Open my mouth, open my world
Scott G Pobiner
Kan Yang LiWriting and Research
Ahhh is a mobile application that provides a game-like experience, in which language learners can connect with native speakers. It is specifically for people who don’t have access to native speakers and those who are too shy to talk to native speakers face to face.
Compared with other colleges in the cities, I graduated from a university with a larger percentage of students from rural areas. Students from the countryside did well on written exams in English, but their speaking and listening skills were not as strong. After getting to know them, I realized that they had not had the chance to study or talk with native speakers of English, as I had before college in Beijing. This made me wonder:
Why don’t they have a chance to talk to people with other native languages and get to know the world?
More importantly, what kind of tool could provide them opportunities to connect with native speakers of English, or even other languages? What kind of tool could connect people from other countries to native speakers of Chinese? This leads to Ahhh, a mobile application that provides a game-like experience, in which language learners can connect with native speakers. It is specifically for people who don’t have access to native speakers and those who are too shy to talk to native speakers face to face.
Unlike some serious paid week-long lesson-based language learning services, Ahhh provides a fun talking experience with pace-controllable sessions and flexible topics. As users join in conversations either as helpers of their native languages or learners of their learning languages, they get to talk with people of various backgrounds and accents, at the same time, collect words they learnt along the way.
Ahhh hopes to provide opportunities to practice listening and speaking skills for people in need, and hopes to open the rest of the world to them through casual communications.
Grace Tingshan Gou comes from China. Her thesis Ahhh finally made her longtime wish of helping local students connect with native speakers come true. She is also a creative programmer who explores digital and physical world in the realm of interactive paintings, sound experiments, hilarious games, useful gadgets, and critical art pieces.