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 Replies to “iDictionary”

  1. 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. 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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