Want a vast unabridged Spanish/English dictionary app? Or a Spanish-language thesaurus at your digital whim? Check out the complete dictionary and thesaurus apps from Word Magic. The developer is offering twenty promo codes for Musicuentos readers. Read my review and information on the giveaway below.
The Word Magic dictionary is admittedly an expensive app at just under $25. So why would someone drop that much money on a Spanish/English dictionary when you can get the WordReference app for free? Good question. The answer is that the WM dictionary has lots of features (and I mean LOTS) that distinguish it from an app like WordReference. The most obvious is that it works offline. This is super important to someone like me, probably my favorite feature. I don’t have a smartphone; I have an iPad and an iPod. Which means that when I’m not within reach of wifi, I can’t access apps that require a network connection. And I am raising my children bilingual by speaking to them in Spanish, but I am not a native speaker, which means as I move throughout my day I find gaps in my lexicon. When I’m out and about, there was nothing I could do about that except insert English words into my sentences – until I got this app. I can look up words anytime, anywhere.
My other favorite feature is in the word unabridged. I am not a native speaker of Spanish, but I am a very proficient speaker. Abridged dictionaries annoy me because if I’m looking for a word, it’s not a word like table or jump, it’s something like burp cloth. I mean, check out the scope of this app:
- 1,190,000+ entries
- 2,000,000+ translations
- 3,572,000+ synonyms
- 740,000+ antonyms, 197,000+ definitions
- 96,000+ examples
- 146,000+ quotes
- 66,000+ images
I’ve included a bunch of screenshots here to give you a feel for how the app works, using a couple of words I’ve been looking at lately, bruise and handle.
The basic function on the app is buscar. Search for any word, English or Spanish. Information that may be part of the entry includes:
- the word
- its pronunciation (I love this! I mean, love love love it!)
- variations of the word
- its part of speech and other categorization
- translations, which you can simply tap to go to the entry for those words (love this too!)
- same-language definitions, examples, and citations - which you can also hear.
When you look up a word, it comes up, but so do a bunch of phrases it’s a part of. So, Word Magic has taken care of something that’s pretty difficult on WordReference – finding ways to translate expressions and phrases.
One of the words I fight with a lot is handle. It’s such a simple word in English and refers to so many things. I can never remember the words for it in Spanish. What’s the handle on the toilet called? A doorknob? What about the handle on a grocery bag? A hammer? A desk drawer? So frustrating. If you look up handle in Spanish, sure enough you get a whole bunch of translations.
Like I mentioned before, you can tap on any of these words to take you to their definition and translation. And this brings me to another one of my favorite features of this app – often there’s a picture to accompany the other information. When I’m looking up something as nuanced as handle, no words are worth as much to me as a simple picture of what’s being referred to!
Also, simply tap the star in the upper right corner to make the word a favorite, which essentially creates a flashcard set of words that you want to remember/work on (by tapping “favorites” on the bottom menu).
Any word you can look up automatically gets filed into your historial, which you can access anytime by tapping that category at the bottom of the screen. Also, you can go back to where you were, or forward to where you came from, at any point by tapping the arrows on either side of a definition screen. I love this feature too – simple but makes it so easy to navigate, especially when you’re checking the nuances of several “synonyms,” like I do.
As another option, if you just want to learn a new word, shake your device to receive a random word!
More great features: Use the ajustes section to change many settings, such as what you see and don’t see in an entry. Choose (check this!) what voice you hear when you want to hear a pronunciation. American man? Got that. Latin American woman? Two of her. Spanish man? Got him. You can even change the speed of the voice or set the Spanish phonetics to regions like Rioplatense or Caribe or even Andalucía! Word Magic is even culturally sensitive. You can change the flag that appears to show you a word is English to Great Britain, Australia, or Canada, for Spanish to Mexico or Argentina. Don’t like the type? Change to one of more than two dozen fonts. Want to see more on a screen or having trouble reading the type? Make the size smaller or larger (five options here!) You can even select from a variety of color schemes.
One last thing about this app – you can connect your Dropbox account to it.
On to the synonyms app, a much less expensive and simpler app but very similar in appearance and use. Again, with the examples machucar and agarradera:
Here’s what I love about this, and why every Spanish teacher and student (especially advanced ones) should have it – there’s no translation. If you’ve read me very long, you know I am not a fan of translation because it creates the wrong kind of connections in the brain between concepts and words, namely slow connections that have to route through the English to get to the Spanish. I love monolingual dictionaries and other target-language explanations of words because they make the student use the target language to figure out the meaning of an unknown word. And that’s what this does. Also, as we push our students to use deeper vocabulary, this app gives more options for them to find words that are exactly that.
So, ready to win an app? There are a few ways to win:
- Comment below with your name and email and let me and Word Magic know why you’d like to own these apps.
- Like Musicuentos on Facebook and like the entry showing this blog post.
- Follow me on Twitter and tweet this giveaway post (be sure to mention @Musicuentos in your tweet).
Depending on the popularity of this giveaway, twenty winners will be randomly selected to receive both of these apps.
Tags: AP Spanish, apps, tools, vocabulary.