Speaking Greek with Confidence


Advances in educational software

The Education sector is constantly looking for advances in technology to help students learn better and faster. When it comes to learning a second language, one of the most promising advances is Speech Recognition software - a tool that’s becoming very popular and for good reason – it helps kids overcome one of the biggest obstacles in mastering a second language: speaking with confidence.

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Combination of interest and anxiety

Some of us may recall a time when we weren’t looking forward to that second language class – be it French, Spanish, or another. At the time, we may have noticed we were interested in the foreign words in our textbooks – how similar, or different they looked compared to our own native language; we may have also been excited by the realization we’d heard some of them in films. We may have also found it very interesting to listen to our language teacher speak those interesting-sounding words, but when it came to us having to say them in class, our interest may have suddenly turned into hesitation, discomfort, and fear! So what’s the big deal in making a mistake when it comes to speaking? So what if you don’t get the word 100% right?

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Not a lack of interest

As parents and educators, we sometimes mistake kids’ hesitation – even opposition – to speaking a second language – as lack of interest in learning it. Although related, there is an important distinction between the two that points to another cause. The crucial point is that as toddlers go from making vowel-like sounds to babbling to speaking words at the 18th month, they start to realize that what they say evokes reactions in the people around them; they begin to discover that words are powerful and what they say can have both positive and negative consequences.

Kids want to get it right!

Whereas kids have had the opportunity to practice or be exposed to the basic words of their native language they’ll use in a social setting, at home, this isn’t normally the case for a second language. Arguably, that’s the main reason kids in school are cautious about making a serious mistake in front of their peers and teachers. That is to say, they’re not only being self-conscious about getting their pronunciation right, they’re also afraid of saying the wrong thing in front of their peers and teachers.

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Speech Recognition software eases away this fear by enabling kids to practice speaking a second language by interacting with the software at home. For this reason, Ellinopoula.com created ‘Speak Up’, its new Speech Recognition software tailored for Greek language speakers for different language levels. Speak Up prompts kids to read a word or phrase out loud. If kids get it right they move onto another word, if not, Speak Up prompts them to try again - it’s a fun way to get kids on track to speak Greek with confidence!

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