There’s an app for literally everything these days and Spanish dictionaries are no exception. But how do today’s apps measure up against the long-established paper dictionary that has been the language students’ trusty companion for generations? We examine the pros and cons of each.
The app wins hands down on portability and convenience. With no books to carry around and a large vocabulary at your fingertips, the Spanish app is certainly a very useful tool for anyone learning the language. They’re great for speedily looking up the odd word that you might have forgotten while you’re on the go, and they’re invaluable when you’re travelling to a Spanish-speaking country and don’t want to use up your baggage allowance with heavy reference books.
Some apps even include a voice recognition feature, which can be handy when you don’t know how to spell a word or you’re trying to have a conversation with someone and are struggling to understand something they are saying. However, these features don’t always accurately capture the words being spoken, particularly if there is a lot of background noise.
We do find though that most apps can’t yet compete with the breadth and depth of information contained in a paper dictionary, and the traditional dictionary tends to fare much better when it comes to giving in-depth definitions and examples of the usage of words in different contexts. Apps are developing all the time and have some exciting capabilities which are sure to get even better in the future, and in our opinion every tool that can help in any small way when you are learning Spanish is a force for good, so our advice is make the most of them, but don’t throw your dictionaries away just yet.