Funny Phonemes — Slang Fest!

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Funny Phonemes — Slang Fest! App Poster Image
Slang and funny icons teach language sounds to older kids.

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The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn to isolate phonemes and use them to build words. They'll hear individual phonemes, see them represented with icons or traditional notation, and identify their place in words. They'll also learn a collection of slang words from British and American English.

Ease of Play

A handy tutorial guides users through the app. The unique phoneme representations and many options and customization choices may take a little getting used to.


Some potty words and icons like poop, barf, fart.


The free download includes short video ads and an option to buy the premium version through an in app purchase; no parent gate.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Funny Phonemes - Slang Fest! uses slang words and silly icons to help older learners identify and recognize 41 phonemes in the English language. This app is not meant to be used by young kids just learning to read. Rather, it could be appropriate for older kids or adults learning English as a second language, or for older kids who have trouble with reading or simply want to learn about phonemes in a funny way. Phonemes are represented by simple icons, some of which involve mild potty-type humor like the figure of a poof coming out of the bent over person figure for /f/ as in "fart." The words used are all slang words from both American and British English and include some euphemistic versions of stronger words, such as "heck." The free version includes video ads and has users play to unlock customization options. Or, purchase the premium version for $3.99 to unlock everything and banish the ads. Note that there's no parent gate on purchases. Lots of customization options allow users to see the phonemes as icons or with traditional notation, put certain words on a "blacklist" to remove them from the game, adjust game settings, and more. A share option allows users to share pre-made ad-like announcements through your device's sharing options. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

FUNNY PHONEMES - SLANG FEST! introduces the sounds of the English language through silly icons and slang words like "dude," "yammer," or "tush." Explore the phonemes through four games. Hear each phoneme and its icon, choose the correct phoneme in a target word by listening only, choose the correct phoneme to complete a target word, or build a target word, phoneme by phoneme. Access the dictionary at any time for definitions of the slang words. Many customization options allow users to adjust game play.

Is it any good?

Silly icons and slang words lighten up an otherwise dry topic but make this app more appropriate for older kids and grown-ups. Funny Phonemes - Slang Fest! is not meant for young kids learning to read, but provides age-appropriate practice for older kids, which can be hard to find. Given that, anyone in the middle childhood/adolescent range and older who, for whatever reason, needs to work on learning English language phonemes, will likely get a kick out of the sense of humor in the phoneme icons and slang word dictionary. Slang words get concise, clear, and sometimes humorous definitions in the dictionary. A few game choices gives kids practice hearing phoneme sounds, seeing them, and fitting them into words. Lots of customization options give users a lot of control over the user experience. Other than collecting points, there's no journey to complete, leveling to progress through, or goal to achieve, so it feels more like phoneme practice tasks than a game. That said, it's a solid and engaging tool to help older kids learn the building blocks of language.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the sounds of the English language represented in Funny Phonemes - Slang Fest!. Go phoneme by phoneme and see what other silly words you can build. 

  • Talk about slang words. What other slang do your kids use or know of? What are the new words your kids use with their friends and what do they mean?

  • Put reading in a bigger context. Have kids create sentences and stories with the slang words they see in the dictionary.

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
  • Subjects: Language & Reading: phonics, reading, vocabulary
  • Skills: Self-Direction: academic development
  • Price: Free to try
  • Pricing structure: Free to try ($3.99 in-app purchase gets rid of ads and unlocks customization options)
  • Release date: September 22, 2018
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 59.80 MB
  • Publisher: Gregory McDonald
  • Version: 1.0.2
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 8.0 or later; Android 4.0.3
  • Last updated: October 15, 2018

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