Tuesday 15 November 2011

A collocation thesaurus concordancer that produces word clouds!

On the surface of it Just-the-Word looks just like any other online dictionary or thesaurus, but start using it and you will soon find that it's much more.

If you type in a word, you can ask not only for alternatives just like any other thesaurus, but also word combinations for use with your key word.

The word combinations option produces a great list of collocations for the word, and what's better, if you click on the collocates, you get the kind of list that a concordancer will produce, with the expressions highlighted in context.

That's great, but there is still more, because if you click on a small button that says 'View in Wordle' the site will link through automatically to Wordle and create a word cloud of the most frequent collocations.

All of this is great, but there could be even more to come. There is also a button to select for 'Learner errors'. I haven't been able to get this to work yet, but to be able to search common learner errors really would be a very useful addition to such a site.
There are lots of ways we can use this site with EFL and ESL students.
  • We can create gapped sentences using the contextualised results from the concordancer, then create a Wordle that students can try to select the answers from.
  • We can create collocation Wordles and get students to try to make sentences with the combinations.
  • We can get students to use it as a tool to research words and collocations.
  • We can get students to check the collocations in their own writing to see if they are correct.
  • We can get students to research the context in which different collocations would be used.
I hope you find Just-The -Words useful and think of lots more uses for it. And if you work out how to use the 'Learner errors' button, please leave a comment below.

Related links:


Nik Peachey


Unknown said...

Thanks, Nik - this is another excellent recommendation! - There are a few sentences on the "learner errors" in the help section: http://www.just-the-word.com/help.html

Anonymous said...

Looks great but I can't get the wordle to work.

Nik Peachey said...

It can be a bit temperamental. Also, make sure the Java script you need for Wordle is installed.



becksdad said...

That is very cool! Thanks for sharing. I'm getting my CPE students onto it tomorrow!