Three Ways How I Use My Smart Devise to Learn Greek


I am in Greece, learning Greek and I will try to post more often from now on. I want to show you three ways how I have recently (in fact, only this week) started making use of my iPod Touch to help me learn Greek fast. If you try enough, you can apply virtually all of these or at least most of these to any language you are learning.

First, I have started using flashcards‘ software. In other words, I have started using science to help me learn. I used to think flashcards were boring and useless but that was before I tried them. Traditionally flashcards are paper cards used for learning with the question written on one side of them and the answer written on the other.

They have been notoriously used for word learning so for example you might have DOG written on one side and ΣΚΗΛΟΣ on the other and then you try to remember the word and only then turn to check if you are right. This was the traditional way at least, now we have electronic flashcards and they have been improved.

I installed certain software to my iPod Touch and uploaded over 5000 Greek words so that now which works like this: I see a word in English. If I touch my screen, it “turns” the flashcard and its equivalent in Greek appears. I then have to judge if I knew this word or not: if I swipe the screen with my finger it marks the flashcard as “wrong”, if I swipe it another direction then it marks it “correct” and after any of these actions, the next flashcard appears. The system is set up in such a way that it repeats the flashcards in certain intervals which have shown to increase the chance of remembering them tremendously and it repeats the cards I got wrong even more often which helps me remember those too.

I have already gone through about 1/10 of my 5000 flashcards collection and even though a long task, I plan on doing it. I noticed those words go into my passive memory instead and I can recognize many of them once I see them again. I also try to think about the words I see on the flashcards and make associations instead of just learning them by rote. This seems to be an effective and rewarding way to remember words and it is based on psychological memory research, and having it on your iPod or iPhone or another kind of portable device is an awesome idea since you can do this from anywhere whenever you have free time (i.e. while riding a bus, waiting for something, whatever).

Second, I have installed a Greek dictionary on my iPod Touch. Thanks Sherlock, huh. The good part about it is that I can look up words I see on street signs, ads, posters and whatever and I can also quickly I need for conversation in real time. This is a very good idea and I very much like not having gotten a paper dictionary (these are expensive and hard to carry) and having gotten an electronic one. I also set up a Greek alphabet on my device so I can also type Greek words in. The only problem is that the dictionary is geered towards Greeks learning English and not Greek learners so it does not provide much details about the Greek grammar but I can cope with that.

Third, I put the essential grammar on my iPod. I found short condensed articles about the main points in Greek grammar (noun tables, verb tables, pronouns, etc.) and put them all on a place where I can easily access them. Thus when speaking or using the language I can refer to the grammar very quickly and that helps me get the right case just in time. I have not used this much yet but I believe this will help me learn a lot more grammar and solidify my knowledge of it, both of which are essential for learning the language.

Now these are the things I should have done before going there. By doing this, I really feel like I am learning. I talked to a guy a few months ago and he said that he was in Cyprus for a summer and was very disappointed when he wanted to learn Greek and he did Pimsleur but that did not help him much although he used to do a lesson every day. Well, of course it did not help him: you have to live the language, not just take a course and expect to learn it. I, however, still use English most of my day and I still don’t really have people to regularly practice speaking Greek with thus it might be too early for me to say anything. Whatever the case, I will try to find some and to learn the language to achieve my goals. Even if I do not, I predict I will still know a great deal of the language. Time will tell.

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  1. Benjameno

    Was the 'certain software' that you installed on your iPod the new Anki app? I'd really like to know, since I am considering buying it.

  2. -Pablo-

    You could as well mention the apps used, so we know what you're speaking about. There are several flashcard apps, for instance. And dictionaries also abound.

  3. ·

    Well, I intended to keep this “advertisement free” in a way but if you insist, the flashcards software is called Flashcards Deluxe and the dictionary is called Magenta.

  4. ·

    It was not Anki.

    It's called Flashcards Deluxe and it seems to work well for me. I really like the design flashcards show up in and the functions are nice as well: you just have to swipe the screen in one direction or another as I have explained and it moves on. It also has SRS and Leitner systems for arranging the cards although I do think that Anki is superior in this way. It has a database as well although not as big and I had to “make” the Greek cards myself. In any case, it seems to work well enough for me.

    Anki is what, around 30 dollars?

  5. -Pablo-

    Ok! Thanks! =)

  6. ·

    Well officially I am doing an internship here, but I came because I was interested in the Greek language and Greece itself.

  7. Rebecka Lindberg

    Oh, interesting! What kind of internship? Will you be there for long?

  8. ·

    A legal internship. Just three more months.

  9. ·

    Thanks for this good info. I have stumbled it and will soon tell the rest of my online network know. They without a doubt should consider it as informative as myself.

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