Crazy crazy Englsih

Our app will eventually help people master speaking all popular languages of the world (YAY for our ambitions!). As you know, we decided to start with probably the most practical language to learn — with English.

While preparing the best content for our speaking app we stumbled upon a great book about English language by R. Lederer called “Crazy language”.  A little quotation will prove just how damn crazy this language is:

Let’s face it: English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant or ham in hamburger, neither apple nor pine in pineapple.

Now I know why I flunked my English. It’s not my fault; the silly language doesn’t quite know whether it’s coming or going.English muffins were not invented in England or french fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies, while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat.

We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square, and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. And why is it that writers write, but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce, and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So, one moose, 2 meese? One index, two indices? Is cheese the plural of choose?

If teachers taught, shouldn’t  preachers have praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? Park on driveways and drive on parkways?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? How can the weather be hot as hell one day an cold as hell another?
When a house burns up, it burns down. You fill in a form by filling it out and an alarm clock goes off by going on. When the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible. And why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this essay, I end it?

So what can we make of all this? Just that there is no need to worry! Also, that you should take all the difficulties with a smile and blame it on Englsih being stupid!

Loving Englsih with all our hearts,
Talkio team


In search of the hardest English word to pronounce

Speaking English is easy. If you don’t believe us simply think of how many people managed to master it :). Still, there are some words that make speaking English a pain. Probably everyone will agree that sometimes the pronunciation is hard to guess and goes against all logic. If you are trying to speak English, you know what we mean! Some words seem to be designed to haunt all the inexperienced learners.

We at Talkio decided to find out what the hardest English words to pronounce are. Obviously, we want to include them into our application to give users the most benefits out of using our speaking iPad app.

What we have found out was quite interesting. The hardest words to pronounce depend on what someone’s first language is. Many of Russian-, German- and Farsi-speaking folks, for example, have trouble with the [TH] sound. All those languages simply do not have this sound, and learning a new sound proves to be very difficult. This is why words like “thumb”, “thorough”, and “theater” give some people a terrible headache. There is a great ad based on this issue:

My Spanish-speaking friends have a different kind of problem. Apparently, in Spanish the [V] and the [B] sounds are nearly identical, even though in English they are completely different. This is why native Spanish speakers tend to mix those sounds up. They can say “behicle” instead of “vehicle”, or “bideo” when they mean “video”.

There are so many words that people pronounce incorrectly simply because in their own language the words are similar but sound different. This concerns, for example, a French person trying to say the word “culture” and pronouncing something more like “coolture”, and their “heart” sounds exactly like “art”.

All in all, almost any word is difficult to pronounce for someone in our big world! Also, it is very likely that you make one mistake or another and are completely oblivious about it. No worries, Talkio can’t wait to help you! =)

Working hard to create something special,

Talkio team

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Confidence in Speaking a Foreign Language

ImageSo are you learning a foreign language? You probably have the basic word vocabulary, understand texts, and maybe can even eavesdrop other people’s conversations… Still, are you really one of those lucky few who at this point can simply come up to a native speaker and start chatting? If you are, well, CONGRATULATIONS!. Otherwise, you are probably more like the rest of us- humble humans- afraid to make a mistake, feeling tongue tied and speechless in a foreign language. Do you end up continuously nodding and smiling or just running away from the possible conversations?  We can feel your pain! We are exactly the same…

The good news is that we have actually found a solution! Yes, you will not be surprised- the solution is to start talking. You need to talk, talk and talk some more. Start with baby steps! First, you can talk in front of the mirror. Next step, you can record your voice with a mike on your computer. Yes, it can be boring but it will be helpful.

Right now we are creating an Ipad application that will make the process easier and actually fun. Basically, we are creating a dialogue simulator where you will be able to have a conversation with a very friendly and positive character. With our help you’ll start talking without being stressed about making a stupid mistake and seeing a disappointed face of some native speaker with to high standards. You’ll hear how things are supposed to be said, listen to yourself and gain confidence.

Stay tuned for more updates! And, well, get talking!

With love,

Talkio Team

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Talkio MVP!

As a first prototype we developed an iPad application that shoots you a famous quote. You have to say this quote out loud, the application will record your speech and evaluate your pronunciation in a ‘degree of awesomeness’. You can also listen to an example of correct pronunciation, or listen to your own record. When you are satisfied with the result, you can slide to the next quote.

In this first prototype the Talkio team shows we have the technical competency to integrate the iSpeech speech recognition library in our product and develop a working application on iPad.

Our objective is to develop an iPad application that makes you talk in a foreign language in a fun and lighthearted way. This way, Talkio will boost your confidence in speaking!

Keep up to date on how our product evolves by following this channel!

You will hear from us soon,
Talkio team