https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RafaLeon14

How to practice your target language regardless of native speakers

Hey everybody!

This might help those who don't have native speakers to practice or don't feel confident to speak yet. This technique helped me a lot to practice English by myself.

One of the most effective (and funnier) methods that I've been using to practice is literally chatting with my phone just like I would do with a real person.

"How do you do that?"

Well, I just changed the language of my phone to English and started asking Google Assistant some generic questions.

A lot of people don't know this, but Google Assistant has been improving a lot since it was launched and it is able to answer a lot of questions in a very human way.

Right now, the app is available in eight different languages:

  • English
  • Spanish
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Portuguese

However, they promised that the app will be available up to 30 languages by the end of 2018 (Danish, Dutch, Hindi and Indonesian are included among the upcoming languages)


For those who are interested, I recorded this video showing how I've been practicing my speaking skills with Google Assistant. I even asked it to marry me and it answered! hahahahaha


Comic from Camille Gautier (MlleKarensac).

August 15, 2018

57 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NtateNarin

Oh my gosh, I did that a few times accidentally a while ago! I think I used Cortana (or maybe Google?) in Windows 10, and after changing my language settings, I didn't realize she would only respond to me if I spoke French. Whatever I said in English, it came out garbled and not understandable. I then spoke in French, and voila... she responded! I wasn't too good in French back then, but maybe now I will try that out and have her tell me a few French jokes in French. :-D

Thanks a bunch, RafaLeon14, as I forgot about that! :-)

August 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RafaLeon14

Hahahaha that's crazy, right? Sometimes we forget how technology can help us to reach our goals. AI is definitely here to stay! So, let's use it in our favour. I'm glad I could help you. And I hope the French jokes are better than the English ones! hahahaha

August 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Saved_by_Christ

Thanks for sharing this RafaLeon14. I got a kick out of the Google Assistant answering you about marriage!! :) Thanks!

August 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RafaLeon14

Hahahaha my pleasure. It was pretty funny. I love how natural it can sound sometimes. At least it was very polite. hahaha

August 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CalliZowie

All great ideas! As a native English speaker, I've been integrating French into my daily routine to create a more realistic use of the language. For instance: daily agendas, reminders, grocery lists, etc. With my closest friends and family, I'll occasionally write the french translation of a text message/email under the original. Some ignore them entirely, others have actually shown some interest in learning themselves :-D.

August 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RafaLeon14

That's great. I'm glad your routine is helping you to learn French and you're improving and inspiring people in your social cycle to give it a try. You're an inspiration! ;)

August 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/w1ndh0ek

Thanks for sharing! Did you create the comic?

August 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RafaLeon14

My pleasure! Actually, I didn't. This comic is well known among English students. It comes from a French artist called Camille Gautier (pseudonym MlleKarensac).

August 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sayrewolf

It's a real shame you didn't put that source in the original post. I imagine a lot of people won't scroll down this far to find it. :(

August 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RafaLeon14

I'm sorry about that. I just found the picture this way. I didn't remove any watermark and the comic was there just for illustration purposes. I didn't think people would really be interested in the comic. Anyway, I'm gonna edit it and post the info below the pic.

August 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WolfVonPosen

Wow this Al is rly smart but on the other hand it is a bit scary she can remember you name, hobby, write styl and more. O_O

August 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RafaLeon14

Totally! It's really scary, but we need to be aware that online services such as Google and Facebook have a lot of info about us already. Unfortunately, this kind of "privacy" is something we need to "give up" in order to use their services.

At least you can see part of what they have on you here: https://myactivity.google.com/

August 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CommeuneTexane

LOVE the video!

This is a wonderful idea, my congratulations to you! You are well on your way to fluency.

Thanks for sharing.

August 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RafaLeon14

Thank you! It makes me really glad when I see that my videos and tips are helping people out there. It's really rewarding when I see comments like yours. :)

August 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tatonka71

I've been talking to my computer like a madman for years while learning xD.

August 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RafaLeon14

It's "crazy" but it definitely helps a lot. hahahaha

August 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RoseBTSarmy

It does sound funny. Yet it seems like it will work. I will eventually give it a try. Thank you for sharing that :)

August 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RafaLeon14

My pleasure! I'm glad you liked it and I hope it can help you to learn your target language. :)

August 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeelOfShame

That really is an excellent point - we carry around technology that can understand us and rarely think of it.

Siri (for those of us who're Apple-inclined) can do the same thing, and in more languages, though... I find that it's far more limited in other languages as to what she can tell me (my Hebrew Siri can't tell me about baseball scores, for instance, alas). Definitely good for practice, though.

August 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RafaLeon14

Thanks! Definitely! We don't give AI enough credit. Technology is there to make our lives easier and sometimes we just forget all the potential we can carry on our phones. hahaha

August 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Fauzan836172

I don't have native speakers around to practice with too - thanks for posting this :)

August 17, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RafaLeon14

I know it's hard but we gotta be creative in order to overcome these limitations. I'm glad I could help.

August 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PycLearner

Also for anyone learning Russian, with the yandex browser on desktop, you can get "Alisa", it's like siri/google assistant that you can communicate with and it will reply to questions.

