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Keep your Word : Language Learning

Keep your Word : Language Learning

Being a teacher by profession I know just how important it is for children to learn a second language. Sadly as a pupil I always struggled with the labourious action of learning French and German ‘vocab’ and spent more time learning langages such as Basic and Pascal which is something I now actually regret.

Following the recent European Day of Languages I have been encouraging my own children to learn a second language and despite having never actually visited Spain they have progressed beyond counting to creating their own short sentences.

A new application for Mac has been released that is going to make language learning that little bit easier in the form of “Keep Your Word” (KYW).  Keep Your Word lets you build your own dictionaries, classifying and grouping the terms exactly how you want to, but at the same time helps you learn a large vocabulary thanks to its brilliant exercise modes.

Getting Started

If the thought of starting your dictionary from scratch is a complete turn off then panic not. KYW offers the ability to import downloaded user created dictionaries from and these offer a really quick and easy way to get KYW up and going.

It should be noted that Wordsparade site is a community so once you get to the stage of creating your own word banks it is worth considering adding them to the website for others to use.


To get started I downloaded the French to English dictionary and loaded the file with KYW. I was surprised just how many words were included in this dictionary, almost 2000 French words with their direct English translation.

KYWA large list of nearly 2000 words can be particularly daunting but KYW allows you to manage your dictionary easily :

  • Manually classify vocabulary.
    Drag and drop words to and from any of the default categories. Add, delete, rename, relocate categories as you wish.
  • Automatically classify vocabulary.
    Smart Groups, similar to iTunes smart lists, are your friends. Tag your words, add comments, and let the app do the rest.

Keep Your Word offers four methods of revising and testing your knowledge of your dictionary. Flash Cards, Quick Quiz, Printed Test and Written Test.

My particular favourite option is the Quick Quiz. KYW word uses a really nice graphical system a little like iTunes Cover Flow to scan through the questions for revision.

quizKeep Your Word offers a really nice way to learn but better still if offers an almost hidden Gem for Language teachers (and I am going to ask a few colleagues to post in the comments on this app) as once you have built your various word dictionaries homeworks and class tests are about to become even easier.

testClick the Printed Test button and Keep Your Word creates a printable version of your vocabulary list.

In the example below I was given the option of printing the French word (so the pupils give the English), but KYW offers the the ability to print the English words so pupils have the give the French or even both permutations.

Running the test on my imported dictionary  created a test of the full 1900 words which is a particularly cruel test even by my standards.

To create smaller more manageable tests you can use the Smart Groups system to reduce the list down to any number of questions.

Better still you can create any number of Smart Groups so theoretically you can produce a test  for each year group you teach using the same dictionary.

The fact OSX offers the ability to print to PDF means vocabulary tests can be created in Portable Document Format for inclusion on school networks or better Virtual Learning Environments such as Moodle. (Five Steps to Moodle Success).

twitterKey Features.

  • Printable bingo games.
  • Printable flash cards.
  • Words and flashcards support audio and images.
  • Twitter integration.
  • iChat Theater integration.
  • iPhone client.
  • You don’t need to be a computer expert to use it.

Keep Your Word is a really nice Flash Card revision system that although particularly advantageous for Language education could equally be useful in any subject where definitions need to be revised.

Input is very simple but the added advantage of being able to download dictionaries online makes KYW a real useful application for any learner.

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