Would an AI language tutor really help you learn a language?

There are so many tools and apps now available to us that harness AI to help us learn languages. Who hasn’t felt the ominous stare of a certain owl when we look at our phones and realise we haven’t done our daily practice? But even with all these multiple-choice, repeat-after-me scenarios so many of our favourite tools use to teach us languages, nothing quite compares to having actual language interaction. Could an app with AI-powered speaking lessons be about to turn our learning experiences around?


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The theory

We learn languages best when we use them. This can be through reading activities and writing, of course, or watching shows in our target language or even listening to new songs. But none of these involve interaction; you don’t really have to think on your feet for what to say when you’re binging your latest Netflix fix, now do you? But starting a conversation with a native language speaker can be daunting! What if you trip over your words? What if you forget all that vocabulary you’ve painstakingly memorised, and the grammar rules are but a distant memory you can’t quite latch on to? It is the fear of that initial conversation that puts a lot of language learners off language exchanges, conversations with potential new friends online, and so on. An AI-powered speaking lesson would possibly bridge that gap.


The practice

Say we created the ultimate AI-powered language-speaking app, an AI language tutor. What are the benefits of this app to a language learner? Well, for starters, an app cannot judge you for poor pronunciation, or mock you if you make a jumble of your words. An app can help you, in effect, rehearse for real-life conversations, get you over those initial nerves of being the first to speak and break down that barrier that is preventing you from really learning a language. By simulating real conversations you will get to use that language in real situations, and if you mix up your prepositions, get the word order back to front, or have terrible pronunciation, the worst you’ll have to do is try again. There will be no one staring back at you blankly or with a look of horror on their face!


Photo via Pixabay



For introverts, a speaking language learning app could be an incredible tool. In fact for anyone who is self-conscious about their language skills or who suffers with their mind going blank when put on the spot, an app you can speak to like a real person would be an amazing way to built confidence in their language skills. More practically speaking, if you are using an app to learn a language you have full control over when and where you learn. Only five minutes to spare on a lunch break? A quick chat with your AI tutor doesn’t require any scheduling. Have the impulse to learn at three in the morning when you can’t sleep? An AI tutor isn’t going to growl at you and demand coffee first.



Learning a language with a real-life tutor is one of the most beneficial ways to help you learn, put simply, because they get to know you. An app might tell you that you are making a certain mistake repeatedly, but a human tutor will help you understand why you are making that mistake and suggest a multitude of ways to overcome it. And all the real-life conversation simulation in the world will still come off stilted when compared to an actual conversation. Who hasn’t gone off on a tangent mid-conversation about work to talk about a favourite TV show, or to comment on whoever just came into the bar you’re sat in? On-the-spot thinking is something all language learners need to develop. For all the benefits there may be of a kind of language safety net with an AI-language speaker, there is no better way to prepare for that than actual, real-life conversation.


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That is not to say that an AI-language speaking app can’t be a good thing! It is a good stepping stone when you’re first getting started, and might give you the confidence boost needed to keep going. And when you’re ready, we have native tutors ready to tailor a course designed specifically for your needs. Why not contact us to see how we can help you on your language journey?