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chinopinyin

Qooco (Skritter for your mouth?)

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chinopinyin

Chinese forums gave me an invitation to be a beta tester (http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php?/topic/21880-beta-test-language-learning-software-voice-and-tone-recognition) for Qooco(http://www.qoocochinese.com), so I think it is fair that I report back on my experience

The most interesting feature of Qooco is its automatic speech and tone recognition technology. It is true that here are other programs/websites out there that incorporate this type of technology, such as Rosetta Stone or Lingt (http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php?/topic/23671-lingt-srs-learning-with-voice-recognition&highlight=lingt), but my impression is that Qooco’s software is substantially more accurate and provides more information. For instance, each syllable is rated (I am sure some people will quickly point out that teachers rate tones and pronunciation better, but that is another issue).

I have been using Qooco for two months now and have found it to be a really useful tool to check my tones and pronunciation. My Chinese is pretty elementary, so people like me would benefit a lot by assessments by native/very advanced speakers.

There are, of course, some things that need to be polished. Particularly providing summary information (and not just very detailed one) on users’ errors, adding review lessons or including additional exercices. There are also some issues regarding speed (even though it has substantially improved in the last month) and the need to download an application.

The Qooco Team is aware of these issues and has ongoing plans to improve their product. They have posted in their website their plans for 2010 (http://www.qoocochinese.com/posts/list/62601.page). Planned change focus on improving the feedback and reporting system, expanding the number of lessons (They now just focus on early learners) and tone recognition exercices. On the technical side, they plan to release a clientless version of their system.

The big question is whether Qooco will become Skritter for your mouths?

I am really impatient to see the reaction of native/very advanced speakers and of other beta testers

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pancake
Currently, our lesson client is only available for Windows.

...and that's where I lost interest.

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tck921

Hi all, Tom from Qooco here. I know it is frustrating not to have a mac version(I have a mac at home too), but the clientless version will support Mac in the future. Be patient!

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imron

And what about Linux users? :mrgreen:

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Meng Lelan

tom from qooco, I have a question. Does it provide visual feedback? I've got a deaf student or two who are getting ready to take high school Chinese and so right now I am trying to help them understand how to produce tones and sounds in Mandarin speech.

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tk921

Hi Meng LeLan,

The answer to your question is yes, some of our lessons offer visual feedback. I have attached a screen shot of our tone recognition lessons. We currently have a limited number of these lessons, but I am sure it would be still be helpful for you students to get a feel for the tones. Send me a message using Chinese-Forums and I can set you up with a free account to help out your students!

Best,

Tom

2986_thumb.attach

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Meng Lelan

Tom, got your email. I'll be replying later today after work. That screen shot of the tones, can you tell us all here about that screenshot? Some time ago I posted around here asking about a program I saw at a school for the deaf in China where I worked back in 1993. They had a computer program where the deaf child produces a tone into the microphone and the computer would show how closely the tone (rising, falling, high, or low, the computer could do those all) matched the standard. The screen shot you have right there looks very similar to what I saw, maybe you can add some explanations for our collective benefit.

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chrix

I think this kind of program would be beneficial for any learner of Chinese, though there's the problem with the relativity of tones in context of course...

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tk921

Hi Meng Lelan,

The tone recognition works in a manner similar to how you described. As you can see in the screenshot, there are green lines that represent the correct tone for each word. They are there as a guideline for the student. In an exercise, students are prompted by a recording of a word and asked to repeat it. You are then given feedback on how accurate your speech was compared to the native voice. In the screenshot, the user said the zhōng of zhōngguó correctly, but incorrectly used a sharp fourth tone for guó. The system analyzed their input and gave visual feedback(in red) about where their tones were actually going.

Right now, the tone technology is not fully integrated with the lessons on our website but is rather there as a general practice tool. We are going to expand the tone lessons, so users can practice saying a variety of words using the system.

As a note, we recommend going through lessons a number of times to help train your voice and get more consistent results.

Hope that helps, let me know if you have any more questions.

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Meng Lelan
Hope that helps, let me know if you have any more questions.

Thanks for posting here, it does help us know what is offered in Qooco.

am really impatient to see the reaction of native/very advanced speakers and of other beta testers

Good idea, chinopinyin.

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