I saw a Before You Know It (BKYI) ad from Google Adsense not too long ago on my previous Blogspot site about learning Korean with free software and so went to the BYKI website to look for the advertised free download. And, no this isn’t a sponsored or affliated post
Click this! Click this! Just kidding
Transparent Language offers lite versions of its Before You Know It langauge learning software. There are wordlists for a total of 63 languages as well as additional user-submitted wordlists in BYKI ListCentral Beta up for free download. Languages range from common ones like French and Chinese to less frequently seen languages like Tuvan. (spoken in Russia, China and Mongolia)
Each language download comprises an small downloader application which will then download 15 to 20 MB of data comprising of the actual application installer as well as the wordlists for that langauge. It does not download the actual application installer (around 12 MB) if you have already installed BYKI Lite on your computer so installing additional langauges is a breeze.
BYKI is essentially a flashcard application where words on a virtual flashcard are shown along with accompanying audio pronounication. You then have the additional option of showing the word in English or the language you’re learning and then typing the correct answer in the other language. The available modes in the Lite version can be summarized as below.
- Review It: View all flashcards in the list
- Recognize It: View a flashcard with a word in a foreign language and mentally think of the corresponding word in English
- Know It: View a flashcard with a word in a foreign language and type the corresponding word in English
- Produce It: View a flashcard with a word in English and mentally think of the corresponding word in the foreign language
- Own It: View a flashcard with a word in English and type the corresponding word in the foreign language
© Transparent Language
Review it mode (top) and Know It mode (bottom) using a Bahasa Melayu wordlist
BYKI Lite comes with around 17 lists of words per language about numbers, colours, days as well as those basic phrases commonly used in travel, meal or business scenarios.
The Deluxe version costs 39.95 to 49.95 USD per language and on top of additional 75+ wordlists over the 17 lists in the Lite version, it offers additional ways to learn a language like voice recording for practicing pronunication as well as the ability to take your lessons with you on iPods and other MP3 players.
I personally prefer these flashcard apps over audiobooks since I find that I remember things better when I can visually recgonize the word. Also, audio books usually need to be listened to in an entire episode to be fully effective.
Currently I’m working on improving my Malay, Vietnamese and German words and phrases with BYKI . From my expriences, it definitely wouldn’t make you an expert in any language since you also need to learn extra stuff like sentence structure which I don’t think is possible with BYKI. It’s a great way to see if you’re really interested in a langauge plus there’s totally no harm (and expense) trying since it’s a free download
For those interested in keeping a backup of the actual installer, run the downloader application under Sandboxie (More about Sandboxie here) and go to Contents of Sandbox > Explore Contents and browse to user\current\Local Settings\Temp\BYKI0.TMP once the Installation screen appears.
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