ChatGPT has been one of 2023’s hot topics, but it’s important for us to go beyond the clickbait headlines and career-ending apocalyptic claims to understand what it can actually do to support language learners. In this post, we’ll take a look at how using ChatGPT for language learning can help achieve your language learning goals.
Grammar and Vocabulary
ChatGPT is trained on a vast amount of language data and can provide answers to grammar and vocabulary questions with accuracy and speed. You can simply enter your question and get a clear answer with explanations and examples.
You can also ask ChatGPT to provide example sentences to help you understand how to use words and phrases in context. In this regard it is similar to SKELL, though a key difference being you have more control over the theme and language level of the generated sentences.
Another advantage over SKELL is that ChatGPT can also suggest alternative ways of expressing ideas to help you expand your vocabulary and improve your writing or speaking.
With the help of one of several browser plugins you can speak directly to ChatGPT, giving you the possibility to have a conversation. And using the correct prompt, you can decide what sort of ‘character’ you want to speak with. Perhaps you want a character of a language teacher that will correct your mistakes, or perhaps you want to hone your debating skills with a more argumentative partner – these, and many more, are all now possible!
Furthermore, ChatGPT knows how to use phonemic symbols to ‘display’ the pronunciation of a word using phonetic transcription – this can help you ‘see’ how to pronounce a word.
As with the speaking practice, ChatGPT can again play the role of ‘teacher’ by giving you writing prompts or other writing tasks. Once you have finished, enter your text and have ChatGPT give you feedback and editing suggestions. This can be particularly helpful if you need help or practice with writing in a specific style or format, for example, writing an essay or using an appropriate level of formality.
Being able to use ChatGPT for language learning is an incredible development that has many clear educational benefits, but we have found that results may vary depending on the language being used – so don’t be surprised if you get an A in your English test but something much lower on your Czech homework!
With that in mind, please be aware that it cannot completely replace the input from a qualified teacher – at least, not yet …