As a non-native English speaker, I think that one of the biggest hurdles to mastering a new language is the vocabulary. Memorizing new words can be difficult, especially if you don't use them everyday.
Thankfully, we live in an era where there is an app for (almost) every topic imaginable. Today, I am going to introduce Turn & Learn, a flashcard app for learning new vocabularies in five different languages.
Turn & Learn
Turn & Learn is an app that attempts to help you learn and memorize new words faster and for a longer period of time. It achieves this by using a simple and intuitive user interface and by enforcing a systematic, game-like learning method.
When you open the app for the first time, you will see a grid composed of 12 topics that have been carefully selected to include basic vocabularies for holding daily conversations. These topics range from food, clothing, human body parts and household items to city objects, vehicles, professions as well as hobbies and sports. Each topic is then further broken down into three categories that contain 12 words each.
Upon selecting a category, the app shows 12 illustrated cards bearing the name of the object in your selected native language. When you tap on a card, it "turns" (hence the name Turn & Learn) and you hear a native speaker pronouncing the object's name. On the back of the card, you will find an instruction that tells you which one to turn next. This goes on until the last card is turned, after which the next stage begins.
In the second stage, the game mechanics remain unchanged and you are shown the same set of cards. This time, however, the name of the objects and the instructions at the back of the cards are written in the target language instead.
In the third stage, the name labels are no longer shown. You now rely solely on your memory to find a specific card. If you tap on a wrong card, the app points you to the correct one using a wiggling animation.
In the fourth and final stage, the instructions at the back of the cards show the IPA notation of the next card to turn. It is worth noting that in the third and fourth stages, the app silently notes the number of mistakes that you make and the time it takes you to complete the stage. At the end of the game, a popover appears to let you know how well you did, as indicated by an emoticon - a laughing or a smiley face denotes a job well done, while an angry or a sad face reflects a poor attempt.
What parents need to know
Turn & Learn is a wonderfully intuitive flashcard app for learning new vocabularies. With a simple user interface and an easy-to-follow learning method, this app is beneficial for both juniors and adults.
A great feature of the app is that it uses colorful pictures to associate objects with their names. In addition, the app also includes professionally recorded voiceovers by native speakers to assist you in correctly pronouncing each word. For more effective learning, I advise using headphones with the app.
It is important, however, to realize that the app is designed primarily for learning vocabularies and not the actual grammar or structure of a language. Thus, it is best used as a companion app for those who already have the basic understanding of the target language. The app also notes that while it makes it quick to remember new words, you are likely to forget them in three days if you do not relearn them. It also suggests that you revisit each category seven times a month to remember them for the rest of your life.
To accommodate learners with different mother tongues, Turn & Learn supports five different languages. You can choose any of the following languages as your native or target language: American English, British English, French, German and Russian. The developers promise the addition of Spanish and Italian in future updates, as well as an enlarged vocabulary base.
What I like about the app
As I have previously mentioned, I think that one of the greatest challenges in learning a new language is building up your vocabulary. Using a simple but effective learning method, Turn & Learn removes the need for boring word lists.
I think the four-stage learning process is highly effective; without any knowledge of the German language, I was able to remember (and pronounce, although somewhat less successfully) the names of fruits and food groups in less than an hour. Because the app is designed like a memory match game, learning new words feels really fun.
Another thing that I really like about the app is how the developers designed the learning process to cater to both visual and auditory learners. The colorful illustrations and clear voiceovers make associating objects with their names easier, thus allowing users to pick up new words faster.
In the future, it would be great if the app could somehow detect if a user pronounces a word correctly. Maybe this seems a bit far-fetched, but perhaps one day if Apple finally opens up the API for Siri? For now, though, I am quite happy with Turn & Learn and think that it is a solid app.
Turn & Learn is a wonderful app for adults and juniors alike who wish to build up their vocabularies. Featuring an effective learning approach and intuitive user interface, this app will help you expand your lexical base in no time.
Note: Thank you to Ivan Oparin for providing us with the promo code for Turn & Learn so that Camila can (slowly) realize her grandma's wish for her to become a polyglot.