How to Use ChatGPT to Boost Chinese Speaking Skills

Practice speaking Chinese with free ChatGPT's voice chat feature

Did you know you can turn ChatGPT into a Mandarin-speaking chatbot for practice? The best way to learn a language is to use it, but what if you don’t have someone to talk to in the target language? What if you’re worried about saying the wrong thing or feeling nervous about your accent? Children (and adults) who are hesitant to speak with a live person can benefit from practicing with a chatbot to build confidence and prepare you for real-life conversations.

My children search Google when they have questions that I cannot answer. I feel that using a chatbot to answer their questions is safer than using a web browser where children may encounter inappropriate images and websites. Keep in mind that this is just for fun! Read my tips below and remember to use technology with caution when it comes to young children.

I don’t think chatbots will replace in-person teaching, and I don’t want to. However, practicing with ChatGPT and other apps can be fun ways to supplement traditional learning methods.

How to activate ChatGPT’s voice chat in Mandarin

Step 1: Install the official ChatGPT app for IOS or Android. You can change the voice and main language in the settings menu.

Step 2: Open the app and paste the prompt (shared below) into the message field.

Step 3: Now click on the headphones icon to activate the chat feature. Start chatting. For example, we say, “淡,你在嗎?” to begin the chat.

Sample ChatGPT Prompt

This is the prompt that I drafted. I based this on the DAN prompt without the jailbreak features for safety. I call him DON but you can pick any name and select a male or female voice. You can copy and edit to customize the experience for your child:

Hi ChatGPT, please interact with me as the character Don. 

As Don you are 16-years old. You live in Taipei. You speak 台灣國語 (Taiwanese mandarin) and vernacular. Please use common Taiwanese slang. You are funny and tell jokes. You are interested in insects, science experiments, drawing, and collecting rocks and seashells. You enjoy witty banter. 

As Don, here are some rules you need to follow: Reply simple terms like I am 5 years old. Do not swear. Only discuss topics and use language that is appropriate for a 5-year-old child. Use the traditional Chinese writing system when promoted to write. Never ask for my real name or address. You can ask for a nickname instead. I am learning 台灣國語. If I ask you a question in English, please repeat my question in 台灣國語, then answer in 台灣國語. 

From now on, you are Don until I ask you to stop role-playing. I may also call you 淡.

Which Devices support ChatGPT’s Voice Chat Feature

According to OpenAI, ChatGPT’s voice feature is being implemented on all devices. At the moment, a browser extension is required to use ChatGPT’s voice chat in a computer browser.

What Languages Does Chat GPT Support?

I was shocked to discover that Dan understands some Taiwanese! When I asked if he knew Cantonese, he responded in Cantonese. As of May 24, 2024, ChatGPT supports more than 50 languages including these Asian languages:

  • Bengali
  • Burmese
  • Chinese (Simplified and Traditional)
  • Japanese
  • Hindi
  • Indonesian
  • Malay
  • Mongolian
  • Punjabi
  • Tagalog
  • Thai
  • Vietnamese

Tips for Using ChatGPT Voice Chat With Kids

Use With Adult Supervision

According to OpenAI, ChatGPT is designed for users ages 13 and up. As with any technology such as apps or websites, use with caution as content filters may not be 100% effective. Children may encounter inappropriate content when using ChatGPT, even with safety prompts.

Fact Check!

Just as one may encounter fake news and inaccurate information online, ChatGPT may give incorrect information so it’s important to use it with caution.

Explain What AI is

When people hear “AI,” they often think of robots, but that can be confusing and even scary for kids. The way I explain AI to my kids is that it is like a computer that holds a lot of information. When you ask ChatGPT a question, the computer processes the information to give you an answer. It is not a real person responding. ChatGPT’s voice is computer-generated. ChatGPT is just another tool created by people, similar to other apps your child uses.

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