Review of iPhone French-English dictionary app

For the past few weeks I’ve contemplated getting a multiple language dictionary. I found a couple of possible models at Funan and was considering the price tag (between S$500-800). I wondered if it was worth it and whether I’d really use most of its features and languages.
Now that I’m able to buy apps from the iTunes store, I decided to see whether I could do without paying another big bill and handling yet another gadget. I’d be happy with a relative micropayment if it could help me access French words so it can help me with my *devoirs* (homework)!
After some browsing around, I decided to buy the [Ultralingua]( French and English dictionary, which was just released this month.
According to the stats (0 downloads so far), I might be the very first purchaser! Contrary to what the only reviewer has stated, this dictionary does not just translate from English to French, but switches the other way round too. I’m baffled as to why he gave it a 3-star rating without having even tried the app yet!
Purchasing the app was easy. I entered my iTunes Store password and it was downloaded. See bottom right corner:
I was asked to type in a French word. I decided, since I just had lunch, to type ‘dejeuner’. The dictionary immediately added the ‘accent aigu’ so it became ‘déjeuner’, which is the correct spelling.
Ultralingua home page
When I held my finger against the word ‘déjeuner’, a second-level balloon box appeared. I had the option of looking it up in the dictionary, conjugating or checking it on Google.
Type in a French word
I got it conjugated in the present tense by default.
In total, it was able to conjugate the word in the following tenses:
1. Présent,
2. Futur,
3. Futur antérieur,
4. Imparfait,
5. Passé composé,
6. Plus-que-parfait,
7. Passé simple,
8. Passé anterieur,
9. Conditionnel,
10. Conditionnel passé,
11. Subjonctif present,
12. Passe du subjonctif,
13. Subjonctif imparfait,
14. Plus-que-parfait du subjonctif,
15. Impératif,
Considering how I’ve only covered nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 15, this app is more than I’ll need for my INSEAD third language exam. I hope!
Amusingly, you can also switch to English and conjugate the word as well, except it would be very obvious to native English speakers like us – ‘I lunch, you lunch, he/she/it lunches, we lunch, they lunch’… It’s another noun that’s become a verb, I guess.
I’ll update this post if I find any bugs or other good features. So far, so good, and now I have no more excuses to ‘fais mes devoirs’!


  1. Carolyne Lee

    This was a very informative review. I am thinking of buying an iphone mainly because I will then have a French-English dictionary always about my person. However, I am also seeking one that has the following function: when one reads a French e-book on the iphone, if one comes to an unknown word, if you tap on this word, will you be taken to the definition in the dictionary? I had this function once on a Pocket PC I once borrowed, and I would buy an iphone for this function alone. Has anyone come across this with an iphone?

  2. vantan

    Hi Carolyne,
    I don’t use e-books on my iPhone so am not aware if this feature is activated. However, since we can copy and paste on the iPhone now, you can switch back to the French dictionary app manually.

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