How often do you come across nice words or expressions when you browse the internet? Do you save them anywhere? How to make it fast, without copying, pasting or typing them into dictionaries and translators?
These are the questions I asked myself a while ago and suddenly found an amazing Android app – My Word List (it seems the app is unavailable for Apple). If you’re reading this article on your phone, the link should work. If from your browser, you might need a VPN.
Although you’ll see ‘in-app purchases’ on the app page, I haven’t found any. No ads either. It has a clean and easy to use interface.
Here are some of its features (I took them from the description on Google Play and edited a bit):
- You can look up words right from the browser and some other apps (e.g. news apps).
- It has an offline dictionary with over 800,000 terms, over 1 million offline example sentences (!), pronunciation in UK and US accents as well as online translations to over 100 languages. The app also shows word frequency.
- You can open any word in other services, e.g. Google Images, Wikipedia, Urban Dictionary and YouGlish, right in the app.
- You can add any word to your own list, including the ones not in the dictionary, add your own notes and pictures (this is especially useful if you want to save some longer phrases). Then you can organise your words into groups and use them to create flashcards.
- You can assign learning levels to your words, create flashcards, set goals for learning and practise Spaced Repetition. If you like stats, you’ll see plenty of them: total, daily, weekly and monthly stats.
- There are ready word lists to study to prepare for GRE, SAT, TOEFL, GMAT, IELTS, etc.
- You can import your own word lists into the application and also backup and save your data to a text file. There’s automatic backup/restore in your google account. If you reinstall the app under the same account, your data will be restored.
- There a tool inside called Word Finder. If you copy a text there, it will highlight the words which are in your list. That is an interesting thing to experiment with if you’re learning some new vocab from an article. You can then copy parts of it and check yourself how well you remember the new words.
I haven’t really experimented with learning levels, goals and flashcards because I’m not a fan of measuring progress through the number of words learnt. But I guess you can set up a nice system of revision if you like these things.
What I most like about the app is that you have everything in one place – definitions, examples, translation, even YouGlish, Google Pictures and other dictionaries (before I had to use all these sources separately). You can check your word quickly and add it to your list.
And groups! It makes it so much easier to sort your new vocab. But be careful: if you delete a group, you’ll delete all the words that belong to it as well.
Also the information about the frequency of the word is pretty useful (to understand synonyms better, for example), and especially the fact that you can sort by it. For example, in my list there are a lot of bookish words of low frequency (from The Lord of the Rings), so I don’t care much if I remember them or not because I won’t use them in speech. On the other hand, when I look at their translation, I understand that my Russian passive vocab is still much larger than my English one.
See below my screenshots with some comments.
What do you think of the app? Do you know an equivalent of it for Apple? If you do, please, share in the comments.