TESOL and Applied Linguistics Programs Host APPLE Events! ☆

Professor Thomas Cobb, flanked by his wife Professor Marlise Horst and student Kakhramon Gafurov.

Written by Catherine Box and Sarah Creider.

On Friday, February 11th, the TESOL and Applied Linguistics programs were proud to host the annual Applied Linguistics & Language Education (APPLE) lecture events. Funded through a generous donation by Language Innovations, Inc., the APPLE lectures were created by Professor Emeritus Leslie Beebe, who wanted to give students in the Applied Linguistics and TESOL programs the chance to hear from noted researchers in their fields.

This year, Professor Thomas Cobb from the University of Québec at Montréal, was chosen to speak. Professor Cobb teaches and researches topics related to the use of computers in language teaching and learning. His website, The Compleat Lexical Tutor, is a record of past and current projects and contains many helpful tools for teaching and learning vocabulary. The site is visited by two thousand teachers and learners per day.

Professor Cobb first spoke at an afternoon colloquium open only to students and faculty in the Applied Linguistics and TESOL programs. The subject of the colloquium, entitled “Frequency 2.0,” piqued the interest of those using corpora of written or spoken language to facilitate their work. Professor Cobb addressed the ways in which frequency analysis can be used to determine what aspects of a language (particularly in terms of vocabulary) are most effective for students to learn. Professor Cobb then presented the evening APPLE lecture, open to the public, in Millbank Chapel. He described the nexus and evolution of the Compleat Lexical Tutor, or as he termed it, “how the language teachers of the world build a data-driven web-based learning tool.” More information about Professor Cobb’s work can be found in the upcoming issue of Working Papers in TESOL and Applied Linguistics.

The APPLE events concluded with a wine and cheese reception, where current students, program alumni, faculty, and visitors enjoyed the chance to speak on a more casual basis with Professor Cobb, as well as catch up with each other. The program looks forward to continuing to host this intellectual feast in years to come!