Intelligent speech technology for gamified language learning

PI Sari Ylinen

Time frame 2019

Description Learning foreign languages is a necessity. There is a need for new and effective methods to improve oral skills in foreign languages. Digital learning environments offer low-cost and portable solutions for practising the pronunciation and speaking of different languages. This requires the right kind of speech technology. 

So far, the speech recognisers have not been able to analyse pronunciation mistakes at the level of precision required for language learning. Our digital language learning game “Pop2talk” uses novel speech technology to evaluate the pronunciation of English for the most challenging user group, child language learners. The evaluation is precise and fast: This instant feedback on pronunciation can be embedded into effective learning games. Thanks to the text-free interface we have created, the game is also suitable for pre-school children who can't read yet but are in ideal age to learn pronunciation. Speech-driven language learning games enable earlier but still age-level sensitive foreign language learning. 

Language skills have societal and economic impact all around the world and the markets are growing. During this commercalization project, we will examine the possibilities to start a business based on the game. The aims are to investigate business models, perform international market research, study the learning effects in younger players, and to develop methods for speech data collection and technology transfer to new languages and markets. 

Methods behavioral

Keywords foreign language learning; gaming; speech technology, automatic speech recognition

People Sari Ylinen, Anna-Riikka Smolander, Liisa Koponen, Aino Hiltunen, Vertti Viitanen, Eeva Halmila

Collaborators Mikko Kurimo's group in Aalto University

Funding Business Finland