|As you know, I’m always on the lookout for new, innovative and affordable language learning tools and programs to check out and write about here. Today I finally got around to checking out Lingrid, a new, iOS app created by Andrew Sutton that lets you create your own personalized database and sync it via the iCloud to share across all of your Apple devices.|
Lingrid is extremely light-weight and easy to use. I was immediately impressed with how clean the user interface was and wasted no time entering in several Russian phrases that I frequently find myself lapsing on. This app is ideal for language learners using other language programs such as Pimsleur that impose upon you a great deal of vocabulary and phrases – some more common than others – in a short period of time that you have to memorize. Using Lingrid as a companion to another program such as this allows you to enter in the phrases you know you’re struggling with, or that you expect to struggle to remember in the future and acts as a handy little reference page.
Lingrid also allows you to create vocal recordings of words or phrases as a quick audio reference for pronunciation. It allows for character transliteration as well, which is great for those studying languages with writing systems such as Chinese or Japanese.
Planning a trip to a foreign country? Many people carry around phrasebooks when they travel but with Lingrid this can become far more personalized. Many phrasebooks offer too much information on things you don’t need and not enough on phrases and words you do. A custom list seems like the perfect companion for remembering basic phrases that you need to know for your own professional or entertainment needs.
One major drawback is Lingrid’s reliance on Google Translate, a machine translator notorious for its poor interpreting capabilities. Of course at this point it its life, Lingrid has few options but to rely on machine translation and as its user count increases, so hopefully will the quality of the translations. It will be interesting to see a community cloud that shares input from Lingrid users. A system such as this will gradually phase out Google Translate’s role within the app in favor of this vastly more reliable source. Language tools such as Memrise that utilize the user base to create all of their content exhibit a lot of success and are pretty reliable. This would of course require Lingrid to have a fairly large community of users and the impressive language support it can currently claim would probably decrease for want of speakers of some of its less “mainstream” languages such as Quechua or Albanian. So as with all things there are drawbacks.
It would be nice to see Lingrid’s creator implement a sort of “flashcard” mode that allows users to actively study their recorded phrases rather than simply use them as a reference sheet.
Other than those two suggestions and the drawbacks of relying on machine translation, Lingrid is a solid app that makes a fantastic companion tool for any language learning program. Lingrid’s maker has indicated that while there are currently no serious plans to release the app on the Android platform, this availability will depend on user demand.
According to their website and iTunes download page they currently offer support for the following languages:
“Afrikaans, Albanian, Arabic, Armenian, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Cherokee, Chinese(Simplified), Chinese(Traditional), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English(USA), English(Australia), English(Canada), English(UK), Esperanto, Estonian, Finnish, Flemish, French(France), French (Canada), French(Switzerland), Galician, German, German(Switzerland), Greek, Hawaiian, Haitian, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Malay, Maltese, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese(Portugal), Portuguese(Brazil), Quechua, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Spanish(Mexico), Spanglish, Spanuguesian, Swahili, Swedish, Tamil, Tagalog, Thai, Tibetan, Turkish, Ukrainian, Valário, Vietnamese, Welsh, Yiddish”
The app is currently free but this seems like it could change in the future, so get it while you can!
And don’t forget to give them a “Like” on Facebook.
Check out Lingrid’s demo video:
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