How Can AI Help with Language Learning? Benefits and Disadvantages

How Can AI Help with Language Learning? Benefits and Disadvantages

The popularisation of AI is transforming the language-learning process. More and more language students are turning to AI instead of choosing traditional methods such as textbooks and flashcards. 

 

With new technologies being developed every day, the way we learn new languages constantly changes. If you’re wondering how you can incorporate AI into your language-learning process, you will discover different ways you can do it in this article.

 

 

For the purposes of this article, we will use prompts for English learners. Considering you’re reading this, you are probably already an English speaker, and will understand examples using this language. However, the examples of prompts we will use here can be adapted for any language and level.

 

How can AI help with language learning?

 

  1. Create grammar exercises
  2. Generate vocabulary lists
  3. Explain grammar rules
  4. Generate different text forms
  5. Chat with bots in the target language
  6. Recommend further learning resources and suggest the best methods

 


  1. Create grammar exercises

 

You can ask an AI chatbot to generate a series of different grammar exercises on a specific topic. Of course, to be able to create a comprehensive prompt, you already need some awareness of different grammar structures, constructions, and tenses. Therefore, this method is the best solution for those who already have some language knowledge, say A2+.

 

An example prompt for an AI chatbot:

 

Generate a fill-in-the-gaps grammar exercise for past tenses (Past Simple, Past Continuous, Past Perfect) for an English student on a B2 level. 

 

You can personalise the prompt even further, for example by asking the sentences to be on a specific topic, contain certain vocabulary and verbs, or specify how long the exercise should be. You may also state whether you’d prefer the exercise to be a piece of text, or a list of independent sentences.

 

Here are different types of grammar exercises you can make use of:

 

  • Fill-in-the-gaps 

  • True or false

  • Multiple choice

  • Open-end questions 

  • Correct the mistakes 

 

Disclaimer: we recommend going beyond AI in language learning and asking a native speaker or a teacher to correct your grammar exercises once you’re done. An AI chatbot can also provide feedback, but it won’t be as thorough or accurate as one received from a human. 


 

  1. Generate vocabulary lists

 

If your goal is to expand your vocabulary bank, AI-enhanced language learning is a great solution. You can ask an AI chatbot to generate entire lists of vocabulary on all kinds of topics for different levels. 

 

An example prompt for an AI chatbot:

 

Generate a list of 30 words on the topic of films and cinema for an English student on an A2 level. 

 

Once you receive the list, you can follow up by asking for translations of the words in your native language.

 

Pro tip: the translations are usually more accurate if you use two different prompts - one for generating the list of words, and the second to translate them. If you ask for a vocabulary list with translations straight away, many AI chatbots get confused. 

 

Don’t stop once you generate the list. You won’t memorise the words simply by looking at them. Create flashcards with the new vocabulary - either using good old pen and paper, or dedicated apps such as Quizlet


 

  1. Explain grammar rules

 

The problem with using AI language learning apps is that they don’t always offer explanations. They will tell you that you made a mistake, but they won’t say why a particular sentence won’t work that way. 

 

This can be frustrating and prevents language students from making real progress. After all, how can you improve when you don’t know why a mistake is a mistake?

 

Don’t worry if you don’t have a native speaker to ask, don’t want to splurge on a textbook, and can’t find another source that would comprehensively explain grammar rules. 

 

Online guides are usually generic and include all aspects of a specific grammar topic in their explanations. The advantage of AI-driven language learning is that you can personalise the prompt and obtain an answer that is tailor-made for your query.

 

You don’t have to dig through lines upon lines of text - if you craft your prompt well, the AI chatbot will provide you with a concise, one-line response. 


 

  1. Generate different text forms

 

Reading is an essential part of the language-learning process. It is also one of the best ways to assimilate new vocabulary and effectively learn grammar structures quickly.

 

However, the language-learning texts available on the Internet or found in textbooks can be either outdated or a bit random. Finding a reading exercise on a topic that interests you and on a relevant level is time-consuming and difficult. 

 

A solution? Language learning using AI.

 

You can ask any AI chatbot to generate text on a specific topic in your target language, adjusting the length and difficulty to your level. You can even give it a list of specific words you’d like included in the text, for example if you want to consolidate new vocabulary. 

