Studying Foreign Languages on the iPhone

Discussion in 'iOS Apps' started by gillygize, Feb 21, 2009.

  1. Anybody out there using their iPhone or iPod Touch to study a foreign language? I've been using mine for audio and flashcards in Japanese as well as a dictionary. But I'm curious how many people have been able to use their device as a education tool.
     
  2. cptlockheed

    cptlockheed Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2008
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    IT professional since the 80's
    Finland
    I'm using the Human Japanese app. There is a lite version for free, after reading the few chapters included I bought the full version immediately. It is great for beginners. I've got a bunch of Japanese course books I've been reading spuriously for a year or so, but one should really study on daily or at least on weekly basis as new things are easily forgotten. iPhone is great for that, reading a chapter on daily bus trips to work is very handy.

    There are quite many apps for Japanese studying, kana and kanji quizzes, free dictionaries and such.

    I also love the multi-language keyboard capability of iphone. I've got the Finnish keys, English keys and the two different Japanese keyboards selected for input. Just writing something with the Japanese keyboard and watching the text correction tool offering spelling suggestions is educational.

    OT: I was just wondering how highly addicted I have become to my iPhone... studying, creating music, reading ebooks, surfing the web and gaming all on this mobile device has almost made me discard my home computer altogether. The funniest thing is that the phone function is the least used part of my phone.
     
  3. CandyNJ66

    CandyNJ66 Well-Known Member

    Feb 18, 2009
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    That's exactly how I use my new Ipod Touch! I'm addicted to it when I'm not doing chores, important stuff etc and I find myself using it more than my laptop!

    I want to buy Byki Spanish but a little pricey. I added it to appsniper to see if the price goes down but I'm going to buy it regardless.
     
  4. Well those flash card apps I don't think are ideal for studying Japanese since the kanji is an image and tiny one at that. Could be wrong about that though. Ok I'm gonna bang out Japanese iphone reviews today and not play WoW I promise. Will post when I'm done. Dictionaries, Hiragana & Katakana, Kanji, Phrases, and Translations.
     
  5. blue ox

    blue ox Well-Known Member

    Sep 18, 2008
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    #5 blue ox, Feb 21, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2009
    I have been considering developing a line of premium quality language study tools ever since I first started developing for the iPhone. I even have a product name and domain reserved.

    I have not yet started developing though because of the way things are currently playing out on the App Store. I'm thinking this is a small market, and it is very costly to develop tools of the caliber I'm planning on.

    I think the IPhone platform is perfectly suited for language study because a person can carry lessons with them and spend 5 or 10 minutes here and there throughout the day. It seems like a great way to learn.

    I would love to hear your thoughts.
     
  6. cptlockheed

    cptlockheed Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2008
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    IT professional since the 80's
    Finland
    For my studies, the most important part is text: vocabularies and grammar with some interactive excercises. The aforementioned Human Japanese is a perfect example. The main part is just well-written and fun to read text, with key words and conversation examples spoken by native speaker. Quizzes and minigames are used to beef up the course.

    Other approach to language courses is the listen-speak method preferred by travellers who quickly need to build up enough skills for basic verbal communication. I guess the iPhones mic could be great for excercises.

    A good language course should have several levels, different apps for basic/intermediate/advanced courses. A full set of well-made courses is a huge task and should probably be made available on several platforms. I don't think such attempt could be funded by appstore sales only.
     
  7. Finally did finish that today ( no Wow all day , new record) of all those Japanese apps. I'll have to try to give that Human Japanese one a whirl that your speaking of.
     
  8. Wow, you have developed quite a list. I think that studying flash cards everyday on the train for several month has, in fact, immensely improved my Japanese reading and vocabulary. I have been using Kanji Flip and Japanese Flip for awhile for that purpose.

    I am definitely interested in Human Japanese. It looks pretty awesome.

    But my original question is: has it actually worked for anybody? The tools are out there, but has anyone actually found that listening to audio, playing games, etc. has markedly improved their skills?
     
  9. cptlockheed

    cptlockheed Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2008
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    Finland
    #9 cptlockheed, Feb 22, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2009
    Well, for me the apps are definitely helping, mostly because of the portability. It is a lot easier to pick up iPhone for a short spontaneous study session than to carry books and tapes or discs. Of course the iphone apps have all the basic advantages and disadvantages of computer based language learning. It all depends on how much effort the developers put to their software and how they apply to students individual learning habits.

    But to answer your question: yes, they are helping me. I study languages mainly out of curiosity and as a hobby - there is not much daily use for exotic languages here in Finland :) I hope there will be grammar apps with text and exercises, apps for reading and hearing comprehension, apps on everyday language usage and so forth. And a Latin learnin app would be cool...

    EDIT: mrbass, your review site is great! Thanks for taking the trouble making the lists!
     
  10. Oh yea I know I should've clarified more. Yea flash cards like Kanji Flip and others do help. I meant flashcard programs not made for Japanese. The general all purpose ones have tiny kanji on them like $5 iflipr program. Try the web based one and search for Japanese or Kanji and you'll see what I mean.

    Thanks for compliment...now that I knocked most of them out I can easily add a couple more here or there.
     

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