Words…and the people who love them!

Welcome and thanks for stopping by!  I’m Linda Arsenault, and I’ve been hard at work behind the scenes as the resident Word Nerd for a long time here at EnglishCentral, involved in anything and everything related to the words that you can study on our site.

I’m excited to tell you about what we’ve been doing to improve your vocabulary learning experience on EnglishCentral, and how you can get the most out of what we’ve built.

To start with, we now offer seven levels of vocabulary difficulty to choose from–the 8,000 words in Levels 1-6 comprise our Core Vocabulary.  Level 7 is where the rest of the words “live”; we have plans to sort these words into Special Purpose Vocabulary lists in the future. We crafted each of these word lists with input from and comparison to a variety of well-known and trusted vocabulary resources, including:

  • The Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) — word frequency
  • Lists of known homographs (words with the same spelling but different meanings) — these lists enabled us to separate words into meaningful groups
  • Paul Nation word lists — vocabulary list that includes groupings for ‘word families’.
  • The General Service List (GSL) — a general-purpose vocabulary list for second language learners
  • The Academic Word List (AWL) — the most important words for students in a university setting

We cross-checked words from all of these sources to make sure that we included all of the relevant words for study at each level of difficulty, and excluded words such as proper nouns.  Level 1 contains the easiest vocabulary, and word difficulty increases as you move up through the levels.  I hope you find our word lists to be a helpful way to study!   Use the lists we’ve created just for your level, or even create your own. All of us at EnglishCentral feel very confident that the work we’ve done will provide an organized, effective way to master vocabulary in English.

Here are some tips for using the new EnglishCentral difficulty levels:

  • English Central carefully selects material for you based on your current level of understanding. As your starting point, select your level based on your latest score on a language proficiency test such as TOEIC or TOEFL.  You will see videos and vocabulary on the site through that filter, so you always see content that is just right for you.
  • Click the star that appears to the left of any vocabulary word to save it as a “Favorite”.  Then, filter your vocabulary to see all of your Favorite words together. You can build your own personalized vocabulary list this way!
  • To quickly earn “Speak” and “Watch” progress on a word, try a Vocabulary Cliplist:  simply click on the video thumbnail next to the word to begin.  You’ll get examples of video clips that contain that word, and accumulate progress in no time!

I hope you like the improvements to vocabulary study on EnglishCentral.  I enjoyed the challenge of working with existing word lists to create a customized set of words just for EnglishCentral users. You’ll find we have great video coverage of thousands of words–a truly unique video corpus that can be a very powerful learning tool.  The future of language learning is here!

I’d love to hear from you if you have any questions or suggestions about studying vocabulary.  Give yourself a gift today and go learn a new word!

Happy learning from your favorite Word Nerd,



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