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Pronouncing English words fluently and confidently can be difficult, especially for new words.
But the proper English pronunciation is important so that your coworkers, managers, customers, and business partners understand what you mean.
If you are not sure how to pronounce a difficult word, how can you be confident?
For example, how do you say the word ubiquitous? Not sure? Let’s look it up in the dictionary: it says you should pronounce it as /juːˈbɪkwɪtəs/. If you don’t know the phonetic alphabet, you are probably still unsure.
Believe me, I know how confusing English pronunciation can be. Pronunciation in English is very difficult, because there are no hard rules, as in some other languages, where one letter equals one sound. Moreover, there are a lot of sounds in the English language that might not exist in your native language.
But don’t give up just yet!
You are on the right track and with the right tools, I will show you how you can achieve more confidence when it comes to your English pronunciation. You will see, these tools are fun to use.
Knowing the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) can be very useful. But don’t worry if you don’t know the Phonetic Alphabet yet. You can use these free pronunciation websites and apps to practice and improve your pronunciation.
Practicing the correct pronunciation is key in becoming a confident and understandable English speaker.
Luckily, there are some great, free tools you can use online to train your English pronunciation. Read on for my selection of free pronunciation apps and websites and how you can use them.
Why should you use it? One of my favorite online English dictionaries is the Cambridge Learner’s Dictionary because it is easy to use, it gives you an easy definition in English and you can click on the button to hear a very clear pronunciation audio sample. You can choose between American English and British English pronunciation, which is useful.
How do you use it? Simply search for a word on the website and click on the “Listen” button next to the word. Repeat the pronunciation and do this a couple of times. Because it pronounces short words and phrases, you can listen and repeat it yourself many, many times until you feel confident.
Why should you use it? I recently discovered this new pronunciation tool. Speechling helps you improve your pronunciation by recording yourself and getting feedback on your pronunciation. With the “coaching” concept you get personal feedback from real English speakers. It can be hard to listen to yourself while you are speaking, so recording yourself is a great way to notice sounds. Getting human feedback on your pronunciation is even better. I like the focus on feedback and progress, which will motivate you to improve your English pronunciation.
How do you use it? Unlike Forvo, Speechling has high-quality examples of pronunciations, so you can listen to them and compare your pronunciation to how native speakers pronounce phrases. Listen to the native pronunciation. Record yourself and compare your pronunciation to the native pronunciation. What are the differences? Then, try again. Submit your recording and a coach will give you feedback on your pronunciation. After some time, you can go back to your old recordings and see how much progress you have made.
Why should you use it? This website is easy to use, free and gives you real input by native speakers. It lets you request audio recordings of a text by native speakers. This way, you learn the real pronunciation of a native speaker. I especially like this platform, because it is based on sharing. You are also welcome to help other learners by pronouncing something in your native language in return.
How do you use it? Submit a text you would like to know how to pronounce. Then, a native speaker will read the text and send you a recording of the pronunciation. You can then download the audio file, listen to it, repeat, and try to imitate the pronunciation yourself! Another way to use this website is to listen to existing audio files that have been submitted by other users in the past.
Why should you use it? This app is a great tool for language exchange with native speakers. With HelloTalk you can train your speaking skills in English by talking to real people and get immediate feedback. The app gives you the opportunity to meet people from all over the world and help them with their language skills, as well. Interacting with real people is very rewarding and motivating, so I highly recommend using this app for learning English.
How do you use it? You can download the app on the iTunes App Store and Google Play You can find a partner for online language exchange. Once you have chatted with someone, you can call them for free and speak to them via the app. Then, they will immediately tell you when you are making a mistake and show you how to improve your pronunciation. But your partner will also tell you when your pronunciation is good and understandable. Speaking more often will make you more confident and fluent with practice.
Why should you use it? Believe it or not, pronunciation is actually a physical activity. The Pronunciation Power App shows you how to pronounce sounds in English. Especially, as an adult learner, these lessons and exercises will be very helpful because there are many sounds you might be unfamiliar with in English.
How do you use it? The app is available for download on the iTunes App Store and Google Play Watch the video instructions to see how to move your tongue, mouth, and lips. You can switch between the front view and side view of the mouth movements. Then, practice the sounds by repeating the movements yourself. There are lessons and also many exercises and sample words for you to practice the English pronunciation.
Why should you use it? This app is great and I find it almost addicting. I use it for any language and it is so much fun to use because it is like a game. The Aksent App uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to give you a score for your pronunciation of a word, so you can improve your pronunciation. Also, the app teaches you the English pronunciation in many different English accents. For example, you can choose Australian English, Irish English, and much more.
How do you use it? Listen, repeat and get feedback. You can download the app on the iTunes App Store. Select the English accent, type the (difficult) English word and the app will let you listen to the pronunciation. Then, you have to record your pronunciation and the app tells you how well you pronounced the word by giving you a score out of 100. Repeat this with the same word until you get a score of 100.
Why should you use it? This website is a great resource based on a community which uploads pronunciations by native speakers. The website has a large collection of pronunciations of difficult English words in its dictionary. Its mission is to pronounce all the words in the world.
How should you use it? On the website, choose the English language. Then, you can either see the most recent pronunciations or search for a specific word to hear how it is pronounced. What is special is that the website offers pronunciations of both words and phrases. Give it a try!
Contribute in your own language to help other learners, as well!
Which is your favorite tool?
Remember that becoming fluent in English requires you to do the right things regularly. If you use these tools regularly they will help you become a more confident English speaker and you will be better understood. I really hope these websites and apps are useful for your language learning!
Now we would like to hear from you:
Have you used any of these tools?
Do you have any apps or websites to add? What are your experiences?
Let us know how it goes by leaving a comment!
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