It consists of Bengali phrases, written in Bangla script with an audio recording for each one. The phrases are translated from English (and over 40 other languages) into Bengali.
It has a number of nice features: phrases can be added to a list of favourites for easy reference, the audio recordings have a repeat button and the Bengali script can be enlarged to be read more easily.
The speed of the audio recordings can also be changed by moving a slider between images of a snail and a rocket. Another plus point for the learner is that phrases can be expanded and minimised for self-testing.
Moreover, the lite version of the app is free, and includes about 70 odd phrases, so that’s also a mark in its favour.
However, it uses a typed Bengali script and, like all typed Bengali script on the iPhone, this displays three vowel signs incorrectly. Thus e-kar and i-kar appear after and not before the consonant they follow, and the two-part sign for the letter ‘o’ (an e-kar before the consonant and an a-kar after it) appears in full after the consonant with an ‘•’ between the kars.
This seems pretty slapdash for an app designed for the iPhone and aimed at people without any knowledge of the language. Similarly the lack of romanized, transliterated versions of the phrases doesn’t make it easy on the beginner (who, if they need to learn ‘my name is …’ would presumably have no knowledge of Bengali script).
I have a few more gripes with the app. When I view the enlarged versions of the phrases my phone freezes, and the inclusion of English words in the Bengali phrases – though I’m aware of the number of English words that have been absorbed into the language – seems a bit odd, particularly as it’s done rather haphazardly.
Something else that appears haphazardly are the different forms of ‘you’, with familiar and polite forms both used with no warning as to which is which.
The lite version only includes two sections of phrases – essentials and flirting, but the latter are often just downright bizarre. Admittedly It’s been rather a long time since I did anything that might be termed flirting, but I’m hoping the app developers were joking when they included:
I’m a dolphin trainer
I like puppies, long walks on the beach, and reading French poetry in the moonlight
So, are you going to give me your number, or am I going to have to stalk you?
Ultimately it’s an okay app and it’s free. I may get the paid-for version, which only costs 59p and includes another 23 sections of phrases, but I wouldn’t expect it to be perfect and would probably end up checking a lot of the phrases.