Review: Memorize Words for Spanish for iPhone

Sometimes applications are big and splashy and exciting.   Sometimes they are quite, unassuming, and just do what they do very well.   But it’s not often you run into applications that don’t even really present you with a startup splash screen before going into the actual program.  Memorize Words for Spanish isn’t flashy, it goes right into the program with out announcing itself via a title screen, and its name isn’t particularly flashy or clever, but it clearly speaks to the thing that this application does – it helps you memorize Spanish words.

I’ve looked at a lot of different language applications over the past year and the folks at Componica were nice enough to let me look at this application as well.  I have to say that there’s a lot to like here. So let’s take a closer look at Memorize Words for Spanish and see what’s what!

At its most basic, Memorize Words for Spanish is a flash card style vocabulary trainer. It will show you a word in Spanish. At that point you can click on the speaker icon to hear the word, or you can click on the card itself to see the English translation. It also tells you what part of speech the word is (noun, adjective, verb, etc.) and, if it’s a noun, it tells you the gender of the noun.

But keep in mind – this program is a trainer. It not only shows you the words on flash cards, but it also has multiple choice quizzes, a word find game, a word math game, a memory game, and a hangman game – all designed to help reinforce the word in your memory.

On top of that, when you enter the application, it will admonish you if you’ve been away too long, and it will run you through a review and ask you to grade yourself on your knowledge of the word. In general, the developers recommend that you use this application daily for the best results. The application even keeps a dictionary of learned words available.

The presentation of the material is very attractive and clear. The cards are beautifully presented. The whole application has a nice professional appearance to it.  Additionally, the program follows your progress and drills on words you are having more difficulty with, but you can help it a little to understand what words those are.  Mechanisms are provided all along to help you do this and self-evaluate.

That said, there are a few things I don’t like. I think the “catch up” process when you’ve been away too long is a little too aggressive and overwhelming. It is possible to become inundated with too many words needed to catch up. I’d like to see this stepped back a bit. That said, there are plenty of messages of encouragement throughout the program. It’s a small thing, but a nice touch to the program.

Additionally, this program has you providing a bit of your own self-evaluation and grading.   Even though they provide some guidance as to how you should go about grading yourself, I’m really not comfortable grading myself on my learning.  The process is too subjective.  I’d prefer to have had an option for a something more objective – may some kind of quizzing instead.  Perhaps a combination of correct answers and speed could be used to determine how well words have been memorized.  Again, I would have liked to have had an option to at least choose what kind of evaluation mechanism I’d prefer.

What I Liked: The presentation is beautiful and not overstated. The card flipping in even animated and words are using an attractive font and fly in and out smoothly leading to a nice upscale, professional feel without getting in the way of the learning process.

What Could Be Improved: I’d like to see an option to switch from a self-evaluation to an evaluation based, perhaps, on several parameters. I’d also like to see this program expanded to cover other languages and language pairs.

Overall: This is a really nice effort and a nice application. I’m concerned that it may be a little overpriced at $6.99, but it is still a well-done application that’s available from the AppStore. If you have an interest in this application, then you would do well to check out the “Lite” version also available in the AppStore.  Memorize Words for Spanish is a nice, unassuming application that will help you improve your SPanish vocabulary.  Definitely worth a look!

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About the Author

Christopher Gavula
Chris has been a COBOL programmer, a desktop support technician, network engineer, telecommunications manager, and even a professional musician. Currently, he is focused on deploying Voice over IP technologies in a large, corporate setting. He started working full-time at the tender age of 14, even before there were PCs, and will probably be working and trying to finish “just one more project” as he’s lowered into the grave.