Inspiration

English phonology can be challenging for most non-native speaker, therefore, we are trying to make something that would help for people who are trying to learn to speak English like a native speaker.

What it does

ProNOWnce allows users to better learn pronunciation by quizzing them the correct pronunciation among a list of incorrect pronunciation of standard English words. Users are presented with a word along with four possible pronunciation. They would get point for selecting the correct pronunciation.

How WE built it

The application is split into two side:

  • The front end was built using React Native using JavaScript.
  • The back end was built using Python with the pronunciation provided by Amazon Polly.

Challenges WE ran into

In contrast to the promise of easy development on mobile that the React Native seems to imply, the process of making a React Native application is nothing short of torture. However, we were able to get a basic React Native app working after face-palming at every red-screen that it presented us.

Accomplishments that WE are proud of

Originally we over-estimate the time that would be spend on generating pronunciation and underestimated the time that we would have to spend on making the mobile interface (again, false promises @_@). But given that all of the member of the team don't have much experience programming with JavaScript much less React Native and mobile development, we were happy that the React Native app finally got running.

What WE learned

We learned to make a WebApp the next time around. Beside that, we also learn about Amazon Polly, which is a really nice text-to-speech pronunciation service. We like the ease of use that Amazon Polly provide, and especially the ability to modify the text at the phonemic level.

What's next for proNOWnce

One of the biggest regret that we wasn't able to do is to take advantage of Amazon Polly's ability to understand phonetic transcription and modify that. That would be the most interesting change to the app. Furthermore, we would also like to take this app to other language, as the core concept of learning pronunciation is applicable in language learning everywhere.

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