Practice Past Tense – By Speaking (#OMG)

Written By: Emanuel Updated: June 22, 2021

Hello everyone,

and welcome to another episode of “A new feature.”
And yes, I know it doesn’t sound all that exciting after all the new features we already had this year. But this one is really really epic because it is about

practicing speaking with… AI

OMG, the buzz… it’s soooo strong :).

Here’s what’s going on… some of you might have heard of the company EF, Education First. Their main focus is
organizing language travels and programs around the world and they’re a pretty big company. And they have a small department that is building their own custom speech recognition AI system, that they’re offering to teachers so they can create cool interactive exercises.

Bob, the leader of the team (who used to be a fellow reader here), reached out to me a while back and told me about this sytsem and that I could include it here on my site.

Which was perfect timing, because I had actually been tinkering with that idea for a while and I had applied for access to Elon Musks Open AI in January  and had I also looked into how I could integrate the Google speech recognition system into my site. But neither one is a feasible option, at this point, so when Bob told me about this, I was really happy because it was pretty much what I had been looking for.
And I’m really excited to show it to you today and I’m suuuuper curious for your feedback. And the team over at EF is, too, because they’re still very much developing the system and any feedback from actual students is super valuable.

Now, the system offers a few different modes. One is to just read out a sentence or repeat it another one is a dialogue where you can speak either side. But the one I found most interesting was to use your speaking to actually answer real questions, because that way, you have a real reason to speak other than just to get it graded, and you practice two things at once… speaking and some other part of German #efficient
So, today we’ll do a little exercise for  the German past tense.

Here’s how it works:

I’ll give you a sentence in present and you’ll have to say it in past.
It’s multiple choice, so if you have no idea, you can just look at the options and read the one that you think is most likely.
Or you listen to my audio and then just try to repeat it.
Click on the blue mic to record and the same button to stop.

It’s only 10 questions, but it’s really more of a trial run. If you like this kind of exercise, I’ll definitely do more. I think for stuff like past tense, or creating questions or even adjective endings, this system is great and much better than clicking or typing.
But yeah, your feedback is what matters :)

Now, at the moment the system is completely run by EF, so you can’t save your recordings here and you can’t save the results in your profile, but you should be able to see these stats on the EF site.
Also, because everything is run by their servers, I don’t really have access to the layout or the “flow” of the exercise. If you have specific ideas there, all feedback is welcome.

Oh and one last thing… the AI is kind of in “nice” mode, so if it’s in doubt, it’ll “understand” in your favor. In fact, if you record and just say nothing, it’ll classify that as the correct answer (though you’ll get a poor rating for your pronunciation).

Anyway, enough talk from me, now it’s your turn :)

Viel Spaß!!



So… how’d you like it? How’d you do?
Do you want me to do more of these types of exercises? What would you do differently? And how do you feel about the AI? Is it too hard, or too easy? Leave all your thoughts and feedback in the comments and I’ll pass it on to the team.
I hope you enjoyed this, have a great week and I’ll see you next time :)

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