Category: News & Announcements
Wordsmyth’s new Word Parts database
The importance of learning Word Parts
Studying word parts (roots and affixes) equips us to do the following:
- Identify the meaningful elements that make up words.
- Learn the characteristics of roots and of affixes: origin, meaning, grammatical function.
- Guess (or recall) the meaning of unfamiliar words from the clues given by word parts.
- Recognize the relationship among words that share a common root or affix.
- Recognize and use patterns of word change (e.g., cept, -ceive).
- Improve spelling by gaining awareness of the internal logic of words.
- Increase vocabulary, cultivate morphological awareness–and enjoy the English language.
- Fulfill Common Core (CCSS) ELA Literacy standards.
Three views of the Word Parts data
1) Dictionary entries:
More than 8000 Wordsmyth dictionary entries now display information about the word parts that make up the headword. In the new Word Parts section of the entry, the headword is broken down into its roots and affixes.
Each significant word part is identified and its origin, type, and meaning provided. The user can also here view a list of other example words containing the word part, and jump to those words’ dictionary entries to explore further. “More about this word part” notes explain in more detail how particular affixes combine with bases to form words.
2) A-Z Word Parts Page:
In addition to the dictionary entry Word Parts feature, where the composition of a word can be studied in the context of looking up a word, the user can search, sort, and browse more than 600 roots and affixes at the A-Z Word Parts page (under Search Tools menu).
3) Search Filters:
Finally, for a view of all the words that have word parts information, the Search Filter page (under the Search Tools menu) will display them in an alphabetical browsable format. Simply select “word parts information.”
Word Parts Data in Word Explorer Children’s Dictionary
Word Explorer Children’s Dictionary users have these same three modes of access to roots and affixes information, but with the example words limited to the headwords in the Children’s Dictionary. To maximize flexibility, there are links to the complete Word Parts Database from any point in the Children’s Word Parts data. In the case of roots and affixes that have no example words in the Children’s Dictionary, the word part and information about it can still be found in the Children’s Dictionary A-Z Word Parts look up.
For a general introduction to the terms and concepts used in our Word Parts database, see this downloadable pdf http://dev.wordsmyth.net/testdir/web_site/help/WordPartsGuide.pdf.
Wordsmyth offers a free school subscription for 2013-14 school year
Wordsmyth loves teachers. Teachers make up a significant portion of our user base, and developing literacy and vocabulary tools and resources that serve the needs of classrooms motivates much of what Wordsmyth is planning for the future.
Earlier this year, we introduced a paid subscription option for individual users who want the benefit of premium features. A paid educational group subscription is in the pipeline, but to allow teachers and their students to try the premium subscription features, we are offering a free educational group subscription for the 2013-14 school year. Members of a subscribed school will have access to an ad-free site with a dedicated school URL, and other premium features such as unlimited saving and sharing of activities, use of up to 50 words in activities, Spanish support, and more.
In addition, subscribed schools will also have free use of new content and tools that will become available in the next few months: the extensive Wordsmyth Word Parts (roots and affixes) reference integrated with dictionary entries, and powerful search filters that allow users to perform focused dictionary searches to more easily generate subsets of the dictionary for specific purposes.
Enrollment in the free educational group subscription is a quick, easy process. Send us a request right now, or view a list of subscription features here.
There is also a FAQ about how the free school subscription works.
Meet your free Wordsmyth Dictionary Widget
The Wordsmyth Blog now comes accessorized with the nifty Wordsmyth Dictionary Widget. The Dictionary Widget is also available free from our website (here). Because it needs to be experienced to be fully appreciated, we’ve made it easy for you to try it here on our blog pages.
Try it here, now
1. Look in the upper right corner of this page. You’ll see the widget with a search box.
2. Double-click on any word on this page–a word in this or the following sentence, for example: Don’t clutter my etagere with your gimcracks!
3. You’ll see the word you clicked on appear in the widget search box, and, lo and behold, a concise entry for the word will appear in the widget. The concise entry includes pronunciation, audio pronunciation, part of speech, definitions, examples, and even images. To view the complete entry (with synonyms, antonyms, and derived words), click on the ‘See full entry’ link.
4. Don’t like the widget in the upper right corner? You can drag it to any spot in the window and it will stay there unless you move it. You can also shrink or expand the widget window, or close it, by clicking on the icons in the upper right corner of the widget. If you close the widget, it will remain closed until you double-click on a word. The diagonal arrow is another way to go to the full dictionary entry.
Look up any word on any webpage
If you would like to be able to look up any word on any web page in the same way, visit our widget page at the Comprehensive Dictionary or the Word Explorer Dictionary for Children. All you have to do to install it is drag the link for the Wordsmyth Floater or Wordsmyth Pop-up Widget to your browser toolbar. (For more information, see our FAQ.)
Let us know what you (or your students) think!
New Feature: Your Look-up History
Nothing brings home to me just how much mileage I habitually rack up on the information highway like a glance at my browser history. Whether it’s showing me locations I visited “last week,” “yesterday,” or even earlier “today,” the amount and the variety of the terrain covered is impressive. Many of the URLs that pop up in my browser history I’d forgotten ever having visited. Sometimes forgetting is good: here at my work computer, for example, history shows that, a few days ago, what started as a purposeful search on Project Gutenberg for literary uses of an unusual word (“tardigrade”) was diverted by one author’s reference to “hoof-shaped shoes” worn by the precursors of policemen in fifteenth-century Florence. Curiosity must have gotten the better of me, for apparently I made seven stops related to hoof-shaped shoes before getting back on track. Most of the time, however, I wish I hadn’t forgotten where I’d been and had kept more bookmarks and notes. What fruitful trails have I abandoned–or spent precious time rediscovering?
