Siri, your free language tutor


You have a language tutor who can help you with your pronunciation in your pocket RIGHT NOW…in questo momento, a’ ce moment, en este momento! It’s siri! This language learning tool was recently brought to my attention and I really think it is a great idea. This is particularly helpful with pronunciation.

Because if Siri can’t understand you, you’re doing it wrong. Sorry for the harsh delivery.

Wondering how to do it? Just pull out your iPhone (or I guess another smartphone/device/tablet thingy that has someone who talks to you that is not a real person), go to the “settings” app, hit “general”, “siri”, then change the language to whichever language you would like to practice in quello momento. Then, you just talk! You can write out questions in your chosen language before hand and read those, write out questions in English (or your native language) and translate those in yo head, or just freestyle the whole thing, man.

One advantage to doing this exercise is you can talk or ask questions to Siri and see if they understand you, tweaking (or scratching it all!) your pronunciation as you go. Another advantage is you can see how much you understand of the response and actually even kind of carry on a strange little conversation, if you want. Own it, this is a step closer to one day being like, “Hey you are French? Well alors, je parle francais aussi!”. I mean, how cool would like be, right? Also, you can even leave your phone in said language and use said language from here on out to set your alarms, reminders, schedule events, call yo peeps, and anything else you can think of.

Just in case you need a little inspiration, ecco some example questions for you. Some are serious, some are not. Some are translated into Italian for those of you learning it, some are not:

  1. What time is it in San Francisco? Che ore sono a San Francisco?
  2. What is the weather like in Berlin? Come e’ il tempo a Berlino?
  3. Will it snow today? Nevica oggi?
  4.  What is your favorite animal? Qual e’ il tuo animale preferito?
  5. What is the meaning of life? Qual e’ il senso della vita?
  6. Tell me a story. Raccontami una storia.

Let me know how this works for y’all, you little lovers of languages.

Un bacione,

Layne Alyssa


the setup

Allora, so one thing I love is languages. I have loved them since I began Spanish in 6th grade. At first, it was the idea of speaking to someone, namingly one of my best friends Rachel, in a foreign language that no one could understand. I mean, would it not be the coolest thing? At that time, I, of course, underestimated how much time it takes to properly learn a language. I mean, how much time it takes even to learn it enough to make “secret” sentences between the two of you. It takes a while, especially when it is your very first foreign language. Rachel and I never really made it to where we could secretly and discreetly talk about all the other middle-schoolers, but the experience instilled in me a yearning to “learn all the languages”! Of course, it was not only the languages, but everything that comes with learning a language. That’s the culture…the foods, colloquial sayings, history, and the different perspective on life! Sigh…that’s like the best thing.

I’ve learned the beginnings of LOTS of languages. And by beginnings, I mean as much as you can learn in one of these survival phrase books…

phrasebook pile


So, as you can imagine, at the snap of the finger, I can give you random words in Mandarin, Japanese, and even Hawaiian. However, spouting random words does not fluency make. But it can be really satisfying! For me, the desire of fluency is what may keep me on track long-term, but isn’t it the small victories that keep you going day to day? Like meeting a native speaker for the first time of the language you’re learning, saying “hello” in that language, and actually being understood (total rush).

So yes, fluency is the goal, but never underestimate the building blocks that get you there. They are necessary and awesome, and if you like them as much as me (or are able to at all follow this post), you are in the right place! I will dive into language learning (“all the languages!”), cultures, and even food in this blog, all in the hopes that it will pull humanity closer together (I mean, that is the long-term, profound mission, which I totally support, but that will likely not be the outcome of this blog). But really, whatever you love about learning languages, there is something for you here on this blog! I know because I’m writing it.

Un Bacione,

Layne Alyssa