Practice Speaking – A New Type Of Exercise

Hello everyone,

and welcome back to your favorite German learning blog of all time.
So, originally, I wanted to do a review this week and tell you about an interesting new tool. However, as I was actually using the tool to prepare the review, I actually found a couple of issues with it that are so big that I have decided that I can’t really recommend it after all, and I cancelled my review.

I didn’t have anything else prepared, but since it’s been a while already and I wanted to give you something to study, I decided that we’ll do some

Speaking Practice

Most of you probably remember from a few weeks back that EF (a big company for language travels) is working on a speech recognition AI and that we can use it here on the site.
Last time, we did a multiple choice type of activity and today, I want to try out a new type of exercise – one that helps you train common patterns and phrasings.

Here’s my idea:

We’ll take a common verb or phrase in German and then go over various important phrasings with it.
Like… we’d for instance take the verb “gefallen” for example and then do a statement, a statement with negation, a question and a statement in past tense. If you’ve ever heard of the Michel Thomas method… it’s a bit similar. So we’ll start really simple and then just modify that and make it more complex.
Ha, actually it sounds really complicated, when I explain it that way.

You’ll get the English and you have to translate it to German and SAY the answer.
You have the choice between three difficulty levels.

  • Easy: You can see the German version and you just have to read it.
  • Medium: You can see the German version for a second and then only keywords.
  • Hard: You can see only keywords of the German version and you have to make up the sentence by yourself.

Oh and you can listen to me saying it in all three levels.
So if you pick hard mode, and you don’t listen to my version, you can practice speaking and making a sentence in German at the same time, which gets fairly close to the pressure of actually talking.

Now, the EF system doesn’t REALLY offer this type of exercise. I’m repurposing their dialogue practice for it, so the flow of the exercise is not really ideal. It’s more of a trial run to see what you think about this type of exercise in general and if you do like it, then I can talk to the folks over at EF about which options and functions would be ideal.
So yeah, because the interface is a little confusing, here’s a little overview over the practice window… proudly sponsored by Microsoft paint :)

 

 

    • A: This is the English side. The audio usually plays automatically with speech synthesis in English. I have disabled that (but I can turn it on, if you want me to).

 

    • B: This is my own version.

 

    • C: Here’s your recorded version and the score you got. If you want to retry that particular one, just click retry on the bottom right.

 

    • D: This auto-plays the German (either recording or speech synthesis). After that, the recording for you starts immediately. I have put silence there, so you have the option to find the answer yourself, but the recording will still start. Don’t worry if you take a while before you start speaking. The AI will just cut the silence.

 

    • E: here, you can change the difficulty (Show full answer, Show answer for a second, show only keywords)

 

  • F: If the button looks like this, it is ALREADY RECORDING. Clicking it, will stop the recording.

As I said… the “flow” of the exercise is not ideal. Best would be if you could see the English, think about it, maybe listen to my reference or look at the solution and then you click record yourself once you’re ready.
But that’s just not possible at the moment, so let’s try and make do with what we have :)

As I said… I just wanted to try out this type of exercise and see if it’s a helpful tool. If yes, we could use that for all the important German verbs so you can practice speaking and making sentences and also kind of “automate” a lot of important structures.
So … today, we’ll pratice three things: the verb “aussehen”, the verb “erinnern” and the phrasing for “I am cold/warm….”.
Viel Spaß :)

So, how’d it go :)?
Please please share all your feedback and thoughts in the comments. Like… what did you like, what did you not like, was it difficult, what features do you think might be useful? I want to know it all.
Oh and if you have some other ideas for speaking based exercises, let me know in the comments as well.
I hope you enjoyed this one, have a great week und bis bald.

further reading:

Practice Past Tense – by speaking

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