A new feature in Wordsmyth, the dictionary look-up history, is designed to help you remember the paths you’ve taken through the dictionary-thesaurus and the words you’ve investigated for as long as you wish to. Your look-up history keeps track of which words you’ve looked up and when, and makes that information easily accessible to you whenever you visit Wordsmyth. Here’s how it works. When you view a dictionary entry, as shown below, the last few words you’ve looked up will be visible in a box in the top right of the entry (indicated by the blue arrow). When there are more than five words in your look-up history, this box will display a link, “See more,” (indicated by the lower red arrow), which will take you to the full look-up history page. This page is also accessible from the tab menu My Wordsmyth: Look-up History (See the upper red arrow).
Look-up history box in entry
On the Look-up history page each word you have looked up is listed in chronological order from newest to oldest. For each word, there is a complete record. n Moving from left to right across the columns, as shown in the image below, you will see 1) the word looked up, 2) the number of times the word was looked up on a given day (#), 3) the date on which it was looked up, 4) the first definition of the word and, in brackets, the number of definitions the word has, if more than one. Finally, 5) the Site column tells you which Wordsmyth site you used (Kids or Main), and, 6) if the Main site was used, the level of the dictionary you used (Beginners, Intermediate, or Advanced).
Look-up history page
View alphabetically or by date
To faciliate finding particular words you may have looked up, the look-up history will display alphabetically if you click on the small blue triangle tot he right of the “Word” column heading, and chronologically if you click on the triangle to the right of the “Date” column heading.
When your look-history is extensive, perhaps stretching over a number of pages, you can narrow down the words you see by using the drop down menu “Show words looked up” (a in the image above), choosing to see “all history,” “last 30 days”, last 7 days or 1 day, and clicking “find.” You may also enter a word or a date in the “Find a word or date” search box (b in the image above) and click on “Find” to view the page where a particular word or date appears.
The Look-up History is very alert! It will record not only words you look up using the general search box, but also synonyms, similars, and antonyms you click on, was well as Word Explorer words. However, you can clear your history by clicking on the blue [Clear] link (c). And you can hide the lookup history box in the Display options menu that appears on the entry page.
Introducing beta WILD, Wordsmyth’s Dictionary for New Readers!
Wordsmyth is for kids
The Wordsmyth Illustrated Learner’s Dictionary (WILD) is Wordsmyth’s newest and most exciting and interactive dictionary. WILD is geared toward children in Grades K to 3 as well as to young English Language Learners.The beta version of WILD is now available for exploration at kids.wordsmyth.net/wild/.
At the core of WILD is an abundantly illustrated dictionary that contains child-friendly, full-sentence definitions and example sentences for nearly 3,500 words. The dictionary can, of course, be used by looking up a word in the search box, but a child may also access and explore the dictionary entries through the three distinct visual environments Wordsmyth has created: the World, the Collections, and the Book. All the environments are linked with each other so that a user may at any time navigate from one to another.
WILD’s three visual environments
In the WILD World, children can explore items as they appear in natural and human-made environments. A child may choose to explore in Nature, seeing what plants and animals exist in a variety of surroundings, such as the seashore, the desert, or the forest; or he or she may explore in the City, looking at what objects and types of people can be found in different settings such as the school, the post office, or the grocery store. In any setting, there are opportunities to explore on different levels. Once in the seashore setting, for example, a child can navigate into the tide pool or into the ocean and see what creatures might exist there.
Once in the restaurant, a child can zoom in to look at the menu, or navigate into the kitchen and open the refrigerator! At any point, a user can see the objects in a setting with or without word labels and with or without Spanish translation. (Chinese and other language translations will follow in all three visual environments.) All word labels can be clicked on to access audio pronunciations as well as to link with a word’s dictionary entry. Once in the entry, one can easily navigate back to the same item in the World.
The WILD Collections allow children to explore words in categories, viewing artist renderings of hundreds of carefully selected and arranged items.
The Collections include a wide range of categories and subcategories, such as plants, parts of plants, things people do, things to read, things in fairy tales, animals, mammals, invertebrates, parts of the human body, actions of the body, foods, spices, materials for art, colors, and shapes. Included in the Collections is also a collection called Maps, which is where a child will gain access to an interactive map of the world. (WILD includes a full entry for every currently recognized nation.) Here too, a child can navigate to deeper and deeper levels and at the same time link at any point to audio pronunciations and dictionary entries.
In the WILD Book, concise versions of the dictionary entries are displayed almost as if on pages of a print dictionary, and clicking on any word will open up its full, expanded entry. The Book environment has been designed not only to look like a print dictionary, but to resemble a print dictionary in the way the pages can be turned, allowing a user to browse page by page, looking at illustrations and photographs, and reading definitions of words that catch his or her interest. In addition, the Book allows users the choice of viewing all the words of the dictionary or limiting the display to those words with images, words with a particular part of speech, or words that can be found in the World or Collections.
This post merely scratches the surface of what WILD has to offer, but we hope it conveys some of the excitement we feel at launching this new and vibrantly engaging educational resource. Future posts will further detail WILD’s unique features and ways that it can be used and enjoyed by children, parents, and teachers. Visit the Wordsmyth blog later this week if you need some help using the activities in WILD.