Pai Language Learning

We spoke to co-founder Josef Roberts

Continuing with our work to demystify the activity that goes on at M-SParc, we sat down to speak with Josef from Pai Language Learning, who is a student on the Santander accelerater scheme, provided through B-Enterprising at Bangor University.


My name is Josef Roberts and I am originally from Old Colwyn. I was the first undergraduate in the UK to receive a scholarship to study Mandarin in China for a year at undergraduate level, I have a degree in Chinese studies from Lampeter, and I am currently finishing an MBA in international business in Bangor university. I have spent most of the last ten years teaching myself many languages to different levels, as well as working in digital marketing in Shanghai, China.

Whilst studying languages, I realised that the way we learn languages is ready for disruption and disintermediation. Most teaching material, courses and apps follow a parochial method,based on replicating the classroom model through different mediums. I believe language learning is highly personal, and a ‘one-size fits all’ method that is necessary in the classroom, leaves many people unnecessarily frustrated with the process. Because of this style, many people write it off, claiming they are bad at language learning, and I don’t believe this is the case with anyone, it’s just that the methods they experienced in the past did not suit them.

I am currently creating a startup, Pai Language Learning (‘Pai’ from the Māori word for quick, or efficient), an online language learning platform which addresses this by providing a learning experience that can be tailored to, and controlled by the learner. We use a statistical analysis of the vocabulary and grammar of a language to provide you with all the vocabulary and structures you need to be comfortable in conversation and reading 95% of the time, and providing them to you in the most efficient way, allowing learners to quickly feel progression,and then presenting them to you in the speed and method most suited to your learning style and ability.

In order to deliver this, I have partnered up with Simon Parry-Williams, a fellow MBA student from Bangor university originally from Gaerwen. We plan to have a soft launch in June,followed by a hard launch in July, offering English, Mandarin, Welsh and Hindi through the mediums of English, Mandarin, Welsh and Hindi. We will be having a launch party here in M-Sparc, and everyone who wants to come is invited.

As both founders are Welsh speakers, we strongly believe in supporting and encouraging minority languages, so as part of our corporate social responsibility, every second language we release will be a minority language, and 10% of the profits from these languages will bedonated to organisations that promote them. The first language we plan to release after launch is Māori, in recognition of our namesake.


We apply a statistical analysis to a large corpus of data, and then organise both the grammar and vocabulary according to frequency, ensuring that you learn the most used words and structures first, which we then run through a customisable front end, so if you are a visual learner, we offer a visual method of learning, audio learners likewise can learn through audio, and so on.

Also due to the nature of the system’s back end, each new language we add on to learn, we also add as a medium, for example, with the languages we launch with, we will be the first Welsh course available in Hindi and Mandarin, as well as the first Mandarin and Hindi course available through Welsh.

Benefits of M-SParc

M-SParc provides a professional and supportive atmosphere for the company. The availability of Welsh-language services fits right in with our values, as we support minority languages, and have pledged that our office language will be Welsh. Also due to where it’s situated, it’s perfect for another of our values, and that is that we want to create jobs in Wales.

What’s next?

We have mostly finished the planning stage, and are currently getting ready for an MVP launch in June, and are on the lookout for, and pitching to potential investors. We are currently also working with a local freelancer on having our branding material done, as well as looking into how to protect our method with IP. If we succeed in finding further funding, we look to be hiring extra people during the summer.

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