It’s easy to see the appeal of apps such as Spanish Tutor from 24/7 Tutor. Apps like this one help you learn or practice a language at home and when you’re waiting in a grocery line, getting your car repaired or similar situations where you need to kill a little time.
Spanish Tutor is a Lite version of the 24/7 Tutor’s Spanish 1 app, which sells for $4.99. The company attempts to make learning Spanish easy with a series of six modules (not counting the edition) that you can build on.
Spanish Tutor features a set of simple words and phrases, organized into topics such as town & country, food & dining and opposites, and simple phrases such as “Do you need anything?” and Can you write it down?”
If you want to practice words in a category, your quiz options are multiple choice, puzzle, write in and flash card. In the puzzle and write-in quizzes, you fill in the blanks by tapping letters from a grid. In flash card mode, you’re given a written phrase and asked to speak it.
At every juncture in these quizzes, you’ll find a megaphone icon in the lower left-corner that will give you verbal cues on how to say words and phrases in Spanish.
I don’t speak much Spanish and I can see how I could learn enough to get around in a foreign country using a more sophisticated app. I speak French, another Romance language with the same roots as Spanish, so I was able to get a good sense of how well Spanish Tutor works for a novice.
There’s a lot more to learning a language than words and phrases, obviously. You won’t learn enough to hold a conversation using only this app, but that’s not its purpose. It’s mainly intended to give you a taste of, and perhaps an incentive, to step up to the more capable modules.
Spanish Tutor‘s graphical user interface is somewhat crude. Some sentences begin in lowercase. Sometimes they are punctuated; other times, not. The background color is a dull beige-y, tan and the typeface is bland. I’m probably asking for too much in a app. On the other hand, it doesn’t give me much incentive to try 27/7 Tutor’s line up when there are dozens of others to compare it too.