Language Software Review: Byki Arabic
Arabic Byki Express Desktop Software
I've been learning Arabic using the free Byki Expressdesktop software. Byki is a language learning system that offers seventy-four language courses. You can download the free Byki Express version to start with, and, if you find it good going, upgrade to the more extensive premium Byki Deluxe version for $69.95. You can also browse the Byki online community and look at some of the excellent vocabulary lists created by other users.
Byki doesn't waste time teaching you grammatical rules; you get right down to words and phrases. Language researchers have found that it is much easier to learn a second language using this route. The larger your vocabulary, the easier the learning. And, if the learning can be fun too, all the better. This is certainly the case with the Bykiflashcards.
For starters, I signed up at the Byki website and then downloaded the free Byki software for learning Arabic from the Byki Free Language Software section. Depending on the speed of your Internet connection, it can take about a minute or somewhat longer for the download and installation. You will see a window with the message, 'Choose a language for the program interface,' with two choices: Español or English. You can choose your language, and then a welcome window appears with a list of users on the left and 'OK,' 'add new user,' 'delete user,' 'restore learned items,' and 'close program' buttons on the right. I clicked on my user name on the right and then clicked the OK button. The interface window appeared, showing a card list title with the number of cards on the right and the three steps for learning on the left.
In step 1, you preview the cards, each of which have a photograph explaining the word or phrase, its written form in Arabic script, and its English translation along with a clearly enunciated audio of that word by a native Arabic speaker.
In step 2, you look at cards with the Arabic written form of the words or phrases, listen to the Arabic audio of the same, and then try to remember what the English equivalent is. You click on whether you got it right or wrong, try again if you got it wrong, and then proceed to writing down the correct English translation in the blank box provided under the card. If you type the correct answer, you get a green smiley face saying 'That's right,' otherwise a red one saying 'Sorry. Try again.'
In step 3, you look at the cards with the English written form and think or say it in Arabic and then flip the card to see and hear if you got it right. Then you look at the English written form and try your hand at writing the Arabic form in the blank box under the card using a special character online keyboard. This was the trickiest part for me; you really need to know the twenty-eight letters of the Arabic alphabet before attempting this, or you need to have a window open showing the Arabic writing so you know what to pick.
Lists and Experience
There are twelve lists in total in the free Arabic program. These are:
- 01 Quick Start - 14 cards
- 02 Quick Start - 13 cards
- 03 Quick Start - 13 cards
- Animals 1 (words) - 18 cards
- Colors (words) - 12 cards
- Days of the Week 1 (words) - 8 cards
- Meeting and Greeting 1 (phrases) - 16 cards
- Meeting and Greeting 2 (phrases) - 16 cards
- Numbers: Cardinal (words) - 11 cards
- Taking a taxi 1 (words) - 13 cards
- Taking ataxi 2 (phrases) - 13 cards
- Taking a Taxi 3 (phrases) - 17 cards
You can supplement these with the Arabic lists written by other users in the Byki community.
Overall, except for the Arabic script writing part, this was a fun learning process. The software repeats the cards several times so the words and phrases really sink in. Going through the cards for twenty-five to thirty minutes everyday should give you a good start in learning Arabic.
- Byki Express - http://www.byki.com/fls/free-arabic-software-download.html?l=arabic