This page describes a research project carried out 2004--2009. Information is not being updated.
Benefits of a Virtual Language TutorLanguage is multimodal, and in second language learning, visual signals may in many contexts be more important than verbal signals. It has been shown that subjects listening to a foreign language often incorporate visual information to a greater extent than do subjects listening to their own language. The talking head can take advantage of this. Ville can for example give visual cues to signal prominence, emotion, encouragement, affirmation, confirmation and turntaking.
Compared to a human language teacher, he will of course appear vastly inferior in most respects, but he also have some benefits over the human teacher:
Having a private language tutor would for most people be the ideal solution. They are however both expensive and hard to come by.
Whenever you want to practice, day or night, the virtual tutor is there for you.
Many students are embarrassed to make errors in front of a human teacher, but may be less bashful about interacting with Ville.
Language teachers are 'only humans', and will eventually loose their patience...
Ville on the other hand will not.
Ville is able to do things that a real teacher could not possibly do. This can be used for entertainment and for pedagogical reasons, An agent could for example guide pronunciation by making his skin transparent and demonstrate articulatory movements normally hidden from the outside view