BYKI Irish iPhone App

Latest post Fri, May 13 2016 1:31 by Ryboss47. 5 replies.
  • Wed, Apr 7 2010 12:23

    • michelle
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    • Joined on Sun, Apr 13 2008
    • Béal Feirste, Éire (Belfast, Ireland)
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    BYKI Irish iPhone App

    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 Big Smile


    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?'


    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

    4 QUIZ

    Yes. It's actually a four-step process. They must think that three steps sounds better than four!

    In 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

    BYKI's 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

    You 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

    Real-time 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

    I 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

    If 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.

    Neat controls

    BYKI 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).


    It's 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.

    I 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

    Want 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?

    Is fearr dhá theanga ná ceann amháin…

    • Post Points: 85
  • Sun, Jun 27 2010 17:11 In reply to

    • Russell
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    Re: BYKI Irish iPhone App

    I've used Byki Express, Standard, and Deluxe, and I think they do their job very well. There are some ways that the Byki program could be improved, but overall it's worth the money. However, I've never used Byki for the iPhone, as I don't have an iPhone.

    • Post Points: 5
  • Tue, May 14 2013 11:04 In reply to

    • janesteven
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    Re: BYKI Irish iPhone App

    I tried it right after I found this site, and I see some difference than any other language learning apps. This one is cool it gives me more idea and some features about a certain language lesson. I tried many versions of several apps but I only find this one useful than those, which make me thankful that I have seen this post. Need to understand and learn at least from the basic languages being use in that country as it is required for me for my future education in that place maybe next year will arrive there.

    • Post Points: 5
  • Thu, Oct 2 2014 22:40 In reply to

    • rdokoye
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    • Posts 1
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    Re: BYKI Irish iPhone App

    It’s a great app; no doubt, it just doesn’t cover the specific languages of interest to me. With that said, I’ve still found some use for it.

    Bill Gates - I believe in innovation and that the way you get innovation is you fund research and you learn the basic facts.

    Name: Rdokoye
    • Post Points: 5
  • Thu, May 12 2016 13:56 In reply to

    • imhardware
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    Re: BYKI Irish iPhone App

    Pretty good article, I've to put it here  Home Decoration Stores in Lahore

    • Post Points: 5
  • Fri, May 13 2016 1:31 In reply to

    • Ryboss47
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    Re: BYKI Irish iPhone App

    I didn't even know about this post!  The whole reason I've continued with Irish is because of BYKI.  I first bought their product about 7 or 8 years ago.  It was about 60$ or so, I'm not too sure.  Anyways, byki was the first product I found to start my learning.  While ordering it I did like what they were offering.  1 program with almost 1000 words/phrases and then a second program that taught grammar with additional words/phrases as well.  Unfortunately they got rid of the latter for unknown reasons.

    My honest experience with Byki Irish:

    Every single time I've ever felt that spark of inspiration and decided to jump back onto this program, I'd always wind up stopping before I got too far.  Maybe it's me and my will to study or the product itself; there's too many factors to consider.  I did find it a bit boring though, part of the reason why I kept falling out of my studying ritual each night.  I'd try to do just one list per night but even that got old fast.

    Part of the reason why I believe it was the program's method that's at fault, is that the way I'm studying now keeps me inspired and motivated.  I WANT to learn more with my method, unlike how I felt using byki.  After 8 years with byki I've only gotten past the first introduction lists and then only a few more after that.  With how I'm studying now, I've learned twice as much as I ever had with byki.  I'm learning the WHYs of the language rather than simple translations.  "Why is [this] said like that?"  "Why is [that] word changed?"  

    Don't get me wrong; I love the concept of byki and their method but it gets really old really fast.  If you really dedicate yourself to it, it absolutely works.  To put it simply, it is literally IMPOSSIBLE to move onto the next list without memorizing your current one(unless you decide to give up and skip it), and by typing the same phrases over and over(and over and over and over) again, you WILL memorize.  I do wanna get back to it.  Having an underlying foundation of vocabulary is an unbelievable terrific start to language learning.  I'm just having more fun the slow and steady way.

    Oh, my first reason of why commenting in the first place:  I have emailed BYKI for information on what dialect their product is taught in twice.  Once when I first started using it years ago and once more not too long ago(a few months).  On both occasions I have been told Connemara, so hopefully that answers any questions one may have on BYKI Irish!

    • Post Points: 5
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