Verb conjugations – the scourge of language learning, particularly when we’re talking about the latin languages. While there are an overwhelming number of language apps out there, most go for the broad, general “Hello, how are you” sorts of phrases you might need when traveling. Spanish Touch Trainer zeros in on conjugations, and takes a teaching approach that I absolutely love.
Designed by Appocado, this app tackles the complex subject of verb conjugations in the simplest, clearest way imaginable. Open the app and select “Beginner” or “Advanced.” You’re given a sentence in English to study before tapping a “Play” button to attempt the translation. The sentence appears again at the top of the screen, with the first word highlighted and three options in the middle of the screen.
The options will not be conjugated yet; for example, if the word highlighted is “is,” you’ll first select “ser” from the multiple choice options, revealing the translation “to be.” From there, you’re given three more options. For example, if the sentence begins “He is,” you might see “Infinitive-ser,” “Gerund-siendo,” and “El, Ella, Ud.-es.” Each time you select a word, it appears in Spanish below your English sentence and your sentence starts to grow.
Each time you make a correct choice, you gain a point. Likewise, you lose a point when you choose a wrong option. The program moves you through the sentence in the order you should consider it in Spanish, not in English, so as you progress you slowly begin to formulate mental sentences faster and properly in Spanish. I also like that the app provides direct translations in English when it’s helpful; for example, the sentence “My name is Maria” appears as “My name is (I call myself) Maria,” so you understand why the word choice in Spanish is what it is.
Your score is tracked at the bottom of the app, and you can tap “Say It!” at any time to hear the sentence in Spanish. There’s also an “Hint” button, which chooses the correct answer but awards no points. The app will lead you randomly through sentences every time you start, or you can choose “Sentence List” and find sentences with concepts you want to test yourself on.
I would love to see a Portuguese Touch Trainer (and for that matter, a French, Italian and any other language Touch Trainer), as verb conjugations are my nemesis when it comes to studying my own second language. The outstanding method and simple navigation of this app make it well worth the two bucks.
Spanish Touch Trainer [iTunes Link] requires iPhone OS 4.1 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.