Learning a new language is one of the biggest challenges a person can face, but what exactly makes it so hard and what can we do to help?
Voxy recently received a third patent for our unique technology that allows us to analyze a text—like a news article, for example—and assign it to an English learner whose proficiency level matches the difficulty level of the article. This is an important step because learners need to practice with content that meets their current proficiency level to really improve. This is where things get tricky, because the factors that make reading a particular text difficult for native speakers aren’t necessarily the same factors that make reading the same text difficult for non-native speakers.
For example, we might assume that longer sentences are harder for second language learners to read and understand, but we know based on research that this simply isn’t true. And while industry-standard tools like the Flesch Kincaid test and Lexile scores are commonly used to assign reading difficulty level, they’re based on factors that don’t apply equally to second language learners.
So what does make a text more difficult to understand for ESL learners? We’ve identified several factors, and Voxy’s technology automatically scans text resources to identify things like wh-movement, the number of unique words (known as type token ratio) and the number of words on the Academic Word List.
Voxy’s patented technology not only assigns the difficulty level of a text for ESL learners, it also automatically turns that content into language learning lessons. So instead of taking months or years to develop appropriate learning content, Voxy is able to produce content quickly and at scale, providing learners with more than 55,000 hours of content that’s relevant to their level and their needs—and we’re adding to that content library every day.
Learning a new language is hard—really hard—but with the help of Voxy’s breakthrough technology, language learners have access to more content than ever before and lessons designed specifically for their level, dramatically improving their success no matter where they’re starting from.