Kindle for language learning

so I know that the ipad is a super do-everything device, that erm I guess can be used to help one learn languages. But I don’t really know much about the Kindle’s ability to help one learn a language.

Well anyway in looking into it the Kindle is clearly better for reading text, and well the 3G Kindle is $189 and 3G ipad is $629. and then you have free 3G on the Kindle.
So I think the Kindle clearly does well on price comparison, and it’s good for reading (and it now supports Chinese, Japanese, and Korean as well as Cyrillic)

Anyway, the next question I had is what kind of dictionary support does it have? I was disappointed to learn it only comes with an English dictionary, but then I learned a not very publicized aspect of Kindle is that you can change the default dictionary to any properly formatted dictionary and there are many very cheap multi-lingual dictionaries in the kindle store.

I was very disappointed that there are no Chinese to English dictionaries in the store (though there is an English to Chinese dictionary for $2.95). However I found with a few minutes googling that it’s possible to load any dictionary file onto the kindle yourself, you just need to convert it to the proper format first.

anyhow, the last piece of the puzzle is whether the Kindle browser supports LingQ. it’s a webkit browser that supports all kinds of stuff. Does anybody know? what kind of technology does LingQ use? The newest Kindle works with normal Gmail (not just the mobile version) and Google reader. LingQ should be possible. Anybody know? any experience with it?

The main purpose of a kindle is for reading books. It doesn’t have the added features of an ipad to search for words and stuff. Also it uses E-ink so searching only is going to be really slow because of how the lcd screen works. So if your going to use it for that I would say it’s better to save that money and get real japanese books but if not it still serves as a good reading device. Hope this helps

yes, you can surf the internet on kindle but it’s a pain in the a$$ as it’s quite slow to load up webpages. Also, like andres said, Kindle is not designed for web surfing but it has that functionality if you want to look up words on or something it’s there for you to use it.

The main pro of kindle is that you can read text on it for hours with little eye strains (thanks to e-ink technology) unlike the ipad which is like someone shining a flashlight in your eyes as you read. It’s probably not a good idea to read on ipad for a prolong period of time. However, functionality-wise ipad is superior than kindle since it can do almost anything a computer does, except multitasking hahahah…

But to me, the Kindle is a better choice for me because I usually read stuff for a long period of time and I like to download miscellaneous e-books and loaded onto the kindle to read. If you only want it to be a “language tool”, ipad maybe a better choice. But if you like reading in general, go for the Kindle DX (with larger screen than Kindle)

For us consumers in the third world like here in Germany the main issue with the Kindle is of course the limited content. Most of the books I’d like to read, especially English books are not available if you live outside the US/Canada/UK.

so that’s where the public/private trackers or e-book torrents comes into play :wink:

@andres 9888 It does search and since it indexes the books when you first load them the search is really quite fast… Though I’m not quite sure what you’d want to search for while you are reading.
I’m learning Chinese and since I’m still working on learning the characters I can’t read books without pinyin at the moment. and outside of children’s books there aren’t printed books that include pinyin. Anyway, I want an e-reader because that makes it much easier to look up words in the dictionary, and for a myriad other reasons… hell I just plain don’t like carrying around books.

I agree with you that the Kindle is the superior device for lots of reading, and since I plan to do extensive reading as opposed to intensive reading(if you get what I mean) the Kindle is the clear winner in that contest.

Also I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Kindle 3, but it has a much improved web-browser that actually renders websites properly. It also has a faster refresh rate, so browsing the internet isn’t so painfully slow. and it could probably work with lingQ.

Well, I think comparing Ipad and Kindle does not make too much sense, because they have different purposes. Instead of asking oneself which one to choose, why not buying both? :wink:

Well there’s already an ipad versus Kindle thread, so no need to have another one.

I was just seeing what experience anyone had with the Kindle, or if I’d be going it alone… blazing a new path…

I’m confident I won’t be disappointed with a Kindle because I like reading anyway, it’s not too expensive and LCD screens gives me headaches after too much time reading. I’m pretty sure I would be disappointed with an ipad because I would spend too much money for the actual value or unique use I’d get out of it.

But those are entirely personal and subjective perspectives. I hear Steve loves his ipad, and I don’t doubt it’s nice and would be neat to have. Let me know when it’s under $200 and I’ll give it serious thought.

@Friedmann, I can’t agree with you

Bobafruit. Let us know how the Kindle 3 works with LingQ.

I use the Kindle app on my iPad and find it quite comfortable to read books with. Ilike the larger screen and landscape view and the greater ease of navigation on my iPad. I usually buy my books on iPad and they t hen appear both in the Kindle app on iPad and on my Kindle.


I have checked again in the international kindle store and I did indeed find some titles that wern’t available a couple of weeks ago. I hope they keep on making more and more content available, thanks for the heads up!


Do a google search on “gigapedia”, they have a lot of books available for download in pdf form. If you have Kindle DX, you won’t have problem with Amazon’s bookstore because you don’t need it anyways.


I heard Kindle app on ipad gives you smaller text than is possible on the Kindle. Some prefer to read on iBooks (iPad’s book reading software) instead.

For my purposes, I could never justify spending 500 to 600 dollars on an ipad, for what I would use it for. Eventually as other companies get into the mix the ipad’s price will drop and then maybe. Right now I need something for reading only and my newly arrived kindle is perfect for it. I’ve had it now for about a week and haven’t even set up the wifi, mostly because I have no use for it.

I think though I’ll set up it now just to see how it works…

im typing from my kindle now but lingq cant really be used for it ican read my lessons and post here to an extent but if i use the browser i can see it will to read blogs wikipedia or to buy books


ah thanks a bunch for checking it out on lingQ. If it doesn’t work with lingQ that’s kind of a bummer, but I shouldn’t be expecting a lot from the browser it’s still fairly basic. It’s got a fairly capable processor. But I’d really love to just use it for reading blogs or articles online since I can’t easily get comfortable reading longer posts on my computer screen.

I’m planning to get one in October when I’m back in the US. But for the time being uh I see that your profile doesn’t include Chinese, so perhaps someone else knows, but how is the Chinese support? I’ve read that the Korean font is atrocious looking… I guess the only thing that I’m hoping is that the dictionary will be able to support Chinese to English lookup. I don’t expect you to be able to test that, but perhaps someone else will :smiley:


I was curious if you could check something for me? When looking up a word is it possible to select just part of a word? Since Chinese doesn’t have spaces to mark the beginning and end of words.

you mean in chinese specifically? And do you mean in lingq or in the provided dictionary?

Yeah I mean the provided dictionary.
I’ve found ways of changing out the default dictionary, it should be possible to put a Chinese to English dictionary as the default dictionary.
If it can be done in English it should be doable in Chinese, like if you select ‘diction’ out of dictionary.

unfortunately, kindle doesn’t do that :frowning:

It would be good enough if you can just search 單字 或 名詞

Searching for 部首 is not really necessary imo.