 

There are even dedicated tools that will do just that for you. Twee is a free language app, which uses AI to optimise the learning process. We recommend it for creating custom texts or crafting interactive exercises based on videos.


 

  1. Chat with bots in the target language

 

Would you like to chat with a native speaker but can’t find a pen pal? Don’t worry - there is a variety of AI-powered tools that allow you to practice your writing and speaking skills.

 

With the development of technology, talking to many of them feels like talking to a real person. Examples of such tools include:

 

 

You can also use generic AI chatbots such as ChatGPT or Bart. If you ask them to carry out a conversation with you in a given language, they will do it. You can even program ChatGPT to respond to you in a specific style (for example using only casual or formal language) or act as your language teacher, correcting your mistakes. 

 

However, programming an AI chatbot to act exactly the way you want it to takes time and skill. Additionally, they mostly work well in common European languages - their skills in the less “popular” languages leave a lot to be desired.

 

This is why we recommend focusing on a dedicated tool in this area. The choice is so broad, you shouldn’t have any trouble selecting one you will like.


 

  1. Recommend further learning resources and suggest the best methods

 

Another way you can use AI in the language-learning process is as a source of information. AI chatbots are true goldmines when it comes to discovering new resources. 

 

Not all of them can browse the web in real-time. But they can still recommend websites, apps, and other tools to help you learn a language.

 

Another role of AI in language learning is to provide tailored advice on the most efficient methods for each language student. 

 

An example prompt for AI chatbot:

 

I am a student of Spanish who is a complete beginner. I know English and Italian at an advanced level. I would like to learn Spanish for work purposes and am interested in business language. I am a visual learner, but I also like listening exercises. I can dedicate 5 hours a week to learning Spanish. I plan to reach A2 level in 6 months. What language-learning methods and resources would be the best for me?

 

The more specific you are, the more tailored the answer will be. Don’t leave anything out and provide as much information as you can. 


 

These are the ways you can use AI in language learning. Now, we would like to discuss the pros and cons of AI-based language training. You should be aware of the strengths and limitations of every method before you try it out.


 

Benefits of AI in language learning

 

  1. It streamlines the process
  2. It helps avoid boredom
  3. You can tailor the process
  4. Robots don't judge

 

  1. It streamlines the process

 

Language learning is a long process - that can’t be avoided. But you can make it more efficient by incorporating AI. Leveraging as many different resources as you can increases your chances of succeeding in reaching your language goals.


 

  1. It helps avoid boredom

 

Have you ever been discouraged from learning a new language by a teacher who couldn’t get you engaged at school? Nowadays, we are so used to interactive methods of learning that textbooks and vocabulary lists don’t do it for us anymore. 

 

Using AI in language learning is a great way to switch things up. You can tailor the process to your interests and goals and avoid learning generic things that are neither interesting nor useful for you. 

 

Not to mention, AI language apps are designed to make learning fun. You can improve by watching videos, listening to podcasts, completing interactive exercises, or reading insightful texts.


 

  1. You can tailor the process

 

One major advantage of AI-driven language learning is the tailored experience. You can align the way you learn a new language to your personal goals, needs, and limitations. 

 

Specialised language courses are usually very expensive. While they are a great solution, not everybody can afford them. By using AI in language learning, you can get a similar experience and match the topics to your interests and advancement level. 

 

Additionally, if at any point you decide that something isn’t working out for you, you can change it or even re-design the whole process. You can also learn on your own time.

 

Most of the time, language schools offer a fixed schedule and come with a specific syllabus. While there is some wiggle room, individual AI-based language training might be a more comfortable solution for those who value independence and flexibility. 


 

  1. Robots don’t judge

 

One of the biggest challenges to overcome on the road to fluency is the fear of judgment. It is hard to shake when talking to other people - even teachers, whose job is not to judge their students.

 

Perhaps for some, the hesitance to talk won’t occur when talking to a chatbot. We don’t have to worry about what it will think about us when we inevitably make a mistake - because chatbots don’t think. 


 

There are two sides to every coin. While there are many benefits of AI language learning, there are also some limitations to relying on Artificial Intelligence to help us reach our language goals.


