AMITIAE - Thursday 20 March 2014
Lingua Latina: There are apps for it of course - Latin Lexicon Dictionary and Latin 700 Quiz
By Graham K. Rogers
A search in the App Store had mixed results. As well as a couple of language apps, I was also offered a number that were connected to Latin music. I finally decided on two that might help: Latin Lexicon Dictionary 1.1 and Latin 700 Quiz. Both were priced at $0.99.
Latin Lexicon DictionaryThe basis of this app appears to be a fairly strong search engine coupled with a database of some 17,000 Latin words. While the app is likely to be useful for someone with a little Latin ability, it might take some guesswork for someone with more limited skills to come up with the right answers.
To check, I tried a few test words. For example, farm gave me no results. Nor did agriculture. However, when I deleted part of the word, arriving at agric gave me a list of several Latin words. Tapping the first of these agricola which I knew was Farmer, a panel appeared with a considerable amount of useful information, starting with etymology - giving me more root words - and then inflection, which every student who ever learned Latin would be familiar with.
Latin 700 QuizThe app, Latin 700 Quiz, has a series of learning modules that help a learner in the study of Latin. However, with the output requiring some knowledge before answering most of the questions, this is not for a student with a zero level of Latin.
I tried the Latin learning module and was able to answer correctly the first half dozen or so questions: a word with four options. However, the Numbers section was confusing, as in some cases the four answers given did not match the test word. For example, viginti unus had choices of 8, 12, 2 and 4. The correct answer is 21.
There was a similar problem with the Multiple choice quiz with some answers not matching the options available. When the learning module was numbers, the multiple choice questions were also numbers. Selecting Latin as the learning module, changed these to vocabulary items. The same was so of the really useful Flashcards.
The Glossary listed about 700 English words with the Latin equivalents alongside, so was another useful aspect of the app. A Glossary button was available at the top of the flashcard screens and other learning modules, along with Flashcards, Quiz and Home buttons for quicker navigation.
Latin Language news opens a browser page at novaroma.org which looks like a wiki page for Latin and is "an international organization dedicated to the study and restoration of ancient Roman culture". While I examined the English section, there are also pages in other languages.
The app has a lot of content and several ways in which this can be used as a teaching/learning tool. Apart from the problem with numbers, the rest of the app makes a lot of sense and would be useful for someone trying to learn the rudiments of the language.
CommentsNeither of the apps fits the bill of my student friend's needs, although both go part of the way. Perhaps there are no easy answers. Of the two apps I preferred the Latin Lexicon Dictionary 1.1 because I already have the knowledge that can make better use of its considerable content.
Apart from those number peculiarities, Latin 700 Quiz also has a lot to be said for it as this is the type of learning tool that reinforces content as part of a learning process.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs.
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