Learn Spanish with Flashcards
Learn Spanish: Phrases, Vocabulary and Pronunciation / Spanish with Flashcards is a practical and to-the-point mobile phrase-book. The app is carefully divided into a variety of everyday scenarios, ranging from ‘Basic Expressions’ to ‘Medical Terms’ and ‘Proverbs’, each word or phrase is accompanied by its own audio, in a selection of accents, to assist with accurate pronunciation.
movin’App enters the realm of the online / e-phrasebook. It boasts a comprehensive selection of everyday scenarios with automated voices in male or female, Castilian or Mexican-Spanish accents to facilitate auditory understanding. Each sub-tier of study contains within it ‘key terms’ in both Spanish and English in an effort to comprehensively cover as many pertinent conversational issues that may become apparent. The major positive from this app is its availability whilst off-line – however, at the expense of the speech software. The current app version allows you to ‘favourite’ and, thus, organise specific words and phrases that you deem to be in need of further reflection. The app, then, stores these phrases into your own customisable library.
Can this app pass itself off as an outstanding tool for use in the classroom? I am not convinced. Yet, as a lexical reference point it shows promise and could serve as a good student support-tool for independent learning and review. The topics that are covered are relevant to post-primary Spanish-Language needs and may operate as a reference point for any students in need of a contextualised ‘touch-up’ of the vocabulary base. However, at the moment, there is little scope for this app to enter into the realm of education and the classroom in a more direct way. movin’App has taken some initial steps, in this regard, by including a ‘flash cards’ option to the app. Users are able to work through a series of prescribed terms and phrases, which are already divided into relevant areas of ‘everyday life’. The flash cards allow you to ‘show’ or ‘hide’ English meanings – as a personal challenge for the user – and are further accompanied by a speech-playback option in a choice of accents, whereby accurate pronunciation is made known. Should a particular word or phrase prove challenging or in need of further study the user, merely, needs to “star” or favourite them and can separately access these words collectively through the “my favourites” tab on the top left of the screen. Unfortunately, this is where the aforementioned aspect of the app ends: any progression through the app is left solely to the user’s discretion and motivation. Furthermore, the lack of systematic tracking of said progress and no way to ascertain that the user has accurately repeated what has been said according to the playback setting, for me, counts against this app as a formal piece of teaching software. This factor is coupled with the speech playback being sometimes at far too quick a rate for basic-level students to truly benefit. Similarly, the writing, at times, lacks consistency – one phrase will have a full stop, whereas the next will not; some exclamation marks are doubled; accents are missing in some Spanish words (e.g. “estómago”, “cállate”), with this error being carried into the audio feature for these expressions; and several expressions are repeated. Before the scope of the app can be extended, these minor inconsistencies must be addressed. However, as an electronic phrasebook the expressions provided are certainly comprehensive in their coverage of everyday scenarios.
In conclusion, the Learn Spanish: Phrases, Vocabulary and Pronunciation / Spanish with Flashcards app boasts a good repertoire of words and phrases that will prove useful in many everyday Spanish daily-life contexts. The provision of flash cards allows the user to customise their learning and outline those phrases which are most relevant to them. However, for me, as a piece of software, this app serves its purpose as an e-phrasebook. The pronunciation add-on is great for ensuring accuracy and confidence in what you will be saying and in a society that is becoming ever more ‘plugged-in’ to their tablet devices and smartphones, this e-phrasebook has become a convenient and obvious progression in supportive language-interaction resources.