Egyptian Arabic Dictionary: iPhone/iPad help

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Introduction

The Egyptian Arabic Dictionary for iPad and iPhone contains a huge amount of information: some of it only accessible by touching displayed items. Generally speaking, any item that is coloured will do something if you touch it: items in black or grey are for information only.

Navigation bar and menus

In each view, there is a navigation bar at the top of the screen. On the left, there is usually a button that returns you to the previous view. On the right, there is a button that gives access to the menu.

Navigation bar

Main menu

When you touch the menu button, a menu of views appears. It looks like this:

Main menu

You can either select one of the view buttons, or press the Cancel button the return to the existing view.

Word menu

If you touch a word, you will see a menu of options that are available for this word:

Word menu

If you select one of the first three options, the app will display the requested view. If you select add to vocabulary, the word that you touched will be added to your personal vocabulary list. To return to the existing view, select the Cancel option.

Element menu

If you touch a grammatical element (eg noun or adjective), you will see a menu of options that are available for this element:

Element menu

If you select See examples, the app will show you examples that include the selected grammatical element. To return to the existing view, select the Cancel option.

Views

The app has eight information views: six of them are accessed from the menu, and the other two by touching words in other views.

Four other views are accessible from the main menu:

Finally, there are two views that are only accessible from the Vocabulary view:

Search view

When you first start the app, this view appears. You can usually return to it using the Menu.

There are two stages to the search view: in the first stage, you can specify the word to search for, and in the second stage you will see the closest matches to the word that you are looking for.

Specifying a word

Search- English keyboard

At the top left you will see a code that specifies the language that you want to use to search for words: touch this code to change it. If EN is displayed, the app will display english words with similar spellings. For each similar word, it will also display the arabic words with corresponding meanings.

Next, type in a word to look for. You don't need to spell it exactly: in the next stage, the app will display a selection of the most similar words. You can enter a word using the keyboard provided by the app, or touch the Search for field and then use the system keyboard. You will probably find it easier to use the system keyboard to type in words in your own language, and the app keyboard if you are not so familiar with the language.

On the app keyboard, the keys are laid out in straight alphabetical order, so that it's easier for english people to find letters on the egyptian keyboard, and vice versa. If you select searching in arabic, you can have the keyboard labelled either in arabic or european letters- you can change this by touching the the keyboard code, which is next to the language code.

English users may be surprised to see that there are no short vowels on the arabic keyboard: this is normal when writing arabic. It is not a problem, though: for example, typing in ktb will find both kitab and kutub

Arabic keyboard, european letters Arabic keyboard, arabic letters

At the right hand side, below the search word, are three keys:

Search results

Search results

When you touch the Search button, the keyboard will be replaced by a list containing several groups of words: you can scroll down to see more. In each group there will be:

Arabic words will appear in european writing on the left and in arabic writing on the right. Use Preferences view to adjust the layout of items on this display

For search word or related word, the app displays the following details:

ItemExampleTouch action
language codeEN
wordappleword menu
usage rating
Verbverb details
Examplesexamples for this word
element codenelement menu
notes

The Verb and Examples buttons appear only if the corresponding information is available. The usage rating is a star-rating: the more points on the star, the more common the word.

If you click on the button for a word group, the word entry will expand to show the thesaurus category and the grammatical forms for each word. You can click on the button to collapse it again.

Search results with expanded word

For each form of a related word, the app displays:

ItemExampleTouch action
play buttonhear the word
wordchildren
form codeplsee full name eg plural

If you click on the thesaurus category, you will go to the thesaurus view, which will show you words with similar or related meanings.

Thesaurus view

Thesaurus view

You can get to the thesaurus view from the menu, or by touching a thesaurus category in other views.

At the top of the screen, there are three controls

If you entered by clicking on a thesaurus category in a different view, the details should be be set for this category. If you entered from the menu, you should set the controls in the order that they appear. Touch on each button to see a list of the available options.

The app displays a list of words with similar meanings in the source language, together with related words in the other language. The format is the same as for the search view.

Example view

Example view

You can get to the examples view in three ways, depending on which examples you want to see.

The screen is divided into three sections.

Move through the set of examples

The top section is used to move through the set of examples, using left and right buttons. If there are a lot of examples, a slider bar appears between the two buttons. Below this is an indicator that shows you how far through the set you are, eg "13 of 20".

Example and translation

The middle section shows the example, in european and arabic writing. One of the words is pale blue: the full details for this word are displayed below. To select a different word, just touch the word.

