The speech accent archive

Posted by on May 14, 2013 in Speaking |

The speech accent archive is a project run by Stephen H. Weinberger at the George Mason University Program of Linguistics.  He and his colleagues and students have collected and phonetically transcribed hundreds of speech samples from English native speakers and learners from around the world.  Everyone reads the same short script so you can really hear the differences in accent!  It’s a fun way to travel around the world, linguistically!...

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How to pronounce English names

Posted by on Mar 13, 2013 in Listening, Speaking |

English names are notoriously difficult to pronounce when you can only read them.  For example, how many syllables are there in Loughborough or Leominster (these are towns in England)?  Two!  I know it’s strange, it’s strange to me too.  I come from the US, where our cities have normal-sounding names (that’s just a little joke!). So what can you do?  Here is one of those times when you just need to know the international...

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Documentaries from Australia

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

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has some fantastic resources online:  Catalyst is a 10 minute documentary programme with transcripts, and Foreign Correspondent is a 30 minute news documentary programme with transcripts.  Both shows have a short introduction before the transcript begins.

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Learning can be inspriational

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

TED is an incredible organization that brings some of the most intelligent and passionate people in the world together to give lectures and inspire the rest of us with their ideas.  They also have subtitles in many languages and an excellent interactive transcript tool for every video.  For a taste of the amazing minds who participate in TED lectures, watch neurologist Vilayanur Ramachandran talk about some very unusual things he has discovered...

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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...

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