Using Chatbots to Learn a Language

Last Updated on October 20, 2020 by Sean B

One of the best ways to expand your mind is learning a new language and using chatbots to learn a language is becoming more popular every day. Half of the population in the world does not know any language other than their cultural language.

Did you know that there are 6,500 languages in this world? Think about that for a minute, there are 7.8 billion people among us that use 6,500 different ways to communicate.

In a world where everything is connected through a tap on the phone, most of us still find it hard to interact with people who speak other languages. In fact, 50% of those 7.8 billion people on our planet cannot communicate with anyone outside their circle. With some languages, that circle can be small enough, but when you are placed into a foreign environment it shrinks even further.

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To fix this, we need to be able to interpret languages outside of our culture in order to thrive. Other than that, it is also extremely important to understand other cultures.

In business, as the world becomes more global, learning a second language is important as well. Many people with otherwise brilliant minds can face a setback in their careers just because they don’t sapeak a second language.

Language learning is difficult for most people. Even in the best circumstances, many students face pronunciation problems, cultural differences and ebbing motivation. Students studying in foreign countries like China and Germany face all the general challenges of language barriers while having little to no opportunity of learning the native language outside of class or without paying money.

But how do we tackle the language barrier? What is the most convenient way to make language learning and communication easier for everybody? Technology is opening new opportunities for students in language learning.

The ultimate solution is artificial intelligence and to be specific, Natural Language Processing (NLP). AI-powered chatbots assist us in ways we cannot fathom to imagine. But before we begin further on learning chatbots, let’s see what a chatbot is.

What is a chatbot?

A chatbot is a software simulation built for the ease of humans. It has the ability to connect a machine to a human, without facing any language barriers. Is there anything better to use chatbots for learning?

Chatbots can hold a conversation with a human as it is programmed to be a communication/conversational simulation. However, you have to create a general transcript of what the chatbot’s potential conversation will look like. Thanks to NLP and artificial intelligence, programming a chatbot to learn English has never been easier!

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Does Using Chatbots to Learn a Language Really Work?

Chatbots can be an effective tool for both students and teachers of foreign languages if they are used correctly. But like any teaching tool, they must be kept up to date, and they should be made easily available to the students.  For chatbots, that means they should be using the latest technologies available like Machine Learning and because language is their thing, the best Natural Language Processing available.

Chatbots as a Tool for Language Learners

Chatbots have immense commercial benefits but when it comes to individual gains and personal enrichment, there’s still a lot that needs to be discovered.

Chatbots are being used as AI-powered language teachers. It has always been a big agenda. Duolingo, a powerful language-learning app that uses chatbot indicated that conversations are coming back and this time, in a more integrated way.

Corpus algorithms and advancements in machine language mean that AI-powered language learning chatbots are slowly becoming a reality.

Chatbots have provided us with a convenient way to learn a different language with just a tap on the phone. language learners have the freedom to practice grammar and learn vocabulary from the chatbot on the go.

While some students do not have the resources, others do not want to attend lectures outside of class. However, AI-powered language learning chatbots fit easily into the students’ busy routines.

Chatbots can be used for CALL (Computer-assisted language learning) courses. Using chatbots to learn a language has the added benefit of low human interference. It means that you can focus on the same language lesson (vocabulary or grammar) as long as you need to.

Other than that, it is a benefit from introverts as they won’t have the pressure to speak in front of the whole class.

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Using chatbots to learn English

Technology has a prominent place in the education sector. However, most of the teachers and students face language barriers. But, AI-powered chatbots provide a smart solution for ESL (English as a second language) teachers, touch screen learning students, online classes and gamification.

Chatbots have proven to be an effective online classroom tool
for targeted language learning. They are a natural fit for supplementary language learning where a student can self—evaluate and learn a language on their own through conversation transcripts.

Using chatbots to learn English provides the users with a record of their errors. Ultimately, they will work on the areas where improvements are necessary in order to gain command of English.

The capabilities of chatbots are endless. They have revolutionized every sector including the education sector. They have upgraded a lot. It has become very easy to imbed video or voice conversations, enabling the user to improve its learning, speaking, and writing skills, all at once.