 

Disadvantages of AI language learning

 

  1. Chatbots can make mistakes
  2. It's only a supplement
  3. Lack of cultural awareness
  4. It can create barriers

 

  1. Chatbots can make mistakes

 

Technology is still improving. It develops at the speed of light, but it can still let you down in some cases.

 

It is not unheard of for an AI chatbot to make mistakes. If you do a bit of digging, you can find many language students using AI-enhanced language learning reporting errors in grammatical structures, wrong explanations, inaccurate translations, or even words that were entirely made up.

 

This is one of the reasons why AI shouldn’t be your only resource when learning a new language. Always take what it tells you with a pinch of salt and verify the information elsewhere.


 

  1. It’s only a supplement

 

While using AI in language learning is helpful, you shouldn’t rely on this method entirely. Learning a new language is a complex process that requires the development of a whole range of skills: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. 

 

Talking to a chatbot is great, but you should balance it with striking up conversations with real people. AI-generated exercises can help you improve, but you ought to have someone regularly check your progress. AI language learning apps bring a lot of fun into the process, but they won’t help you reach fluency. 

 

Remember - one of the main purposes of learning languages is interaction with other people. It is only logical that the language learning process shall involve living, breathing, conscious humans as well.


 

  1. Lack of cultural awareness

 

Cultural awareness is a crucial element of learning a foreign language. You don’t only learn words and grammar structures - you discover a whole new culture that is intrinsically linked to the language. 

 

While certain AI resources are developed enough to have some grasp of cultural awareness, it is still very limited. AI won’t help you learn the subtle nuances between the same language spoken in different parts of the world or explain complex cultural concepts.

 

Only a person who has first-hand experience interacting with a certain culture can introduce you to it properly. Relying entirely on AI-based language training can potentially lead to embarrassing situations and faux pas if you fail to understand certain customs. 


 

  1. It can create barriers

 

Imagine trying to talk to actual people when you’ve spent a long time using AI in language learning.

 

It is true that robots don’t judge, yes. But sometimes, the only way out is through. The best method to fight your fear of judgment when speaking a foreign language is to expose yourself to that judgment. It may be hard to believe at first, but eventually, that embarrassment will go away. 

 

The longer you put off talking to real people, the bigger that fear will grow. Trust me when I say it’s best to rip off that Band-Aid as soon as possible. 
 


To summarise, you can use AI for language learning in many ways: creating grammar exercises and vocabulary lists, generating custom texts, or seeking advice about the most effective methods and resources.

 

Benefits of AI-driven language learning include a personalised learning process, the possibility to tailor the experience to your own needs, and leveraging the newest technologies to streamline the language learning journey.

 

However, the limitations of AI-based language training, such as the possibility of errors, a lack of cultural awareness, and an incomplete experience make it necessary to involve a human teacher and employ other resources in the language learning process.

 

Have you tried using AI for language learning? Maybe you have some tips and tricks to ensure maximised efficiency? Let us know in the comments!


 

FAQs


 

Is AI good for language learning?

 

There are many benefits of AI in language learning. They include a personalised learning experience, the possibility to tailor methods and resources to individual goals and needs, and a faster, more efficient process.

 

However, AI shouldn’t be the only resource you use in learning a new language. It is crucial to develop in all four areas of language learning - speaking, writing, listening, and reading - and consult native speakers. 


 

Will AI make language language learning obsolete?

 

It is unlikely that AI will make language learning obsolete in the near future. Cultural awareness and the ability to adapt to specific situations and context, as well as choose an appropriate style and register are crucial elements of speaking a language. So far, technology is still severely lacking in these areas. 

 

Speaking a language on your own is much more comfortable than relying on a tool to communicate. Therefore, the knowledge of languages continues to be a valuable skill that is worth investing in. 

 

Is there a free AI language learning app?

 

There are multiple language learning apps to choose from. Many of them incorporate AI into their algorithms in order to provide the most optimised experience to their users. 

 

For example, Duolingo collaborates with OpenAI - the company behind ChatGPT. And Berlitz, an international language training provider, partnered up with Microsoft last year and uses Azure AI Speech to improve the learners’ experience. 

 


Feeling inspired? Visit our blog for more career advice! How can you be sure the information we provide is top-notch? We are a group of professionals working with recruiters, career coaches, and HR specialists from all over the world! 

Trust our experience and let us help you find a new job in Europe!