Saybot English Language Learning Software
Chinese students learning English and native English speaking people learning Mandarin (Putonghua) face a similar problem - it's difficult to find anyone who speaks the language fluently without leaving your home country. Saybot is attempting to solve this problem for native Putonghua speakers who want to learn English through a software application designed for education through speaking. While there are currently many language software packages on the market, most are completely passive in the educational process, simply spitting out information, with no feedback mechanism for the student. Saybot provides feedback through the analysis of speech, adding an important component for accurate speech learning.
Courses present the learner with spoken phrases and prompt the learner for a response. Software then analyzes the response spoken into a microphone attached to the computer. If the student's response is correct, the software moves on to the next phrase. Otherwise, the software attempts to correct the mispronunciation by providing a correct response. This differs greatly from most software language components because the feedback mechanism helps make sure you are accurately learning rather than passively feeding more phrases.
On the back end, the software uses speech recognition technology and a massive database of common speech errors to identify and correct incorrectly spoken English. These two components combine to create the strength of the software. Speech recognition technology processes what's being said by the student. The collection of mispronunciations is vital for making sure the software is not making any errors during analysis. For teachers who have existing English language curriculum, an author component makes it possible to adapt a classroom lesson plan to work with Saybot, which is where Saybot is seeking to find it's initial market.
Lesson packages range in price from about US $12 to around US $30. For non-Chinese speakers, the Windows installer includes an English language option.
When they release the reverse version for teaching Putonghua to native English speakers I'll be first in line.
For more on Saybot, listen to The Chris Pirillo Show interview with Saybot founder Pengkai Pan.