Chatbots as a Tool for Language Teachers

It is wrong to think that robots will replace humans. They are built for our ease. They won’t conquer the occupations of language teachers. In fact, chatbots can make face-to-face- language learning easier through CALL. In our opinion, both of them are inseparable methods of teaching the students.

Language learning chatbots can take accurate measurements of student’s grammar, vocabulary, and mistakes. They are known to mine data. Therefore, teachers can deliver the lecture better and try to correct the students using the bot’s data.

Language-learning chatbots can be a useful tool for teachers to administer class and home tests. The pre-defined conversation transcripts can inform the teachers about the student’s weak areas.

Many language-learning chatbot applications help the teachers to devise a relevant learning plan for individuals.

By embracing language-learning chatbots, teachers are ensuring that they are ready to evolve with the changing technology so that they can provide high-quality education to their students.

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Language Learning Chatbots in the Real World

Language translators and learning tools have been in demand for years. Being multilingual opens up countless opportunities for an individual in his career. It also gives him a chance to interact with people of different cultures.

However, chatbots have provided us with a more ‘personal approach’ to learn a new language. We carry our smartphones everywhere. They provide the mobility to learn a new language on the go. Hence, the main reason for the huge demand for language learning applications.

Integrating chatbots into mobile apps have scaled up the personalization factor in the language learning process. Language learning apps integrated with chatbots provide exceptional user experience and convenience to the user.

Users can start a conversation with a chatbot and learn just like they do from language teachers.

Here are the top examples of language learning applications using chatbots:

Duolingo

Duolingo is by far the most popular language-learning chatbot application in the US. The Duolingo chatbot has pre-defined transcripts built through AI algorithms to respond to users contextually and to understand the user’s context.

Users get a different response to every query. Just like virtual language tutors, Duolingo’s chatbot has helped millions of people from across the globe to learn a new language comfortably without getting harassed. There’s no pressure on the user to communicate with a native speaker in order to learn a new language. It eliminates the chances of miscommunicating with a native speaker that often results in embarrassment and harassment.

When the application was launched, the chatbot was only able to teach Spanish, French, German English. But now, the chatbot is capable of teaching you 23 different languages and dialects. PC magazine mentions it as the best language learning chatbot application.

Visit Duilingo

Mondly

Mondly is a powerful language learning chatbot application available for iOS as well as Android software. It helps the user to discuss up to 33 different languages.

Recently, they have integrated a chatbot into their mobile application. You can choose to speak or write your responses and get relevant replies to your questions.

Mondly helps you by creating everyday scenarios. For instance, it will teach you how to ask for a haircut in the language you are new to.

Mondly chatbots are popular for teaching the basics of a new language.

Visit Mondly

Andy

You can use Andy the chatbot to learn English if you are new to it. Andy is the perfect teacher to practice with as it gives lessons on grammar and helps to expand your vocabulary using built-in thesaurus and dictionary.

You can either choose to play a language-learning game or hold a casual discussion with Andy the bot to learn interactively. The app is available for both iOS and Android users.

Although it is not an advanced language learning chatbot, it can teach you the basics of the English language in a very interactive way!

Visit Andy

Lanny by Eggbun Education

Lanny the chatbot is a little different than others. Eggbun education’s Lanny teaches people who are looking to learn Chinese, Japanese, or Korean in a very friendly way.

Eggbun education regards it as an AI-powered chatbot in your pocket. You can talk to Lanny through the mobile application and also through Eggbun’s website.

The mobile application has been downloaded for a million times by students looking to learn Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. Unlike other language-learning bots, Lanny does not just focus on teaching a new language. Instead, it gives an overview of the language’s cultural background and history.

This chatbot allows users to practice a new language and to improve one’s pronunciation and listening skills through voice messages. The app is available for both, Android and iOS users.

Visit Eggbun Education

Memrise

Memrise is a ‘one-size-fits-all- solution for those looking to learn a language. It was awarded as the best language learning app in 2017.

Apart from offering 20 different languages, it engages the reader to learn in a more native way. It gives access to slang native words that no other application offers.

