Bellevue startup uses artificial intelligence to help English learners’ pronunciation

While the familiar idiom “you say tomayto, I say tomahto” is meant to showcase the triviality of differences, the irony lies in its illustration of the wide variation in English pronunciation.

Such vagaries in pronunciation can make English difficult for many nonnative speakers unused to pronouncing certain sounds. English is a stress-based language, meaning that it requires emphasis on particular syllables, said Sarah Daniels, CEO and co-founder of English-learning startup Blue Canoe. “If someone is not proactively thinking about stress … we, in our system, can teach them where it is and how to do it.”