Last updated November 2003
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Arlyn Freed's ESL Speaking Resources
with reviews of web sites


There are several sites offering pronunciation practice on the web -- there is only one as comprehensive as University of Iowa's "Phonetics: The sounds of American English".  
This site is the best of the best.

Phonetics: The sounds of American English
Direct link:

Advantages:  uses Flash 4 or higher and Quicktime 4 or higher

Excellent resource!
Without a doubt the most comprehensive, useful internet tool available for improving speech.  Better than most software programs, this site leaves me speechless!
Upon arriving at source page, click on the small text at right, "Launch English Library"; this opens a smaller pop-up window with the program.
***** Graphics and navigation are top rate!

Developed by the University of Iowa's departments of Spanish & Portuguese, Speech Pathology & Audiology, and Academic Technologies, the materials offer professional expertise for learners at all levels. Consonant sounds are organized (and defined) by manner, placement and voice. Vowel sounds are organized by monothongs (front, central, back) and dipthongs.  Sounds are identified by IPA symbols.
The screen is divided into 4 areas (see image above).  IPA symbols appear frame-left, animated illustrations frame-center, and Quicktime video frame-right; an index runs along the top. Click on "Anatomy" hyperlink: new window opens with interactive illustration. Move your mouse over words or illustration for definitions of speech articulators (teeth, lips, alveolar ridge, etc.).
Click "play" button frame-right to hear and see video of mouth articulating selected sound. Then listen to the sound used in initial, medial, and final word placement. Click "play" button frame-center to hear and see animated illustration of anatomical movements used to create each sound.  Then view a step-by-step replay of the action.

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Advantages:  uses Shockwave and Quicktime
This well-known site offers a fair selection of practice materials for several 'problem' sounds.  Videos and animations are supported by listening discrimination activities. Site has recently undergone a redesign process.  New additions include a video explanation of the differences between the /th/ sounds, /s/, & /z/, by an instructor from the university .
There are videos for practicing the voiced and voiceless /th/ sounds. There are also minimal pair exercises for these sounds plus lesson and dictation practice. Other sounds are still in the building process and currently offer at least minimal pair work, plus possibly dictation practice and a lesson.

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eleaston logo1 eleaston logo2

Advantages:  uses Flash

This site offers many tools for the English learner, so it can be a difficult to find the pronunciation activities, but they are worth the search. Most activities in this list offer audio support -- even if not clearly stated.
Activities allow learners to listen, practice with, and distinguish sounds individually & within normal sentence speech. A combination of pattern examples, practice examples, and interactive quizzes allows for deep practice of a range of speech issues.
Recommended: follow these links to practice several of the REDUCED forms of English in use:
Pattern, • Practice, • Quiz.
E.L. Easton's Flash audio is clear and crisp American English, offering dialogues and songs for intonation and rhythm repetition.

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