Why Technical English

Hanhelds and English learning | August 27, 2009

By Galina Vitkova


Nowadays communication and computing technologies are converging. So, simpler user-friendly interfaces of high-quality, low-cost solutions, which function across platforms, processors and operating systems, are offered. Technological advances within the miniaturization of computing and communication devices have made possible the highly effective usage of mobile devices in language learning. While the global economy becoming bound together more and more, English has become an essential tool for communication with the world, and also a key to find a better job. Hence in the following text we will chiefly concentrate on learning English.

The early projects of this kind (at the beginning of this century) having used mobile devices involved Spanish study programs, which consisted of vocabulary practice, quizzes, and word and phrase translations. Soon after, mobile phones were used to teach English at a Japanese university. A similar program was created for learning Italian in Australia. By 2005, the connection between learners and a teacher was accomplished via SMS. [4].

In 2007, USA-based company Moka LCC (Company Overview) started offering mobile multilingual communication and learning products. In these systems translation was one of primary functions. The products utilized the SMS and SKYPE as the means of multilingual communication. Moka currently supports English to Chinese and English to Spanish translation, and plans to introduce additional language pairs. In the same year the Bulgarian company Interlecta commercially released machine translation software for handheld devices that in addition to SMS and email involved speech synthesis and “image translation”.[6]

The number of translation applications, including text-to-speech and speech-to-speech capabilities, available for various mobile platforms has continuously increased since 2007, and has featured products such as the LingvoSoft Full-text Translation Software [7], the SYSTRAN Mobile Translator [8], or Transclick’s translation applications for mobiles[9], or Phonix Speech Group. As a rule the systems have capabilities for learning languages.

Gradually handhelds competences for language learning have been refined into the powerful means of active language learning. These sophisticated flexible devices enable learning and teaching functions as follows.

Vocabulary building, including creating your strong professional vocabulary with connections to the main dictionary

  • Dictionaries containing hundreds of thousands of entries in the general dictionary (up to 1,000,000 words, sometimes more) as well as including specialized terminology make excellent conditions for language learning and building your own vocabulary.
  • Professional add-on dictionaries, e.g. telecommunications and computers, business, finance provide a basis for constructing your professional vocabulary.
  • You can create your own customized editable dictionary, which automatically links to the main dictionary.
  • Learner’s cards, which are provided by some models, make memorization tasks easy and work to quickly enrich your vocabulary.
  • Vocabulary practice, quizzes, and word and phrase translations help you to learn the language quicker than by current means.

Making easier comprehension tasks

  • The dictionary and translator capabilities enable much better comprehension when studying texts. At the same time the capabilities help to improve your reading skills.
  • Handheld electronic dictionaries enable individuals to speak a word in their native language and have the text read back to them in English.

Refining pronunciation

  • Speech capabilities help you to improve your pronunciation and let your speaking sound just like native speakers´. Furthermore, speech capabilities enable you to perfect your pronunciation continually.
  • Advanced English speech synthesis delivers the pronunciation of any text, not only dictionary entries. Together with a full set of enjoyable games and exams, it enables you to improve your language speaking and pronunciation skills naturally and intuitively.
  • Accent correction function will coach you and help you to perfect your English pronunciation with native speaker sound. Furthermore, you can always test yourself.
  • Speech-to-speech electronic translators understand what you say in your own language and immediately repeat the same in English.

English grammar and exercises

  • Some models of handhelds provide a complete guide to English Grammar, Vocabulary, and Phonetics.
  • Step-by-step lessons conduct you comfortably from beginner to advanced learner.
  • English grammar resources are usually accompanied by standardized testing references. Equipped with fast and powerful search functions they provide everything necessary for instant communication.
  • Some models offer i personal programs for English study depending on the level of the language knowledge. The level for Beginners comprises 230 lessons, whereas the level for Intermediates contains 190 lessons. You yourself prepare the timetable of your study. The method involves: study of reading rules, study of the grammar and spelling, pronunciation drilling and comprehension of the spoken language and active building of your vocabulary. There are tests of your knowledge after each lesson. Depending on the results you are recommended to pay more attention to certain parts of the studied material.

Language Tutor

  • Interactive English language tutor, which mostly is a part of dictionary and translator devices, provides a rapid language learning solution and helps users express themselves in day-to-day life.
  • The Language teacher system you are well on your way to complete control of a new language within minutes. It employs the advanced True Voice and Speech Recognition modules and step-by-step lessons to guide you comfortably from beginner to advanced speaker. With a full set of enjoyable games and exams, you improve your language skills naturally and intuitively.
  • Some advanced models include the so-called Car Tutor. It lets you study hands-free and eyes-free to make use of every spare moment to improve your language skills. Moreover, when starting an application, a memorizing splash screen shows you an appropriate word or phrase, a translation and a corresponding picture. It’s a superior way to improve your vocabulary and master a foreign language.

Good luck to everybody who is going to study English with the help of handhelds!

PS: See for details Talking handheld dictionaries and Electronic dictionaries .

References: http://en.wikipedia.org, http://www.ectacoinc.com/, Ectaco Russia Ectaco Inc. , LingvoSoft , Fonix Speech Group – http://www.fonixspeech.com/


1 Comment »

  1. […] Hanhelds and English learning […]

    Pingback by Changing the theme of this blog « Why Technical English — August 26, 2010 @ 9:28 am

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