A new Microsoft app makes it possible.
One of the best ways to learn a language is to practice with someone, and if that language is Chinese, there might not always be someone available to practice with.
The Learn Chinese app teaches users the language with the help of an AI assistant. It works similarly to many language apps, but the artificial intelligence allows users some freedom in expressing themselves. Users are prompted with keywords that they need to include in each phrase they respond back to the app, but the sentence structure is up to the user. After you speak, the app gives you a score of up to 100.
The app comes with two modes: beginner and intermediate. The intermediate mode introduces real world scenarios, like ordering at a restaurant or adding friends on WeChat, China's most popular social network.
“You think you know Chinese, but if you meet a Chinese person and you want to speak Chinese, there is no way you can do it if you have not practiced,” said Yan Xia, senior develop lead at Microsoft Research Asia.
The AI within the app uses deep neural networks that have been tuned to recognize what users are attempting to say, based on data from native speakers and Microsoft's own text-to-speech technology.
The app is currently available for download in Apple's iOS app store.