A brilliant technique to teach yourself words in a foreign language whilst sitting at your computer
The most difficult aspect of learning any new language is the vocabulary. It doesn’t matter how great you are at grammar or pronouncing things, in the end everything comes down to the words that you learn as well as how you comprehend them. Plus, it is not easy to beat flashcards when it comes to teaching yourself any new words. The Byki Deluxe program is a superb flashcard program – probably one of the best that you can get hold of.
You should make the most of the multimedia services of Mac because it’s got files of words and expressions that are audio, a system for recording so that you can assess your own pronunciation with an indigenous speaker, and a number of useful games and tests. You receive some MP3 files that you can use on your iPod, which also means that you have the option to listen and learn whilst you’re on the move.
The pronunciation teacher on Byki is really helpful although you can’t ask them any questions as there is no interaction.
We tried the Spanish edition that had 153 lists and over 2,100 words and expressions that incorporates almost every situation and has some fairly strange words that are likely to be unknown to even experienced speakers. Additional lists that are generated by Byki users themselves can be downloaded too. If you want, you have the option to generate your own lists aswell.
Even though Byki is a brilliant program that uses flashcards you must remember that it is just a vocabulary instructor. You will not get any grammar tuition, the teacher who does the pronunciation is a direct tool only and does not have the capacity to assist you in enhancing your Spanish (spoken) in any depth, plus, you can’t rely on it to develop your fluency or comprehension of lengthy dialogues.
Overall, the Byki's Deluxe program is incredibly effective and you have the option to buy it in plenty of different languages, as well as some ambiguous ones like Tuvan. Is anyone out there familiar with this one? As already mentioned, it is a really helpful tool when it comes to developing your vocabulary.
We own the multi-language edition of this piece of software and it has Italian, Spanish, German and French. Therefore, we are reviewing every single-language edition so that anybody who wants to shop for any language-learning program will be aware of what to expect from it very precisely.
Before You Know It (Byki) incorporates the flashcard methodology to teach vocabulary in four distinct ways. All the words and expressions are separated into lists according to their grouping. The user chooses a list to start off with and then moves to an exercise that they decide to study all the content of, which is on that particular list. The Deluxe edition offers some additional exercises that aren’t included in the free edition, however the two editions utilise computer-generated flashcards in the following manner:
You have to look at the new vocabulary and guess what it is. You can do this out loud or quietly inside your head – it’s entirely up to you as the program relies on you to be honest and inform it if your answer is correct or not. The software says the word out loud for you so that you can understand how it is pronounced correctly.
You need to take a look at the new word and type it in English inside the space that is provided to you. You can’t cheat as the software will be able to tell if you have got the answer right or not. The words that you have to spend more time learning will repeat themselves quite regularly.
You must see the English word and try to guess what the foreign word is. One more time, the software relies on you to be truthful.
You must see the English word first and then type in the relevant foreign word here. We found this stage to be the most useful as you need to be familiar with the word and know how it is spelt, including all the relevant accent marks.
You can obtain everything above if you have the basic edition of Before You Know It, which you can download on the internet without any charges – yes, it’s free. Maybe you should try the free edition before you go out and buy the deluxe package.
Byki Deluxe Edition
This version offers you four additional exercises that include multiple choices, practicing your pronunciation by recording your own voice and comparing how you pronounce things with an indigenous speaker (warning: the software package doesn’t have a microphone), plus dictation (this repeats stage four of the segment in the flashcards).
The reason why we bought the deluxe package is that you can customise the programme in various ways:
- Firstly, you can add words to any list that you want. All you're expected to do is search the vocabulary that you’d like to learn online, or from a dictionary and include it to the relevant section.
- Any user is capable of deleting whatever word they want from any list.
- Users can copy whatever word they want from any of the lists.
- Users can change any vocabulary from any list. This is really useful when you study Spanish as you may wish to alter the conversion from European to Latin American.
- Users can generate full lists and classifications that are personal to them, add their individual pictures and record their personal voices to show their pronunciation of every word. Users have the option to generate lists for any topics they want to learn about – this doesn’t just include a language.
- Users have the option to download extra lists for free from the BYKI site including things like the capitals of states, periodic tables that are related to chemistry, multiplication tables (maths), and plenty more. Moreover, users can sign up to the “list of the week” for free. A fresh list is sent to you every week through email.
- This package assists you in mastering all your foreign words and knows how to say useful expressions. You will not learn about conjugation apart from when you research the grammatical formula for every word independently and include it to your personal list.
So, the customisation options are virtually never-ending providing you are prepared and capable of devoting the time that’s needed to do it. The package basically enhances your vocabulary, therefore, if you use it on its own then it will not turn you into an articulate speaker – this isn’t possible.
