FAQ


What are the major differences between VocabularyShop and vocabulary apps on mobile devices?

The key advantage of VocabularyShop is efficiency. You will learn and remember much more words with the same amount of time you spent on the mobile apps. It is suitable for people who need to increase their vocabulary substantially to reach certain goals, like enhancing their career or passing a standardized test.  The key advantage of the mobile vocabulary app is mobile. They are suitable for people who want to add a few words to their vocabulary casually whenever they have some spare time.

The following table lists the differences between them.

  Mobile Vocabulary Apps VocabularyShop
General Operation Enhanced eBooks. An intelligent software enable you to achieve highest possible learning efficiency.
Operation Environment Mobile phone, small screen operated by your fingers. Laptop or desktop, larger screen, keyboard, mouse/touchpad, faster CPU, big RAM, and large storage space.
Mobility Mobile phone level Laptop level.
Diversified Functions One or two simple functions. Six functions let you implement your study strategy, customize word information, and study words in multiple ways.
Learning target Exactly the same set of words for everyone. You decide which words to study according to your goal and interests.
Size of the learning target Usually around 1,000 words or you type in every word and its definition. Can be as big as 98,790 words.
Word Definition Use a few synonyms as the definition of a word. A primary definition plus 2 Full dictionary definitions from the embedded dictionary and the online dictionary of your choice.
Bilingual Capability None or one fixed. Can have word definition and your notes in any language of your choice.
Image Capability None. You can attach any image to any word to help you comprehend & remember a word.
Voice Capability Some. Target words are pronounced automatically. Questions and sample sentences can also be read to you.
Customization None. You define your goal and strategy, pick words for your study, decide which online dictionary to use, choose voice to read text to you, can have you notes, can use any language for your notes, can select different definition as the primary definition of a word for your study, can attach any image to a word to help you comprehend and remember a word.
Human memory optimization None. Use Spaced Repetition algorithm to optimize the short-term memory to long-term memory encoding process in your brain to maximize your learning efficiency.
Study Status None. Maintains detail information on your study progress on every word, and uses that information to manage your vocabulary building process.
Study/Review Scheduling You have to constantly contemplate which words need more review and when to add new words to your study etc. if you want to learn more than just a few words. It is time-consuming and stressful thing to do and it will reduce your ability to remember information. Automated for you according to your study status on each word. You can focus your attention 100% on your study.
Study Time Management None. Set clear criterion to define whether a word passes a particular round of study. You will spend only the necessary amount of time studying each word each time.
Study Strategy Arrange you to study words in alphabetical order or fixed word groups. Enables you to arrange your study in your way. You can study the most important words first, or easiest words first, or in groups of related words (synonyms, antonyms, root, prefix, postfix, similar spelling, similar pronunciation …) to make your study interesting and efficient.
Multiple-choice Questions Static and never change. You can get the correct answer from the order of the questions or page layout without reading the question after answering the same question a few times. Multiple-choice questions are dynamically constructed. The order of the questions, the position of the correct answers (A or B or C or D), and the text for the incorrect answers change each time. You have to read and think to find the correct answers.
Cost You pay for the apps by reading in-app ads, make in-app purchase, let your personal information be collected and sold, allow yourself be distracted all the time. You make one time payment, no ads, no any distractions to your study, no collection and sales of your personal information.

