Fast Company, “ Launches a Positively Addictive App for Aspiring Wordsmiths”

March 18, 2014

Rebecca Greenfield, “ Launches a Positively Addictive App for Aspiring Wordsmiths” (Fast Company, Mar. 18, 2014)

It’s a Monday afternoon. I’m playing an iPhone game at my desk instead of working–and for once, I don’t feel bad about it. Unlike Candy Crush,’s new app, available as of today, isn’t a mindless-borderline-embarrassing way to occupy yourself while commuting. Yes, it’s a time suck. But like reading the newspaper or watching documentaries, it’s the kind that makes you feel okay about your life choices, because it helps build vocabulary. As a writer, I can even professionally justify tapping away on my phone.  […]

The hope is that method, plus the variations of question types, along with robust definitions, offers a more enticing and more useful experience than flipping through flash cards. “We’re incorporating all sorts of things that are available to give people the best handle on words and their meanings and understanding how they work in the world,” Ben Zimmer, a trained linguist and executive producer of explained to Fast Company. The app’s dictionary offers more than just standard Merriam-Webster style entries, with graphics showing a “word family” and usage examples from real-world sources, for example.

Read the rest here. ( app download page)

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