Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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RPG language course with speech recognition & generation

So I can converse in tourist Italian with my computer
  [vote for,

CD-ROM language courses are fairly boring, mostly relying on the user to repeat words and phrases spoken by the computer. There's no real interaction.

What I would like is:

(a) Voice recognition/generation: Voice generation is old hat. Voice recognition is getting better (driven largely by speak-and-type programs for the PC) and should have no problem coping with the limited vocabulary of an introductory Tourist Italian language course.

(b) RPG: I should be able to walk my character around a virtual Italian town, interacting with other characters (not in a traditional RPG way, by shooting them, but by talking). We don't need any fancy graphics, but I should be able to walk into the bar and order a coffee and croissant ("cafe e cornetti, per favore?") and if the software understands what I'm saying, it'll mumble something ("si, si"), and reward me with a picture of a coffee and croissant, and points. I might then need the loo, so I say "dove il gabinetto del' uomini?", the barman would then mumble some directions "mumble mumble destra, mumble" and I'd then have to try and navigate the virtual bar and find it.

My hypothesis is that this would be both a more fun way of learning a language, and being more 'engaging', it would be more effective.
hippo, Mar 21 2002

(?) Spanish (and other languages) Challenge http://www.bbc.co.u...enge/spanchal.shtml
I willingly pay my licence fee. This isn't what hippo's describing, but it did involve walking into a bar, and the shame at asking "Am I Tio Juan?" instead of "Are you Tio Juan" (the flamenco expert) and getting the response "Are you trying to be funny?" had me cringing in embarrassment-fear. [sappho, Mar 21 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

(?) The "I can eat glass" project http://hcs.harvard.edu/~igp/glass.html
[hippo, Mar 21 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Project LRNJ http://lrnj.com/
"a serial RPG that teaches you Japanese" - sounds very interesting. No Mac version yet, so if there's anyone with $25 to spare and a yen (ho ho) to learn Japanese who wants to try out the Windows or Linux versions and report back, go ahead. [hippo, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

duolingo http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duolingo
this site could use some rpg. [popbottle, Mar 03 2015]


       Interesting idea. I was just thinking how boring it would be to play your native language version.   

       [obligatory "my hovercraft is full of eels" comment]
waugsqueke, Mar 21 2002

       [Steve], with phrases like "virtual language-immersion course" you can do the marketing.
[waugsqueke] - [obligatory "I can eat glass, it doesn't hurt me" comment. See link]
hippo, Mar 21 2002

       Some sort of brink-of-war diplomacy game might up the ante in the old adreneline stakes, if you feel this might be useful in grabbing your attention for longer. Think fast and pick your words very carefully, or the Spanish will invade. I like this.
mcscotland, Mar 21 2002

       Outstanding idea [hippo].   

       "Ma crayon est grande, s'il vous plait".
phoenix, Mar 21 2002

       This points out one of the reasons that there is no such thing as a 'computer RPG'.   

       I've got a program that teaches you some basic words, then puts you into games of escalating levels to learn better. <added later> The program is named 'Instant Immersion <language>'. Mine is '...Japanese', but it comes in Italian, French and Spanish as well, possibly more.   

       I haven't yet managed to get anywhere, mostly due to lack of ambition. <I WANT to learn Japanese, I just don't want to WORK at it.>
StarChaser, Mar 21 2002

       ditto StarChaser's last paragraph plus I'd prefer the French Restaurant version where nothing happens if you talk to the waiter in English but if you manage to blurt out a completely inept phrase in French he suddenly leaps into action and becomes incredibly helpful.
DrBob, Mar 21 2002

       He does?
Combien pour la fille?
thumbwax, Mar 22 2002

       I love this idea, but what did you mean by saying the traditional RPG would be shooting people up? First-person shooters are the opposite of RPGs! I also see a sharp decline in the foreign exchange programs if this became a reality (not a bad thing, really).
NeverDie, Mar 22 2002

       [StarChaser, NeverDie] Ah - OK. may have been confused about what a RPG is - anyway, you knew what I meant.
[DrBob] Hmm, the 'Attitude' edition. I like it. Likewise, Italian waiters will exclaim how beautiful your children are.
hippo, Mar 25 2002

       There some actual role-playing languages that been published for games over the years. Professor M.A.R. Barker (professor of lunguisitcs) invented whole languages and cultures for Empire of the Petal Throne and Steve Turner's Marakush for Chivalry & Sorcerery has the language Urtish, which now has both it's own runic writing and a limited dictionary.   

       Both of these are pen-and-paper, person-to-person role-playing games.
Aristotle, Mar 25 2002

       [NeverDie] You've obviously never tried getting a bunch of twelve year olds to play Dungeons and Dragons, never start them off in a tavern full of people and ask them what they want to do first....
kaz, Mar 25 2002

       "Roll to see if I get drunk!"   

       "If there's any babes, I want to do them!"
bookworm, Mar 26 2002

       [kaz] Oh my yes I have! Only I was also approximately twelve at the time, and I was DMing...quite fun actually, and no one got killed (no innocents anyway). It only seems to be those poor children who have athletic talent or social skills that have a slight RPG defficiency. Oh, and in case anyone cares, and I know no one does, that game spawned a six year campaign that became more and more in sync with the rules as it went. Just give a kid a d20 and the Players Handbook, and you'd be amazed!!!
NeverDie, Mar 28 2002

       Awesome idea. Perhaps combine it with a dating game -- wake up one day in a foreign land and try to get the person of your dreams, IF you can convince them you're not a total buffoon.   

       Bake it.
Almafeta, Dec 09 2002

       I was searching Google for '"learn japanese" "voice recognition"' and found my favorite site (yes, this one) as the fourth result.   

       Please, for the love of Buddha, bake this. Mark Okrand (once and perhaps still at Dragon Systems) and Kurt Bollacker (kurt@longnow.org) have worked on pieces of the problem of recognizing speech and giving appropriate feedback automatically.
yppiz, Jan 17 2003

       This is a really good idea, espeically helpful for those of us who are learning laguages in school or something and have a really bad textbook. Definitly cool.
The Oracle, Jan 17 2003

       "Who Is Oscar Lake" - a mystery rpg-type game in German (and I think a few other languages?) already exists, but without the voice recogintion.
xtraspecialzero, Feb 09 2003

       I love this idea, and would like to expand it to cover intra-lingual situations. For example, an unprepared New Yorker walking into a bar in west Texas is asking for trouble no matter what he says. Get a feel for it first with the Hippo Intra-lingual Discombobulator. Try out some language and see what happens.
pluterday, Feb 09 2003

       A friend of mine has a job in Second Life teaching Spanish, in a language-learning area. It pays First Life dollars. So I call this baked.
BunsenHoneydew, Mar 24 2008

       I encountered one of these in English once. There were so many items to pick up. I forget the name.
aguydude, Mar 24 2008

       [Bunsen] The Second Life language-learning is interesting - I didn't know about that. However, that doesn't make this baked - I'm guessing that your friend is an actual person, rather than a computer program.
hippo, Mar 25 2008


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