The first impression
The #1 on the list is titled ”Suomi 6000 Sanaa” by Fun Easy Learn. This title doesn’t sound 100% native either, and judging from their website, they seem like generic app developers, not linguistic professionals. I’ll give it a try and install the app. The size is ~42Mb, which is not a huge problem if your phone can install it on the memory card and there’s wi-fi available.
First after installing it asks my mother tongue. The list is very long and includes languages I have never heard of. I fake my background and choose English for test purposes.
Then you choose the level, and apparently you cannot start with the ”advanced” level without collecting some tokens. So ”beginner” it is.
Over 6000 words
On the first menu you can choose what kind of vocabulary you want to learn. You have a cartoonish image (some look good, some are somewhat cheesy stock images like in other language learning programs), then an English translation (which seems more or less accurate) and an audio example by a native speaker. Vocabulary is divided into several categories, or you can choose a ”review”, which mixes vocabulary from different sub-categories.
After learning the words, you can take several kind of tests: they mix the words, audio and images in different ways and you must find the right translation. In the writing exercises there are just few letters missing, so it’s much easier to type in the words (using a mobile phone keyboard it would be a tedious task).
The app has some ads (you can get rid of them with money), but they are not that big of an annoyance.
As a summary, I’d say that this app by ”Fun Easy Learn” isn’t anything extremely innovative, but it delivers what it promises. It’s a great way to learn the core vocabulary (6000 words takes you quite far). Also on the plus side, I can say that the translations are accurate and the audio is clear and the speaker is a native.
On the other hand, this is just another ”flash card” style application, where you learn to connect a word with the image, nothing more. They give you zero grammar, and even if you might think that ”language is just a collection of words”, you actually need some help learning how to connect the words and how to actually use the language. One might also argue that some words are not actually that useful. For example, I have never used a word ”kvinoa” in my life. I guess it’s somekind of grain, but it’s not common in Finland, so maybe some cultural adaptation or localization should have been used here.
These kinds of applications are easy to create and then copy from one language to another: you have the same scheme for each language and then just translate the words. As mentioned earlier: it’s one way to learn new words, but it’s nothing revolutionary.
Fun and easy? Well, it’s a grey Sunday morning in December and I got a hangover, so I’m easy to impress. I’ll give this 3 stars out of 5.
Update / post scriptum
I also installed their app for learning French and chose Finnish as my native language. I found several mistakes in the translation from French to Finnish, for example ”la femme d’affaires” sounds like a business woman to me (and that’s what was on the image), but it was translated as ”liikemies” (businessman). So I checked it in the Finnish version: they had a drawing of a man with English text ”businessman”, but the Finnish translation said ”liikenainen” (businesswoman). Even if they say that gender is just a social construction, I would say this kind of mistake is a bit embarrassing.
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