Texas Instruments Language Teacher

Date of introduction:  1980 Display technology:  Fluorescent
New price:   Display size:  10 alphanumeric
Size:  8.0" x 3.4" x 1.25" 
 202 x 87 x 32 mm3
Weight:  8.1 ounces, 230 grams Serial No:  0001490
Batteries:  4*AA cells Date of manufacture:  wk 47 year 1980
AC-Adapter:  AC9199 Origin of manufacture:  USA (ATA)
Precision:   Integrated circuits:  TMC027x, TMC0280 + Module: TMC0350 
Program steps:   Courtesy of:  Joerg Woerner

Shortly after the invention of the synthesizer technology to reproduce human speech with tuned voices stored in ROMs (Read Only Memories - Integrated Circuits), Texas Instruments introduced in August 1979 the Language Translator. This product was later renamed to Language Tutor and the selling price was reduced by 40 percent. Within a few months this Language Teacher was introduced, obviously was the loudspeaker removed and the interface reduced to a keyboard and display.

Dismantling this Language Teacher manufactured in November 1980 by Texas instruments in its Abilene, TX facility reveals a printed circuit board (PCB) identical to the Language Tutor with some components, like the loudspeaker and its electronics not populated.

The design is centered around a TMC0270 single-chip microcontroller known already from the Speak & Spell and a TMS5110 Voice Synthesis Processors (VSP). From a technical point of view the TMC0270 is very similar to the TMS0980 best known from the TI-30 calculator but optimized for 14-segment VF-Displays instead of 7-segment LED-displays. The PCB of the Language Teacher holds the two Integrated Circuits, a 10-character VF-Display, a small PCB with the power supply, a connector for the "Language Modules" and connects to the keyboard with 45 keys:

TMC027x: 4-bit microcontroller with 2k*9 Bits ROM and 9*64 Bits RAM
TMC0280/CD2801: TMS5110 VSP (Voice Synthesis Processor)

An easy accessible Language Module contains the software to translate from e.g. English, French and Spanish to German. Other modules to translate to English, French or Spanish were available. These Language Modules contain only one TMC0350 Read Only Memories (ROMs) - also known as Voice Synthesis Memories TMS6100 - with 128k Bits compared to the "Solid State Speech™ Module" with four ROMs, each:

TMC0350/CD3509 (German Voice): TMS6100 VSM (Voice Synthesis Memory) with 128k Bits


Speech Module

Speech ROMs




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© Joerg Woerner, December 5, 2001. No reprints without written permission.