ChatGPT for Language Learners: Practical Tips

Introduction

Learning a new language can be a challenging and rewarding experience. With the increasing globalisation of our world, being able to speak multiple languages can provide numerous benefits, from enhancing cultural understanding to improving job prospects. Fortunately, technological advancements have made language learning more accessible than ever before. One such technology is the emergence of language learning chatbots, which use AI to help individuals practise and improve their language skills. Among these chatbots is ChatGPT, a large language model trained by OpenAI that has become increasingly popular in recent years. In this article, we will explore the features and benefits of using ChatGPT for language learning.

Many examples from this article are inspired by information from articles and YouTube videos of bloggers such as: Hadar Shemesh from YouTube channel Accent’s Way English with Hadar and her article The Ultimate Guide for Using ChatGPT for English LearningDustin Schermaul, Theodosius Karagiorgakis blog (Educraft) and others. 

Let’s start right away with useful tips by Hadar Shemesh 

“Remember two important things about ChatGPT before you start:

  • The quality of the responses depends on the quality of your questions. Keep asking the same question in different ways if you’re not happy with the response. 
  • You can adjust the English level of the conversation by requesting ChatGPT to rewrite something at a certain language proficiency level, for example, you can make a request like  “can you simplify”, “can you rewrite this text for an A2 level”, or “rewrite using C2 vocabulary” etc.”

1. Using ChatGPT to practise conversation

ChatGPT can be an excellent partner in the practice of communication, it is available for communication 24/7 and can hold any conversation. One of the key advantages of using AI to practise conversations is the ability of ChatGPT to generate dialogues on any topic and according to specific scripts. 

We can also ask it to correct our mistakes during the conversation and explain how certain grammar rules work and ask it to suggest certain vocabulary to use in this conversation.

Leading prompt “let’s have a conversation and you will correct my mistakes

In this example, I intentionally made mistakes in the sentence and checked how successfully ChatGPT would correct them:

I asked ChatGPT to correct the mistakes and explain the grammatical rules that I violated in this sentence. AI noticed and corrected my mistakes.


If the dialogue is easy, most likely ChatGPT will correct your mistakes on its own and help you choose the correct grammatical construction. When discussing more complex topics, it is advisable to additionally ask to double-check the suggestions you have written

If you are not sure about topics to discuss, just ask ChatGPT for suggestions with the following prompt: “can you suggest a topic to talk about?”

This will help you not to puzzle over what to discuss and immediately start practising. Which in turn is very convenient and helps to save a lot of time. 

2. Practise with scripts of natural conversation

inspired by ideas of Dustin Schermaul from the video Can ChatGPT Teach You a Foreign Language?

Leading prompt:  

Let’s rehearse the dialogue

Imagine that we are in a restaurant, and you will be a waiter, and I will be a visitor

This is a great way to learn how to conduct a dialogue in some everyday (and not only) situations. For example, you are going to a restaurant in an English-speaking country and want to rehearse how you will make an order.

Also, the capabilities of artificial intelligence can be used for training before a job interview.

Example by Hadar Shemesh from article The Ultimate Guide for Using ChatGPT for English Learning

Preparing for a significant event like a job interview can be stressful, and it’s beneficial to have a chance to rehearse how you will respond to the employer’s inquiries. ChatGPT excels at this task.

picture from the article The Ultimate Guide for Using ChatGPT for English Learning

The ability of ChatGPT to generate dialogues on specific topics can be effectively used by language teachers in the lessons. After all, with its help we can create examples of dialogues on topics that will be related to the sphere of students’ interests.

inspired by ideas of Theodosius Karagiorgakis blog (Educraft)

 –  ChatGPT: A Game-Changing powerful Al for EFL 5 ways to use it

“Let’s see it in action.

Suppose you have a student of an intermediate level of English. The problem is that you have  trouble motivating them. But you know that this student is really into  tennis. You can ask What GPT to generate a  reading passage about tennis, matching the  student’s level. It only takes a few seconds  for an answer to appear. You can also ask the AI to create questions based on this passage. Using ChatGPT to generate  personalised reading material about a topic, the student is passionate about, can  be an exciting way to increase their motivation and understanding.”

Let’s try this advice in practice: I asked to make a dialogue about a vacation at the sea and surfing classes

The advice is absolutely working, so you can create dialogues for reading in class on any topic and students can train them on roles in the classroom. The main advantage for language learners is the ability to have a realistic conversation at any time of the day, on almost any topic. 

3. Using ChatGPT to to improve your speaking fluency

inspired by ideas of  Hadar Shemesh

Hadar Shemesh also suggests using the dialogues and texts generated through ChatGPT as educational material for recording yourself on video to learn to speak more fluently. You can generate text on any interesting topic and retell the content by recording yourself on video to track your progress.

