Apps to forget about #1: Vocabulist

Posted: May 6, 2016 in apps
Tags: , , , , , , ,

It’s practically impossible to keep up to date with all the new language learning tools that appear, even with the help of curated lists like Nik Peachey’s Scoop.it! (which is one of the most useful I know of). The trouble with such lists is that they are invariably positive, but when you actually find the time to look at the product, you often wish you hadn’t. I decided to save time for people like me by occasionally writing short posts about things that you can safely forget about. This is the first.

Nik’s take on Vocabulist was this:

Nik_Peachey

It sounds useful,  but for anyone involved in language teaching or learning, there is, unfortunately, nothing remotely useful about this tool.

Here’s how it works:

Vocabulist is super easy to use!

Here’s how:

1.Upload a Word, PDF, or Text document. You could also copy and paste text.

2.Wait a minute. Feel free to check Facebook while Vocabulist does some thinking.

3.Select the words that you want, confirm spelling, and confirm the correct definition.

4.All Done! Now print it, export it, and study it.

To try it out, I copied and pasted the text above. This is what you get for the first two lines:

vocabulist

The definitions are taken from Merriam-Webster. You scroll down until you find the definition for the best fit, and you can then save the list as a pdf or export it to Quizlet.

export

For language learners, there are far too many definitions to choose from. For ‘super’, for example, there are 24 definitions and, because they are from Merriam-Webster, they are all harder than the word being defined.

The idea behind Vocabulist could be adapted for language learners if there was a selection of dictionary resources that users could choose from (a selection of good bilingual or semi-bilingual dictionaries and a good monolingual learner’s dictionary). But, as it stands, here’s an app you can forget.

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Comments
  1. eflnotes says:

    hi
    i’d check out text2flash by apps4efl https://www.apps4efl.com/views/special/text2flash/
    ta
    mura

    • philipjkerr says:

      Thanks, Mura. This is much closer to the real thing when it comes to apps with look-up and export functions. There are others I know of. It would be useful if someone (me, one day?) listed them, with short evaluations.
      The limitation for me, with this one, is that you can’t select the definition you want. For a word like ‘call’, the French translation is ‘appeler; crier; héler (taxi); convoquer; téléphoner; faire une visite; passer, se rendre, se présenter’ which is simply too much to be learner-friendly.

      • Hi, I’m the developer of Text to Flash (N.B. The new link is: http://www.apps4efl.com/tools/text_to_flash). Thanks for the recommendation (again!) Mura 😀

        Just to note that the quality of automatic definition apps like these depends strongly on the quality of the dictionary. There is a shortage of freely available computer readable dictionaries, and the ones that are available tend to be for native speakers rather than language learners.

        I did have a go at parsing the Simple English Wiktionary a while back (https://simple.wiktionary.org/wiki/Main_Page) but there’s just too much junk in the HTML mark-up, and there isn’t a machine readable version (yet).

        Now if a few teachers could get together and create a really good, machine readable English learner’s dictionary, we could use it to create a number of useful apps and games 🙂

  2. Hi, I’m the developer of Text to Flash (N.B. The new link is: http://www.apps4efl.com/tools/text_to_flash). Thanks for the recommendation (again!) Mura 😀

    Just to note that the quality of automatic definition apps like these depends strongly on the quality of the dictionary. There is a shortage of freely available computer readable dictionaries, and the ones that are available tend to be for native speakers rather than language learners.

    I did have a go at parsing the Simple English Wiktionary a while back (https://simple.wiktionary.org/wiki/Main_Page) but there’s just too much junk in the HTML mark-up, and there isn’t a machine readable version (yet).

    Now if a few teachers could get together and create a really good, machine readable English learner’s dictionary, we could use it to create a number of useful apps and games 🙂

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