Rakuten, Japan’s 21st Century Online Powerhouse, to Launch 19th Century Language School

One of the leading online retailers in Japan, Rakuten, is getting into the English-teaching business. According to their press release, their “Super English” lessons will use software developed by a new startup in the language teaching “space,” Lingvist.io. Here’s how Lingvist summarizes its system: Lingvist applies mathematical optimization and statistics to make the language-learning process as fast as it can theoretically […]

How Many Words Can You Acquire in a Year?

There is an exchange in the current issue of Reading in a Foreign Language regarding papers that Paul Nation and I published on the number of words one can acquire through free reading. The original papers are here: Nation (2014) McQuillan (2016) The exchange is here: Tom Cobb’s critique Paul Nation’s response My response I will add […]

In Case You Missed It: What Can Readers Read After Graded Readers?

Earlier this year I published an article in Reading in a Foreign Language about reading your way to fluency in English. Check it out here (free!). Print PDF

Do You Need to Read 8,000,000 Words to Acquire 2,000?

Study Reviewed: Hill, M., & Laufer, B. (2003). Type of task, time-on-task and electronic dictionaries in incidental vocabulary acquisition. International Review of Applied Linguistics, 41(2), 87–106. I recently came across a reference to a claim related to vocabulary acquisition that struck me as rather usual: Hill & Laufer (2003) stated that a second language reader […]

Even Better Than You Think: More Good News for Incidental Vocabulary Acquisition

Study Reviewed Frishkoff, G., K Collins-Thompson, C. Perfetti, and J. Callan. (2008).  Measuring incremental changes in word knowledge: Experimental validation and implications for learning and assessment.  Behavior Research Methods, 40(4), 907-925. We have long known that we acquire most of our vocabulary, in both a first and second language, through reading (Krashen, 1989).  Our knowledge […]