5. Web Tools and Resources for Vocabulary Development and Grammar

posted 3 Apr 2011, 20:10 by Xavier Pradheep Singh   [ updated 4 Apr 2011, 19:52 by ELTAI Computer Technology SIG ]

Bhanu Viswanath
Assistant Professor of English,
Siddarth Institute of Technology, Puttur.
Email: bhanuviswanath_2007@yahoo.com

How to cite this article:
MLA (7th Edition)
Viswanath, Bhanu. "Web Tools and Resources for Vocabulary Development and Grammar." 
Journal of Technology for ELT. 1.1 (January 2011): n. pag. Web. (Date of Access).
MLA (6th Edition)
Viswanath, Bhanu. "Web Tools and Resources for Vocabulary Development and Grammar." Journal of Technology for ELT 1.1 (January 2011): (Date of Access) <https://sites.google.com/site/journaloftechnologyforelt/archive/january2011/ webtoolsandresourcesforvocabularydevelopmentandgrammar>

                Good communication skills are very important for any professional career. This paper surveys research on the sources of web in learning Vocabulary and Grammar. Verbal talent is not developed on its own, and only by new verbal experience. Verbal talent will develop when a person is thrown into verbal situations that he or she can’t understand the language and makes him indispensable to develop a good technique in learning and writing. The Internet is the most exciting, unlimited English resource that anyone could imagine and it is right at our finger tips. The potential of the internet as a teaching tool is a relatively new concept but more and more people realize that it can indeed foster a dynamic learning environment. Web Resources are particularly beneficial as a teaching aid and makes learning practical. Everybody is empowered by the Net because it enables them to study independently. Although learners certainly acquire world knowledge incidentally while engaged in various language learning activities, systematic study of vocabulary and grammar is also required. This review explicates on e-learning and the discussion of how word frequency counts and information on word meaning from computer corpora can inform the selection of words to be studied with a particular focus on grammar. It also extends on finding internet sources for practicing vocabulary through illustrations. It helps the learners to achieve their objective with number of practice exercises. This study assesses the web tools for learners who gains potential and convenient learning resources.

                To develop Vocabulary effectively apart from secondary sources, web tools are potential, highly dynamic, practice oriented and provides information at our finger tip. Recent studies in second language tells that vocabulary learning indicates that certain learning strategies are more effective in acquiring new vocabulary words and the learners have preferences in the strategies they use to learn vocabulary words in a second language. These studies indicate the web tools in acquiring vocabulary and grammar at a glib. This article focuses on how to gain vocabulary and grammar through web and the detailed study of surfing websites, relative premises on internet for vocabulary acquisition, depth of word knowledge and appropriate word use. Pedagogical methods in web reach readers to know the profundity of language. Internet provides immense strategies to acquire knowledge.

Why we need vocabulary and grammar?
              Do we need vocabulary and grammar in our livelihood? Yes grammar and vocabulary is the basic structure of language which plays an integral part of communication. It is not a crime if we don’t know how to describe words and structures in grammatical terms. But putting words and phrases in the wrong places is an awry. For example, “Go you to office everyday?” makes all the readers understand the context in it. But it is grammatically incorrect. “Do you go to office everyday?” sounds good syntax and lasts impression to the reader. This may be illustrated in further example like “Tragically at the age of six, Smith's father died”. This says that Smith's father died at the age of six. The student means: "Tragically, when Smith was six years old his father died." The first sentence conveys wrong meaning even though funny, it is a depressed manifestation.

            You are sad, you are happy, you are thrilled – you want the world to know. That’s exactly why you should use the structure of the language properly. You want to reach your audience in a way you will be understood without ambiguity. What you write must be clear to the reader. Your language must form a smooth pothole-free bridge between what you write and what is understood. Error-free grammar is the conveyer belt.

What is vocabulary and how it enhances our life?
            "Vocabulary is knowledge of words and word meanings. However, vocabulary is more complex than this definition tells.



Words used in listening and speaking.

