CALST The Computer-Assisted Speaking and Listening Tutor Department of Language and Literature
The Computer-Assisted Listening and Speaking Tutor (CALST) is a pronunciation training platform which currently offers exercises for English and for several Norwegian dialects. The reason for offering pronunciation training in several dialects is that Norwegian does not have an accepted pronunciation standard and its speakers will use their own dialect independent of the communicative setting.
This means that learners of Norwegian must be able to understand the different dialects, while they need to learn to speak only one of them. Most learners choose the dialect as spoken in Oslo as their target dialect; this dialect has the most extensive training material in CALST.
CALST will also help you to acquire a basic vocabulary of 1000 words and expressions. There are many vocabulary training programs out there, but CALST also offers specific pronunciation exercises, based on sound phonetic knowledge.
In the EU Horizon2020 project easyRights, CALST is being extended with the languages of southern European countries which take up many migrants: Greek, Spanish, and (soon) Italian. These languages can already be accessed, but they are still under development.
Is pronunciation important?
Absolutely! We most often use a new language in conversations with others. A good pronunciation will make it easier for your conversation partner to understand you, and will help you make a positive first impression, be it in social settings or in a job interview.
Pronunciation is a skill
Are you learning a new language, and do you want to work more on your pronunciation? Language courses often pay little attention to pronunciation, because learning the motor skills for new articulations requires repetition. Practice, practice, practice is best done outside of the classroom – as long as you remember to use what you have learnt in real conversations.
One size fits all?
Nope. Learners with different native languages meet different challenges. A German learner of English may find it hard to pronounce the first sound in we, while a Chinese learner may find it hard to say zoo instead of Sue. CALST takes your native language into consideration to tailor the exercises specially for you, so that you do not have to waste time and can focus on what may be difficult for you.
One for all and all for one
There are still many unsolved questions in language learning. That is why your exercise results are logged and stored anonymously. You thus help to further tailor the exercises for other learners who have the same native language as you. And if a sound is not a problem in one language, you will not get exercises for it in another language you learn later. Be a part of the language learning community, and help to solve the puzzle of language learning.