Tag Archives: pronunciation

Typing Phonetic Symbols

It’s six o’clock in the morning and already awake. Bugger! Today is the day I don’t have to teach first period but my mind doesn’t seem to know and has already decided it’s time I get down to some serious work so I’ve decided to turn on my computer and listen to the amazing voice of this guy ,James Arthur , apparently the winner of the XFaxtor. I am not a follower of this programme but the truth be told I think he’s got that kind of voice I could fall in love with and, to top it all, I have just heard his version of the song “I’m sexy and I Know it” originally sung by Lmfao and I can’t hardly believe it’s the same song. Well, I just wanted you to know.

Anyway, I wanted to share with you this tool that can come quite handy when working with phonetics .You can find it in a blog called Random Idea English, which is worth a visit. Here’s what it looks like ; you just need to type and copy/paste. Here’s the link .Easy peasy!

Here’s the song and the guy I was telling you about. By the way, he is also the one singing the latest hit “Impossible”

Listen and Read News in Three levels

NewsinEnglish.com is an interesting site that can be very useful for the students as part of their autonomous learning and can also be used by teachers in the classroom.
The stories and news are written in three levels: Level 1 for beginners, Level 2 for intermediate students and Level 3 for more advanced students.
How can it be useful to my students?

♥ They can listen and read to improve pronunciation
♥ They can just Listen as many times as they feel necessary until they can understand all the words
♥ They can Listen, make a summary of the story and then check

How can it be useful to me it?

♥ As a Listening Comprehension either providing the questions or asking students to summarise the piece of news
♥To improve writing by giving them the story in level 1 and asking  them to act out as reporters for NewsinEnglish by writing the same story in level 2.

Some tips for using this site are given here

Still raining!!! you know how it goes… “When the going gets rough, the rough get going!! or “Every cloud has a silver lining!!”

Voice Recognition Elevator- Eleven

Some time ago I went to Edinburgh to do a course for teachers. I spent about a fortnight enjoying the city and struggling to understand Scottish people.

I remember that on my last day there was a girl on Princess Street, which is Edinburgh’s main street, trying to sell flowers. She was shouting, like mad, two or three words. I stopped and decided not to move ‘till I could grasp what she was saying. It was important for me at that time.  I can’t tell you, without running the risk of lying, the time I spent staring at her mouth trying to see what my ears couldn’t hear but in the end, I convinced myself that she was saying something on the line of “three for a bunch” , but to be completely honest, I think I tricked myself into believing I could finally understand the Scottish accent!
Why is it so difficult to understand Scottish Pronunciation? To start with, English has 5 more vowels sounds. Scottish people don’t pronounce the schwa as English people do, for example, the pronunciation of the vowel in “the” is the same as the one in “sit”; they don’t make long /o/, for them, “cot” and “caught” are both pronounced with short /o/. What is more, the diphthong in “coat” is also pronounced as /kot/ and the vowel in “heard” is the same as the vowel in “bet”. There is no /æ/-/ɑː/ distinction so bath, trap, and palm have the same vowel
And finally /ɪ/ may be more open for certain speakers in some regions, so that it sounds more like [ɛ] Other speakers may pronounce it as [ɪ], just like in many other accents, or with a schwa ([ə]) quality. Others may pronounce it almost as [ʌ] in certain environments, particularly after /w/ and /hw/. ( from Wikipedia)

And now, after this boring explanation, watch this hilarious clip in which two Scottish guys get stuck in a lift which uses voice recognition for selecting the floor.


Should you have problems understanding the accent, read the transcript below.

Continue reading Voice Recognition Elevator- Eleven

Text2Phonetics: a useful tool

Text2Phonetics is a wonderful tool that can save a lot of time if you need to transcribe something. I have tried it with small texts (two or three lines) and it’s incredible!
Just paste the text you want to transcribe and click the Transcribe Button to get the transcription.


Why don’t you try some words to see how they are pronounced?

Type , for instance, since, cold, danger, aunt, parents … were there any words you usually mispronounced?

Remember :
Since | sɪns |
Cold | kəʊld |
Danger | deɪndʒə |
aunt | ɑːnt |
parents | peərənts |