German is one of the world’s major languages and the most widely spoken first language in the European Union. As such, learning German will appeal to ex-pats living in a German speaking country (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Lichtenstein) and to those wishing to do business in what is one of Europe’s leading languages.
The author, for his part, is an ex-pat living in a German speaking region of Switzerland. He had vague remnants of school-boy German, still floating round his melon, upon arrival in Zürich. He was pleasantly surprised at how much he actually did remember after all those years. Amazed at what progress he could make with a few well chosen hand-signals (and a grunt) thrown in!
To save himself some embarrassment, speed his shopping transactions and attempt to meet new people however; he made a half-hearted attempt to rekindle his linguistic interests. He bought the usual CDs & books and even attended a course for a while. Unfortunately working in an international environment, where English was the working language, did little but curtail the desire to learn. (That’s his defense anyway).
Fast forward a few years to where friends and colleagues are flabbergasted that somebody can live in a country for so long and not learn the language. This time our hero took his lessons seriously (and even stumped up some hard earned in advance; to dissuade him from dropping out).
He found himself a good German school, with an excellent teacher and motivated students. (Five lessons a week, Mon to Fri, with weekly tests). This time, he paid attention and actually started making some real progress.
Having just started iPhone development, he distilled his revision notes and ideas into a form that would sit nicely in his pocket. He’d seen dictionary and translator apps on-line; but nothing really geared toward revision. Plus most apps were English/German focused. Where-as his classmates were more of a mixed bag (e.g. Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French).
He designed dVise to fill the gap. Something to help revise the grammar rules, reminders wrt sentence construction, verb conjugations and which prepositions to use. Something allowing a user to download their own word-lists, for their particular area of interest and more importantly their own mother tongue.
No software will replace a decent language course. You won’t learn German by reading a book cover to cover. You do, however, need to practice as much as possible: speaking, listening, reading and writing. Whenever you can.
dVise was written for those of you already attending a course. Not to replace your text books and classroom study; rather to supplement your revision tool-set and maximize your coverage. Courses usually imply weekly testing, to guage your progress. Carry dVise in your pocket and make the most of stray moments that present themselves, as study opportunities, each day. Swap a little game-play time for a little study time for a change!
Enuff of the sales pitch already. Actually I only wanted to mention that v0.2 is available on the App Store if you wanna go check it out. Plus, we cobbled together a quick demo video, which you can find here. But a two sentence blog wouldn’t really have had as much impact now, would it? ;o)