Amazon has expanded its Alexa-based English learning program for Spanish speakers in Spain to include the US and Mexico. The program utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) technology to provide feedback on mispronunciations and accents. The aim is to help Spanish speakers learn English naturally and conveniently from their own homes, using devices such as Echo speakers. Instead of traditional workbook lessons, Alexa takes a conversational approach to language learning.
Alexa, Amazon’s popular voice assistant, uses a combination of natural language processing, machine learning, and speech recognition to interact with users. The system also employs a phonetic recurrent-neural-network-transducer model to predict phonemes, the smallest units of speech. This technology allows Alexa to distinguish between similar-sounding phonemes from different languages and identify common mispronunciation patterns. Spanish speakers will have access to structured lessons and a unique pronunciation feature with real-time feedback.
When a language learner practices an English word or phrase, Alexa listens to the pronunciation and checks for any mistakes. If mispronunciations are detected, Alexa brings them to the learner’s attention for correction. When pointing out and correcting mispronounced phrases, Alexa slows down its pace to make it easier for users to listen and correct their pronunciation. On Echo Show devices, correctly pronounced words or phrases are highlighted in blue, while mispronunciations are highlighted in red.
This feature is currently available only for Spanish speakers learning English and can be accessed on all generations of Echo and Echo Show devices, as well as via the Alexa mobile app. The expansion of this program into the US and Mexico allows more Spanish speakers to benefit from AI technology in their language learning journey.