Wordle! A Colorful Way to Present Word Frequencies

Wordle: High Fequency Words in Oral Communication Textbook

Wordle: High Frequency Words In Oral Communication Textbook_with Fucntion Words

I found one interesting website which uses word frequencies to create word clouds, that is http://www.wordle.net created by Johnathan Feinberg. I created these clouds from one of my high school’s Oral Communication textbook and made a giant print for that schools faculty art exhibition. This seems like a more visually pleasing way to present word frequencies to students in contrast with ranked frequency lists.  I am curious about how other teachers would use this material in their classrooms.

If you go to the site, you have the option of uploading a text and creating a composition. Also you can also use links to get material directly from the internet, and you can also gather tags from a del.ici.ous user. Give it a try and see for yourself.

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To twitter or not to twitter?

That is the question.

I must admit that the concept of using twitter is enticing. Based on what I read from one twitter publication A Geek’s Guide To Promoting Yourself and Your Online Business in 140 Characters or Less with Twitter ( I love the title) offers advice on how to use your 14o characters to draw readers to your blog or online business. I have the pdf so just click the title.

In terms of language teaching, it is seen as an ideal way to keep in contact with your colleagues. One piece written by Ted O’Neil for JALT’s The Language Teacher gives some detailed advice on how to apply it as means of idea exchange. This is especially applies to conferences where so many events and lectures are happening at once. The link is here to the publication site.  I went to the JALT conference in Shizuoka last week, and even though I wasn’t using the service, I know of some other colleagues who probably would benefit from some other persons tweet, particularly if it is about  a presentation  or lecture that they had missed.

I would like to hear what your position is on using or not using Twitter. I have yet to make a decision. Maybe some more contemplation is in order.

To twitter or not to twitter? Hmmmm….

Video Interview with Paul Nation.

I discovered this on ELT News and felt it was too good to be left alone. For those interested in Vocabulary research and teaching, I recommend his books and definitely see his lectures. I was fortunate to have studied with him back in my graduate school days at Temple University. Many thanks to Darren Elliot for the video!

http://vimeo.com/7142707

Referencess for JALT CALL Poster

Folse, K (2008, January) Distinguished Lecturer Series, Temple University Japan. http://www.keithfolse.com/teaching.html

Granger, S. (2002) A Bird’s-eye View of Computer Learner Corpus Research. In Granger, S., Hung, J. and Petch-Tyson, S. (eds) Computer Learner Corpora, Second Language Acquisition and Foreign Language Teaching. pp. 3-33. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: Benjamins.

McEnery, A. (2005) Swearing in English. London:Routledge.

Nation, I.S.P. (2001). Learning vocabulary in another language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Tono, Y. (2003) Learner corpora: design, development, and applications in D.Archer, P. Rayson, A. Wilson and A. McEnery (eds) Proceedings of Corpus Linguistics 2003, pp. 800-809. Lancaster University.

Poster Presentation at JALT-CALL

I will be giving a poster presentation at the Jalt-Call conference at Toyo Gakuen- Hongo Campus, Tokyo Japan . My poster will be on June 7th 10:30 am to 12:00 pm in room 4503

The title of this poster is:

In Just One Year: An Electronic Corpus of Junior High Learners for Vocabulary Learning and Teaching

here is the link to the event.

http://jaltcall.org/content/course/view.php?id=16

and a link to the presenters where you can read my abstract.

http://jaltcall.org/content/mod/resource/view.php?id=375

Also of note about my is the fact there will be a “high frequency word list raffle” in which conference attendees can guess the top five most frequent words for a writing assignment executed by Japanese junior high students. I think activities like this would be a stimulating way to encourage such students to think about how they use their productive vocabulary in writing. If you try this with your students, please let me know your results.

See you at the conference.

Regarding Corpus building.

  I think the toughest thing about building a corpus is the fact that if you are working alone, you are the only one who has to input the data. Actually this stage takes the most time for what I want to do.

For the project that I presented at the Temple University Japan Colloquium 2009

, the whole process involves entering data by hand, typing each essay one by one. Luckily junior high L2 writing is short, so what I do to alleviate having to type a lot of text is to look for any consistent phrases that can be seen in the essays and write them on a separate word document. Then I hit Ctrl+C(hitting C twice) to open the clipboard and save the common phrases. I think this depends on the similarity of texts. When I have to enter any new essays, I lay down the copied texts with the annotation information. Then I either add or subtract phrases according to what was written. This way the labor of inputting data is relieved somewhat and my arms can take a break.