Words used  in reading and writing

            In addition to our appearance and the way we carry ourself, people will judge us based on the words that come out of our mouth. Even if we are a mathematical genius, having a poor vocabulary will send across a message that we are not very intelligent. If we don’t care for other’s critique also, our vocabulary will determine whether or not we are successful. If one want to know the world or whether he should express his idea it can be possible with only good vocabulary. It is especially important for technically oriented people to pay attention to their vocabulary. When I say technically oriented people, I'm specifically talking about those who are good with numbers, mechanics, and other technical subjects. While they are brilliant in these subjects, many of these people are not so brilliant when it comes to writing or speaking. It is not their fault, and most are lacking in one area. Being able to improve, our vocabulary will open a lot of doors, doors that would normally be closed. When we improve our vocabulary, we feel good about our self, because we have a larger command of our language.

Vocabulary enhances our life:
  • You feel good about yourself, because you have a larger command of our language.
  • Vocabulary can greatly increase our IQ.
  • Can communicate our ideas to people in a more effective manner. 
  • Vocabulary is crucial because it is directly related to language
  • The more words you know, the more eloquently you can convey the ideas and hence you can open up a number of career doors.
                Here I am going to speak about the web resources for learning English. In this competitive era, we have to think about the practical resources which are helpful and practical oriented and need to be worked out. Because there are millions of ways in the world of web we can learn English vocabulary. But the practical way of using websites is utmost useful for learners. They are:

How to improve Grammar and Vocabulary through Internet?
                You know, the web is a big place. There’s lots of information, but you just need the right tools to find them. After analyzing the facts that vocabulary and grammar is the need of every hour to survive. We must first use one of the best and most simple ways to improve our vocabulary is to read as much as we can. Reading a tabloid or a fashion magazine will do little to improve your vocabulary. When I say read, I'm referring to books that are actually challenging, books that use words and concepts that are not found in your everyday language. These are the types of books that will less improve our vocabulary. If you want to improve your vocabulary, try reading a book on philosophy, or a book on classical literature. These are the types of books that will allow your vocabulary to increase. Besides this, you will also learn more about the world in which you live. Increasing your vocabulary will allow you to become smarter, and it will also allow you to become better informed. Number of practice exercises can be practiced and progressed through web tools and resources.

                Even though there are softwares that can be installed and make you learn English but it is only a temporary and time being activity. But web tools are there which gives millions of practice exercises through varieties of websites given below.

1. www.kidsites.com
            Purely for kids who can view a lot

2. www.english-zone.com 
            Includes flash exercises also 

3. www.agendaweb.org 
            Contains grammar worksheets

4. www.freerice.com 
            Contains practice exercises in an interesting way.

5. www.english-test.net/asvab/ 
            Contains 60 vocabulary tests for competitive Exams.
6. www.syvum.com/gre/ 
            Contains practice exercises on word roots. Here you can find number of SAT (Scholarly Aptitude Test) quizzes to enhance your knowledge.

7. www.reference.com 
            Gives us online thesaurus and dictionary.

8. www.eslgold.com 
            Contains audio lessons and learning games. Translation in multiple languages.

9 . www.englishclub.com 
            Gives multiple exercises for speaking, listening practice.

10. www.merriam-webster.com - Dictionary
            It is the one which allows user to hear the words.
11. http://www.idiomconnection.com/ 
            The best site for Idioms.

12.  http://www.learn-english-online.org/
            English lessons for the beginner, includes worksheets and audio files.

13. http://www.focusenglish.com/dialogues/
            Conversations for both reading and listening, includes common slang and idioms.

14. http://www.learnenglishfeelgood.com
            Contains more worksheets with answers.

15. http://www.esl-lab.com
            Very good platform for quizzes.

16. http://www.talkenglish.com
            A self-learning spoken English site.

17. www.yourdictionary.com
            Very good Thesaurus

18. http://www.englishpage.com
            Online worksheets focusing mainly on grammar, includes translation dictionaries.

19. http://esl.about.com/od/beginningenglish/ig/Basic-English/
            Short lessons on the essentials of the English language.

20. http://www.uiowa.edu/~acadtech/phonetics
            Teaches the exact elaboration of linguistics.

