I spent ten years teaching teenagers how to read, write and speak German. Mind you, I stopped doing that some twenty years ago so rust has well and truly set in. I still have an abiding interest though in language and linguistics, and of course I have an iPod (you mean there are people who don’t?). The natural confluence of these is Talking Panda iLingo. [Via MacInTouch.]
Currently it’s available for French, Spanish and Japanese at a mere US$10 per language. Each translator comes stocked with over 250 phrases, usefully broken out into categories which include Getting Directions, Dining, Making Friends, and Entertainment.
I downloaded the Japanese demo, which installed without problem onto my 30Gb 3G iPod into the Notes folder.
you dial up the phrase you require and the note has a link you can click to listen. Meanwhile the display shows the full English phrase, the text in Romaji Japanese and the text in Japanese script. At a pinch you could ask the native speaker to read the iPod’s screen. Talking Panda suggest you could also ask the native speaker to use your headphones to listen to the phrase (and handily give you the phrases to achieve that outcome). Of course, if you had a Griffin iTalk you could use the built-in speaker to play the phrase.
Apparently the audio files were created by native speakers provide proper pronunciation for all included phrases.
What a cool idea! I wish I’d had access to this kind of thing when I was a teacher, and not been forced to write my own, not very good, computer software.