Dictionary.com Launches Tutoring and Learning Features to Combat Language Ambiguity and Learning Burnout in 2020
By Aniqah Majid
October 28, 2020
Language site Dictionary.com, along with its sister branch Thesaurus.com, have introduced three new initiatives into their brand portfolio, creating wider recognition for language-orientated programs in the edtech market. Together, the sites have developed the Grammar Coach, Synonym of the Day, and My Word List, all products tailored to decipher the ever-evolving lexicon of contemporary society. In addition, the company has begun offering online tutoring services for K-12 students. Known as Dictionary.com Academy Tutors, the one-on-one sessions make use of Dictionary.com’s array of features.
The decision to launch these new programs comes with the company’s pledge of becoming “the dictionary of the future.” When asked about the goals and principles Dictionary.com upholds, CEO Jennifer Steeves-Kiss said, “One of the roles we see that we have as a brand is to document language as it evolves, and how people use it is how we define it.”
The company is headed with a team of lexicographers and editors who persistently revise and update their lexical inventory, not just with traditional definitions but with colloquial uses, keeping more in step with how people use language today. This constant revision has seen Dictionary.com induct over 600 new entries into its inventory this month, with popular terms like “Rona” and “GOAT” amongst the most well known.
Dictionary.com Attracts Almost 80 million Users a Month
The company has expanded with Grammar Coach, My Word List, and Synonym of the Day, in an effort to shift language learning from its traditional structure to a more creative and engaging form.
The former program is a writing tool that users can use to improve and develop their writing technique. It aims to guide the user into becoming a better and more articulate writer rather than just overlook grammar and tone irregularities. It achieves this through its synonym database and its personalized processing algorithm, customized to give the user an individual experience.
How big is BIG? We've updated over 15,000 entries on topics ranging from race and sexual orientation to climate and internet culture.https://t.co/kNdHhsLYrn
— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) September 1, 2020
“We’ve been working over the course of two years to develop not only a very robust grammar model but also a writing tool that has a great user experience and includes things like spelling, punctuation, and help with common words. What we really find is that users who use Thesaurus.com are often seeking an aid to enhance their writing,” says Steeves-Kiss.
My Word List and Synonym of the Day were developed specifically to develop user vocabulary. The former gives users the opportunity to create their own personal inventory of words, accompanied by definitions which track back to the very beginning of their etymology. It takes an acute dive into the lexicon where no traditional dictionary has the space to go.
Though the Program Was Launched a Week Ago, the Company Has Seen Thousands of New Word Lists Generated by Users in Just a Few Days
The latter program, launched through Thesaurus.com, is a counterpart to Dictionary.com’s already established Word of the Day. It introduces users daily with a new and specialized synonym picked to improve their vocabulary and understanding of common words. Instead of mechanically adding new synonyms to their database, the program takes all lexical perspectives into account, from cultural and regional differences and even age.
“During the pandemic and the coronavirus there have been many new words that have been added to the lexicon,” Steeves-Kiss said. “Part of our role is to document that and then make it easy for people to understand and apply it into their everyday life.”
The pandemic and its effect on society are realities which Dictionary.com are astutely aware of. The company has stated that the new programs are flexible enough to be used by parents, teachers, and students alike. With a strong directorial team, Dictionary.com have made moves to ensure that their content is both fun and creative, adaptable as both a self-directive tool of study and a pliable classroom activity.
In discussing the overall ethos of the company, Steeves-Kiss said, “we are a passionate band of people that love language and words, and we are trying to facilitate that enjoyment with others.”
Featured Image: Pisit Heng, Unsplash.