Pronunciation Practice by Watching and Listening to Videos

by Lynda Katz Wilner, M.S., ESL RULES Co-Founder  I came across a wonderful website for individuals who are looking to modify their foreign accent:

http://www.englishcentral.com/

English Central is for English language learners to practice their pronunciation. You have the opportunity to both listen to and watch a variety of speeches on many topics:  working, business, health, science, engineering, presentations, environment, technology, interviews, famous speeches, to name a few.

It's easy: Listen to the speech and watch the video simultaneously. As you listen, you can read along with the text. Finally, you can practice one sentence at a time and record yourself with a recorder that is on the platform.

Once you do all of the above, you will receive a score on your pronunciation.  You can also roll the cursor over specific words and hear the native speaker and your production and then see the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) transcription of both samples; red highlights will indicate where you sound different from the model. If desired, re-record until you are satisfied with your pronunciation.

Positives:

  • Excellent way to supplement your accent modification training with your instructor
  • Wonderful resource library of speeches for various topics
  • Great way to work on listening and pronunciation skills
  • Tool for vocabulary development particularly related to key topics
  • Learning tool for cross-cultural communication tips
  • Language proficiency levels can be set
  • Basic platform is free (you can upgrade to add on other features for a fee)

Negatives:

  • Some speakers don't demonstrate ideal voice quality or pitch
  • The platform doesn't rate your intonation patterns, an essential feature for understandability of speech
  • If you pause, you lose points, and pausing is an effective strategy to enhance communication
  • As a native speaker, I couldn’t always get a perfect score and it was difficult to see why I lost points

Overall, I recommend it to non-native English speakers who are striving to improve communication skills, modify or reduce their accent, and learn the American accent. It is an excellent way to support your other training materials.

Our RULES BY THE SOUND pronunciation platform is a very different way to practice pronunciation by reading sound-loaded stories.  Non-native speakers will achieve confidence when they can focus on a particular sound within the story. This would serve as an intermediary step for the student who has specific pronunciation concerns.

It's wonderful to see all of the pronunciation and accent modification materials that are available to the non-native English speaker!

Lynda Katz Wilner and Marjorie Feinstein-Whittaker formed ESL RULES, LLC in 2006. Through this joint business venture they provide workshops and produce and distribute their unique training materials for accent modification and communication training. Their line of products address critical and frequently confused English grammatical, semantic, and syntactic rules of speech and pronunciation for nonnative English speakers in the financial/business, scientific/medical, information technology, hospitality, and religious/spiritual settings. 

For more on the ESL RULES line of products, please visit www.eslrules.com.