New General Service List

the most important words for second language learners of English

Home to a wide range of free corpus-based word lists and tools for second language learners developed by Dr. Charles Browne, Dr. Brent Culligan and Joe Phillips.

Do you teach Business English?....

There is a great JALT BizComSIG Conference coming up which will be held at Toyo University on Sept 8 and 9. I will do one of the plenaries, introducing our free Business Service List (BSL) of high frequency business vocabulary, which, when learned together with our free NGSL core vocabulary word list, offers 97% coverage for most general business texts, reading materials aand webpages.

Link to conference is here (


NGSLT and NAWLT to be presented at Toyo University Testing Conference

Anyone interesting in language testing and assessment? Charles Browne will be speaking on "Assessment and Curriculum Design" including about the New General Service List Test (NGSLT) and New Academic Word List Test (NAWLT) at an event called "New Trends in Language Proficiency Assessment and Usage of E-portfolios" at Toyo University on March 20th from 5PM. Info included below:

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Updated NGSL-SPOKEN (NGSL-S) version 1.2 released

The NGSL-S is a list of the most frequent words of spoken English which occur in the spoken sub-corpora of the NGSL. The 1.0 version was published in 2013 giving 90% coverage with 822 words. The 1.2 version which we uploaded to the site this morning, gives 90% coverage with 721 words. A link to the NGSL-S page is here. Like all our lists, they are open-source and free to use as long as you cite us properly. Free downloadable include alphabetized, lemmatized and frequency-ranked versions of the list. Definitions for all words in easy English is also provided. 

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Multilingual, part-of-speech categorized, difficulty-sorted Quizlet flashcards for NGSL, NAWL and TSL word lists

Does Paul Raine ever sleep? Seems almost every day I open my computer he’s created yet another set of useful online tools for students and teachers, but even by his own standards this latest release is astonishing – he’s just added to the free flashcard website studiable versions of our NGSL (New General Service List), NAWL (New Academic Word List) and TSL (TOEIC Service Lists) in, wait for it….. SIXTEEN different languages!

Each word list is arranged in 20 word blocks organized by part of speech and then by frequency. A link to his word sets (as well as NGSL/NAWL and TSL Quizlet sets made by others) can be found via the pulldown menu to the left or via the following links: 

NGSL and NAWL word sets             

TSL word sets                                     

Great work Paul – THANKS! 


For all of you vocabulary researchers out there, the JALT Vocabulary SIG wishes to announce an extension of the deadline to apply for a SIG grant. The new deadline is December 15.

The grants may be used for either research or for conference-related expenses for a vocabulary-related presentation, and are in the amount of either 50,000 or 100,000 yen. 

Further details can be found at:

At least 7 NGSL-related presentations at the Vocab@Tokyo Conference

Very happy to see that in addition to being of use to thousands of students and teachers around the world, the NGSL is also receiving growing attention from corpus linguists and vocabulary researchers. A quick scan of abstracts for next month's Vocab@Tokyo Conference shows that there will be at least 7 presentations where the NGSL is a major part of the research presented.

Hope to see you there!

1)  The NGSL, NAWL, TSL, and BSL Word Lists: Corpus-based Word Lists and Tools for Success (Browne)

2) Does the NGSL Provide Good Coverage for Authentic Listening Materials Such as TV Shows and Movies? A Quick Look at Star Wars and Friends (Browne, Miyata and Kawauchi)

3) Classroom Fluency Activity for Vocabulary Development (Ewert)

4) From Corpora to Word Lists: Issues and Limitations (Culligan)

5) Revisiting the Word Family: What is an Appropriate Lexical Unit for Japanese EFL Learners? (Nation, McLean, Pinchbeckk, Brown and Kramer)

6) Towards Appropriate L1 and L2 Scales of English Vocabulary in English Dominant Contexts: Vocabulary Test Item Difficulty Indicates Lexical Sophistication Scale and Definition of “Word” (Pinchbeck)

7) Teaching Form and Usage of Discipline-Specific Vocabulary in an EAP Program (Toriida)

Vocab@Tokyo Conference & Tokyo Bay Dinner Just a Few Weeks Away!

For those of you attending the big Vocab@Tokyo Conference being held at my university, Meiji Gakuin University from Sept 12-14, I wanted to let you know that although the first night banquet is included in the price of entry, we are also holding a second night dinner on Tokyo Bay at TY Harbor Brewery. It will be a great chance to get to know the Plenary and Featured Speakers while enjoying some great food, drink and scenery. Tickets are limited and can be purchased here:

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Our New Business Service List (BSL) Launched!

The Business Service List 1.0, also known as the BSL (Browne, C. & Culligan, B., 2016) is a list of approximately 1700 words that occur with very high frequency within the domain of general business English. Based on an approximately 64 million word corpus of business texts, newspapers, journals and websites, the BSL 1.0 version gives approximately 97% coverage of general business English materials when learned in combination with the 2800 words of core general English in the New General Service List or NGSL (Browne, C., Culligan, B., and Phillips, J. 2013). It is made available to everyone under one of the most open Creative Commons Licences available, meaning you are free to use, modify or even sell the list as long as we are properly cited. Free downloads of the list and various online tools are available from:

NGSL-S Updated!

We finally got around to doing a long overdue cleanup and update of the frequencies for the spoken subsection of the NGSL, which will now be known as the NGSL-S 1.1. The frequencies and data can be downloaded from the main NGSL website using the "NGSL Lists" pulldown menu at the left. As you can see from the chart below, the NGSL-S 1.1 offers incremental improvements in coverage in all three categories (Unscripted Spoken, Radio, and TV) over the NGSL-S 1.0 that was released in 2013. At the bottom of the chart you can also see the improvement the 1.01 version of the main NGSL list over the original 1.0 version. Enjoy! :)

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TOEIC Word List Now Available!

Today I am doing a plenary at a conference in Taiwan to debut a new word list called the TOEIC Service List, or TSL (Browne, C. & Culligan, B., 2016). The 1200 words of the TSL when learned together with the 2800 words of the NGSL offer up to 99% coverage of reading and listening passages on the TOEIC test. Like with the NGSL and NAWL, we are creating as many free online tools as possible to help teachers, students, researchers and materials writers better utilize the TSL. Visit the NGSL website to see what resources are there. Enjoy!