Tuesday, 16 March 2021

Frequency dictionaries

 



There has been a lot of talk in recent days on Twitter and in the Facebook groups about word frequency.  This has arisen from the release of the proposals for the new languages GCSE (read Steve Smith's blog for excellent in-depth analyses of the proposals) which mention a vocabulary for Foundation Tier of 1200 high-frequency words, and 1700 for Higher Tier.  I also mentioned word frequency during my presentation at Language World 2021.  I was telling the story of my new scheme of work for Key Stage 2 Spanish, where I checked the frequency of the vocabulary I included.

I have been using the Routledge Frequency dictionaries, which you can see in the picture above (the Spanish one proudly bearing the sticky note which marks the end of the numerical list and the beginning of the alphabetical list).

Some people were asking how these frequency lists were arrived at.  The preface to the Spanish version (the one I have used the most) gives as sources for the Routledge lists:

  • the corpus, of 20 million words from fiction and non-fiction texts, the internet and transcripts of spoken language
  • words from all 21 Spanish-speaking countries
  • recent language (the words for this edition were collected in 2014-15)
Most telling, I think, are the subtitles of the dictionaries.  The Spanish one is A Frequency Dictionary of Spanish: Core Vocabulary for Learners", thus acknowledging that learners and users will want to use other words outside this list of 5000 to say what they want to say, depending on their interests.

As well as the main numerical and alphabetical lists of the highest frequency 5000 words in the language, the dictionaries also contain some useful lists of different groups of words, such as this list of French animals:


Animals are of great interest to primary children, yet many of the animal words that we teach are relatively low frequency and indeed outside the top 5000.  They are usually accompanied in speech and writing, however, by much higher frequency words, such as determiners and key verb forms.

I have also been seeing some interesting links between word frequency and culture.






Sunday, 14 March 2021

Language World 2021: sketchnotes

 


This year's Language World was an all-online affair, which made the feel a bit different, but the sessions were of just as good a quality.  Here are my sketchnotes from the sessions that I attended:

Turn that frown upside down: practical tips to motivate learners in Key Stage 3 and beyond
Claire Wilson


British Council Language Trends 2021 - interim results
Vicky Gough and Ian Collen


The 20 Keys: Giving Grammar a new lease of life
Elena Díaz


Using CLIL and MFL strategies to maximise the curriculum for EAL learners
Jane Driver


International Partnerships and Exchanges
Vicky Gough and Brian Stobie


Multilingualism, language learning and social cognition
Professor Li Wei


Language learning: Learning from the past
Professor Nicola McLelland, Dr Simon Coffey, Dr Lina Fisher


A rich curriculum for all: the pressured yet pivotal position of languages
Dr Michael Wardle, HMI


The missing link: transition between KS2 and KS3
Suzanne O'Farrell, ASCL


Challenges and rewards in the CLIL unit design process
Dr Marie Petersen


Making connections between languages with translation skills for easier KS2-KS3 transition
Helen Stokes


Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Another Spanish crowd source!

 


Following the success of my last crowd sourced resource, I'd like to ask for your help with another.  I've recently started the topic of Weather with my Year 5s (age 9-10) as they are following my legacy scheme of work - in my new scheme of work it is the last unit for Year 4 (age 8-9).

It would be great to have some simple weather reports from around the world for some reading practice and as models for writing.  These are the phrases they have been learning:


They also know the conjunctions y, también, pero and sin embargo, and numbers up to 39 if you want to add the temperature.

I would be very grateful if you could write a couple of sentences about where you live and what the weather is like today.   

For example, mine would be:
Vivo en el noreste de Inglaterra.  Hoy está nublado y hace frío, pero no llueve.

If you don't want to add your real name, a pseudonym or nickname would be fine.

You can add your sentences here in a comment, or email them to me.

¡Gracias!  I will, of course, share any resulting resources.




Saturday, 27 February 2021

My Resources Shop

 


I had the idea for Pocket Cards a long time ago, but didn't know how I would go about selling them.  Then I happened upon Sellfy.com as a way of doing that.  My first products were the French and Spanish Challenge Cards in 2014, followed quickly by the Pocket Cards.  I pay a monthly fee to Sellfy, but took on the Pro contract when they were offering a permanent 50% off, so it doesn't cost too much, and I only have to pay Sellfy 2% commission on sales.  The only downside of choosing Sellfy is that the shop isn't as visible as, say, TES or Teachers Pay Teachers, so forgive me if I do some publicising of my products on this here blog and on my social media accounts.

You'll know that literally thousands of my resources are available absolutely free on Light Bulb Languages.  I have chosen to charge for the resources in my Sellfy shop because they took considerably longer to make.

Here's a list of everything that is available in my shop.  Enjoy browsing! 

FRENCH

SPANISH

OTHER

Poésie: 25 poems in French for beginner learners

More information here

Poesía: 25 poems in Spanish for beginner learners

More information here 

Everything you need to know about minibooks

More information here

Box of French: les super-héros

More information here

Box of Spanish: ¡superheroes!

More information here

Everything you need to know about Tarsia

More information here

On commence!  French lesson starters

¡comenzamos! Spanish lesson starters

More information here

Everything you need to know about calligrams

More information here

On commence! French Christmas starters

¡comenzamos!  Spanish Christmas starters

130 Activities for the Languages Classroom

More information here

On commence! French number starters

¡comenzamos!  Spanish number starters

 

ma petite grammaire: part 1 nouns and adjectives

More information here

mi gramática: part 1 nouns and adjectives

More information here

ma petite grammaire: part 2 verbs, adjectives and conjunctions

mi gramática: part 2 verbs, adjectives and conjunctions

French Grammar Challenge Cards

More information here

Spanish Grammar Challenge Cards

More information here

French Challenge Cards

More information here

Spanish Challenge Cards

More information here

French Challenge Cards – Christmas edition

Spanish Challenge Cards – Christmas edition

Box of French: Je suis préhistorique !

More information here

Box of Spanish: ¡Soy prehistórico!

More information here

Box of French: J’aime les sports !

More information here

Box of Spanish: ¡Me gustan los deportes!

More information here

French Minibooks for Primary Learners

Spanish Minibooks for Primary Learners

More information here 

French Minipuzzles vol.1

Spanish Minipuzzles vol.1

French Pocket Cards

set 1

set 2

set 3

set 4

set 5

set 6

set 7

More information here

Spanish Pocket Cards

set 1

set 2

set 3

set 4

set 5

set 6

set 7

More information here

 

Sonidos Españoles (phonics)

More information here

Box of Spanish: ¡A comer!

 


Friday, 26 February 2021

Poésie: an anthology of French poems for beginner learners

 

You'll have read a couple of weeks ago that I published a collection of poems in Spanish for beginner learners.

A virtual colleague (someone I know from the Languages in Primary Schools Facebook group!) asked if I was intending to French poems.  I wasn't at the time, as there is a lot more out there for French, with it being more commonly taught and comptines being readily available.  She persuaded me to give it a go, and I published it today!

You can find Poésie here.  You will get a full colour and a more printer-friendly .pdf of each poem, as well as a vocabulary card for each one to help with comprehension.  The introduction gives you some information about using poems in your lessons, and you'll also get a .png image file of each poem to put into your PowerPoints or Smartboard files.  They will best suit learners in Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3.