ChatGPT: What’s my opinion? Is it useful to LEARN Foreign Languages? PROS and CONS

Everyone talks about ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence tool developed to answer questions, which expresses itself throughout texts and creates conversations through chats. There are people who love it, others who hate it and fear it. Could it really be a useful tool to learn foreign languages and in particular Italian? In this article, I will try to use it and I will give you my opinion!

ADVANTAGES and DISADVANTAGES of ChatGPT

As with everything in life, even ChatGPT has its pros and cons. Let’s have a look at them together.

1 – Improving grammar

An advantage of using ChatGPT is for sure the possibility to practice and improve grammar.

For example, what you can make ChatGPT do is correct texts. ChatGPT is able to correct verbs conjugation, punctuation and choice of words.

Well, I tell my students and whoever is studying with a teacher: do not make ChatGPT correct assigned homework before showing them to the teacher… This doesn’t make any sense. However, if you have no one to receive feedback from, then it’s great! 

Moreover, ChatGPT can be an additional resource beyond your lessons with the teacher. My suggestion? Start writing a personal journal, with your thoughts, your comments, the summaries of your days… And then you can make ChatGPT correct it.

2 – Expanding vocabulary

A great thing of ChatGPT that I found out is its capacity to generate dialogues of any register, both formal and informal. You should benefit from this resource to expand your vocabulary. When you want to learn new words, lists are never a good solution, because they get boring and repetitive and they hardly remain imprinted in your memory. Instead, learning words in context is easier and challenging!

So, my advice is to ask ChatGPT to create dialogues for you.  All you have to do is give it information about the theme and the register: its creativity will surprise you! I tested it both on the informal register and the formal one and I have to say that it’s really incredible.

3 – A virtual friend

Surely, ChatGPT can be a great virtual friend to speak to in the language you choose. Many of my students, beyond our lessons, use apps which allow them to find people for linguistic exchanges, that usually happen through chats, but these are not always reliable. Either you don’t receive immediate answers or the other person doesn’t have as much commitment as you do.

So, ChatGPT can be a very good solution to this. It works very well to have an informal conversation when you are bored or have just a few minutes free, as if you were among friends, to make small talk. At least you can be sure that it will answer immediately and that the produced sentences are grammatically correct, so you don’t have to fear learning sentences containing mistakes!

At the same time, you can improve your written comprehension by reading its answers. Obviously, the same applies to the polite form. So, if you want to practice the Italian formal form, you can simply ask ChatGPT to use the courtesy form (Lei) rather than the informal one (tu). What to ask for more? 

4 – Exercises

Another good way to use ChatGPT is by making it create exercises of any topic and of any form (open-answers questions, multiple-choice questions, true or false, phrases with blank spaces…).

You can test yourself easily and… don’t worry! It will provide you with the solutions as well! 

5 – Receiving quick answers

ChatGPT is excellent when you have a doubt but you are in a rush, so you don’t want to do research on Google and having to open one website at a time and read quickly in order to find an answer to your question.

ChatGPT does this work for you! I had fun asking it anything… even a poem on an apple! However, nothing is perfect…and also ChatGPT has its disadvantages…

6 – Inaccuracies

As a matter of fact, even if the sentences it creates are grammatically correct, sometimes they could be somewhat incomplete or not really accurate. I had a similar problem with some exercises I asked it to produce. For example, with pronouns.

In general, it is very precise and accurate, but it makes mistakes as well, just like we humans. Therefore, if you realize that ChatGPT wrote something different from what you expected, ask it all the questions you need to. If it’s wrong, it is not like human beings: it immediately admits the mistakes and apologizes!

7 – Lack of listening and pronunciation

Clearly it is not possible to make a real conversation with ChatGPT. Therefore, you can’t practice speaking, this no. Neither can you correct your pronunciation. Nor can you practice listening. In fact, ChatGPT is not able, at the moment, to read out a text for you. If you ask for it, it will forward you to other resources.

And what about you? What do you think of ChatGPT? Are you in favor or against its use? Let us know in the comments! If you prefer to learn Italian with human beings, you can take individual online lessons with our qualified native-speaking teachers starting from 12€/hour. Alternatively, you could move to Italy

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