Example pronoun Example pronoun

Pronoun suffixes are shown separately from the word, to make the sentence easier to understand. If this happens, you will normally see a tatweel extending out from both the word and the suffix.

When mish is wrapped around another word, if you touch either half, both halves go pale blue.

Following the example is a translation of the example, and any notes about it.

Current word

The final section shows details of the word that is currently selected in the example (the word that is pale blue).

You can use the Preferences view to adjust the size of items on this display

Vocabulary view

You can get to the vocabulary view from the menu.

You can use this view to manage a personal vocabulary list and help you to learn the words in the list.

The app uses the Spaced Repetition System. Initially, new words are repeated frequently: as your confidence grows, the word is gradually repeated less frequently. Your assess your own confidence in your understanding of a word by selecting a number between 1 (don't have a clue) and 5 (completely sure).

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Initially, it works by first showing the meaning of the word, then showing you the word itself: you can reverse this order in the options view.

You can add a particular word to your personal vocabulary list by finding it in the search or thesaurus view, touching the word and then selecting add to vocab from the menu.

You can also add groups of words suggested by the app, using the add button at the top of this view: you can find more about this in the Vocabulary add view.

The app makes a note of the date that you added the word: in the Vocab options view you can specify whether you want to review words added today, this week, this month or all words

You can get to the vocabulary view from the main menu. If you have already selected some words, it will find the words in the selected time range and display the meaning of the first word:

Vocab: ask what word means this?

When you think that you know the answer, click on See the answer and see whether you were right: the app will then show you the word that you are trying to learn, and all of its forms. You can click on the buttons to hear somebody say the word form. When you are ready to move on, click on Next word

Vocab: showing the answer

To move on to the next word, rate your understanding of the word between 1 and 5, where 1 means that you didn't have a clue what the answer was, and 5 meaning that you got the answer right and felt completely confident before the answer was displayed. WOrds that you are confident about will gradually be repeated less frequently

There are three other buttons on the top row:

The facility to hide a word is useful if you are already sure about a word, or a word was added automatically but you don't think that it is useful to learn.

Vocabulary options view

Vocabulary options view

You can get to this view by touching the options button on the Vocabulary view.

You can use it to customise the way that the vocabulary view works. The options are:

Vocabulary add view

Vocabulary add view

You can get to this view by touching the add button on the Vocabulary view.

You can use it to add a number of words to your personal vocabulary list. To do this, you first specify how many and what kind or words you want. The options are:

When the app offers you a list of words, there is a switch next to each word: if you don't want to add a particular word to your vocabulary list, just turn the switch off. Once you are happy with your selection of words, touch add selected words to add the words to your vocabulary list.

Note that the app will not add words that are already in your vocabulary list, even if they are hidden.

Pronunciation view

Pronunciation view

You can get to the pronunciation view from the menu.

You can use this view to improve your pronunciation. You first listen to words containing a particular phoneme (sound) or group of letters. Next, you record yourself saying a word and then compare your recording with the correct pronunciation.

To use this view, first select the language that you want to practice, then specify whether you want to select words by phoneme (sound) or by typing in a one or more letters.

If you select by phoneme, the iPad and iPhone versions are slightly different. On the iPhone, you touch the current phoneme and then pick a new phoneme from the spinner. On the iPad, the phoneme list is displayed on the left: just touch one of the entries in the list.

If you select by letters, touch the letters field and then type in one or more letters and press 'GO'.

Pronunciation words view

Whichever selection method you use, the device will show you a list of words: the selected phoneme or letter in each word will be highlighted. The words are randomly selected: if you select the same phoneme or letters again, you will see a different selection. When you touch on a word, the word will be displayed just beneath the selection area, and you will hear somebody saying the word. If you have not downloaded the sound database, please be patient: it may take a few moments to get the sound form the internet.

Pronunciation current word view

Once you have selected a word, you can press the button to hear the word again. You can also press the to record yourself sayin the word, then press each of the buttons in turn to compare your version with the correct one.

Grammar view

grammar view

The grammar view provides a detailed introduction to Egyptian Arabic grammar. There is a very simple introduction page to help get you started. The rest is divided into pages that explain in detail how to use grammatical elements like verbs and nouns, or common greetings and questions.

It works like a web browser, and you can follow links in the text

You can get to this view by selecting Arabic Grammar from the menu. Once you are inside, you can get back to the contents page at any time by pressing the Contents button on the top right.