The primary aim of BYKI is to offer a language course for all the different languages out there on this planet – maybe they’re a bit grand, however, they definitely cover so many. Thus, exactly what do you get on a Byki syllabus? The purpose of this particular article is to highlight both the positive and negative aspects of Byki’s language technique.
Byki doesn’t claim to be fully comprehensive
It’s important to mention that Byki doesn’t claim to offer a comprehensive solution to learning a language. It is only designed to supplement a broader learning programme such as Rosetta Stone or Pimsleur. Byki mainly deals with learning vocabulary off by heart, plus it uses various creative strategies to assist you throughout the process. The system arrives with various sections (that are known as lists) that are for beginners, intermediate and advanced students. The lists vary from cooking words to verbs. A particular word is presented on a flashcard in English or your chosen language and you are given the time to interpret the vocabulary prior to turning the card and viewing the translation. The word is shown more frequently if you do not get it right so that you can dedicate it to your memory, which is the fundamental hypothesis of the Byki system.
Plenty of diverse exercises to help keep you motivated
Whilst the only purpose of Byki is to teach vocabulary, there are 6 separate exercises that make things a lot more stimulating and fun. The exercises included are:
Multiple Choice Questions
In this exercise you are shown a flashcard and you are given four potential options that you can select from.
Filling in the Blanks
You are shown a small expression here that has a word missing from it. It is down to you to type the missing word in.
This exercise is essential for anybody who is learning a language and does not get the chance to talk to native speakers. Here you listen to a native speaker pronounce certain words and then practice saying them yourself with your microphone. There is a pronunciation meter that scores how well you pronounce the words from beginners’ level to advance.
The full content of a list is revealed individually with word whirl over a minimalist, yet captivating background. The only thing that you’re required to do is observe it. It is a fantastic thing to do prior to completing other exercises.
This is similar to the “pairs in the flashcard game where each card is positioned faced down in front of you and you are only allowed to turn over two cards at a time. The purpose of this exercise is to locate a match, or 'pair'. The difference is that the first card has got the word in English and the second card has the word in the new language that you are learning
In this exercise you’re given a middle card that is vertical at all times and is bordered by four other cards that are faced downwards. The cards that are faced downwards are quickly shown and are then faced down one more time. It’s up to you to recognise the card that pairs up with the card in the centre.
Make Personal Lists
The great thing about Byki is that it has a customisable format so you won’t just be left with the few lists that it arrives with when you first buy it. Actually, you can download some lists for free off the internet and these lists cover all sorts of topics. By far, the greatest things about Byki is that you generate your own lists, which is particularly advantageous for all those dedicated learners out there. If you wish to learn a particular subject, for instance, the grammatical structures of verbs, you have the option to generate a list that has a lot of words – as many as you’d like, plus test yourself frequently with exercises that have been highlighted above.
Check Your Progression
Byki offers a method of tracking how well you are progressing. Each one of the items that have been learned are recorded and then saved inside a list that is separated into “new” and “old” items. The new items are words that you have recently taught yourself and the old ones are words and expressions that you have not had the chance to practice for some time. This method is incredibly helpful because it enables you to see the words that you learned some time ago again and ensure that you still remember them.
Once you’ve finished all the exercises within a specific list, you have several testing modalities that you're able to use – 4 in total.
The first is a Self-Reporting Test – You will be shown a flash card and you have to say what it means to yourself prior to the card being turned over and the answer being revealed to you. You have to tell Byki if you got the answer right or not. Your overall results will be revealed to and recorded once you finish the test. This is an excellent way of monitoring your progress regularly.
Written Test – unlike the test that is self-reported, you do not utter the right answer to yourself. You need to write the answers down within the space that is provided to you instead.
Listening Comprehension – This tests involves you listening to the words in your chosen language and having to type their English meaning.
Dictation - this test involves you listening to a particular word that is pronounced by a native speaker and then typing what you hear, which is a brilliant way of improving your listening skills.
Byki has many things to offer to language learners, however, you need to be aware that it doesn't offer an all-encompassing language learning program. If you use it correctly, for example, as an addition to another learning technique, it is definitely beneficial. It’s particularly worthwhile if you are learning a language already. If you use Byki, you will memorise things that you have already taught yourself. We are really impressed by how Byki continually reveals your most problematic vocabulary. The Byki process has lots of variety, plus several exercises and tests that are different. This means that it has a certain durability value and it offers something diverse and fresh to trial out, hence you want to go back for more. The Byki program is very economical and definitely great value for your money.
We’ve been studying French and Spanish for 4 years and developed a real love for languages. Byki has certainly helped us learn a significant amount of vocabulary and useful expressions along the way, therefore, we give it an overall 8/10.