YouGlish is a great website for ESL students and anyone interested in learning English pronunciation. The way YouGlish works is simple and easy: type the word you want to pronounce and hit ‘say it’. YouGlish returns this video where the word is spoken in a real interactive situation.
As a multilingual teacher and former EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teacher, I know how difficult it is to pronounce English. This is probably one of the most difficult features of English language learning. It was the same for my students and it was for me. When I first started learning English in the mid-90’s, I spent a lot of time listening to or watching the BBC, CNN and some other English channels available on my parents’ satellites. Tatli. There was no internet or youtube then.
However, while I was studying English linguistics at the university, the first course I took was phonetic transliteration and I learned how to transliterate words phonetically. Since then, every time I check the dictionary for the definition of a word, I always make sure that I also check the phonetic transliteration of the word. Because English pronunciation (and vowel) is inconsistent and unpredictable (e.g. touch, adequate, but still), I believe that phonetic transliteration is the key to learning English.
There are many web tools and mobile apps to help students improve their English pronunciation. One of the basic tools I use almost every day is Google Dictionary. Just type the word Define + (e.g. define avocado) and click the Listen icon to hear the spoken word.
Alternatively, you can type ‘how to say + word’ (e.g. avocado) into the Google search box, then click the listen icon next to the phonetic transliteration of the word. You can switch between American and British accents ‘at the top of the pronunciation effect’.
Nice thing about that YouGlish It provides many pronunciation types or English pronunciation. You can choose between Canadian English, American English, Australian English, British English, Scottish English, Irish English and New Zealand English. Or, you can select ‘All’ to access all these prunications.
Another great feature that helps English language learners and especially ESL students is the use of authentic language. That is, spoken words are incorporated into communicative contexts that are not real or imaginary. In this way, students will not only learn the proper way to speak a word but will also learn more about the context in which the word is used.
It is one thing to learn the pronunciation of words and another thing to learn how these words are used in honest conversation. It is just as important to learn the practicality of language use as it is to learn stylistics and syntax. But this discussion is beyond the scope of this post, which I will probably cover in a future post.
YouGlish also provides real-time captions of shared videos, with an option to click on any word that appears in the caption to view its interpretation. In fact, the definition feature in YouGlish is excellent. When you click on a word, you will find its literal and syntactic interpretation, its synonyms, examples of usage on the web, and the ability to translate it into different languages.
ESL students can record themselves by pronouncing words using the record button under the video, then download their pronunciation and share it with their teachers, parents or peers. They can hear it themselves and compare it with the accents of local speakers. Practice makes no difference when it comes to learning and the recording functionality in YouGlish is definitely a great feature to use in this context.
When you scroll down YouGlish On the pronunciation page, you’ll see ‘nearby words’ which is a collection of suggested words that have more or less the same pronunciation as the word you searched for (e.g. homophone). Practicing these words means helping students to improve the pronunciation of the word they are looking for.
In the phonetic section, students learn how words are transcribed in English, and at the bottom of the page, YouGlish ESL provides tips to help students and language learners perfect the pronunciation of their words.
For example, when I searched for the pronunciation of Avocado, YouGlish returned more than 2000 YouTube clips that contained the word Avocado.
It also gave me a collection of nearby words to practice the pronunciation of avocado
In the Tips section to improve your English pronunciation, YouGlish has shared several key strategies to help you learn the pronunciation of ‘Avocado’. These include: breaking down words into sounds, focusing on pronunciation, recording oneself while pronouncing words, working in tone, and more.
Overall, YouGlish is a great web tool for your ESL students and for use in your language learning classes. This will definitely help the students to improve their pronunciation skills and become good language speakers. I am adding it to my ESL website in educatorstechnology.com.