A First Visit to the Robot Language Café

José Lopes, Olov Engwall, Gabriel Skantze


We present an exploratory study on using a social robot in a conversational setting to practice a second language. The practice is carried out within a so called language café, with two second language learners and one native moderator a human or a robot engaging in a social conversation of a small talk type. We compare the interactions with the human and robot moderators and perform a qualitative analysis of the potentials of a social robot as a conversational partner for language learning. Interactions with the robot are carried out in a wizard-of-Oz setting, in which the native moderator who leads the corresponding human moderator session controls the robot. The observations of the video recorded sessions and the subject questionnaires suggest that the appropriate learner level for this type of practice is elementary (A1 to A2), for whom the structured, slightly repetetive interaction pattern was perceived as beneficial. We identify both some key features that are appreciated by the learners and technological parts that need further development.


 DOI: 10.21437/SLaTE.2017-2

Cite as: Lopes, J., Engwall, O., Skantze, G. (2017) A First Visit to the Robot Language Café. Proc. 7th ISCA Workshop on Speech and Language Technology in Education, 7-12, DOI: 10.21437/SLaTE.2017-2.


@inproceedings{Lopes2017,
  author={José Lopes and Olov Engwall and Gabriel Skantze},
  title={A First Visit to the Robot Language Café},
  year=2017,
  booktitle={Proc. 7th ISCA Workshop on Speech and Language Technology in Education},
  pages={7--12},
  doi={10.21437/SLaTE.2017-2},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SLaTE.2017-2}
}