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Google wants to listen to you speak and criticise your pronunciation

Google’s latest Search feature lets you invite AI to criticise the way you pronounce the names of adorable marsupials – and teaches you how to say them properly. 

Google will now let you practice your pronunciation directly in its search results. The experimental feature listens in to your voice hands out feedback so you can figure out whether or not you’re on the right track when it comes to unfamiliar words.

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Google announced the new feature on its blog, using the word ‘quokka’ as an example.

Now, if you search for the phrase “how to pronounce quokka” on Google, the search engine will not only play a recording of the word but also spell it out phonetically for you – “kwo kuh”, in this case – so you can read it as it sounds.

When it comes to English words, the audio recording appears to default to British or American pronunciation depending on your location, though you can move between the two if you have a particular preference or you’re travelling abroad. You can even toggle the audio to speak slower if you’d like to hear the syllables sounded out more clearly.

Google will also play a short video showing a mouth making the correct shapes for each syllable, so you can follow along visually if you need a little extra help.

Once you think you have the hang of it you can actually tap the microphone icon to practice with your device’s mic and receive feedback on how you’re doing from Google’s AI.

The search engine uses speech recognition technology to split your voice into multiple individual soundbites and cross references those bites with the sounds it expects to hear. Google can then use that data to tell you exactly which syllables you need a little extra work on and which ones you’ve already got spot on.

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If you want to try this new feature out for yourself, type the phrase “how to pronounce” followed by any word into Google right now.

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