Online Learners’ Dictionaries
- Oxford Advanced American Dictionary for Learners of English
- Merriam-Webster Learner’s Dictionary
- Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
- Cambridge Dictionaries Online (includes some bilingual dictionaries)
Here are some websites that focus specifically on academic vocabulary:
- Vocabulary Levels Tests
- The Academic Word List (the 560 most common word families in general academic English. Maybe.)
- My video introduction to the AWL
- AWL Practice Exercises
- Vocabulary in EAP [advice and practice]
- The Compleat Lexical Tutor [lots of useful tools, but need to learn how to use them]
- Academic Vocabulary [advice and exercises from the University of Nottingham, UK]
- The Oxford 3000 Lists [a newer list of the top 2000 and 3000 words — the difference between the lists would be academic vocabulary]
Using a Corpus to Learn Vocabulary:
- Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) — huge corpus of written and spoken texts. Start here!
- Word and Phrase.info — a simpler interface to COCA, that has both general and academic versions. Highly recommended. Focuses on relative frequency.
- Other corpora from Mark Davies at BYU (TIME, British National Corpus)
- The Michigan Corpus of Upper-Level Student Papers (MICUSP) — new corpus of good graduate and undergraduate student writing at the University of Michigan
- The Michigan Corpus of Academic Spoken English (MICASE) — lectures, discussions, office hours, etc.
- Lexical Tutor (works best in Internet Explorer) — great set of tools, including the Vocab Profiler, Key Word Extractor, and List Learning software
- AntConc — freeware software for building your own corpus. Easy to use. Includes tutorials and videos.
- Collins Concordance Sampler
Learning and Using Roots and Affixes
[Roots are the stems of words, especially those borrowed from Latin and Greek. Suffixes and prefixes (together called affixes) are the bits you stick on the beginning and ends of words. Eg: trans/port/ation]
- Word Info — a great source for Latin/Greek root words
- Lists of roots and affixes with translations and examples
- A better organized list of roots and affixes; includes math and science word parts
- LexTutor – many tools for vocabulary study
- Helen Huntley, Essential Academic Vocabulary (Heinle/Cengage, 2006) — book
- A rather silly but fun children’s game based on word parts is available here — just click cancel when it tries to print!
- Vocabulary University is aimed at secondary-school students, but you might learn something new there.
- Spelling practice with affixes
- Finally, two practice activities from the National Council of Teachers of English: Make a Word / Study Sheet