4. Using ChatGPT to practise monologues and dialogues/Creation of Materials 

English teachers can incorporate the scripts of dialogues and monologues generated by ChatGPT into their lessons to help their students improve various elements of their language skills, such as stressed words, intonation, pronunciation, and structure.

 Learners can also use these scripts to practise reading aloud and focusing on specific aspects they wish to improve, such as pronunciation of certain sounds, intonation, rhythm, stress, and other elements of speech. However, it’s important to note that the accuracy of the pronunciation, melody, and tone produced by text-to-speech programs may not always be reliable.

Jerry Registre in his YouTube video AI Just KILLED Traditional Language Learning (ChatGPT) recommends asking ChatGPT to write a dialogue and remove the answers of one of the participants in the dialogue and then skip the result through text-to-speech programs – Speechify (for example) and thus train the dialogue together with ChatGPT.

Leading prompt: “Please create a dialogue between two people on any topic, but delete the text of one participant of the dialogue

Likely the most intuitive and useful function of ChatGPT is that it can create customised text in your target language. You can specify what level of language proficiency your students have and choose a topic.

Leading prompt:  “Generate a text for my beginner level students about Christmas Holidays (Or on any other topic)

You also can create your own study plan or lesson plan for students on any topic

Jerry Registre : “an example you can input your current level your goals and how much time you have to study and ChatGPT will generate a customised study plan just for you” 

Leading prompt: “I’m an intermediate English student B2 create a study plan for me that includes the concepts that i need to improve to get to the next level with examples and a sample daily routine

Or teachers can generate lesson plans using ChatGPT

inspired by ideas of Theodosius Karagiorgakis blog (Educraft)

 –  ChatGPT: A Game-Changing powerful Al for EFL 5 ways to use it

With the assistance of ChatGPT, teachers can generate outlines or templates for lesson plans and assessment items. The AI can also be used to supplement traditional materials by creating additional exercises or activities based on a textbook. To use ChatGPT, a teacher inputs information about the desired topic or language goals they wish to work on. The AI then generates materials tailored specifically to those goals. For instance, a teacher could input information about a particular topic or grammatical phenomenon, and ChatGPT could produce additional exercises, activities, or tests.

Leading prompt: “Please make an English lesson plan on the topic of Present Perfect for elementary school students

By using ChatGPT in your language classes, you can delegate the task of lesson planning and template creation to the AI, saving yourself time and effort. Additionally, ChatGPT can assist with reviewing essays and providing valuable feedback to students. It can even suggest alternative phrasing and vocabulary to help students express their ideas more effectively. This way, you can offer your students a more efficient and personalised learning experience.

  • Quizzes

Using ChatGPT, you can create additional learning materials such as quizzes and tests. Probably the main rule when using AI for these purposes is to clearly formulate the level of complexity and the topic. 

Jerry Registry offers such a way of creating quizzes via ChatGPT with a more precisely formulated purpose:

  Leading prompt: “I am studying English at intermediate level (B2). Create a short quiz followed by a multiple-choice reading comprehension test for me to improve my knowledge of verbs

 5.Using ChatGPT for learning grammar

One way to use ChatGPT for language learning is by asking it to explain grammar rules. For example, if you are having trouble understanding the use of the subjunctive mood in Spanish, you can ask ChatGPT to provide a clear and concise explanation. The AI can then provide examples and practical applications of the rule, helping to understand it better.

Leading prompt: “Please explain to me the subjunctive mood in English ( There can be any rule in any language)”

It should be noted that explanations may not always be entirely accurate. As a result, materials authored by experts, such as books, websites, and blog posts, are more dependable. Nevertheless, when it pertains to fundamental tenses and grammar regulations, AI  provides a fairly decent explanation and can assist in saving time.

Another way to use ChatGPT for language learning is by practising grammar through conversation. ChatGPT can help to improve language skills by allowing you to have conversations with it in your target language. It is better to ask  СhatGPT to correct mistakes during the dialogue. 

(I gave examples of such a dialogue above in the topic on the practice of conversations)

Hadar Shemesh also suggests using ChatGPT to understand grammatical constructions work in context:

Another way to use ChatGPT for language learning is by practising grammar through conversation. ChatGPT can help to improve language skills by allowing you to have conversations with it in your target language. It is better to ask  СhatGPT to correct mistakes during the dialogue. 

(I gave examples of such a dialogue above in the topic on the practice of conversations)

Finally, ChatGPT can also be used to provide feedback and corrections on your writing. For example, if you are working on an essay in English, you can input your text into ChatGPT and ask it to review it for grammar and syntax mistakes.

