Resources: OneLook Dictionary Search

Most English speakers talk about “the dictionary” (not “a dictionary”) as though there were only one.  In fact, there are many, and lexicographers (word specialists) are constantly trying to keep them updated.   One of yesterday’s posts featured the Double-Tongued Dictionary, a project by Grant Barrett (et al), which attempts to document new words, slang, and other lexical items on the fringe.  This site contained a link to OneLook, a free resource which deserves it’s own entry in this blog: OneLook Dictionary Search.

OneLook is an impressive resource because it allows you to search over 19 million words from over 1000 dictionaries.   It has been called one of the best ways to cheat on crossword puzzles, but it also serves an important function for (1) teaching about morphological structures, (2) building student’s vocabulary, and (3) educating people about how to use a dictionary (helping students to understand that a good dictionary changes over time to keep up with the language).

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About LingEducator

Dr. Jaclyn Ocumpaugh received a PhD for her dissertation on regional variation in the acoustics of Mexican American English (Michigan State University, East Lansing). Before that, she received an MA in English/Linguistics from North Carolina State University for her work on the acoustics of /r/--a sound which is highly variable in the English language. Her passion, however, has always been to understand the social implications of language variation. In addition to her work in acoustic sociophonetics, she has worked with rape trial analysis, developed cognitive methods for understanding discourse level variation between men and women, and created sophisticated tools for teaching future educators about the kinds of dialect variation they will find in the classroom. She has taught classes in English, Linguistics, and Education at Old Dominion University, William & Mary, the University of Mary Washington, and Virginia Wesleyan College. She is currently a Post Doctoral Fellow of Learning Sciences and Technologies at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where she is helping to develop models of student engagement in the classroom. She also consults in the private sector.
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