Tools to check your pronunciation

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Leitura

Pronunciation can be a very controversial subject. There are so many different types of accents in the world, especially for English, and as the language reaches more places, there will be yet another form of pronouncing.

Imagine each one as a different color. Each accent can be a variation of orange but if we are able to recognize a neutral orange, then we can identify the different shades when we see them. The same thing happens with English. Finding a neutral accent will not only help your pronunciation, but it can also help you in your listening skills. To understand and to be understood.

If in your immediate surroundings you’re not constantly hearing English, it might be a challenge to have a constant pronunciation check. The good news is that we live in a world with technology so we have a bit of help.

1. IPA

Depending on your preferred learning language, this can either be helpful or a nightmare. The important thing with IPA is to identify how vowels and consonant sounds can change and relate that with what your teeth, jaw, tongue, lips and air flow are doing.

I know it sounds complicated, but something as simple as a vowel chart, like we saw in our basic pronunciation course, can help. After that, when you doubt the pronunciation of a word, you can look it up in a dictionary like https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/ , can give you a sample of what it roughly sounds like. If additionally, you want to see other people pronounce the same word, you can also go to youglish.com and go through videos that pronounce the word.

If you want to compliment your IPA learning process, you can play a game with sounds in https://www.englishaccentcoach.com/ . It might take a little bit to get used to the game, but in it’s free light version, you’re able to listen to a sound and identify which IPA symbol it belongs to or which word that sound is like. Start off with a couple of sounds at a time and gradually move up.

2. Speechling

https://speechling.com/landing is another way to keep your recordings and progress in one place. This tool will already have prepared a curriculum focused on your pronunciation. You will be assigned a coach who can give you feedback on your recordings, but since it can take some time and the feedback isn’t immediate, the good thing about this tool is that you can listen to a recording made by a real person, record yourself and then compare both. You can practice and re-record the same part as many times as you wish and even go back to what you’ve already recorded to note your progress.

3. Speechace API

https://app.speechace.co/placement/ has the tool that we all wish we had available all the time. You can read a word or sentence and it will grade you immediately. They have a full curriculum that goes according to a regular English grammar class so that you can practice the pronunciation of different subjects. You can use your computer for this tool, so it can be helpful if you don’t have a smart phone.

4. ELSA Speak and smart phone apps

This app has had many positive reviews and has the same concept as Speechace API but on your phone. You can have instant feedback on your pronunciation and it will push you to get it just right before moving forward.

There are many many different apps available that will focus on English pronunciation and that of other languages. Try taking a dive into your app store and keeping an eye out for the newest ones to find your perfect match.

5. Make mistakes and practice!

The best tool you can have is your voice and your willingness to make mistakes. Repeat things while you change the position of your tongue and jaw. Use different tools, there are many more than what we can suggest, and practice, practice, practice. This is the most important tool of all. The more you practice, the more you exercise your muscles and create muscle memory in your pronunciation. While you do this, you will fine tune your ear and comprehend and express many more things than you did before.

Which tool have you used that works best for you? Which one are you willing to try out next?

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