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Why can VocabularyShop enable you to achieve high study efficiency?
  • VocabularyShop lets you personalize your vocabulary building/improving process to meet your interests and needs. Every second of your time is spent to achieve your goal, and no time is wasted on things you don’t need to do.
  • VocabularyShop automates your study, taking the study management burden away from you. This will save a significant amount of your time, enable you to concentrate your attention on your learning, reduce your stress, and increase your ability to remember information.
  • You can grow your vocabulary organically with VocabularyShop, which makes it possible for you to learn and remember words easier and faster.
  • The biggest waste is forgetting words. VocabularyShop makes sure that all words you have studied will go into your long-term memory.  The waste caused by forgetting is minimized.
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Why does the personalized vocabulary building approach benefit your learning?
  • You decide your learning goal, therefore you will not waste time on any word you don’t need to learn..
  • You decide your learning priority and strategy and do everything the way best fit your situation and needs. When you do things in your way, you will enjoy what you are doing, and your study will become interesting and easy.
  • You can choose a better or a suitable word definition as the primary definition of a word for your study. The effort of looking for a suitable definition and using that definition to study a word will help you better comprehend and remember that word.
  • You can add notes to a word. Your notes come from your thinking process, which create certain connections between that word and your memory, thus helping you store and retrieve information about that word from your memory.
  • You can use other language for your notes if your native language is not English, which will help you understand the meaning of a word better.
  • You can choose your favorite online dictionary to get in-depth information of a word, including bilingual dictionary. Such in-depth information will help you understand the word you are learning better.
  • You can attach any image to a word. Images are powerful in communicating information, and they are inherently easier for the human brain to process and remember. Your image searching effort and the image itself can form a deep impression about a word in your memory. The adage “A picture is worth a thousand words” tells how helpful the images can be.
  • You can use different functions to focus on your different needs. If you do a lot of writing, then you can create a special account, put the frequently used words in that account and use the Spelling function to practice spelling on these words to speed up your writing. However, if you read a lot and do very little writing, then running the Study function may be all you need. You can also use the Spelling function to prepare for Spelling bee contest or use the Game function to train your short-term memory to hold more information for longer time and strengthen your memory of words you are learning at the same time.
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How does VocabularyShop automate your study to increase your learning productivity?
  • Managing your vocabulary building process consumes your time and adds stress on your brain, which will reduce your ability to memorize information. VocabularyShop’s Study function manages the study/review scheduling for you. Words need to be studied or reviewed will be presented to you automatically. There is no need for you to worry about which words need to be reviewed today, and which new words need to be added to today’s study, etc. There will be no stress to prevent you from memorizing information. Your time and attention will be concentrated 100% on your study.
  • The Study function lets different people spend different amount of time on different words according to the person and the words. If a word is easy to you, that word can pass a round of study in a few seconds.  If a word is difficult for you, then that word will be presented to you more times and give you the opportunity to work on that word until you understand and memorize that word.  The Study function ensures that you spent the right amount of time on each word, no more and no less. Your time will always be used in the most efficient way.
  • VocabularyShop put a wide range of information on your finger tip to expedite your learning. When you study any word with either Study function or Spelling function or Browse function, you will have basic information of the word as well as full dictionary definitions from both the embedded dictionary and the online dictionary of your choice. With just a few clicks, you will have all the information you needed immediately.
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How does VocabularyShop optimize your brain utilization?
  • The Study function’s review scheduling uses the Spaced Repetition algorithm to create gradually increased review intervals to let the word information fade away from your memory, then restore back. This process of fading away, then restoring back stimulates your brain and boosts the short-term memory to long-term memory information encoding process.
  • The word-passing criterion in Study function ensures that your brain power will not be wasted on over-studying any word and every second of your time will be spent on your target.
  • A question word will be pronounced automatically when presented to you and the word can be pronounced again and sentences can be read to you if you click them in most functions. The sound can activate the acoustic encoding action in your brain to promote the short-term memory to long-term memory encoding process.
  • You can attach any image to represent a word. Images are much easier for the human brain to process than other forms of information. Images will trigger the visual encoding action in your brain to expedite the short-term memory to long-term memory encoding process.
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How to grow your vocabulary organically using VocabularyShop?

To grow your vocabulary organically means to learn new words from your daily activities like working, reading, conversation, shopping, surfing the internet and watching TV, etc. Since the new words come from your real-life environment, they tend to exist within certain contexts and associate with people, places, images, and some events. Such words are very easy to learn and remember because they are connected to the knowledge and information already exist in your memory. We can call such words Low-Hang Fruit new words.

With VocabularyShop, you can find, collect, and add such Low-Hang Fruit new words to your database using the Type-in method of the Selection function, then add them to your vocabulary through VocabularyShop’s learning process.

