Apple’s recent announcement of the iPhone has inspired me to reconsider how IT can be used to support foreign language studies. According to Apple, the iPhone will have a microphone (it’s a phone, after all), run OS X, and have 4 to 8 GB of memory. That should be a sufficient platform to load a voice activated dictionary. After training a voice recognizer, you could speak a word into the device which it would then lookup in a dictionary and display the dictionary entry on the screen, providing language students with the detail of a full sized dictionary in something that could fit in their pocket.

Could pocket Spanish-English dictionaries be a thing of the past?

2 Responses to “iDictionary”

  1. mikek says:

    I am also interested in the notion of voice activated dictionaries for language learning. What prompts me is the inordinate amount of time one can spend simply finding the right page in a big dictionary – if, say, you’re reading a book and frequently having to look up words, this can consume a considerable proportion of one’s reading time. Ordinary online dictionaries, where one has to type in the word sought, don’t help much in this respect – the typing can take as long as manual looking up! But a voice activated dictionary which simply brought up the entry/entries corresponding to the word pronounced could save the reader much time. Does anyone know if there is currently work going on along these lines?

  2. cosine says:

    If you have an on-line copy of the book, I wrote a cgi script years ago that adds hyperlinks to all the words. It can easily link to a dictionary (that’s what it’s designed for).

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