What does the (distant) future of language acquisition look like?

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What does the (distant) future of language acquisition look like?

Postby EGP » Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:14 am

I don't dream about the terminator or similar scenarios very often. But occasionally I read something that makes me stop and consider.

With the massive advances that we can see in NLP (natural language processing) and AI today, is it far fetched that there will only ever be a need for a teacher for the most communicative/emotional/pragmatic dimensions of language use?

I was just reading this https://www.xjtlu.edu.cn/en/news/2021/0 ... ered-by-ai

and they have designed a speaking resource that helps your speaking. I doubt it is accurate since I have trialled some basic stuff before from Cambridge and it was quite stupid to tell me my English had some problems. However, the point is that with time, and the more data dumped into these machines. I believe they will get there with some types of activities.

Or will the time come that AI I won't even bother pretending to be a teacher robot sort of thing, because there might be no need since we already can just talk and have it all translated at like 'hello Siri' types of scenarios?

Now Siri or 'hello google' or whatever you are using is not that bad for some stuff. But I imagine if they give it another 100 years, and areas such as language acquisition get targeted we might see some crazy advances.

"Siri how do I say... in (this language) if I am trying to be polite ..." And then Siri knows I am a teenager and asks who I am asking.... queries me back "well are you asking a teenager out on a date or are you telling an adult you can't go to work...."

Just really dam specific with time and big data crunching!

RANT over.
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Re: What does the (distant) future of language acquisition look like?

Postby Cainntear » Thu Apr 08, 2021 2:06 pm

I think we have to be careful not to disregard useful tools simply because they don't on their own describe a method.

For example, I think well designed grammar exercises can be useful, but we don't use them in class lots because they take time away from interactive activities, and we don't often set them as homework because students who can do them don't need them much, and students who need them struggle to complete them without guidance. Computer-based homework can help with that.

This doesn't teach people to speak, but it gives them a chance to work on their pronunciation with some kind of guidance, which hopefully means the teacher can focus on specific problem areas in the limited time available, rather than only having time to deal with the basics.

I imagine this still isn't brilliant, but it'll be a whole lot better than previous generations of similar technology. The problem of marking natives as wrong is always going to be an issue, but when we teach, we always tend to pick a target model of the language, whether we intend to or not.

The big problem, of course, is that in a class with a native-speaker teacher, the teacher's model isn't going to be the same as the computer tutor's model...!
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Re: What does the (distant) future of language acquisition look like?

Postby Le Baron » Thu Apr 08, 2021 2:37 pm

Since I'll be dead in 100 years I'm less distressed than I might be about this. I'm not a Luddite, but sometimes sceptical of the vaunted value and performance of AI systems. I actually believe they will be excellent and accurate and for me that's partially the problem. The rich variety of language - including wordplay, comedy which uses language mishaps - didn't develop because every last person had managed to be accurate and correct. So in this way for me it's sanitising human culture with technocratic boringness. What technocrats never understand is how 'old fashioned inefficient' learning is also a social experience.

However, what's perhaps best in AI can likely be of value for people who thrive less well in group scenarios and for personal study. I'd be interested to see if there really is an equal comparison between interacting with a person and interacting with AI in 'conversation', rather than it being a deceptively realistic, interactive version of providing answers in the gaps provided on a cassette. After all what is it going to do, just keep correcting you all the time you speak? Real people don't do that, for various reasons.
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Re: What does the (distant) future of language acquisition look like?

Postby jimmy » Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:51 pm

I only overviewed the topic and can say :

to me, the quality of education taken, and the degree of willingness of learner will be very effective. Also, it seems we are in new era and so in a interways or intersection of new things or more properly something willl be changed.
so when we consider that we would be in more contemporary era, the techniques and willingness will be highly more effective than the education taken.

normally , in case we assume that there is no willingness of learner to learn language ,then even if the education is qualified ,it will almost make no effect / change on the learner.
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Re: What does the (distant) future of language acquisition look like?

Postby lichtrausch » Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:22 pm

Everyone will essentially have their own private AI tutor, who will be modeled after the best teachers in the world.
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Re: What does the (distant) future of language acquisition look like?

Postby Cainntear » Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:29 pm

Le Baron wrote:So in this way for me it's sanitising human culture with technocratic boringness.

Sorry... were you describing computer-based language learning, or 90% of all language textbooks...? :D
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Re: What does the (distant) future of language acquisition look like?

Postby kelvin921019 » Fri Apr 09, 2021 4:31 am

I think the core of language learning i.e. the method will remain largely the same. People sometimes believe that the technology changed the methodology and there's a magic app that revolutionize the strategy.

My observation is that technology only make the implementation of the methodology easier and more convenient. A language learning app is a more portable book (tho I still prefer a book), language exchange apps allow you to speak to native without the need to put up a craigslist or actually fly to another country, anki allow you to make your flashcard and schedule your review without the need to actually writing down these on papers or cards. You can also get access to private tutoring and native contents without the need to go out and look for it. That's the upside of technology.

My wish would be an AI master language learning scheduling tool that help you streamline your learning and review schedule (like base on your progress, experience, tools available and adjust the tasks you should do everyday). The learning part I guess more or less remains the same.
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Re: What does the (distant) future of language acquisition look like?

Postby rdearman » Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:25 pm

The distant future is probably just a chip embedded behind the ear which automatically translates languages and transmits them directly into the brain as a native language stream of sounds. You'd probably need to learn your first language, then let the computer take care of the rest. :ugeek:
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Re: What does the (distant) future of language acquisition look like?

Postby Cainntear » Fri Apr 09, 2021 1:38 pm

rdearman wrote:The distant future is probably just a chip embedded behind the ear which automatically translates languages and transmits them directly into the brain as a native language stream of sounds. You'd probably need to learn your first language, then let the computer take care of the rest. :ugeek:

And forum.language-learners.org will be looked up like we look upon vinyl buff forums.
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Re: What does the (distant) future of language acquisition look like?

Postby Cenwalh » Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:55 pm

rdearman wrote:You'd probably need to learn your first language, then let the computer take care of the rest. :ugeek:

I don't need to learn any other languages other than English, it's just a hobby. I don't think that hobbyists would change much.

I was going to say that perhaps people would still want to learn a language to watch TV in the original language, but then I thought perhaps deep fakes would be used to make actors say what's in the translated dub. I've just looked it up and found this company that already uses deep fakes to project dubbing onto someone's mouth movements. I really recommend watching the intro video on their website for an example of what I think is the future of dubbing.
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