It is available for both, iOS and Android users. The biggest flex of this application is that it uses the real-time identification method to engage users in learning. For instance, you can take the photo of a cup or ice cream and the chatbot will tell the name of that thing in the desired language.

Visit Memrise

Rosetta Stone

This language learning chatbot application allows a user to learn 25 languages using any device at any time. It is best for those who are looking to learn a language both online as well as offline. Sometimes, access to the internet is not available. However, the application’s chatbot runs offline as well.

The application and web version, both are available on iOS as well as on Android. It uses the TruAccent speech tool to ensure that the users get the right articulation.

The application also uses advanced embedded translation features and augmented reality to teach users in real-time.

Visit Rosetta Stone

Babbel

On Babbel, you would find lessons voiced by native speakers and created by language experts. It is the only application that will help you get ready for real-life application of the new language you are learning.

Interactive dialogues and conversations with its chatbot will help you develop confidence. Other than that, its speech recognition technology will help you get all the curated lessons right. The chatbot will bring back the lessons in different contexts to ensure that you have learned them. In this way, you won’t have to jog your memory every time while looking for the appropriate words.

Visit Babbel

Why Chatbots Make an Effective Language Learning Solution?

Everyone would be multilingual if it was easy to learn a language just by reading a text book. Apart from the vocabulary and correct grammar, you need someone to speak to in order to improve your listening and speaking skills. When there’s a language instructor involved, it personalizes the language-learning experience.

Using a chatbot for language acquisition helps the students to receive personalized tuition at their own pace. Even though human interaction is essential to learn a new language, it can be expensive. A chatbot designed to act as a human language instructor be hugely beneficial to students learning a new language.

Nowadays, leading brands and corporates have integrated their chatbots into messenger apps like Facebook to provide a seamless user experience. Bringing a new approach to language learning will not only be productive but exciting for the users. People are genuinely delighted by the services that chatbot offers.

Using a chatbot to learn a language will benefit personal enrichment as it offers easy access to instant answers and snack-sized practice. Take your language learning experience to the next level by using chatbots.

In Closing

If you have ever traveled to a foreign country where you don’t know the language, whether for pleasure or business, then you have probably had a misunderstanding of some sort. Whether these problems are small, like being directed to a park instead of a restaurant, or large, like having to talk with the local police because something you said in English was actually an offensive word in the language of the locals. I’m using that second example because it really happened once to my father while he was in the Air Force serving in Turkey.

But any time you interact with someone from another country, you want to be able to understand the real meaning behind what they are saying. This means learning their language and their culture. Today, using chatbots to learn a language is one of the easier methods available. Hopefully some of the chatbots we discussed above can help you prepare for your next journey.

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2 thoughts on “Using Chatbots to Learn a Language”

  1. Wow, is Duolingo a chatbot as well. Then I am more familiar with chatbots than I thought. I have used Duolingo a lot when I started to learn Spanish.

    My Spanish is improving (It’s my fifth language and I have to learn it, because I live in Spain since a few years), but the Spanish speak with a speed you can’t imagine. Which is the main reason nowadays to not be able to understand them.

    The other day I was at an optician. I asked him to speak more slowly (¿Puedes hablar más despacio, por favor?), but he had a better solution he said. He opened his phone and browsed for his translation app. (Would that have been a chatbot as well, Sean?)

    Next he spoke very clearly and slowly what he wanted to say. And pressed the button to let the sentence hear in Dutch. He had to speak clearly and slow, otherwise the app wouldn’t understand him. Duh!

    In the translation his remark came out as: “I am going to examine my eyes”. ROFLOL.

    As you probably guessed I could understand his Spanish sentence perfectly. Slow and clear pronunciation really does the trick. 🙂

    Reply
    • Hannie,

      Duolingo has chatbots that can help with the language learning process. As for what your Optician used, I’m not completely sure that it would qualify as a chatbot. I’d have to take a look at the App to know. The slight confusion the App had tends to make me think it wasn’t using any real AI or Machine Learning. It’s hilarious that when he took the time to speak to the App it made things understandable for you though.

      Sean

      Reply

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