This weekend has been a rough one. I decided to finish both essays that I have to hand in on Friday, since I don't know how much time I will have next week (I got another job on Friday and will have to go through some training for it, spanning over several days). So I put down an offer of X glasses of wine at a cozy café in Oslo with a friend yesterday (more or less my vision of paradise) in order to read about cosmopolitanism and democracy and inclusion. Bitter, who, me? I'm making up for it by going to the movies tonight with some assorted partners in crime from St Petersburg to see Black Swan and working on my Hungarian homework. Yes, I got homework from my Hungarian language partner! I'm translating a snippet of Norwegian into Hungarian, because she thinks I'm reading too difficult books anyway. She's most likely right, Hungarian has me completely defeated.
BUT ANYWAY. My language learning life has become significantly easier since Christmas when I became the proud owner of an iPod Touch. Naturally, I should've gotten one ages ago, but I have a problem when it comes to spending money, so I usually just wait until someone gives whatever I want to me.
So, how can you use your iPod to make your life easier as language learner? Well first of all, and obviously, dictionaries! I have always been very interested in electronic dictionaries, and I had one as early as 2003. It was perhaps what made me interested in languages to begin with (come to think of it, I've only been a language enthusiast for five or so years) since it all of a sudden enabled me to read books without dragging a dictionary along. All of a sudden I could read French books and I went way past my class all the way to France! Back then it was a C-Pen scanner dictionary. Since those naïve days of Marguerite Duras, Anaïs Nin, Emmanuel Carrère and Guy de Maupassant painstakingly read with grim determination I have invested in an Ectaco Arabic handhold dictionary that didn't work (worst piece of crap I've ever bought) and a C-Pen scanner for Russian that didn't work either since it could only look at words in their dictionary form...
With an iPod Touch you never need to buy another device for this purpose. I have bought the Oxford Russian dictionary (pricey, yep, but you can save flash cards and all the words have pronunciation), a Hungarian-English dictionary that's absolutely brilliant and that cost almost nothing, and I will most likely acquire a serious German dictionary as well when I get more serious about German.
Naturally, there is an ANKI application for iPod. Need I say more?
It is as easy as it gets to find Russian or Hungarian or whatever radio stations that you can listen to whenever you have Wifi.
There are several language courses for iPod, but I have not looked into those since that's not really my kind of thing. I have only downloaded a one Hungarian word a day (with pronunciation!) application, and I'm sure there are loads of others for other languages.
What more can you do with an iPod? I want suggestions!
When I started working with the book Standard Arabic (terrifyingly sexy in its absolutely hard-core approach) I was quite annoyed at how one of the first words they introduced was "diligent". Who on earth uses that word anyway? Now I find myself thinking "diligent" rather often, and feel that I have some of my diligence to thank my iPod for. I think it may be brought me back to "our world". Soon I'll be back on the Forum as well, just you wait.