Wordable – the totally addictive vocabulary game.

Join the BETA of our new game Wordable – the totally addictive  vocabulary game.


Wordable supports:

  • English learners around the world who are speakers of Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Turkish and Urdu.
  • learning of 3000+ key words at A1, A2, B1, B1+, B2, B2+ and C1/2 levels
  • learning of specialist vocational vocabulary including business, construction, retail and manufacturing

Wordable is produced in partnership with Cambridge University Press  with the support of Scottish EdgeNominet Trust and Ufi Trust.


(March 24th, 2016)


Vocab tip: G is for Guessing

Learning new words by guessing is a good idea but it is not enough. 

Guessing new words from context is an important skill because if you use a dictionary every time you meet an unknown word you will  read too slowly. This makes reading less fun but also  slows your vocabulary learning as research shows you need to meet the same word ten to fifteen times before you’ll remember it. Reading slowly means this won’t happen enough. But, there are two big problems you’ll face when guessing new words:

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Vocab tip: F is for Frequency

Target high frequency words to boost your vocabulary learning.

Learning vocabulary can often feel demotivating as there  are just so many words in the English language. How do you know which ones to learn?

You could aim to learn all the words in the English language but as English has over  80-100,000 word families that is something even native speakers wouldn’t attempt! Alternatively you could try to learn as many words as a typical native speaker. The best estimate is that a well educated native speaker knows something like 20,000 word families, having learned a thousand a year up to the age of 20. This might be achievable but would take you a long time.
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Vocab tip: E is for Extensive reading

Read for pleasure to improve your vocabulary, speaking and get better test results.

There are now hundreds of graded readers designed for English language learners at various levels. These short simplified books are designed for extensive reading (reading for pleasure) and using them has many benefits – here are just three of them:

  • Extensive reading can double your vocabulary.
    Extensive reading of just one graded reader a week increased learning by 76% over simply using a typical course book.  If you aim to read one to two readers a week on average you will double your vocabulary. (Rob Waring)

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Vocab tip: D is for Dictionary

Use a bilingual dictionary to accelerate your learning.

Many students and teachers think learning new words through translation is a bad idea but as vocabulary expert Paul Nation says:

This attitude is quite wrong. Translation is one of a number of means of conveying meaning and in general is no better or worse than the use of pictures, real objects, definitions, L2 synonyms and so on.

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Vocab tip: C is for Chunks

Learn chunks to sound fluent and natural.

Have you ever seen a pre-fabricated house being built? It’s a lot faster and easier than building a house brick by brick. Languages  like English come with their own prefabricated parts called ‘chunks’. These are words that are commonly used together and learning them as single units makes it quicker and easier to construct sentences than doing it word by word. That’s a good thing because it will make you sound more fluent, confident and natural. Continue reading

Toy block

Vocab tip: B is for Basic

Don’t overload your vocab learning – instead start off  ‘basic’.

Learning a new word can feel challenging. You need to know how to spell it, say it and use it correctly with other words in sentences. And to make things  more difficult many English words have multiple meanings.  


So should you try to learn everything about a word all at once like on the card above?  
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Vocab tip: A is for Active recall

Don’t just study words – test yourself!

Learning new words by testing yourself is  called “active recall”.:

  • Testing your vocab saves you time.
    In 1969 researchers compared students who learned vocabulary by simply reading the word again and again with students who learned by testing themselves. 
    The students who tested themselves just one time created memories which were as strong one day later as those who studied the word five times. 

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An A to Z of vocab learning tips

26 tips that will make your vocab learning faster and more effective.

A part of my job is  talking to language learners from around the world to see what they think about our ideas.   I try  to talk to at least one learner every day and in the last week alone I’ve spoken to people from Istanbul, Sao Paolo, Shanghai, Spain and Switzerland. It’s always a learning experience and not infrequently a humbling one!

I have been surprised that many language learners aren’t aware of techniques and strategies that academic research has proven to make vocabulary learning more effective.

We’ve spent a lot of time looking at these strategies as part of the development of Lingopolis and I’m also trying to use them in my learning of Turkish. I am going to share this info in the form of an A-Z of vocab learning tips – hope you find it useful!:

Image from wikicommons

Lingopolis – new vocab game

If you are an English language learner or teacher please sign-up for an invite for Lingopolis – the fun, social and fast vocabulary game powered by Cambridge Dictionaries Online.

We are developing Lingopolis in partnership with Cambridge University Press and the game recently won IC Tomorrow’s  Digital Innovation Contest for Education.

We’re really excited about the game and hope that teachers and learners will sign up and get involved to help us make the game as fun and effective as possible. Watch the blog for more updates!