Recently I’ve been learning Serbian, Russian and Czech with free apps produced by Hallberg Ryman, who make them for quite a variety of languages for Andriod and iPhone/iPad. They are working well for me and I would definitely recommend them.
They use a flashcard/SRS-based system to teach you vocabulary arranged into categories such as numbers, colours, clothing, food, etc. Within each category you learn individual words, and then see them in various sentences, which you’re tested on by filling in blanks, or by assembling sentences from a bunch of random words.
One blank filling exercise involves typing the missing words – in the other you just select the words – and I find this the most difficult, especially for Russian. It is also the most useful because I have to think about spelling and the grammar.
The other day I was doing a lesson on colours in Czech and in the typing exercise was having trouble remembering the endings for each word. I tried to memorise them for each sentence, but found this tricky, then I thought that there must be a pattern to them. I soon realised that they were agreeing with the gender of the nouns they accompanied. Once I spotted the pattern, it was easy to remember and apply it. I’m sure this aspect of Czech grammar has come up before in my Czech studies, but I hadn’t internalised it. Now that I’ve worked it out for myself through observation and experiment, I won’t forget it.
When learning grammar, are you able to take it in and remember it just from grammatical descriptions, or do you need to see lots of examples?
- Copyright © 2014 Simon Ager. For more language-related musing, go to Omniglot.com/blog
When you open up the app there is an option to create and account or use it as a guest. But from iTunes (on my phone), the link for the developer website and it is just a placeholder with no information about their apps. Since isn't entirely clear to me what we'd be signing up for, I picked the guest option.
I don't mean to be complaining! As we say in English ... don't look a gift horse in the mouth. Learn Russian - Fabulo was free and it more helpful than most of the Russian language apps that I've purchased.
Who will find it helpful?
Learn Russian - Fabulo is a great app for beginning level Russian speakers that have already taught themselves the Cyrillic alphabet.
Beginners will find it helpful to learn some basic vocabulary with images while a voice reads the word. The repetition built into the app is also helpful.