From text to speech

Did you know that you can use apps on your mobile phone or on a website which transform any text you suggest to them into a speech ? Some websites even provide an .mp3 file which you can download. Most of the time, you can change the voice, and the accent as well. It’s not always convincing in a general manner, but at least it gives you a precise rendition of how each word should be pronounced.

I think these may be precious tools to help you improve the quality of your oral expression, and even your listening comprehension.

Here are a few examples :

For trial : http://www.readspeaker.com/voice-demo/

More developed free version : https://www.naturalreaders.com/ 

Another website : http://ttsreader.com/

On this one, you can get an MP3 too : http://www.fromtexttospeech.com/

For your phone (Android…) :

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The phonetic alphabet

When you discover a word in the dictionary and you want to know how to pronounce it, there is a very “simple” tool to use : the phonetic alphabet. You have to get familiar with the symbols and the sound they represent in the first place though… You can find phonetic indications in every dictionary.

Here is a phonemic chart :

Phonetic-alphabet

Hope you will soon get used to it 🙂 !

How to learn English ???

Yesterday, a pupil stayed after class and asked me … how he could learn English…  I said that there are many ways to do it, and also, that it depends on the learner !

You have to learn the lessons, the vocabulary, you have to participate in class and express yourself in English as often as you can… You can play games, watch movies, documentaries in English, first with French subtitles, then with English subtitles, and then with no subtitles…

A fellow teacher (not an English teacher !) told me about this website, and said it was fun and useful. Try it ! You can play with your friends, or work on your own, it’s up to you !

duolingo

How to master a second language ?

How do you master a new language ? According to the website WikiHow, what you can do is :

1) Listen to the radio, so you can get used to the pronunciation of words and the intonations of the language.

2) Phone a friend  who can speak this language, and talk everyday for an hour if possible.

3) Read, read, read, in order to widen your vocabulary and your knowledge of the language. 

4) Think, try and formulate things in the foreign language.

5) Watch a film or listen to a song, this can be both pleasant and really helpful.

6) Write it down, try and fill a whole page with your thoughts, notes, projects using the language you want to learn.

You can find lots of other tips on the website WikiHow. And you can even write your own guide on a subject you master.

WikiHow Homepage

WikiHow Homepage

The tips may not work for everyone, but still, the website’s quite an interesting resource.

Watching a movie in the original version

Did you know that watching movies in the original version is an excellent way to improve your listening skills, and your vocabulary ? You can choose the original version on a DVD for example, or on the internet. But you can also watch films in English at the cinema. At Cinépalmes and Cinécambaie, and sometimes at the Gaumont Lacaze, there are movies in English, with subtitles. For example, next Sunday, at 8:45 pm, you will be able to watch Divergent in English at the Cinépalmes theater.

Be careful though, this movie is intended for people older than 13 (it’s rated PG-13), because it is violent, the subject is complex and there are a few sensual scenes.