If anyone knows of a better way to do this than the above method on Word or maybe Excel, I would be happy to hear from you. 

Presentation coming up Feb 8th!!

Hello all!

Please look at the the abstract for my presentation at the Temple University Japan Applied Linguistics Colloquium 2009.

 

The event starts at 9:45 and my presentation will start at 3pm

For more info follow this link:

http://www.tuj.ac.jp/newsite/main/tesol/events/20090208b.html

to access the event it will be at the Azabu hall campus:

http://www.tuj.ac.jp/about/access/azabu.html

 

Also attached is a schedule of the event. Please have a look.

 temple-university-japan-applied-linguistics-colloquium-schedule

See you there! 

 

Writing practice

Well the new year is fast approaching, I wonder what some of you are planning. As for myself, it seems since I started this blog my submissions have been far and few between. I must admit that since I have become a papa, that finding time on the computer is hard to do.

But my resolution for 2009 is to write more, and research as well and to update this blog as much as possible. I think of it as a window to my teaching and linguistics practice.

What was good about being a graduate student at  Temple University Japan was that it encouraged me to write more often, and think about my presentation. Since graduating I have “fallen off the wagon” sort of speak, and realize that just writing is a vital practice for me both personally and professionally.

My brother Joey, is a fine example of this. His practice is writing as well: poems, commentary, prose. For my own blogging it must reflect my need to get my ideas out there, possibly get some feedback. It takes some bravery too, since you are essentially submitting something for public scrutiny.

Posting articles, research is a vital practice as well, but what one friend said, if the journal/site is peer reviewed, this adds more credibility to your research than just posting on the web.

Frankly, I like the appeal of publishing on the web, for it allows for a great deal of freedom. This broad kind of appeal can be seen with the creation of such sites as Google Docs https://www.google.com/ and Scribd http://www.scribd.com/

So this is what I need to do, to focus and write on here, keep the fire burning. I will also try to do some presentations at some conferences this year, so that will keep me occupied as well.

Happy New Year and Happy blogging!

Things of Notice:Intonation

               My wife made a comment which made wheels turn in my head. Her comment was about the sounds our son would make, sounds that seemed like speech yet wasn’t. The situation we have here in our household is the one parent one language model. My initial idea was that he was just trying to mimic words but when I really listened to what he said, it seemed that his intonation patterns were close to English when he interacted with me, and more Japanese when he interacted with my wife.

              Judging from my sons example, intonation may to be the first thing that children pick up when the try to make sense of the sounds they encounter from their family, friends, teachers, etc.

              When thinking about formal language teaching, in our attempt to teach vocabulary, listening ability, writing, and that favorite of all, grammar, teachers tend to neglect this simple reality. Seems counter intuitive for a teacher, but seemingly true, that how the intonation is mimicked then the vocabulary, is filled in. Is it a structure, like the intonation pattern of a question, which is then gradually clarified when the child can pronounce the words? Then when that is in place, meaning?

              It brings to mind one of my teachers: Dr. Marshal Childs http://www.tuj.ac.jp/newsite/main/tesol/tokyo/faculty.html when he mentioned something like this in a class for Applied Linguistics. His suggestion for students to get the “feeling of the language” was by just making sounds that seemed like English but with words that did not make any sense, like mimicking the mid twentieth century comic, Jimmy Durante. (Interesting choice) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Durante

 

“Skidda a rink a rinky dink, skidda a rinky doo.”

 

             When I first heard of this, well it was hard to really appreciate at the time since I more attached to ideas of teaching vocabulary, multi word units, collocations, etc.

 

              But looking at my sons example now, the Jimmy Durante idea is brilliant, which is why nursery rhymes are so important for children. Of course it doesn’t make sense to an adult, but that is not the point, it is how the language is organized via the intonation. With English it is rising and falling, reduced vowels and stressed vowels. Stresses emphasized regardless of the length of the sentence depending on the information contained.

              With Japanese, you have a syllable timed language where all the vowels are stressed, following a consistent rhythm. Also the some vowels are lengthened to vary the meaning of words.

                                         

                                坊主が屏風に上手に坊主の絵を描きました。

                                Bōzu ga byōbu ni jōzu ni Bōzu no e wo kakimashita.

 

              This example appeared in a TV show on NHK (Japanese Public Broadcasting Network) called “Lets play in Japanese” if these songs employed to learn a first language, then it follows that it could be the same for acquiring a second.

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