iPhone App to Learn Spanish Review: TripSpeak Spanish

by Chief Spanish Learner on February 11, 2012

So in my first of what I hope will be a series of reviews of iPhone Apps to Learn Spanish, I decided to review TripSpeak Spanish.

Like a lot of iPhone applications, TripSpeak Spanish comes with a free version and a paid version. I have to like the free version enough to buy the paid version.

TripSpeak Spanish Lite (the free version):

This comes with two lessons – el viaje (travel vocabulary) , el restaurante (food and eating vocabulary. TripSpeak Spanish basically shows you 4 pictures and says a word, phrase or sentence in Spanish. You click on the picture that you believe to match the word said. If you get it correct, you see a green check mark and the next set of pictures comes up. If you get it wrong, you get an X on the picture you selected and you can try another picture, until you get it correct.

This is extremely similar to Rosetta Stone format, except for one KEY difference — the full version of TripSpeak Spanish costs $2.99 — about 1/100th of the cost of Rosetta Stone. I enjoyed playing my way through the first 2 lessons of TripSpeak Spanish, receiving a 94% and 98% and so it was a no-brainer for me to plunk down $2.99 to try my hand at the full program.

I spent more time playing the full TripSpeak Spanish program. I like it, don’t love it.

Here’s what I like about TripSpeak Spanish.

  1. It’s quick and easy to do each lesson since they each contain 20 sets of cards.
  2. It’s fun, like a mini-trivia quiz.
  3. It does build your vocabulary and you can easily master a lesson.
  4. The words are read out loud clearly in a manner that you could repeat if you wanted to reinforce and learn Spanish that much faster.

Now, why I don’t love the program.

  1. They didn’t randomize the presentation of the cards. For example, when I was doing animals, my first pass thru I received a low-enough score that I wanted to try again. I had in mind that the first question I had gotten wrong was the frog. So when I saw the word ‘rana’ and didn’t know what it meant, I thought, “Oh that’s probably ‘frog'” — but that is different than my actually having learned that ‘rana’ meant ‘frog’ — instead I learned that the first set of cards I didn’t know the answer to had ‘frog’ as the answer.
  2. On more advanced concepts, if you get it incorrect, you can’t always figure out what the word means. For example on the screen below the word is es bajo and I didn’t know what that meant
    iPhone App to Learn Spanish
    So when I looked at the 4 pictures, here is what my brain thought, “woman with long hair”, “little boy”, “nose” or “looking up”, and “man”. Even when by guessing and getting it wrong, I ultimately settle on the boy, I don’t realize that the phrase “es bajo” means he “is low”. I didn’t see any way of getting additional help other than opening up a Spanish dictionary application. This seems like a substantial oversight.
  3. It is primarily a vocabulary builder with a somewhat limited vocabulary. It is not going to take you much beyond your first college year of Spanish.

Conclusion: If you are just beginning to learn Spanish or want a refresher, then download this iPhone app and start learning Spanish while having fun. Meanwhile I’m going to look at some other iPhone apps out there. Or maybe I’ll play this one a few more times…. It IS fun!

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