Frequently Asked Questions

Installation

How do I download the Blue Canoe app to my iPhone?

On your iPhone, go to the App Store and search for Blue Canoe Learning. When you find the app, download and open it.

Once you open Blue Canoe, you will be able to sign up and create a new Blue Canoe account with the email that you provided for the pilot. (Note: that is the only email that will be valid.) In the process, you will get a new email sent to you with a Confirmation code that you will need to finish signing up.

For detailed, step by step screenshots, click here.

How do I download the Blue Canoe app to my Android phone?

On your Android phone, go to the Google Play Store and search for Blue Canoe Learning. When you find the app, download and open it.

Once you open Blue Canoe, you will be able to sign up and create a Blue Canoe account with the email that you provided for the pilot. (Note: that is the only email that will be valid.) In the process, you will get a new email sent to you with a Confirmation code that you will need to finish signing up.

For detailed, step by step screenshots, click here.

Get the most out of Blue Canoe

How do I get the most out of Blue Canoe?

Your brain is a muscle that needs practice to learn to perceive and pronounce new language sounds. Playing Blue Canoe for 10 minutes or more each day will help you improve quickly, and is better than only playing once or twice a week for a longer period of time.

Go to Settings, and turn on the Reminders, and set them so that you get a notification for a convenient time of day on weekdays and weekends to remind you to play.

As you go about your day, try to apply what you have been learning in Blue Canoe to your daily conversations. Notice where the main stress is in words, and the color of the vowel.

We will invite you to a Facebook Group, and send you interesting tips and short lessons. Do your best to read these, and participate. The more you immerse yourself in learning, the more you will get out of it!

Feedback

What if I have questions or feedback?

Providing helpful feedback will be a key to the success of our pilot. We encourage you to contact us with any questions, comments, or feedback. Simply email us at feedback@bluecanoelearning.com. Thank you!

Color Vowel® System

What is the Color Vowel® System?

The Color Vowel® System is a proven methodology that helps non-native English speakers improve their pronunciation. It has been around for more than 15 years and is used by top institutions including the US Dept. of State, Harvard University, Yale University and Georgetown University. It has helped more than 1 million students so far.

The Color Vowel System helps non-native English speakers learn the two most important parts of speaking in a way that is easily understood: (1) put emphasis on the main syllable in each word, and (2) use the correct vowel sound for the main syllable. Once a speaker does these two things well, it is much easier to understand him or her.

The Color Vowel System underlines the vowel in the main syllable of the word, indicating that this is the vowel to emphasize.

The Color Vowel System gives a name to each of the 14 main vowel sounds of English, and the name is both a color and an object that both use that same sound. BLUE MOON, GREEN TEA, and BROWN COW are examples.

Every word in the English language can be described as having a color, and that color is the color of the vowel of the main syllable. So “canoe” is a BLUE MOON word, and “teacher” is a GREEN TEA word.

Playing the Color It Out game

How do I play?

Color It Out is a card game between you and the computer. You each get an initial hand of cards, and the first one to get rid of all their cards will win the game. But the real reason to play is to practice your pronunciation!

Please click the “Learn to Play” button from the Color It Out menu for a tutorial on how to play the card game.

What are the Special Cards?

After you have played a few games and are comfortable, we introduce a few Special Cards, just for fun.

Wild Card: You can play this card when you do not have a card that has a color match for either the top or the bottom colors of the card on the discard pilot. Once you play it, you get to select what color you want it to be.

+2 Card: This is a special symbol in the middle of some cards. When you play a card with this symbol, take your turn in the regular way. At the end of your turn, the computer will have to take two new cards. If the computer plays a card with a +2, you will have to take two cards.

Skip Card: This is a special symbol in the middle of some cards. When you play a card with this symbol, take your turn in the regular way. At the end of your turn, the computer will skip its turn, and you get to go again. If the computer plays a card with a skip symbol, you will have to skip your turn.

Top Secrets to being easily understood

Why is it important to say a 6-word turn, for example “BLUE MOON shoe, BLUE MOON flew” when the words are just “shoe” and “flew”?

This is an important part of why the Color Vowel@ System and Blue Canoe work! By repeating a particular vowel sound six times in a row — for example the Blue vowel sound found in the words blue, moon, shoe, and flew — you are helping your brain to hear it as an actual sound, and not just trying to interpret it as a language sound similar to a language sound from your native language. This is a critical step towards hearing it as it actually sounds, and then being able to reproduce it when you speak.

Why is it important to notice where the underlines are and to open my hand as I say that syllable?

You must put emphasis on the main syllable in order to be understood in English. And since written English doesn’t provide clues as to which syllable is the main syllable, we help by underlining the main vowel sound you much emphasize.

By opening your hand as you say it, you are signaling with a different muscle to your brain that you need to notice this syllable and make it longer.

Pronunciation Score

What does my Pronunciation Score mean?

Blue Canoe has created the first objective Pronunciation Score. After your first couple of games, it will estimate your score. The more you play, the more accurate your score will become. As you practice, your score will improve.

100-200: People rarely understand you.

200-300: People sometimes understand you, especially if they are sympathetic.

300-400: People usually understand you, but have to focus.

400-500: People always understand you, and say you have a charming accent.

500+: Native speaker

How does my score change?

Every time you complete a game, or if you end a game by pausing or going to the main menu, Blue Canoe adds your game experiences to your cumulative score.

Note that if you stop in the middle of a game and force close / abandon the app, Blue Canoe cannot save that data.

Pronunciation Feedback

After you take your turn speaking, Blue Canoe’s artificial intelligence (AI) engine evaluates it and provides feedback.

What exactly does the green checkmark mean?

A green check mark means “Great job!”. That does not mean that you have spoken the word perfectly. It means that you are doing very well for your level, and the best thing for you is to continue to play and practice.

What does the “Let’s continue” feedback mean?

Sometimes the “Let’s continue” feedback means that you are working on improving something, and that the best way to improve right now is to continue playing. You cannot always make huge changes right away!

Sometimes the “Let’s continue” feedback means that, for a variety of reasons, Blue Canoe cannot immediately analyze your turn.

Why do I sometimes get “There is too much background noise…”

The Blue Canoe speech recognition engine needs to hear your speech very clearly in order to detect any errors and provide feedback. If the background either has other people talking, or too loud a general ambient noise, the speech recognition engine will make too many errors.

If you get this feedback, please move to a quieter place to play Blue Canoe.