Train your accent

Posted by on Mar 11, 2013 in Listening, Speaking, Videos |

It is possible to do some speaking practice alone, especially accent training. Choose a speaker of English who you like, someone who you think has a good accent. Try and find some videos of this person speaking on youtube or on DVD, and take a section that’s about 30 seconds long. Listen carefully to it: pay attention to the speed, the rhythm, the intonation and the pauses. Now go to Vocaroo (or use recording software on your PC) and record yourself saying the same lines. Now listen to yourself! Compare it with the original and record yourself again.  When you think you have a good recording, save it and play it at the same time as the...

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Find a speaking partner

Posted by on Mar 11, 2013 in Listening, Speaking |

You can practice most things alone, but to really practice speaking you need a partner. And you can find native speakers to practice with at SharedTalk, LiveMocha or Conversation Exchange (REMEMBER: Always protect your privacy online). These sites will all help you find someone who speaks English and wants to learn your native language so you can practice in tandem. You might speak 20 minutes in English and 20 minutes in your mother tongue. Your partner won’t be a teacher, but they will certainly be able to help you with vocabulary and pronunciation while also helping you get more comfortable speaking English. And if you record or take notes during your conversation exchange (remember to ask permission before recording!), you will be able to identify things that are difficult for you and find ways to improve...

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Podcasts for every interest

Posted by on Mar 11, 2013 in Listening |

Podcast Alley has hundreds of podcasts about anything you can imagine.  Choose a genre from the pull-down menu on the top left and listen to something that interests you.

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This American Life

Posted by on Mar 11, 2013 in Listening |

This American Life is a 60 minute weekly radio program produced by National Public Radio in the US.  There is an incredible variety of stories on this show, just click the “Radio Archives” link on the top of the page, choose a year and start browsing.  The length of the program allows the presenters to speak at a relaxed pace and really explore their subject material sensitively and in depth.  One particularly good episode is The Giant Pool of Money, which explains and interviews people involved with the start of the economic crisis in...

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Listen to every kind of British accent

Posted by on Mar 11, 2013 in Listening |

The British Library has a really incredible resource: a map of the United Kingdom that you can click on to hear the accents in different regions.  It’s really remarkable how different they are, even within the same city!  This means that many of the recordings are quite difficult to understand, but sometimes transcripts are provided.

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