                Visuwords is an awesome visual tool to find new words and improve your vocabulary. When you look up a word in this tool, it shows a neat graph which connects that word to various other words based on different relationships between them. You can hover over each word to get its definition and also zoom-in and zoom-out using your mouse wheel. It's certainly an excellent dictionary plus thesaurus.

                Thesaurus.com is a part of dictionary.com and gives an elaborate description of words, the part of speech they belong to and various synonyms and antonyms of that word.

                Definr, as it says, is an incredibly fast dictionary. It starts suggesting the nearest possible word as you start typing a particular word. Most of the time you get the required word after typing 3 or 4 letters and then you can just click on the word to look up its meaning. Definr also provides some nice tools which make this service more useful.

Meta Glossary 
                MetaGlossary.com approaches the task of finding meanings of words in a different way. It aggregates various links on the web which provide an explanation to the term and shows the results. Hence it does the job of pulling definitions of the word from the entire web.

               Thsrs helps you to get shorter synonyms of long words. Although it's not dead accurate but still can be useful at times. It also provides a browser plug-in to easily look up shorter synonyms of words with a right click.

                Wordsmith is a nice resource for new words, especially its ' A Word A Day ' newsletter, which is immensely popular and delivers new words everyday to your email inbox.

BBC Learning English
             BBC Learning English is another comprehensive resource of not only English grammar and vocabulary but on various aspects of this useful language. It includes stories, pictures, quizzes and various communication tools to improve your English vocabulary.

            Ninjawords, like Definr, claims to be a very fast dictionary. Although it doesn't show words as you type like Definr but is certainly very fast in displaying the meanings and synonyms once you hit enter. It also has a random tab which can be used to play around and learn new words.

Thinkmap Visual Thesaurus
            Thinkmap Visual Thesaurus is a free-to-try visual tool which shows related words in an interactive map and helps you to easily find their meanings and listen to their pronunciation.

            AskOxford is the online version of the famous dictionary by the Oxford University press. It's comprehensive without a doubt and includes various other vocabulary resources and a quotations dictionary.

Urban Dictionary
            Urban Dictionary stands out from the herd. It's a dictionary of slang words. So use this dictionary and don't miss out on slang words either.

Alpha Dictionary
            Alpha Dictionary doesn't directly show you the meaning of a word. Instead it searches all the available online dictionaries (most of them) and displays the results in the form of links to the meaning of that word in those dictionaries. So choose your favorite dictionary (if at all you have one) and click on the corresponding link to view its meaning.

Web Resources should reach students
            Students participated in classroom activities four days a week and one day should be designated for activities in the language center for audio and computer-based Internet activities. The instructor also designed classroom activities that demonstrated the different strategies used in this study. Sample activities included worksheets solving, Dictionary, Flash quizzes, a concentration game using words and pictures, reading short cultural narratives, and paired/small group conversation. To record weekly activities, students were asked to keep an accountability chart that indicated which strategies they used at home and on the Internet, the time spent on each strategy, and the activities that they preferred in the classroom.

            As part of the required tasks for this class, students were asked to visit the Web site and to study on their own at home during the week. When at home, they kept track of the different ways they studied a weekly list of vocabulary words and kept track of the amount of time they spent studying those words. When visiting the Web site, students were asked to choose any of the web sites to practice the activities. Each vocabulary lesson was presented with Web-based activities that supported the following strategies:

            This is a memory strategy that involves associating new language information with familiar concepts. It helps strengthen comprehension as well as make new vocabulary words easier to remember.

            There is no conclusion in this topic because till the IT world flourishes web resources also embellishes till the world ends. Hence I would like to highlight those strategies of websites contains enough tasks to improve our knowledge. Apart from those sources, infinitive sources grow day by day and further communicative exercises, business vocabulary, listening lessons, video clips of famous authors are also available to improve skills. Web surfing is the hand touched resource which enriches the interested and devoted person’s knowledge and promotes a highly well toad shrewdness and the function of left brain generates.

ELTAI Computer Technology SIG,
4 Apr 2011, 21:00