What you need to know
- Google Search has a new feature that'll help you not only find the definitions of 'big' words but also learn how to pronounce them.
- It'll let you try to pronounce the word in question and then give feedback on what mistakes you might be making, a bit like a virtual speech coach.
- The company also wants to help you retain the meanings of words better by including images alongside their definitions.
If you're not satisfied with having Google just pronounce a difficult foreign word for you, the company now has a feature that'll teach you to say it yourself. The company's new pronunciation feature acts as your speech coach and helps you along as you practice with it, in real-time.
If you were previously confused about how to pronounce something like onomatopoeia, Google would phonetically spell it out for you and provide a rather helpful audio recording of the correct pronunciation. But that's not enough, according to the company's Tal Snir, who argues that practice makes perfect and that you really need to jump into the deep end if 'otorhinolaryngologist' is ever going to roll off your tongue correctly.
To that effect, Google's search engine will now play the role of your virtual speech coach and help you practice your pronunciations. When searching for difficult words, a new 'Practice' button allows the company's AI engines to record your attempts and then provide helpful tips on how you can perfect saying 'anathema' the next time you're trying to impress your date with your extensive vocabulary.
To that end, the company also wants you to retain the new words you've learned long after the date's ended, and he/she's dumped you — sorry, I'm a pessimist at heart — by including visual cues with its definitions of English words, as well as translations. As Snir points out, this is especially helpful for words that may have multiple meanings, such as 'seal,' alongside just the basic fact that visualizations help most people retain information better.
Both features are currently available for U.S. English, with the pronunciation helper coming for Spanish soon. All translations in the future will also include an accompanying image to make sure you understand the meaning of the word you're translating.
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