Leading prompt: “Please check my text for mistakes

ChatGPT can help you write better, and sound better. 

Let’s say you need to write an email to a colleague, and you’re not sure how to make it sound more polite. You can simply ask ChatGPT to rewrite it using a more formal tone or friendly tone. 

Once you do it, make sure you spend time comparing the different versions (yours and ChatGPT, and try to see what you can learn from the differences). 

You can ask it to suggest different vocabulary or general feedback, and ask it to explain.

6. Using ChatGPT for learning vocabulary

 ChatGPT can help understand the meaning of words (use ChatGPT as an explanatory dictionary),  you can also ask more specific questions about words.

*inspired by ideas of  Hadar Shemesh

  • So first, you can ask for the meaning of a word.
  • You can also ask ChatGPT to use the word in different contexts

It is always better to learn words in context and have an idea of how the same word can be used in different contexts, the meaning can be very unexpected. ChatGPT successfully copes with this task.

Leading prompt: “Show me how I can use the word (any word) in different contexts

With ChatGPT, you can create customised vocabulary drills for your students by inputting specific terms or expressions and generating relevant practice sentences or paragraphs, which can assist them in honing their language abilities. The inspiration for this approach stems from Theodosius Karagiorgakis’ article “Educraft: ChatGPT – A Game-Changing AI for EFL – 5 ways to use it,” which provides insightful ideas.

Leading prompt: “please create individual vocabulary exercises for my students. (elementary school beginner level)

inspired by ideas of Jerry Registre

You can ask ChatGPT to offer a vocabulary of a certain level and on a specific topic.

Leading prompt: “teach me advanced Spanish vocabulary (C1) for getting a haircut

Just imagine, you go for a haircut or to a cafe in the country whose language you are studying. ChatGPT is able to offer vocabulary for any occasion and will help maintain a dialogue with native speakers. 

The specificity of some languages is that, depending on the region where the word is used, it may have a different meaning. ChatGPT can help here too

Leading prompt: list the most widely used form in each Spanish-speaking country for “bus”

In addition, you can request ChatGPT to simplify the text that is difficult to understand, or ask to make an annotation to an article with educational material.

So with help of ChatGPT you can: 

  • Ask for definitions and examples of the word in different contexts.
  • Use synonyms or related words to build a deeper understanding of the word’s meaning.
  • Try to understand the word’s meaning in context by reading or listening to examples of its usage.
  • Create mnemonics or connections to help you remember the word.
  • Use the word in your own writing or speech to reinforce your understanding and retention.
  • Simplify texts
  • Checking what a particular word will mean depending on the country.

7. Using ChatGPT for content recommendations

ChatGPT can be a valuable tool for language learners looking for personalised content recommendations. 

Suppose you’re studying Spanish and wish to hone your reading abilities in the language. In that case, ChatGPT can suggest Spanish articles, news, or books for you to peruse. If you’re interested in developing your listening skills, ChatGPT can recommend Spanish-language podcasts or videos. Additionally, suppose you’re eager to acquire knowledge about a particular topic in Spanish. In that case, ChatGPT can furnish educational resources and materials related to your interests. By leveraging ChatGPT, language learners can access superior content customised to their unique needs and objectives, augmenting their learning journey.

Furthermore, you have the option to refine ChatGPT’s recommendations by specifying the desired genre, age restrictions, and mood. This way, you can receive more targeted suggestions that cater to your preferences and needs.

8. Using ChatGPT to practise for TOEFL or IELTS

Here are some ways that ChatGPT can become your ultimate companion while preparing for the TOEFL or IELTS exam:

Practise your writing skills:

ChatGPT can craft sample TOEFL/IELTS writing prompts to help you hone your essay writing abilities. Moreover, ChatGPT can provide feedback on your writing response, aiding you in improving your skills.

Improve vocabulary and grammar:

Exams such as TOEFL and IELTS demand specific vocabulary and grammar structures that you must be well-prepared for. By providing ChatGPT with a particular word or grammar point, you can ask it to generate sentences featuring that word or grammar rule, which you wish to study.

Take practice tests:

You can request ChatGPT to produce full-length practice TOEFL or IELTS tests, comprising questions and answers that you can use to practise answering.

By the way, you can try the help of AI in learning foreign languages in practice with a simple extension for Chrome, which will help you learn the language using videos with YouTube subtitles and ChatGPT. Download it here to get started.

ChatGPT is a powerful tool that can greatly enhance the language learning experience for both self-study learners and teachers. With its vast knowledge base and natural language processing capabilities, ChatGPT can assist in a wide range of language-related tasks, from vocabulary and grammar practice to conversation practice and more. As AI continues to evolve and improve, we can expect even more exciting and innovative ways to use ChatGPT and other similar tools in language education.