August 18, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RafaLeon14

Thanks for sharing this with us. There's always amazing tools out there that a lot of people are not aware of. The more the merrier.

August 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MissClawful

Nice creative idea. Anyone know anything similar that can be used for a laptop?

August 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jauza3

You can use Cortana if you have Windows 10 :)

August 18, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RafaLeon14

I've never used Cortana, but I know she is capable to do a lot of things. It's worth giving it a try.

August 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sohumsak

Thanks! This helped so much. I watched your video too. Your English is amazing!

August 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RafaLeon14

Thank you! I appreciate your compliments and it makes me happy to know that my video was helpful for you. That's what I'm here for! :)

August 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/icemule1

Hey man. I remember a while ago you posted that video of yourself to give confidence to fellow language learners, and now this good idea. Just wanted to say thanks for the helpful content

August 17, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RafaLeon14

Thank you, my friend! I'm really glad you remembered that post and I appreciate your compliments. I really want to help people and whenever I see comments like yours I feel that all my efforts paid off. It's always nice to see that people are appreciating your work. Once again, thank you! :)

August 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/seacc3

Wow!! Very cool idea! Allows a person to control the speed and number of do-overs. Nearly eliminates the embarrassment factor and you can look "normal" in public. You totally deserve a Lingot!!

August 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RafaLeon14

Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed. I wanted to share this because I was one of those people who has never had natives speakers around to practice. And it took me a really long time to notice how I could overcome these problems with creativity. Now that I succeeded, I want to help people to do the same. :)

August 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jim291610

Oh! C'est genial!

August 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RafaLeon14

Merci! :)

August 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Esma924584

Any one have any suggestion to practice the Dutch language?

August 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mark841597

My phone switched to Google assistant in Dutch a few days ago, so I think it's already available!

August 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/la_ricfoi

If you have the opportunity and means, then you can always visit the Netherlands.

August 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/luabrankatz

great idea! thanks !

August 17, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RafaLeon14

Thank you! I'm glad you liked it. :)

August 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RayRay12530

Thank so much .Such a smart idea.I will download it . You gon' get a lingot!!!!!!!

August 17, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RafaLeon14

Thanks! I appreciate the lingot and I hope it can help you out. :D

August 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AR_Elsherbiny

Brilliant!!

August 18, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RafaLeon14

Thank you! :)

August 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vascotuga251

Ora nem mais, mais um post fantástico do nosso RafaLeon ;)
Eu andava a usar esta técnica já há bastante tempo (para praticar o espanhol) mas entretanto tinha-me esquecido por completo disto. Agora relembraste-me e agora que tem Russo está na hora de começar a praticar :D

August 18, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RafaLeon14

Muito obrigado, meu amigo! Fico feliz em vê-lo por aqui novamente!

E ainda mais feliz que pude de alguma forma ajudá-lo a se lembrar dessa técnica que, de fato, pode ser bastante útil para nós.

Ah, a propósito. Apenas uma curiosidade. Seu nome é Vasco mesmo?

August 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ProfesorAntonnio

I guess that's only for Android 7 +? I have Android 6 and I haven't seen that.

August 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RafaLeon14

"What you need

To use the Google Assistant, you’ll need a phone or tablet with:

  • Android 6.0 or higher
  • Google app 6.13 or higher
  • Google Play services
  • 1.4 GB of memory and 720p screen resolution
  • Device's language set to a language listed above"

https://support.google.com/assistant/answer/7172657?co=GENIE.Platform%3DAndroid&hl=en

August 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/la_ricfoi

That's pretty funny, though prepare yourself for some really weird advertisements coming your way :)

All free, eh? You guys have free phones and internet over there? That's pretty surprising.

August 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RafaLeon14

"prepare yourself for some really weird advertisements coming your way"

Not necessarily. A lot of personal preferences can be "forgotten" if you want. Every time it says "I'll remember that" you have the option to ask it to forget this info and, honestly, if you are connected with a Google account already, it is likely that they have a lot of information about you already! Not to mention that you can always delete things here: https://myactivity.google.com/myactivity


"You guys have free phones and internet over there?"

I assumed you had a phone already and in order to watch the video, you also need an internet connection. So, I meant "no additional costs." Hahahaha

August 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/la_ricfoi

Ah ok. I have no experience with all that Android and iOS stuff.

August 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RafaLeon14

No problem! :)

August 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TimK77777

Has anyone tried Siri for this? :)

August 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KUUAxAwy

This is very cool-nd the comic is very funny too! Actually Google Assistant is more interactive than a lot of people :) Your English is very good, btw.

August 18, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RafaLeon14

Thanks! Appreciate your compliment. And I totally agree. Sometimes I can have really nice conversations with Google Assistant (and I cannot say that of everybody hahaha).

August 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/daltojr

Funny comic, BUT... having the skills and vocabulary to read books is not an easy thing, and if you have them you're probably able to have decent conversations on your target language.

Nice tip about using google assistant though! Have a lingot for that)

November 24, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmirZadah

JUST AWESONE IDEA MAN :D Much appreciated!

November 25, 2018
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