On the bus home last Sunday night I had the idea of creating a simple App to help test my knowledge of the different polish declensions for nouns. Between masculine personal and non-personal, and hard and soft endings, I realized that I really only know half the picture when it comes to declension (that is, what I can transfer over from Russian). Hence I threw together the following simple proof of concept:
Monday morning I wrote a post on the Duolingo Polish discussion board asking for feedback and was quite surprised at the number of responses. It seemed that others shared my view that such an app would indeed be a useful learning aid.
I think that something could be ready for early alpha-testing within two full weeks, but as I will be doing it in my spare time, I really have no idea how long it will take. Lets see how things look after Pół na pół enters beta.
The app will be designed firstly for iOS. An Android port would be possible, but would again take two weeks to beta I imagine. A freely playable version (without sound, ability to save) would be available to test via Appetize.
Algorithm vs Database
Although it could be possible to write some algorithm for the polish declinations, I think that a large database of all declinations for every noun and adjective is probably best. This involves much more human effort and a slightly larger app size, but my gut feeling is that Polish is more irregular than Russian and thus an algorithm isn’t viable, at least on a scale of say 100 nouns.
I plan to add more nouns and different game modes: nouns, adjectives, nouns + adjectives, all of which could be played for a particular case, or all cases. There could also be a practice mode without a time restriction. There would be some gamification elements akin to Memrise I suppose.
On one hand there isn’t really anything that I know of on the market, but on the other hand the number of Polish learners is quite small (compared to Russian or German for instance). It would be great if others found a use for the game, but at the very least it will help me in my own language endeavor. Theoretically once the app’s structure is build, another language like Russian could be easily incorporated.
Stay tuned for info!