Wednesday, June 25, 2008

New Hotlist: ESL Vocabulary Plus More!

A new Hotlist for ESL students is currently being created by AELC staff specialists Robin Bosworth and Kristy Laurx. While still being populated, the list will be a resource of Websites for ESL students at all levels. It is entitled ESL Vocabulary Plus More! and is accessible from either the Student Hotlist listing at the top right hand column of this page, or directly from All Websites have been vetted by Kristy and Robin to be academically sound and applicable for students at the levels listed.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New Web 2.0 App: JOTT

Finding new 2.0 apps is pretty common, but finding ones I like ( and that fit my 'keep it simple' philosophy) is not as common. This one fills all my criteria. Jott ( is a utility tool that you might find worthwhile. You can use your cell phone to send emails, create lists, and even add to your Blogs. It will convert your voice to text.

If you want to send an email from your cell phone, just call the Jott number and tell it who you want to contact. You need to have recipient names and email addresses or cell numbers (for text messages) already programmed from your computer, but once in, you can use them at any time, anywhere you can use your cell phone.

After initial programming, it's easy to use your phone to send a message. I have an iPhone which does everything but cook my dinner (next upgrade?) but I still find this tool useful. I've tried it several times and it sends the info quite clearly. It also adds a link so the person can hear your voice message, in case the text translation is not clear. It will do the same for leaving posts on a Blog. Say you are no where near a computer and need post a message on your Blog. Call Jott on your cell to the pre-programmed address of your Blog of choice and it will post directly to that Blog, and give the option of listening to your voice as well. Hint: if you post to more than one Blog, make sure you give them unique names.

It's also good for reminders (eg: 'dentist appt. at 4 on 6/27/08') and lists (I use it for a shopping list). Do you want to keep track of the latest news or sports scores? Add RSS feed info into your Jott account and it will send that info to your cell phone. It's quick and easy, and fun to do. Try it out!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Interesting Blogs on Linguistics and Grammar

Grammar Blog approaches language oddities and mishaps with a lighthearted, irreverent tone. Gez Daring, Daniel Gray, and Tom Knowles started this blog as a continuation of the linguistic gibes they shared during their time at the Univ. of Newcastle upon Tyne, in England. Many posts include photographs of errors spotted in everything from literature to signage, to which the bloggers respond with often snarky corrections. Readers contribute their own photos of spelling errors and mistakes in grammar. While this is primary British English, there are useful and clever references to American English as well. You should enjoy and understand this despite the "other English."
Motivated Grammar abandons the traditional idea of grammar as a strict set of rules. Gabriel Doyle, graduate student in linguistics at UC, San Diego, rails against linguistic prescription, or the notion that arbitrary but established grammar standards should be closely followed. Each of Mr. Doyle's posts reads like a self-contained grammar lesson, posting a question, discussing the issue, and arriving at a conclusion. You'll enjoy this one!
Professors in linguistics, Mark Liberman of the Univ. of Pennsylvania and Geoffrey Pullum of the Univ. of Edinburgh started this blog in 2003. They and other contributors often touch on popular culture and current events in their discussion of language. With multiple posts each day, this blog covers a broad swath of linguistic issues. Translation and the comparison of language are popular topics on this blog, with one series of recent posts debating why English texts are much longer than their Chinese counterparts. Do some scrolling on this one, and you will be sure to find one of great interest which will give you something to really think about and come back for more. All three of these blogs were listed in the BLOG WATCH Section by Lydia Serota in the Wall Street Journal, Monday, June 9, 2008 in Section R16.

Posted by Robin Bosworth