9 Ways to Use ChatGPT for Language Learning

The popular AI-powered chatbot ChatGPT can produce responses in a wide range of different languages, even switching between languages in one conversation. Because of this, it can be a powerful tool to help you with language learning.

This article explores a variety of different ways to use ChatGPT to learn and practise a language, including example conversations with prompts you can copy and use yourself.

In this article, we’ve used examples that involve prompting ChatGPT in English to practise Spanish. But ChatGPT can respond in just about any language, so you could just as well, for example, prompt it in Portuguese to help you with your English.

Note
Keep in mind the limitations of ChatGPT. While it usually provides accurate answers, it can go wrong on specific points, so it’s best to double-check the answer to any specific grammatical question against a credible source.

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Learning vocabulary

You can use ChatGPT to learn vocabulary relevant to the topic you’re studying.

  • Create an Spanish–English vocabulary list on the theme of cooking.
  • Sure! Here’s a Spanish-English vocabulary list on the theme of cooking:Spanish: English:
    1. Cocinar: Cook
    2. Receta: Recipe
    3. Horno: Oven
    4. Estufa: Stove
    5. Sartén: Pan
    6. Olla: Pot
    7. Cuchillo: Knife
    8. Tenedor: Fork
    9. Cuchara: Spoon
    10. Batidora: Blender
    11. […]

    I hope you find this vocabulary list helpful!

Afterwards, you can practise the vocabulary directly with ChatGPT in an interactive format.

  • Thanks. Let’s practice this vocabulary list. Only ask me one word at a time. You give me the English translation, and I have to type in the Spanish word. If I type the wrong word, don’t tell me the answer. Instead, give me a tip and ask me again for the translation of the same word.
  • Of course! Let’s practice the vocabulary list. Here’s the first word:

    English: Cook

    Please type the Spanish translation.

  • Cocinar
  • That’s correct! “Cocinar” is the Spanish translation for “Cook.” Well done!

    Next word:

    English: Recipe

  • Cuchillo
  • I’m sorry, but “cuchillo” does not translate to “recipe.” Here’s a tip:

    “Cuchillo” is a kitchen utensil used for cutting. It’s an essential tool in cooking. Can you try again and give me the Spanish translation for “recipe”?

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Asking for a translation

You can directly ask ChatGPT to translate sentences for you.

  • How do I say the following sentence in Spanish? “I often travel to Mexico for work and go on vacation there.”
  • To say “I often travel to Mexico for work and go on vacation there” in Spanish, you can say:

    “Viajo a menudo a México por trabajo y también voy de vacaciones allí.”

    Please note that translations can vary depending on the context, and this translation assumes a general meaning.

You can also ask it to provide a selection of alternative translations, to see how the same ideas can be expressed in different ways.

  • Are there other ways to express the same information in Spanish?
  • Certainly! There are multiple ways to express the same information in Spanish. Here are a couple of alternative ways to convey the sentence:
    1. “Con frecuencia viajo a México por trabajo y también voy de vacaciones allá.”
    2. “Regularmente viajo a México por motivos de trabajo y también aprovecho para vacacionar allí.”
    3. “A menudo viajo a México por cuestiones laborales y también me tomo vacaciones allí.”

    These variations maintain the same meaning but present slight differences in wording and sentence structure.

This can help you to recognise patterns, thus improving your understanding of the language.

Explaining an example sentence

You can have ChatGPT explain the structure of a sentence to you or label the words used as specific parts of speech.

First, an example of how ChatGPT can clarify the structure of a sentence.

  • Explain the structure of the following Spanish sentence to me: “A menudo viajo a México por cuestiones laborales y también me tomo vacaciones allí.”
  • The structure of the sentence “A menudo viajo a México por cuestiones laborales y también me tomo vacaciones allí” in Spanish can be broken down as follows:
    1. “A menudo” – This is an adverbial phrase that means “often” or “frequently” in English. It provides information about the frequency of the action that follows.
    2. “viajo a México” – This is the main clause of the sentence. “Viajo” is the first-person singular present tense form of the verb “viajar,” which means “to travel.” “A México” is a prepositional phrase that indicates the destination of the travel, meaning “to Mexico.”
    3. “por cuestiones laborales” – This is a prepositional phrase that functions as an adverbial phrase, providing information about the purpose or motive of the travel. “Por” means “for” in English, and “cuestiones laborales” means “work-related matters” or “business purposes.”
    4. “y también” – This is a coordinating conjunction that means “and also” in English. It connects two ideas or actions.
    5. “me tomo vacaciones” – This is another main clause of the sentence. “Me tomo” is the first-person singular present tense form of the reflexive verb “tomarse,” which means “to take” (referring to oneself). “Vacaciones” means “vacations” in English.
    6. “allí” – This is an adverb that means “there” in English. It specifies the location where the vacations are taken, referring to Mexico.

