- This application combines studying German with solving a puzzle and learning about famous German castles.
Discover another famous German castle for each 9 lessons that you finish.
- Lessons include a vocabulary listing, dialog example, flashcards and a multiple-choice test. Get a perfect score on the multiple-choice test to uncover a castle puzzle piece.
- The vocabulary is pronounced by native German speakers.
- A general pronunciation guide is available on the start page.
Learning another language can sometimes be difficult and depending on the tools you are using, boring. Audio CD’s, Books, Computer Software… boring. That’s where “German Made Easy” for iPhone comes in. This app makes learning German fun, engaging and portable. With German Made Easy, it is possible learn basic German as well as the history of Germany’s Castles. The premise for the app is to solve puzzles in 5 categories in order to unlock a piece of German history. Within each puzzle, are the tools you will need to complete the task as well as learn some basic German along the way. I found the app to be fun to use, challenging and completely practical. I would like to walk you through it’s features, so that you might get a better idea of the app’s structure and set up.
Initially, you are taken to the “Home” screen where you will be presented with 5 “Castles.” These castles are organized by category:
Each castle is set up the same way, with varying information according to category, and each has it’s own level of difficulty as well. So let’s tap on “Castle 1 (People/Basics).” You will see, in 9 boxes, 9 separate lessons for the category. This is consistent across all “Castles.” Let’s tap on “Lesson 1.” You should now see 5 options; they are:
Vocabulary of Lesson:
Here you will be given a vocabulary list for all of the words used in this lesson. But the coolest part of this section is the fact that you can tap the speaker icon to listen to each words pronunciation, spoken by folks who are a native of the language. All words are spoken very clearly and very precise. I have found this tool to be very helpful in studying the language.
This section will take the words from your lesson’s vocabulary list, and spell out a likely dialog using such terms. It is very helpful in the sense that it gives you an idea as to the context in which these words would be spoken.
If you are looking to test your knowledge on the material covered within each lesson, use the “Flashcards” tool. The flashcards are loaded with the vocabulary words from each lesson as well as the pronunciation of each word. As you are presented with the word, you should be thinking of the word (or phrase’s) meaning. When you think you’ve got it, or perhaps you’re stuck and need help, press the red arrow at the bottom right of the card to reveal the correct answer. Then use the green arrows to navigate either forward to the next word or backwards to a previous word in the flashcards. This is a great learning tool as well, though I am partial to flashcards as a form of recalling information.
Usage and Grammar:
In this section you will find helpful hints such as “‘ich’ (I) is never capitalized except at the beginning of a sentence. ‘Sie’ (you-polite) is always capitalized.” This tool helps you better understand how to write the language and differentiate between technicalities such as singular vs. plural, possessive, polite and so on. This app really does go the extra mile to make the entire experience very comprehensive in many ways. Usage and grammar tools are a clear example of the fact in how the developer has made it a point to clarify when and how to use certain terms.
When you feel 100% confident in the material covered for the lesson, take a crack at the lesson’s “Quiz.” Each quiz varies in the number of questions given for each lesson. So far I have seen anywhere from 9 – 16 questions per quiz. Initially when you open the quiz portion of the lesson, you will here a pronunciation of one of your vocabulary words. You are then given 4 options to choose from, like a multiple choice. As you tap your choice, you will be shown either a red x for an incorrect answer or a green check for a correct answer. You may also choose a sound to accompany each of your selections. “Voice” will speak to you in German to notify you as to whether you were correct or incorrect. “Bell” will do the same, except the bell for an incorrect response is loud and annoying while the bell for a correct response is sweet, pleasant. A count is also taken, a tally of sorts, of your total correct vs. incorrect answers. Once you have completed the quiz, these numbers are used to give you a percentage, or grade, on your quiz. If you complete the quiz with a result of 100%, you unlock a puzzle piece for the current castle you are in. Once you have revealed all 9 pieces of the castle, you will find a tab that says “find out more about…” which will provide you with some interesting history and facts on each of the 5 castles.
At the bottom of the German Made Easy app’s interface, you will see options to navigate between “Castles,” Sounds,” and “More.” “Castles” is where you will find all of your lessons and puzzles, the real meat and potatoes of the app. “Sounds” will provide you with the sounds of the German Alphabet as well as some other sound sets and pronunciations. This also makes it easier to relate the language back to some of the sounds that we are already familiar with from the English language. “More” will provide you with numbers and their pronunciation as well as “About the Application” & “Other Applications” tabs. From the “Other Applications” tab, you can view additional apps this developer, Christina Bharara, has created and be taken directly to each app in the iTunes App Store.
The bottom line is this: German Made Easy, lives up to it’s name while providing a fun way to learn a new language and challenge yourself. I would highly recommend this app for anyone planning to visit Germany or just wanting to learn the basics of a new language. Had I had this app for language courses in High School, perhaps I would have retained the information I had learned. Great job Christina, and definitely a bargain at the current asking price of $.99.
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