Can you recommend good vocabulary building apps for iOS?
June 13, 2012 12:52 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to find an iOS app for my mom- she wants a word-of-the-day or other vocabulary builder for English. She's fluent but it's her second language, and she'd like to have a stronger vocabulary. Any suggestions?
posted by BuddhaInABucket to Writing & Language (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I like Wordy. It's a simple dictionary app with a word of the day feature. The interface is great, allowing you to quickly look up synonyms and antonyms as well.

For something with more features, check out the app. I don't use it though since the interface is too cluttered for me.
posted by yodangson at 1:01 PM on June 13, 2012

She might enjoy working crossword puzzles. I use Crosswords, and it features a huge pack of built-in puzzles, but also downloads them from newspapers and suchlike all over the web. They range from the really easy to the holy-mackeral-hard variety.
posted by jquinby at 1:04 PM on June 13, 2012

Not an app, but you can subscribe to Merriam Webster's word-of-the-day email.
posted by BlahLaLa at 1:04 PM on June 13, 2012

I really like the app for general purpose dictionarying, and it also has a word of the day. Today's word is imponderable.

(Sorry, I don't know how to link to iOS apps from my iPad...)
posted by man down under at 1:57 PM on June 13, 2012

If she wants more than just a word a day, it might be worth looking into GRE/SAT study apps.
posted by naturalog at 5:47 PM on June 13, 2012

I don't think word-of-the-day apps help very much, because just having a definition and even a sentence often isn't enough to actually use the word in conversation. In addition, other people don't use most of the words in word-of-the-day apps, so they won't have any idea what you are talking about anyway.

I think it would be far more helpful to make it a point to read a very short piece of fiction, maybe a page a day, or even a newspaper or magazine article, and then look up the words she isn't familiar with. You could use Kindle, magazine or newspaper apps and a Dictionary app. It would be more interesting as well as more helpful to see how the words are actually being used within the culture.
posted by theuninvitedguest at 8:20 AM on June 14, 2012

I'm doing what theuninvitedguest suggests for my French vocabulary, using a chrome extension to translate. It is miles better than memorizing vocabulary alone. You could set up an extension in her browser that when she option+clicks/right-clicks on a word, she'll get a little pop-up of the dictionary meaning.

My kids for their grade school vocabulary are using a bunch of different vocabulary apps. She needs to figure out the vocabulary level she's comfortable at, e.g. Grade 6, and either get an app with a built-in list such as for 5th Grade/GRE etc, or get an app like Anki or Vokab which will load a vocabulary list that she's found online. We found all our vocab apps by searching the appstore for 'english vocabulary' or 'word list'. I downloaded maybe two dozen to get the four we regularly use because their interfaces are all different, and they're fairly cheap or free.

Memorising is good for tests, but learning vocabulary is not much use unless she uses it. Crosswords, writing a blog or reading a more complex book would help a lot.
posted by viggorlijah at 8:46 AM on June 14, 2012

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