Der Die Das Companion

I decided to create my own Der Die Das learn app in which users can learn German noun articles. The app is now released!

Get it here for free: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.Nebbul.DeutschCompanion

The project can be found here: https://derdiedascompanion.de/

Can also be found on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/derdiedascompanion

Backstory

In 2015 I moved to Germany for work and in the beginning I was getting around fine only speaking English. I put off learning German for a very long time since I knew it was going to be hard work learning a new language. I regret not starting learning the language sooner. In the end of 2018 I finally started taking German classes at VHS Offenbach to learn German.

I took classes three days during the week, with each class being three hours long – it was hard work but I think it really paid off. The German language integration system does work, at least it did for me. I finished the classes A1.2, A2.1, A2.2, B1.1, B1.2, B2.1, B.2.2 in two years and wrote telc exams for B1 and B2 which I passed with the grades “Sehr gut”.

At the beginning of studying, I always felt that there was no good way for me to learn the articles for the German nouns. Since the articles are really important to learn, as they are a big part of the foundation of the language, I figured why not gamify the article learning process? I looked around for already available apps, but all of them lacked some or many of the features I thought were important:

  • Color coded articles
  • Sound coded triggers when answering correct
  • Highlighting of rules
  • Translation of words
  • Words used in context with example phrases
  • Explanation of the word
  • Motivational support
  • Sense of reward and achievement
  • Sense of progress
  • Repetition
  • A learning path
  • Themed chapters
  • Ability to share word lists with others

I wanted to create an app that combines many different learning techniques to make sure you learn not only the articles, but also new words and their meanings. The most important part of a learning experience is for me to have fun!

As a challenge, I decided to create my own app not only for a way of learning articles myself, but also for others. I was also seeking for a way of learning new tools and technology. Creating my own app has always drawn my attention but I had never really had a reason or motivation to do it – until now. This was a perfect project for learning how to create my own app!

I decided to use Unity for this project, since I already knew the Engine from a content perspective and I also wanted to learn how to make a full game with it.

I always had an interest in databases and thought this project would be perfect for me to learn them. I decided to use SQLite with Unity and it turned out to be a great match. I extracted data from Wiktionary to populate the database and then I used Microsoft Neural Machine Translation to translate many of the words to different languages.

In the App database there are a total of 72319 words with:

  • Translation to 22 languages
  • IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet)
  • Meaning
  • Example
  • Case: Nominative, Dative, Accusative, Gentitive (Singular & Plural)

I decided on these languages based on the top percent foreigner population of Germany:

  • Catalan – Català
  • Croatian – Hrvatski
  • Czech – čeština
  • Danish – Dansk
  • Dutch – Nederlands
  • English – English
  • Finnish – Suomalainen
  • French – Français
  • Hungarian – Magyar
  • Icelandic – Íslenska
  • Italian – Italiano
  • Latin – Latine
  • Latvian – Latvietis
  • Norwegian – Norsk
  • Polish – Polskie
  • Portuguese – Português
  • Romanian – Română
  • Slovak – Slovák
  • Slovenian – Slovenščina
  • Spanish – Español
  • Swedish – Svenska
  • Turkish – Türk

Please visit the website: https://derdiedascompanion.de/

Get it here for free: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.Nebbul.DeutschCompanion