Language Learning Apps for iPhone/iPod

Today Steve has a blog entry entitled “The #iPod touch and the #iPhone will change language learning”. In the comments section, Mark (the same Mark as we have here?) mentioned several apps which are well worth mentioning here. So I have copied Mark’s comment below.

I think the iPhone and iPod Touch are the single most useful language-learning aids one can carry. As well as the inevitable podcasts and content from various CDs I’ve bought, my most used language apps are:

  • Japanese: a fantastic Japanese-English dictionary, and I believe easily the best dictionary in any language available. The features are second-to-none.
  • Collins Pro dictionaries for Italian, Spanish and French. The example sentences that they give are great to see how the words are used.
  • SlovoEd Deluxe: Russian-English dictionary including accent markers, and even sound samples for many Russian words - really useful for pronunciation!

Having all of these with me at all times is so very useful, and so light compared to the alternatives (books/electronic dictionaries).

For any Japanese learners out there I’d recommend checking out an application called Human Japanese. This attempts to be a complete language learning tool for beginners, and it seems very nice. I downloaded the free ‘lite’ version just to see why it was so well reviewed.

There is also a very nice kanji-learning application in iKanji Touch which attempts to be more than just a simple kanji flash card application, and certainly seems attractive as well as functional. A friend has this and swears buy it, but I don’t have it myself as I’m not a fan of flash cards.

Posted by: Mark | November 28, 2009 at 05:03 PM

As for myself, the one app can’t do without is WunderRadio. This app lets you listen to all the online radio stations in the world conveniently without any fuss. In essence, WunderRadio turns your iPhone into a powerful portable World Radio.

The first time I used WunderRadio, I really felt like crying. Many years ago, I bought a Sony World Radio in the hope that I could listen to French radio stations to keep up my French. However, all that happened was that I spent a lot of time fiddling with the knobs and buttons searching for the right frequencies. Even when I managed to catch the odd French broadcasts, the sound quality was poor. In the end, the radio wasn’t much used and I forgot all the French that I learned. All this time, the Sony World Radio has been sitting there reminding me of a broken dream.

Later, of course we have the Internet and online radio. The downside was that I could only listen to it through my desktop PC. Sitting in front of the desk listening to the radio is not my idea of fun. Really, I am already spending far too much time in front of the computer to do my health any good.

Then I bought my iPhone and discovered WunderRadio. Now when I take my morning strolls, I can listen to French radio programmes. And thanks to LingQ, I can actually understand quite a lot of what is being said! Ah, what a feeling!

Some people might think that for language learning purpose, one doesn’t really need to listen to live radio and that downloading podcasts from the radio stations is just as good or even better. This is probably true. OTOH, there is a kind of satisfaction from being able to understand live programmes that podcasts just don’t give.

Now that I am learning Spanish, I hope that in a couple of years’ time during my morning strolls, I’d be listening to broadcasts from Spain, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina…

All of a sudden, the world has become a smaller place! And the dream is alive again!

I can vouch for the effectiveness of Human Japanese - I mentioned it in my blog last week:


Thanks for the tip on WunderRadio! May I ask what is meant by ‘OTOH’?

OTOH = On The Other Hand,

Has anyone got one of these iPod things who could do us a video for YouTube LingQPlaza of how to use one for LingQ learning? Or does anyone know of any good videos already on YouTube? I had a quick surf and found a demonstration of how to use one to listen to really cool music…but that hasn’t convinced me to pay out £200 on one.

Helen, I think it is important to proceed slowly so as not to get caught up in the distraction of chasing new technology. If the overwhelmingly important app is listening to content, your existing MP3 player will suffice. Let’s wait for the early adopters to give us more info. I have invested in an iPod touch but I am waiting for my grandson to find the time to explain it all to me.

@ Helen

I will see if I can make a video on using the iPod with LingQ today.

For some reason we’ve got multiple threads going on about essentially the same thing. Here’s my post from yesterday on this thread (Using The Lingq Website On Your Iphone/Ipod Touch - Langu...)

I was using LingQ today on my mom’s Ipod Touch and my brother’s iPhone, as I wanted to see to what extent you could use LingQ on said devices.

I found that you can in fact use all of LingQ’s functionalities on these devices, that is, you can read the texts, you see your highlighting, you can save words and edit LingQs, etc.

The one thing you cannot do is use the Flash Player on the text interface to read and listen at the same time. However, you can ‘download’ the audio file and play it on the device with Apple’s player.

*A way to get around not being able to read and listen at the same time is to use the ‘screenshot’ function to take a picture of the text and read it while you’re listening to the downloaded audio. Unfortunately, this prevents you from saving and looking up the meaning of words mid-text, but you can still see the highlighting it’s better than not being able to read and listen simultaneously at all.

All in all, LingQ was quite easy to use on both of these devices and now I’m just waiting for when I can get one so I can get my LingQ fix wherever I go.


Yes it is a little confusing with multiple threads.

However, I am specifically interested in what we at LingQ HQ should be doing. There are lots of language learning apps at iPod, and it is great to share this information at the Forum here.

However, I want to focus on the question of how LingQ should best take advantage of the move to more mobile language learning. That is why I started another thread.

I was just thinking…We already “get” how to use LingQ. because we have spent time learning to use it, and we have had the imagination to see just how powerful it is.

We keep getting the feedback that prospective new users are put off the system because they can’t “get” what they are supposed to do with it. I wondered if we could do with some advertising which says in effect “if you have this cool toy [iPod Touch] then LingQ is basically like another of these game thingies you can use on it, only this game teaches you a new language”.

I can’t write copy like that because I don’t know what an iPod Touch does. And I’m not going to buy one until someone else convinces me it is worth buying one.

Iif you jailbreak your iPhone/itouch you can run multiple apps and listen and read at the same time. I used blackrain, works well but drains the battery.