Pronunciation Apps & Internet Resources

Pronunciation Apps Listening Resources imageBe sure to use your tablet or computer for additional help with Pronouncing English. The following resources (free or cheap) focus on the North American English pronunciation.

MacMillan The Pronunciation App (free) This features words using the sounds of English with IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet).  It has practice and quizzes for reading, writing and listening.

K12Phonemes (free) Learn the sounds of English with sounds and words, plus a nice video of a real person speaking.

Sounds of Speech  ($3.00) This is from the Iowa Phonetics project.  You’ll see and hear sounds of English with a video illustration of the mouth saying the sounds/words.  The app is $2.99.  You can access the program for free with your laptop by going to the University of Iowa Phonetics home (available on a computer or laptop only, not a tablet.)

Dragon Dictation (free) Set it to American English. and the Dragon Dication computer program will try to recognize and turn your spoken sentence into printed text.  See how well you’re pronouncing English!

Here are free resources for listening.  Audio is in beginner, intermdiate and advanced levels, many with audio transcripts.

  1. Randall’s Listening Lab
  2. English Listening
  3. Many Things
  4. Talk English
  5. Agenda Web
  6. Rong-Chang Listening

Keep up the good work learning English!

English Pronunciation Students Speak Out

English Pronunciation ESL class San Jose CA

This year we held a special pronunciation class at our community ESL program.  We did 30 weeks of lessons helping 11 students learn specific ways to improve their American English pronunciation. Here’s what the pronunciation students had to say about our program:

“I have learned a lot of new techniques about how I pronounce words, the mouth and tongue movements, linking words, and rhythms.”

“I learned a lot of pronunciation in the class, especially stress and linking.”

“I learned many vowel sounds in the class. It was very useful for me.”

“I learned a lot the way to speak in American accent.  It brings me more confidence to say English.”

“I learned important part of speaking in English, that you will never be able to speak well without knowing it. Really learned something every time.”

Next year’s ESL program starts on Monday September 12, 2016, and we will be offering the Pronunciation class again.  ESL classes for all levels meet Mondays from 9:30-11:30am, at Westgate South Hills Church, 6601 Camden Avenue, San Jose, California, USA, 95120. There is a one-time registration fee of $10, and some classes use a textbook (about $30). We hope to have childcare, for babies to age 5, at our Monday classes, so please inquire about childcare, if you need it.

Thanks and I hope you join us in September!

Linking Vowel to Vowel Using W or Y

Linking Vowel to VowelLinking a vowel to a vowel in English will sound smoother with adding a W or a Y sound.

Here are the rules.

Rule #1.  When a word ending in iy, ey, ay or oy is followed by a vowel, use Y

  • Be a sport = Beya sport.
  • Play a game = Playa game.
  • Tie it up = Tiyit up.
  • Employ a professional = Employa professional.

Rule #2.  When  a word ending in uw, ow or aw is followed by a vowel , use W

  • through it all = throughwit all
  • slow and steady = slowand steady
  • How are you? = Howare you?

See the free printable here (includes teacher notes and key.) These pages are from this resource for linking Hawaii EDU Pronunciation

“Long” Vowels and “Long” Stress – What’s the Difference?

Long Vowels Stress English Pronunciation Accent ReductionAre you confusing “long” vowels and “long” stress?

These are not the same!  When you study English intonation and melody, you learn about strong stress and weak stress.

In English, the vowels in stressed syllables are longer, louder, and have a higher pitch. (In many language they are only louder).  More about English stress here.

Here’s the tricky part:  you can give a short vowel some long stress in a word or sentence.  It still stays a short vowel!  That is because “short” vowel is just the name.

  • short a
  • short e
  • short i
  • short o
  • short u

These are all just names the phonics teacher gave the sounds to teach that they were different from other sounds in English.  More about the sound names here.

You can (and should) use short vowels, giving them a longer duration when they are the strong stressed syllable in a word or phrase.  All these words have short vowels and strong (long) stress:

  • short a – ACTor
  • short e – HEAvy
  • short i – MISter
  • short o – OCTopus
  • short u – UNder

Don’t worry about “long” and “short” when these are just names!  Concentrate on the correct strong(long) stress, and weak stress, to help your listener understand.

  • If you mean “person” say PERson, and not perCENT.
  • If you mean “bamboo” say bamBOO, and no BOMBboo.

English listeners are listening for the strong syllables, and will try to determine what you mean based on your strong stressed syllables.




Tongue Twister Fun

Tongue Twisters ESL English PronunciationTongue Twisters are poems that are tricky to pronounce, even for native speakers!

Trying to say a tongue twister poem fast often has hilarious results!  But they can be very good practice when you say them slowly.  Here are a few of my favorites: She Sells Seashells, Peter Piper and How Much Wood?

  • She sells seashells by the seashore.
  • The shells she sells are surely seashells.
  • So if she sells shells by the seashore,
  • I’m sure she sells seashore shells.

Hear the audio clip She Sells Seashells.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
  • If Peter Piper Picked a peck of pickled peppers,
  • Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

Hear the audio clip Peter Piper.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • How much wood would a woodchuck chuck
  • If a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Hear the audio clip How Much Wood?

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Click here for a free printable worksheet – Tongue Twisters