About WordEngine

Thanks to the three students who have asked about this. I didn’t know that this year the system is so different. Last year, WordEngine was an app to download, and a card to buy for students who don’t have their own credit cards. This year, I was told in an email in early March that the system is different and works on all smartphones, tablets and computers. They did not say that there is no smartphone app for iOS or Android anymore. The steps:

  1. In your web browser (Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Brave, etc)
  2. Type wordengine.jp, press “Go” or “Enter”. You should arrive at http://www.wordengine.jp/go/ and,
  3. Bookmark it, or Add to Favourites.

Now, just use WordEngine from the website; no app needed. Yay!

Next steps (at home):

  1. Do V-check (to get your vocabulary size)
  2. Enter your card code for paid access
  3. Join the class group
  4. Study each week, Monday to Saturday at least 150 correct answers each week (about 10 minutes a day)

More information about learning vocabulary, go to Winjeel.Com > English Classes > Vocabulary.

A simple introduction to English idioms

Idioms are used in English all the time. It’s really unfortunate that most modern textbooks don’t include these, so idioms are now kind of like a second vocabulary. So, here is a very simple intro to get you warmed up on Bored Panda, Funny English Idioms by Roisin Hahessy.

English idioms and their meanings, by Roisin Hahessy. From http://www.boredpanda.com/funny-english-idioms-meanings-illustrations-roisin-hahessy/

English idioms and their meanings, by Roisin Hahessy. From http://www.boredpanda.com/funny-english-idioms-meanings-illustrations-roisin-hahessy/

 

Studying Vocabulary

I know I talk a lot about this, but really, it’s important. Vocabulary is the most central element of language. Some research suggests that university students graduate with less vocabulary than senior high school students. That means, university students probably get lazy, and forget vocabulary. Students need about 8-10,000 words in their head to understand 95% of language. How many English words do you have in your head? Do the WordEngine.jp vocabulary size V-Check here. So, how do you maintain and build your vocabulary? From 2015, some of my classes have been using WordEngine, and from 2017 all my classes are required to use it. Simply because it is the best vocabulary individualised learning management system available.

If you don’t use WordEngine, or are learning specific vocabulary, follow this method:

  1. Get a little notebook
  2. Put in words (or phrasal verbs or idioms) that are interesting or may be important to you
  3. Don’t chose boring or un-useful words; you’ll never learn them.
  4. English major students should be studying about 15 words a week.
  5. Make note of the meanings (there are usually three or more meanings per word
  6. Note down the pronunciation
  7. The Japanese translation
  8. Part of speech (noun, verb, adjective, adverb, preposition, etc)
  9. A sample sentence
  10. A note of where you originally discovered the word or phrasal verb.

And then,

  1. Study the vocabulary everyday
  2. Study for at least (minimum) 10 minutes each day
  3. Study anywhere (on the bus, on the train, in the bathtub, in bed, before classes in the morning, during your break at work, anywhere)
  4. Ask questions to a teacher or competent classmate or friend about words or phrases you have difficulty with.

Attached below are some samples of how to organise your vocabulary notebooks.

Here are some suggestions, Vocabulary Notebooks, and Vocabulary Notebooks II.

Girl studying on her phone. Photo: Lars Ploughmann, CC, https://flic.kr/p/bW33A4.

Girl studying on her phone. Photo: Lars Ploughmann, CC, https://flic.kr/p/bW33A4.

Listening and Reading Vocabulary at JALT

In less than two weeks my research partner and I will be presenting at the next Japan Associaton of Language Teacher’s annual conference. The topic is Japanese EFL Students’ Listening and Reading Vocabulary, and follow the link for details of time and place. As far as we can tell, we are the first to find a way to directly measure the difference between the lexical access Japanese students have in both visual and aural domains; and there does appear to be a difference. This is a pilot study, and so we are looking forward to hearing from the audience their views about it. So far, we are planning to expand the project and tweek it for another run in  April and later years, too… tbc.