It is said that the French are very particular about their language and the way it’s spoken. Pronouncing French words is rather difficult as it has lots of silent letters and syllables; even a single letter pronounced in different ways.
But wait: is English any different? In fact, we may not be paying attention because to most of us speaking and pronouncing English comes naturally.
There are many though, for whom English is a second or a third language and it takes some effort on their part to understand the way the words are spelled and spoken. This is where pronunciation guides become useful.
There’s a long list of common words that are often mispronounced (“Arctic” not “Artic”; “athlete” not “athelete”; “cornet” not “coronet”). While every self respecting online dictionary includes audio pronunciation these days, here are eight more that are dedicated to teaching correct pronunciation with the help of audio.
Forvo.com is one of the most broad based audio pronunciation guides available on the web today. The figures sum it up – 903,848 words; 909,460 pronunciations in 267 languages. Forvo in its aim to index all the words spoken worldwide also allows “bad words” as long as they are politely pronounced and appear in well-known dictionaries. You can also find short idioms and a few known titles in the index. Everyone can record pronunciations, thus contributing to the index. The most covered languages are English, Portuguese, and Russian. The audio pronunciations are also organized in various categories like sports, science, politics etc.
The site with an “˜unpronounceable’ name defines itself as a free online talking dictionary of English pronunciation. You have to simply type in the word and mouseover the result to hear it spoken as it should be spoken. Words are pre-recorded in human voice. Pronunciation is in Standard British English, with World English alternatives like American English also provided.
When it’s the Queen’s Language, the BBC’s World Service has to be an important educational resource. The pronunciation tips are less of a straightforward guide and more of a how-to on the methods one can employ to understand how a word is spoken. The spelling of a word is not always an accurate guide to how it is pronounced, and that’s why BBC helps out with the sounds behind the English language.
The English pronunciation guide covers names of – people, places, and sundry other subjects like sports, religion, food, drink, and many more. For instance, if you don’t know how “Lager” is said out aloud in a bar, check out the site. Both phonetic and audio pronunciations are available. The pronunciations are in American English spoken in the general American accent. If you are still having trouble, check out the link to the pronunciation key that’s on each page.
HearNames [No Longer Available]
Every culture has its own dialect and its own diction. Getting names right in the correct accent can save you from a red face when you visits a foreign country (or even in one’s own). This site helps out by giving you a name pronunciation guide across different languages. The names are spoken by native speakers. Some languages have few entries, but the collection is good because it attempts to cover languages which we might consider uncommon.
We had listed this website when we had gone over 10 Online Slang Dictionaries To Learn Jargon & Street Language. The site makes this list again, because it’s a handy guide to British slang pronunciations with audio. A few words don’t have audio files associated with them but they are in the minority. This guide should be a great help for those trying to fit into the street culture in an around Britain.
Learning pronunciation can be fun as the series of videos on this website set out to prove. The videos are well made and each goes into the nuances of American English. Videos explain how different sounds come together to form a word. Each sound has two videos. The first is a very short video, simply the sound and an example word. The second video is a how-to video which goes deeper how the tongue vocalizes the sound. Each video also has a video text with the transcript.
SayIt [No Longer Available]
SayIt takes the SMS route to help you out with word pronunciations. When you hit a difficult word, just send a SMS to the service’s number and the app will call you back with the exact pronunciation. You can also choose to hear the complete definition of the word. It is a U.S only service, though. Carrier charges may apply. The pronunciation by SMS service uses Forvo.com’s pronunciation guide at the backend.
Correct pronunciation also helps in spelling a word correctly. The reverse is also true to a certain extent. If you carefully examine your speech, you will see a lot of common errors we make every day when it comes to pronouncing words correctly. These useful online guides help to nip those faults in the bud.
Tell us about your struggle with pronunciations and any resource that you used to crack it.
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