Thursday, March 9, 2017

Software for English Pronunciation, Listening, Speaking, and Vocabulary



At the 2016 CATESOL Teaching of Pronunciation Interest Group workshop in San Diego, Ana Wu and I gave our audience a description and a short peek at six online programs. Here is our "handout" with links.

CATESOL Top-IG workshop: Software for English pronunciation, listening, speaking, and vocabulary

Marsha J. Chan, Mission College (Emerita), TOP-IG Co-founder and Co-coordinator, and Sunburst Media, marsha@sunburstmedia.com
Ana Wu, City College of San Francisco, awu@ccsf.edu, ccsfeslpron.wordpress.com

Digital Literacy Instructor, or DigLin, is a website founded by LESLLA (Low-Educated Second Language and Literacy Acquisition) to assist a number of non-literate and low-literate immigrant adults in European countries acquire a second language and computer competencies. Ana explains the pedagogical considerations that support the use of this website and demonstrates selected activities.

Learner’s Dictionary

Created by Merriam-Webster.com, this site offers 15 sessions where students can practice pronunciation and learn vocabulary independently. Ana explains the advantages and disadvantages of using this website and demonstrates a few activities.

AmEnglish

The Mission College ESL Lab has a 10-year site license to use the 17 web-based programs offered in AmEnglish: 2 Writing/Grammar, 4 Pronunciation, 7 Idioms & Phrasal verbs, & 4 Animal Tales. The programs are also available individually by subscription as well as in an e-book format, where a teacher gets lesson plans, uses a program as a course “book,” and gains access to the course management system to manage student learning. AmEnglish is currently being used in the ESL drop-in lab, where students choose from any program. Marsha demonstrates a tidbit from each the following selected titles in the AmEnglish suite:
Pronunciation in English – High Beginning+ 2 Stress
Idioms in English  – YA 2 TOEFL Listening Practice. Volleyball
Animal Tales The poetry helps with pacing, rhythm, and rhyme. TOEIC Skill Builder, TOEFL vocabulary. Scientific facts. The Green Sea Turtle.

Connected Speech

This Window-based installed software is served to the Mission College ESL Lab in a permanent site license. Connected Speech is especially good for suprasegmentals: phrasing/pause groups, syllables and stress in words and phrases, pitch changes/intonation, linking, contrastive stress & intonation. Besides site installation, CS is also available for classes by subscription. Marsha used the online version of Connected Speech when she taught an online accent modification class at Mission. This software does not run on Mac, so Marsha demos via these video clips.
Connected Speech Level 1 Aaron–Pause groups: mark and record (2:12)
Connected Speech Level 1 Rita–Stress on content words (0:35)
Connected Speech Level 1 Becky–Pitch: Focus (0:34)
Connected Speech Level 1 Guillermo–Linking: Mark and record (1:40)
Connected Speech Level 1–Identifying the reason for linking (1:03)

Pronunciation Power

Like CS, Pronunciation Power 1 and 2 are licensed for use on the PCs in the Mission College ESL Lab. In addition, individual users can subscribe to the online version. Pronunciation Power is especially good for segmentals: consonants, vowels, and consonant clusters. Marsha demonstrates selected lessons in the online version or shows a selection of a video clip Pronunciation Power Overview.

English Accent Coach

English Accent Coach is a free web-based program that trains the brain to recognize new sounds and provides the basis for improved pronunciation of selected North American vowels and consonants. EAC Creator Ron Thomson, Brock University, has published research on the effects of distinguishing phonemes through High Variability Phonetic Training (HVPT) on producing them. Marsha demonstrates a few items.

Additional Resources

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