Have a Japanese Conversation with Siri
You’ve read enough. You’ve listened enough. You’ve written enough. But speaking? No. Everyone wants more speaking practice. With all the input coming flowing your way, you are happy. But your output is dry. Sure you’ve done things like change your inner monologue, shadow/mimic, and even read out loud. But you feel the need for more. Sure you can go to Japanese class, or try to make some Japanese friends online who will start talking with you.
Or you can just pull out your phone and have a fun conversation with Siri (or Google Now or Cortana).
Set your Siri to Japanese, and let the conversations begin!
How was my conversation?
It takes a while to get the hang of what Siri will and won’t answer, but it’s a lot of interesting practice along the way. It also is a good indication of your pronunciation, as you can see if Siri is able to pick up exactly what you are saying.
Give it a try and leave any great responses you get in the comments!
Founder of Jalup. iOS Software Engineer. Former attorney, translator, and interpreter. Still watching 月曜から夜ふかし weekly since 2013.
This can be really fun, I asked her to tell me a joke and she said ごめんなさい。それはSiriません。
Haha nice. I love how it’s really tailored for the Japanese language and isn’t just a translation of English Siri.
This can be really fun! Google Now’s not as great for conversation, but it has a nice feature in that it allows you to set more than one language for it’s voice recognition, so I have it set to English and Japanese
Hey, I personally use this http://i.imgur.com/uk2fROC.png the application’s name is “Assistant” now I think, it used to be named Vlingo in case you can’t find it.
It’s pretty close to siri, it’s free (I think you only have in app purshases for new conversation partners or things like that).
I personally only use this for japanese practice, so I can’t really talk about the stuff like e-mail reading, catching calls etc but it can apparently do it, but this sounds pretty intrusive to me.
Nice! Thanks for the addition. The more possible “speaking partners,” the better.
Oh that would be nice to have both at the same time. I’ve never used Google Now before, but do you mean it doesn’t respond in a playful way?
Really Google Now curates information from the Google Knowledge Graph quickly and efficiently. So it gets out of the way and let’s you read the information. I like it more personally because I get what I asked for without the funny jokes or phrases. But that’s just me. So it doesn’t really talk back in a conversational sense, but you can still set it to have Japanese as a second language and search with it and practice your pronunciation and grammar and vocab. Hope that helps explain Google Now!
Thanks for the info. Sounds like it serves a different, but just as useful, Japanese speaking purpose.
I don’t think I have Ok Google, but I do have google voice search on my Android and Chromebook and it searches what I speak in Japanese. I found it funny that it would search my katakana pronunciations of words in English (so I would say キャット and it would search “cat” not キャット) but if I actually said “cat” in my native sounding English, it would search for a random Japanese word that it thinks I’m saying.
You can activate it in the settings for your android powered smartphone by going to Google Now and sliding the hamburger menu out and clicking settings. Then click voice and then “OK Google” detection. It will ask you to speak “OK Google” three times to adapt to your voice and speech patterns. Also under voice you can set your main language and any other secondary languages you want to search with (Japanese). So when searching you can use only your primary language, only your secondary language, or a mix of both. As of now you can’t mix in the middle of a sentence, but can speak of sentence of a search in one language, and another sentence of the same search in another language. With your Chromebook you can get the “OK Google” hot word detection chrome app from the Chrome store. And it does the same thing. Hope that helps you :)
This is amazing. This looks so much fun.
It definitely is! I was havinga lot of fun playing with Japanese Siri as I was writing up the post.
Whoa. This could be extremely helpful. I was reading from my Beginner deck, and decided to try it out. The timing was perfect!
oops. Should be まさか
Yes this technique can really be used for all levels as most of the simplest Japanese can result in an enjoyable response.
Ha, I actually just started trying to use Japanese Siri about a week ago. It’s fun to play around with, especially someone still a bit early on like me, I think. It’s kinda reassuring that at least Siri can understand my limited Japanese :D.
Yes, that is a great feeling, since most self learners don’t get much feedback about their pronunciation.
This is great. I was looking for something even as simple as this to play around with. Thanks for the post!
Thanks. I’m trying to find new ways for people to get speaking practice that they haven’t thought of before, so hopefully I can come up with a few more ideas.
This is a fantastic idea :) It really helps with my pronunciation too.. Took a while for me to pronounce 冗談 correctly..
Asking Siri to tell you some good jokes?
My husband similarly uses his Xbox’s voice commands to practice his own English pronunciation.
Does Xbox (or any other system for that matter) also have a voice command setup for Japanese?
Not sure about the voice command but you can change the language of some games by changing your system language.
My husband says he thinks so. He’s playing it right now, so I can’t confirm yet.
Yep the Kinect SDK supports multiple language inputs, including Japanese. I wish I had my kinect handy, I would try and get it set up in japanese, but unfortunately I don’t have it handy.
yes, xbox one kinect works in Japanese. It’s less of a dialogue but more of commands that you give.
xboxオッフ turns off the xbox for example.
It’s pretty limited what you could learn from using Xbox one voice commands, in my experience.
Though it’s fun to do it front of friends that are easily impressed :P
I found this awesome app for Android called メイドさんしりとり that uses google voice to play shiritori with you.
Cool find Rachel. Am downloading the iOS version as we speak
Disclaimer: iOS version doesn’t work.
Both James and a friend of mine found this out :(
its out for the iphones now
Oh nice. Looks like a fun way to play Shiritori.
Can you ever win? Seems like an AI would be hard to beat.
She gives up randomly. It’s pretty easy. The hardest part is (if you’re in voice mode) thinking of words to say or reading her kanji. If you’re in text mode it’s pretty easy because your computer can suggest words fro you, so it’s pretty much about knowing her kanji.
Here’s the link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gclue.maidsiritori&hl=ja
Apparently it’s on Apple too. Though the ratings on apple are lower, so maybe it doesn’t work as well there.
I like how it gives answers in kanji, so it tests your kanji ability too. To give up, say やめる.
I was able to port it over to Chromebook, but unfortunately the voice mode doesn’t work on Chromebook. But the text mode for the app will.
There’s also this app by the same developers: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gclue.ossanchat&hl=ja
It can hold somewhat of a conversation. Though I feel the Maid game provides more of a challenge for Japanese learners.
I can’t get the games to start. I keep inputting the wrong thing.
Aren’t I just supposed to enter a random kana word that’s a noun? It keeps saying i failed everytime
Someone teach me haha
So, the しりとり one? Are you on an iOS or Android device?
Yeah, you start out, so any word should work! As long as it’s a noun. Are you using the text or speech mode?
I’m using the text mode and using kana and I’m only using nouns arggghh. I feel so stupid. I’ll give it another try now.
Hopefully I can make it work
If your on an iPhone or something, I don’t think it works! My friend is having the same problem.
Don’t feel stupid! It’s probably the program itself!
Works on my Android.
The word can be in kanji too.
It may be that the iOS version doesn’t work if you’re on iOS (/_;)
I switched my Android phone to Japanese and found that Google Maps voice navigation started talking to me in Japanese as well! I guess I should have expected that. It has a pretty limited vocabulary but it’s useful. For some reason, it doesn’t even try to give street names even though Maps does have them in katakana. I’m guessing that’s a cultural difference. Try getting directions to someplace you already know before relying on it to get to someplace new.
It’s great. You end up learning a lot of interesting vocab words that you usually don’t get to encounter on a normal basis. You also get easy repetition, and you have to get used to these words otherwise you get lost