The egyptian arabic examples are displayed both in European letters and in arabic: there is also a Play button play button that you can press to hear somebody say the example.

Grammar buttons

At the start of each page, there are buttons to select whether you want the version in european writing to be pronounced or transliterated, and whether you want the arabic writing to appear at all.

Arabic writing view

Arabic writing view

The arabic writing view provides a list of all of the arabic letters used in the dictionary, together with details of how they are written in european writing. You can hear somebody speaking example words containing each letter. It works like a web browser, and you can follow links in the text

Word details view

Word view

You can get to this view by touching a word (not a form) in one of the other views, then selecting Show word details.

This view displays full details of the selected word. The following details are always displayed:

ItemExample
wordhave
languageEnglish
elementverb
notesown
flagsimpolite, archaic
usagedaily
thesaurus categoryfood: fruit

The app displays a list of forms for the selected word, for example singular and plural:

ItemExampleTouch action
play buttonhear the word
wordchildren
formplural

The app next displays a list of related words in the other language. For each word, it displays the following details:

ItemExampleTouch action
language codeEN
wordapplesee the word menu
element codensee the full name eg noun

Finally, the app displays a list of words with similar spellings. This may help if you accidentally selected the wrong word, and can also help to find related words. For each word, it displays the following details:

ItemExampleTouch action
language codeEN
wordapplesee the word menu
element codensee the full name eg noun

Verb details view

Verb view

You can get to this view by touching a word (not a form) in one of the other views, then selecting Show verb details.

The app also displays the following details of all cases of the main tenses of the verb:

If the word that you selected has more than one meaning, you can select which meaning to display, using the control at the top of the display.

Note that this information is generated automatically: a word's presence does not necessarily mean that the word is, or can be, used- for example 'he became pregnant' is syntactically correct but useless. Please check the grammar help on verbs for general guidelines, and also use a little common sense.

Preferences view

Preferences view

This view can be used to adjust various settings for the application.

General preferences

Left handed - Normally, the most important buttons are on the right hand side of the display. Select this option to move them to the left hand side.

Impolite words - The dictionary contains a small number of impolite words: if you do not want to see these words, you can use this option to replace all such words with the text *Impolite*.

Sync preferences to iCloud - If you have more than one device, select this option to ensure that your preferences are kept up to date on all devices.

Sync vocabulary to iCloud - If you have more than one device, select this option to ensure that your personal vocabulary list is kept up to date on all devices.

Note: to use the iCloud facility, you need to have iCloud enabled on your device.

Arabic layout preferences

When you update any of the following settings, you can see immediately what it will look like, by checking the example words that are displayed just below this section.

See Arabic writing for more information about the transliterated and pronounced arabic, and about tashkyl.

European - egyptian words are displayed in european writing at the left of the display. The preferences are:

Capitalise alveolar consonants - If this option is off, all of the letters appear in lower case letters. This is easier to read, but it's impossible to tell the difference between the normal (eg syn) and alveolar (eg Saad) versions of some sounds. If this option is on, the alveolar consonants are capitalised, so syn is s and saad is S.

Arabic - Egyptian words are normally displayed in arabic writing at the right of the screen. You can turn this off if you find it distracting.

Tashkyl - Short vowels and shadda (tashkyl) are not normally written in Arabic other than in the Quran. Tashkyl is essential for anybody learning to read or write in arabic. The options are:

Text size - If you are unfamiliar with arabic writing, you may find it easier to read if you use this option to increase the size of the text in the app compared to your preferred text size.

Example words

At the bottom of the display is a sample word: as you change the settings, the sample word will be updated so that you can see what it will look like.

Sound view

If there is a play button next to a word form, you can click on it to hear the word spoken.

The app can handle the sounds in two ways: you can either download all of the sounds for a language in one go, or the app can fetch individual sounds from the internet as required.

The former takes up space on your device but, once you have downloaded the language, playing sounds is immediate and it will work even when you don't have an internet connection.

Sound view

You can use this view to download sound databases, each of which contains all of the sounds for a language. The app displays the names of available databases: a download button appears next to each database that you don't have, and a tick appears next to each database that you have already downloaded.

Please make sure that your device is fully charged, or the charger is plugged in, before you start downloading.

Help view

The help view provides an introduction to the application. You can access it by selecting Help from the main menu. It works like a web browser, and you can follow links in the text.

About view

This view contains the version, copyright notice and web site name for this application.


Copyright © 2007-2013 Mike Green