Have you surfed the Web trying to find suitable sites to
help students understand pronunciation concepts, the IPA chart, or the basics
for word transcription? If you are like me, you have probably saved those
webpages in your bookmarking page or have probably included them on your
curated topic to explore its potential and how to integrate it into your
teaching or into your out-of-class practices. While venturing myself into
cyberspace, I came across several pages to provide students with additional
insight or/and practice. To help colleagues with their search, let me share
five pages with you.
Website 1 –Prof. Peter
Ladefoged’s IPA Sound Chart. For
a course on Phonetics at UCLA, Prof. Ladefoged created a sound chart where
students are presented with the pulmonic consonants found in languages
worldwide. That is, this chart is not language specific, like restricted to
English, but language general. This phonemic chart can be used with “linguistics”
students, or any other interested in the overall understanding of IPA (the
International Phonetic Alphabet), since it provides examples of the
articulation of pulmonic sounds. It is of great use so students can listen to the
differences in terms of point and manner of articulation.
Website 2 –Adrian Underhill’s
Interactive Phonemic Chart. Keeping
in mind the English variation you are teaching at school, you and your students
can benefit from this chart at OneStopEnglish.com. This page provides a great
account of British English sounds, but not American. It also provides sample
words where the sound is used. Assuming that you are teaching the American
English variation, this chart can help students spot major differences to help
them cope with differences and increase comprehensibility across major English
dialects. Additional, an app for iPods, iPads, or iPhones can be downloaded.
Website 3 –the Cambridge
English Online Chart. The Cambridge English
Online platform provides teachers and students with a great tool, -an
interactive phonemic chart along with several kinds of interactive exercises,
such as a phonemic reader, puzzles, hangman, etc. Not only does it include
sound presentation but also games and exercises to consolidate or expand
students’ learning of the pronunciation subject-matter. But beware! This site
is English-variation specific: British English. Yet it can also be used to
compare and contrast both major English variations taught worldwide. And don’t
forget that this site also allows you to get apps for your mobile devices.
Website 4 –OUP China Phonemic
Chart. Oxford University Press in China (Hong
Kong) developed this other great tool accessible in English and Chinese.
Although you may not have Chinese students in your pronunciation courses, this
phonemic chart provides two different sorts of information: Students can work
with individual sounds and examples, but they can also read and deepen their
understanding of what IPA is and how it is used.
Website 5 -PhoTransEdit. This
Webpage provides users three different features to take advantage of: 1) Text to
Phonetics: The user types words, phrases or short
passages to get an immediate transcription along with some phonological
features. Make sure to adjust it to British or American English. 2)Phonemic
Keyboard: If you found any incongruence with the IPA
variation you use at your teaching location, the site provides you with an
editing tool to fix the transcription. Then you can copy/paste it into word if
Transcription Library: If you are looking for texts, the
page also provides you with some sample texts ready to be used in various types
of accents. Additionally, if you needed to work offline, this website gives you
the chance to download
its freeware, which is highly functional.
One of the best things that PhoTransEdithas is its
possibility to embed its transcriber into your blog, wiki, or webpage. Try it
below in British English. On the website you can have access to American English trasncriptions as well.
To sum up, you could use these tools with your students
to make your phonetics class or blog much more attractive and appealing for
your students. Anyhow, make sure that if they use the transcriber, it is to
check or compare the transcriptions to what you –the teacher- do in class with
them. You will always find
incongruence, so let your students know that the use of a transcription checker
may fail at times if it is not compared to the subject-matter studied in course
books or in class.
fully develop and comprehend this teaching issue, it’s advisable to research and
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