It seems these days that artificial intelligence (AI) has found its way into every aspect of our daily lives. From the driving of cars to the sweeping of floors, AI has left science fiction long ago to become science reality. And so it should come to no surprise that AI can help us better learn languages.
2018 is expected to be distinguished by the rise of ubiquitous virtual assistants. The experts in the field of linguistics and modern technologies state that over the course of the year, we’ll see an increase in the number of virtual assistants and chatbots, but that by 2020 consumers won’t even know that their interface isn’t human.
Artificial Intelligence systems will start to become virtually invisible, as people rely on AI for more and more tasks, they will rapidly become as familiar as all the other technologies humanity interacts with every day. This growing reliance on AI will lead to artificial intelligence being accepted as natural.
Learning a new language is hard. Some people seem to pick up new dialects with ease, but for the rest of us, it’s a trudge through rote memorization.
Artificial intelligence is used today to speed up language learning by increasing or decreasing the learner’s exposure to patterns depending on their feedback. In this approach, the language learning process is based on repetition of phrase patterns that show the relationships between words which eliminates the traditional method of vocabulary and grammar repetition.
Modern language assistants and chatbots are as smart as the database that runs in the background and typically understands common Western European languages, but other languages like Arabic or Pashto, or Tigrinya aren’t covered by those assistants.
Let’s focus on the benefits of using special AI software in learning languages.
TOP 5 BENEFITS OF AI USAGE IN LANGUAGE LEARNING
Specialists recommend to the language learners to focus on fluency first and on vocabulary second. Language learners require time (often a lifetime) to expand vocabulary, however building basic “fluency”, which deals with how capable language users are in manipulating sentence structures, takes far less time than building a robust collection of vocabulary.
AI software attempts to tailor learning material to an individual’s specific level and needs.
Users select the topics that matter most to them and work at a comfortable pace on their desktops or smartphones.
An evolving process
Tools for language learning based on AI offer a unique learning method that’s guided by AI, however, AI only helps the user focus in on the most ideal lessons, ultimately saving precious learning time, but not on instruction itself.
As time progresses, AI can help language learners save time when studying on their own, however having a human language partner or a good teacher simply can’t be beaten. Until AI reaches the capabilities of conversing intelligently with humans, it will be hard to replicate the unpredictability of real human interaction, which is ultimately the core purpose of language learning.
What is certain is that such tools, especially when used in conjunction with traditional learning methods, can vastly help language learners become well-rounded in a language. Students don’t need to choose one method over another, but rather combine their most preferred method with the numerous options out there to create the best comprehensive language program for themselves.
Sound patterns and exposure
A dominant preference for listening guarantees the efficiency of language learning. Frequent exposure is utilized to focus on fluency improvement. Eschewing the grammar books makes this an ideal method for those tired of traditional learning techniques, however, it may prove a bit confusing to total beginners who like to start by learning all the rules.
Active Participation and Practice (APP)
It’s all about engagement, and real-time results. They are programmed to train in a rewarding, enjoyable and empowering way, throughout which individuals will create a fun and adventurous image for “learning”.
AI POTENTIAL AND LIMITATIONS
So what is the potential of AI, and where are its limitations?
In terms of interaction, it is a problem that the systems are designed on a purely deterministic basis – that is to say, they follow one program and have access only to limited knowledge resources such as social or cultural knowledge. Human communication functions in precisely the opposite way. We assume that we share a great deal of knowledge, and are extremely efficient in the way we communicate only that which we recognize as being relevant to a specific interaction situation. At the same time, we are able to act spontaneously and flexibly.
AI systems cannot do this because they lack one fundamental prerequisite: a self-reflective consciousness. While it may be the case that e-learning applications with graphical user interfaces will be able to replace analog textbooks in the future, AI will not be able in the foreseeable future to replace real-life teachers. E-learning scenarios with artificial tutors are no substitute for classroom teaching; they are an entirely new approach to supporting learners in their self-study sessions. For some types of learners, practicing vocabulary on an interactive basis with a pedagogical agent system or completing language exercises in a computer game with virtual characters is extremely motivating. Others learn better from social interaction in a real-life group of learners with the associated advantages such as having a genuine teacher to monitor learning progress.
Interactive language learning systems are also a useful means of filling a gap in situations where no lessons would otherwise take place. People who work full-time and do not have the time to attend regular classes, for example, can use learning apps to acquire basic language skills for an upcoming holiday. Furthermore, refugees can use GFL apps such as that offered by the Goethe-Institut to build up a basic vocabulary to bridge the long wait for an integration course. The technologies are thus suited solely for beginners as a means of supplementing or preparing for classroom lessons with a human teacher.
The world is becoming smaller thanks to technology at-large. The use of artificial intelligence will revolutionize the way we deal with multilingual content. It will be much easier than it is today to deliver content to people who speak another language. And while innovative gadgets that translate for you in real time are great, there’s nothing quite like being able to carry on a conversation in a different language with confidence.