BYKI French was
one of the first iPhone apps I bought - when the Irish app came out, I bought it straight away. BYKI's online software
which has been around since about the early 90s. The BYKI website promises you'll be able to 'learn <a language> fast, know it forever' using their system. If only
The BYKI Irish app aims to teach you 1000 words and phrases. I'm not an expert on identifying dialects - I can only say it's not Ulster - e.g. 'Dia duit' is pronounced 'Jee-ah Guh-widge' not 'Jee-ah Ditch' as you'd more commonly hear in Ulster. You'll learn 'Conas atá tú?' for 'How are you?' instead of our more common 'Cad é mar ata tú?'
HOW IT WORKS
BYKI teach with their 3 step process, which involves:
1 Look through flashcards with images and text.
2 Test yourself - look at the Irish and see if you can get the English
3 Test yourself - look at the English and see if you can get the Irish
Yes. It's actually a four-step process. They must think that three steps sounds better than four!
step one you see the text, an image and hear the Irish spoken. Steps 2
and 3 show you the Irish/English and you tap to reveal the answer,
telling the app whether or not you got it correct.
Finally, there's the quiz. I use this as a test quite
often - I go straight to the quiz to see how I do. If I'm awful, I'll
do the set from scratch. If I'm 100%, I'll mark the list off as
learned. I also use this to quick revise lists I learned a while back.
Problem 1 - the lists
language lists are frustrating. You only get to download a maximum of
91 lists - with about 10 words in each. That's sort of fine, I guess,
except that there's no real reason for this limit. And the lists are
not always grouped the way I would group words - e.g. You might be
asked to learn 'go raibh maith agat' in the 'at the bank' list. It's not
that I might not want to say 'go raibh maith agat' at the bank - it's just that I'd
rather learn that word in a list of 'polite stuff' and learn another
money word or phrase in the bank list. You can't really tell what
you'll get in a list.
Problem 2 - Learning what you already know
can't delete words you know and keep words you don't. So if there's a
list of 10 words and you already know 'dia duit' and 'slán', you'll
still have to sit through repeated exposure to 'dia duit' and 'slán' when you'd rather be pushing your brain with new stuff. EVERY
app I've used has this problem, so it's not a big BYKI failure - but
still - being bored when learning is death to the retention process.
Other useful features on BYKI French
Twitter search of words and phrases from within Byki for iPhone. I
loved this feature in BYKI for French - it's so interesting to get random real-life usage
of French phrases. Doesn't work so well for Irish - even obvious words like 'slán' frequently don't have results. Guess we all need to tweet more as Gaeilge!
Download User Language Lists
know you can donwload lists from over 5,000 user-created lessons, but
this feature never seemed to work for me - kept crashing and I gave up.
Perhaps it's more stable now, but you've still got the problem of
figuring out which of the 5,000 lists are any good. Would be better if
BYKI would either create new lists for us to download, or star
extra-good or popular lists from the user-generated lists.
Extend your app with BYKI deluxe
you buy BYKI deluxe (currently about £35) you can create your own
language lists and download them to your phone. There's a free trial
for this - and it's a similar feature to Mental Case, which I'll be reviewing later. Great feature, I guess, if you've the time to sit and make your own lists. I certainly don't.
offer great settings control - you can turn off the English voice that
so irritates a lot of users, so you just hear the target language. You
can change the scores, either to mark off word sets you know and don't
need to learn, or to cheat and make yourself feel better. You can
change the quiz settings from Irish-English and vice versa (I prefer
the harder English-Irish setting).
got a nice little stats option, which will tell you how many sessions
you've had, number of learned cards, number of
learned lists and total time spent learning.
highly recommend BYKI as one of the best language apps I've found. It
could do better, but few apps compare. It's well worth the money.
Costs: £4.99 sterling
to try BYKI before you buy? I can't find a 'lite' BYKI Irish app, but
I found 15 BYKI languages - a free app that introduces you to different
languages using the BYKI system.
Anyone else tried BYKI and liked it?
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