an archive of accents created by George Mason University. And then there is the article about a piece recently published in the Washington Post advocating the abolition of term papers and embracing plagiarism as the wave of the future. More interesting to me than the original article were the comments posted about it. Perhaps the whole list of comments would make a good reading assignment for our ELP students....

Thursday, April 05, 2007

More on concordancing the ELP Reader

It has been interesting to look at the vocabulary from the ELP Reader as it is presented in the concordancing program I mentioned in my last post. Did you know that the Reader has a total word count of 115,339 of which there are 11,739 distinct words/word forms. Some words appear very frequently such as "the" which occurs 6,528 times. On the other hand, there are 5,474 words which only appear once. Some of these are in fact quite uncommon words such as Lamarkian, torosus, chronemics, eustress, vasectomized, plasmodia, flivver and benumbed (which it is easy to become after looking at these kinds of words!) Some of the once-only words were surprizing though, as I would expect them to be more common: dual, dry, fade, nobody, angry, qualification and judgement.

It may be interesting to identify a particular subset of ELP Reader vocabulary that occurs within a range of frequency between say 25 and 50, and focus instruction on those words since we could predict that students would have a good chance of encountering them as they read through the Reader, and would thus have those items somewhat naturally reinforced.

It would also be interesting to see how the ELP Reader reflects the more general Academic Word List.