    Overall, the sentence can be translated to English as: “I often travel to Mexico for work-related matters, and I also take vacations there.”

We can also ask ChatGPT for more detail about individual words in the sentence.

  • What does the “a” in “a menudo” mean? What part of speech is it?
  • In the phrase “a menudo,” the “a” is a preposition. In this context, it functions as a marker of direction or destination. It is used to indicate the frequency of the action or event that follows. “A menudo” is translated to “often” or “frequently” in English.

Explaining grammar and usage

Let’s say you don’t understand why the subject is often omitted in Spanish sentences. You can also ask ChatGPT to explain specific grammatical rules and concepts like this.

  • In the sentence “Viajo a Mexico,” what is the subject?
  • In the sentence “Viajo a Mexico,” the subject is the pronoun “yo” (I). The verb “viajo” (I travel) is conjugated to match the subject.
  • Why is the subject not included in the sentence?
  • I apologize for the confusion in my previous response. In the sentence “Viajo a México,” the subject is actually implied and not explicitly stated. The verb “viajo” (I travel) is conjugated in the first-person singular form, which indicates that the subject is “yo” (I). In Spanish, it is common to omit the subject pronoun when it can be inferred from the verb conjugation and the context. Therefore, even though the subject pronoun “yo” is not present in the sentence, it is understood that the speaker is referring to themselves as the subject.

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Creating personalised exercises

You can also have ChatGPT create personalised exercises on a topic of your choice.

  • Create a Spanish exercise with 5 incomplete Spanish sentences to practice subject-verb agreement.

    Example exercise sentence: Ella _______ como mecánica.

    Example solution: Ella trabaja como mecánica.

    Please don’t present the solutions in the exercise itself. Instead, I would like you to include a separate section below the exercise, which shows the correct solutions.

  • Exercise:
    1. Nosotros _______ al parque todos los domingos.
    2. Tú _______ muy bien en el examen.
    3. Ellos _______ libros en la biblioteca.
    4. Mi hermana y yo _______ al cine esta noche.
    5. La profesora _______ muy amable con sus alumnos.

    Correct Solutions:

    1. Nosotros vamos al parque todos los domingos.
    2. Tú te desempeñaste muy bien en el examen.
    3. Ellos leen libros en la biblioteca.
    4. Mi hermana y yo iremos al cine esta noche.
    5. La profesora es muy amable con sus alumnos.

Bear in mind that ChatGPT is not always trustworthy. An exercise generated in this way may contain errors or may not exactly line up to what you asked for, depending on the complexity of your request.

Using ChatGPT as a conversation partner

You can, of course, use ChatGPT as a virtual conversation partner. Conversational practice is a key part of language learning, so having a virtual partner you can practise with at any time is incredibly helpful.

  • Please be my Spanish conversation partner. Only speak to me in Spanish. Keep your answers short (maximum 50 words). Ask me questions. Let’s start the conversation with the following topic: la cultura argentina.
  • ¡Claro! Estoy listo para hablar contigo en español. Comencemos hablando sobre la cultura argentina. ¿Cuál es tu aspecto favorito de la cultura argentina? ¿Te gusta el tango, el fútbol o la comida?
  • Disfruto de la música de tango, pero no soy muy buen bailarín.
  • ¡Qué genial que te guste la música de tango! No es necesario ser un buen bailarín para disfrutarla. ¿Tienes alguna canción de tango favorita o algún intérprete que te guste escuchar?
  • No soy un experto ¿Tienes sugerencias de músicos de tango populares?
  • ¡Claro! Aquí tienes algunas sugerencias de músicos de tango populares para que puedas explorar su música: Carlos Gardel, Astor Piazzolla, Aníbal Troilo, Osvaldo Pugliese y Juan D’Arienzo. Estos son solo algunos, ¡hay muchos más para descubrir! […]

Asking for common expressions

To make your conversation sound more natural, it’s important to understand common expressions, phrases, and idioms. You can ask ChatGPT to provide examples and definitions of common expressions in different variants of the language (e.g., Peruvian Spanish).