  • When reading articles from the PC screen, you can copy-paste the articles to the input dialog window of the Type-in method, then choose those words you are interested or you feel easy to learn and add them to your database.
  • When working on the PC, including running VocabularyShop and browsing the internet, open a text file on the side, copy and past those new words you are interested and have connection with your existing knowledge to the text file and add them to your database later.
  • All experts recommend people to expand their vocabulary through reading. But if you do not pay attention to the new words encountered, then your vocabulary will grow very slowly. To speed up the growth of your vocabulary, you can write down those new words, which are more related to the central idea of the story and add them to your database later.
  • After watching an interesting movie, find the script of the movie and extract all your new words from the movie script and add those interesting ones to your database.
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How does VocabularyShop minimize forgetting words?
  • The Study function’s word study/review scheduling uses the Spaced Repetition algorithm to optimize your brain utilization and to ensure that every word you want to learn will go through the short-term to long-term encoding process in your brain and be remembered in your long-term memory.
  • After a word passed the 6th review of the Study function and is considered as learned, that word will still be scheduled for you to review every 6 months until you move that word from Study List to Known List. Such reviews will cost you about one minute per word every 6 months, but it ensures that you remember every word you have learned even you did not use it for some time.
  • The Browse function created a super-flashcard for every word in your database and put your entire database at your finger tip. You can quickly scan through the entire database to find some weak spots on your memory. With a click on a weakly remembered word, you can retrieve all information about that word back to your memory immediately, particularly if you have notes and attached image to that word. You can reinforce your memory by checking the dictionaries, adding new notes and attaching new image to that word. If you scan your database a few times a year, the chance of forgetting a learned word is greatly reduced.
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Why should you use the Study function as the main routine in your vocabulary building process?

Study function is the core function of VocabularyShop. It automates your study process, removes the study management burden from you, and uses the Spaced Repetition algorithm to arrange every word in your Study List to be encoded into your long-term memory in a systematic way.

Other functions are integral parts of VocabularyShop and will compensate for some weakness of Study function and work with Study function to give you the best result. For example, Browse function can be used to let you become familiar with brand-new words and let you give special attention to difficult words. Spelling function lets you practice word spelling and Game function challenges and enhances your short-term memory with words related to your learning. But these three functions do not have management intelligence and cannot organize your study in the most efficient ways; therefore, they should be used as complement of the Study function.

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What are the word statuses in the vocabulary building process?

Please see the Spaced Repetition Algorithm section for information.

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How does the Type-in Method of Select function find your new words from an article or word list?

In VocabularyShop, a new word for you is defined as a word exists in the embedded dictionary but does not exist in your word selection (database).  When you paste in an article using the Type-in method of the Select function, the Select function will take the following actions to find all new words in that article for you:

  1. Extract each individual word from the article using space, comma, and other punctuation symbols.
  2. Remove any duplicated words from the resulted word list.
  3. Remove any words already exist in your word selection.
  4. Convert nouns in plural form back to their singular form whenever possible
  5. Convert conjugated verbs back to their base form whenever possible.
  6. Remove any words that cannot be found in the embedded dictionary.

The remaining words are the new words for you.  They will be displayed on the Source List to let you select them.

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Why does the Type-in Method of Select function sometimes fail to find all your new words from an article or word list?

At this time, the Selection function may not recognize and handle all forms of words correctly.  For example, people use an uppercase letter for the first letter of a sentence, the title of a book, or to emphasize that word, like “NATO – North Atlantic Treaty Organization.” The embedded dictionary does not have the first letter capitalized words, so only the word NATO is recognized as a valid word from the above sentence. If the program simply converts uppercase letters to lowercase letters, then there will be another set of errors.

There are nouns with irregular plural forms and verbs with irregular conjugated forms as well.  The Selection function may fail to convert these words back to their base form correctly and will drop them. You may have to do the conversion manually to add such words to your database.

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What are the differences between VocabularyShop Full version and Trial version?

Both versions have the same functions, but trial version has only words starting with letter A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and a, b, c, d, e, f, g. Trial version is free, but users need to pay license fee for the full version.

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Why does sometimes it take more than a minute for VocabularyShop to start?

On start up, VocabularyShop needs to start Java, connect to the database, retrieve data from the database and use that data to build various data structures for later use.  Depending on the speed of the CPU, the size of the memory, and how many applications you are running at the same time on your PC, the starting process can take from a few seconds to one minute or more.  If you have a fast CPU, large memory and fewer other programs running at the same time, then the starting process can be completed in just a few seconds. Once the starting process finishes, the program will require minimum resources to continue and will respond to your action instantaneously.

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