Home > No. 8 Vocabulary

No. 8 Vocabulary (2005年09月10日)

カテゴリー: The Treasure Hunt Club
Marcel Van Amelsvoort
(Kanagawa Prefectural College of Foreign Studies)
Hello everyone. This month we’re going to look at vocabulary or rather,
we’re going to look at sets of two tools that can be used to look at
texts and organize the vocabulary for learning.

The Compleat Lexical Tutor is a site that has been around for a couple
of years. It contains tools for analyzing texts for frequency and
collocations (concordances), and for testing vocabulary levels.  It takes a little while to learn how to use
but can do some very interesting things. For a tour of the site and
instructions on how to use it, there is a review written by Marti Sevier
of Simon Fraser University that can be found at

Most teachers don’t usually think of Amazon.com as a resource for
information about language. Yet there are some nice functions available
there that may come in handy from time to time. Did you know that
Amazon.com (US site) has a feature that allows us to search inside books?
It is not available for all books, however, but most new titles have
this feature. With this feature we can get readability statistics, find
out what vocabulary is most common in the book, and search for
vocabulary (words or phrases) and collocations. Let’s take an example.
Jared Diamond’s book “Guns, Germs and Steel” is a book that has this
search inside feature. If you mouse over the cover image, a pop-up menu
appears. If you click on the Books on Related Topics, Concordances, or
Text Stats links, you will go to a page that contains all three of these.
The most interesting and useful is the Concordances. A box appears that
lists the 100 most frequent words in the book. The words are also
arranged in different font sizes to show the frequency level (the more
frequent have a larger font). Click on any of these words to see all
examples of where the word is used in the book. The Search Inside this
Book text field allows us to search for phrases. I searched for the
phrase “in order to” and found 33 examples of it in the book. So if we
want to know what vocabulary is frequent in various fields or if we want
to look for authentic examples of language usage, these tools are really
fantastic. Each of these texts can be used as a mini corpus that we can
search and explore.

This week’s Treasure Hunt.

This week’s question asks you to use the tools to look inside a book at
Amazon.com. You’ll have to read the instructions above once more to
complete it. Happy hunting!
Here’s the site: http://www.amazon.com/

Here is the question:
1. What is the most common word in the Lonely Planet travel guide for
Japan? Is it “bath”, “station”, “temple”, or “expensive”?