  • I am learning Spanish because I am planning to spend some time in Peru. Can you give me a list of common idioms that are unique to Peruvian Spanish, with English translations?
  • Certainly! Here are some common idioms that are unique to Peruvian Spanish, along with their English translations:
    1. “Estar en la luna” – To be on the moon (meaning to be absent-minded or daydreaming)
    2. “Estar en la papa” – To be in the potato (meaning to be in a good situation or feeling great)
    3. “Hablar hasta por los codos” – To talk through one’s elbows (meaning to talk a lot)
    4. […]

    These idioms are specific to Peruvian Spanish and may not be widely used in other Spanish-speaking countries. Learning these expressions will help you understand and communicate better with locals in Peru.

Practicing pronunciation

Although ChatGPT is a text-based tool, you can get information about pronunciation by asking it to convert a sentence into the International Phonetic Alphabet.

  • I’d like to practice my Spanish pronunciation. Can you write the following sentence in IPA for me? “Regularmente viajo a México por motivos de trabajo y también aprovecho para vacacionar allí.”
  • Certainly! Here’s the sentence “Regularmente viajo a México por motivos de trabajo y también aprovecho para vacacionar allí” in IPA:

    /ɾeɣuˈlaɾmẽnte ˈbja.xo a ˈmexiko poɾ moˈtiβos ðe tɾaˈβa.xo i ˈtambjen apoˈβeʧo paɾa βaθjonaˈɾ aˈʎi/

    Please note that the pronunciation may vary slightly depending on the speaker’s accent.

If you don’t understand the International Phonetic Alphabet, you can also ask ChatGPT to explain the pronunciation of the text to you in a different way.

  • I don’t understand all the IPA symbols. Can you instead explain the pronunciation of the sentence using letters with their normal English phonetic values?
  • Of course! Here’s the pronunciation of the sentence using English phonetic values:”Rehg-yuh-lahr-men-teh vee-ah-hoh ah Meh-hee-koh pohr moh-tee-vohs deh trah-bah-hoh ee tahm-bee-ehn ah-proh-veh-choh pah-rah vah-kah-see-oh-nahr ah-yee.”

    Note that this approximation using English phonetic values may not capture all the nuances of Spanish pronunciation, but it should give you a general idea of how the sentence sounds.

Creating a curriculum

Not sure what you should prioritise in your language learning? You can also ask ChatGPT to generate a personalised curriculum based on your language level and your goals.

  • My Spanish language ability is quite limited. I’m comfortable introducing myself and making basic conversation about my job, the weather, and so on, but I struggle to understand and formulate more complex sentences. Please create a personalized language learning curriculum with specific topics for me, tailored to my personal language level and focusing on my current weak points.
  • Sure! I can help you create a personalized language learning curriculum to improve your Spanish skills. Based on your current level and your weak points, I’ll provide you with specific topics and resources to focus on. Here’s a suggested curriculum for you:
    1. Vocabulary Expansion:
      • Start by building a strong foundation of common Spanish words and phrases. Use flashcards or vocabulary apps like Duolingo or Memrise to learn and review new words regularly.
    2. Grammar Practice:
      • Focus on improving your understanding and usage of verb conjugations, articles, and pronouns. Use online resources or grammar books to study these topics and practice with exercises.
    3. […]

Frequently asked questions about ChatGPT

Can I use ChatGPT to learn languages?

Yes, there are a variety of ways to use ChatGPT for language learning, including treating it as a conversation partner, asking it for translations, and using it to generate a curriculum or practice exercises.

Can I use ChatGPT as a conversation partner to learn a language?

Yes, using ChatGPT as a conversation partner is a great way to practice a language in an interactive way.

Try using a prompt like this one:

“Please be my Spanish conversation partner. Only speak to me in Spanish. Keep your answers short (maximum 50 words). Ask me questions. Let’s start the conversation with the following topic: [conversation topic].”

Are ChatGPT conversations private?

ChatGPT conversations are generally used to train future models and to resolve issues/bugs. These chats may be monitored by human AI trainers.

However, users can opt out of having their conversations used for training. In these instances, chats are monitored only for potential abuse.

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Jack Caulfield

Jack is a Brit based in Amsterdam, with an MA in comparative literature. He writes for Scribbr about his specialist topics: grammar, linguistics, citations, and plagiarism. In his spare time, he reads a lot of books.

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