Soundable: A Review
If you’re currently in an SLP undergraduate or graduate program, Soundable is your new “Rosetta Stone®” for learning phonetics. I distinctly remember meeting in empty rooms with my undergrad friends taking turns yelling out words, then seeing who could phonetically spell it out the quickest. If only we had this app back then. Sure, you could practice workbooks or beg a friend to study for hours in the library – BORING! Read the rest of this review, download the app, go about your business, and let’s battle to the death playing Soundable!!! (or till we run out of tiles, details…details).
Cost: Free – there is an in-app purchase option to remove ads if you get tired of them. This app is only available on iTunes at the moment.
What is Soundable?
The best description of the game comes straight from the website, “It’s like Scrabble® for friends who can’t spell!”I’ve always been a terrible speller, which is why the normal Scrabble game makes me turn up my nose. Soundable takes away the spelling component and brings back those early phonics skills they’ve become automatic with reading. Since the developers are Tactus Therapy and LessonPix, the quality is excellent and you can tell they put forth great effort into making this game streamlined and easy to play.
How do you play? (video tutorial here)
You start by selecting an opponent by looking up their username. Mine is “slp_echo” so you have someone to play when you get started.
- Pick an opponent
- Pick a game type
- Use the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) or Phonics
- Spell words using sounds
- Battle your opponent until you’re an IPA and/or phonics master! #Soundable
Game Types: You can play a “Quick” or “Full Game” in Soundable. Meaning, you can play your opponent until the last tiles have been laid – OR – you can see who makes it to 200 first. Both have their challenges. In a quick game, you need to focus on getting the most points as quick as you can. In the “Full Game”, by the end, you might only have 1 consonant and like 6 vowels. Yikes! Either way, get ready for a challenge!
What Do I like about Soundable?
Learn Phonetics on the Fly: You can play and invite people who aren’t SLPs to join in on the fun. Because Soundable offers play with the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) AND phonics text, those who are not yet versed in IPA can still play we SLP-nerds who want to use IPA. Players can switch between IPA and phonics with a quick touch of the button
It’s a brain teaser: I think in letters. I didn’t really realize this common fact until I started to play the game. For example, the word “churning” in IPA looks like this → but my brain would look at the board for a “c” I might could play the other sounds I have.
“Look Up” Feature: AKA my lifeline in this game. The hardest part for me in this game is distinguishing between vowels. /ɔ/ vs /æ/ vs /a/ trips me up, especially if there’s a nasal phoneme. For instance, the typical “ing” endings of words sounds like there’s a long “e” sound, aka the /i/ IPA symbol; but NAY, the /ɳ/ on the end makes the vowel short so it looks like this -> /ɪɳ/. Life is much easier if you just look up words in this game!
Appeal Words: I love that I can play made up words or variations of words if my opponent approves my appeal. For instance, when you say “letter”, the /t/ is actually spoken as a /d/. You can appeal to your friend to approve your finicky transcription.
Help Button: If you forget what the IPA symbols mean, there’s a handy Help button in the top, right hand corner where you can scroll through all the different IPA and phonetic sounds with examples of each. This also tells you the place, manner, voicing, and vowel height of each sound – what an epic feature for SLP students #slp2b !!
Phonics Mode: If you’re not an SLP or familiar with IPA, you can play in phonics mode. That way, the crazy IPA symbols don’t scare or trick your brain. Let’s be honest, this symbol → ð ← just looks weird. Phonics mode lets you see the phonetic spelling of the sound. So instead of /aʊ/ you see “ow” on the tile. Easy-Peasy!
Things I would like to see:
- I’d love a ‘cheat’ or ‘tips’ option, even if I had to buy it. It’s hard to think in sounds sometimes. So when you have all those sounds lined up in your tray, I’d love to get like the top 5 suggested plays with what’s on the board and what’s in my tray.
- Ability to rename my game. Sometimes I can’t remember that my friend whose username is CrayCray22 or whatever is actually Robert. ha!
You don’t have to be a trained SLP or an SLP in training to play Soundable! It’s fun for anyone who enjoys the crazy and unique sound system we call English. #Soundable