Learning a language is a multilayered phenomenon, with mastering the pronunciation as one of the elements of this process. Languages may share the alphabet, but they differ in producing the sounds ascribed to each letter or combination of letters. Grasping the proper way of pronouncing words proves whether you are an attentive student and a person striving for a near-native command of a language. Pronunciation dictionaries are a very underestimated tool that can assist you in achieving this goal. We gathered three titles that you may find very useful while practising your pronunciation.
This online pronunciation dictionary is a very useful tool for those who learn better from audio materials. All you need to do it type in a word you want to research and choose the entry you are interested in. Recordings by native speakers will be played, marking the differences in pronunciation that depend on, e.g., grammatical class of the word.
The Forvo site also offers recorded materials that can help you learn the proper way of saying words. Each recording is categorised with regard to the gender and country of the speaker, so you can spot the regional variations. You can also evaluate the correctness of particular recordings, thus signalling that there is something wrong with the standard delivered by a specific speaker.
- C. Wells – Longman Pronunciation Dictionary
If you are looking for a more professional and academic approach to pronunciation, look no further. Longman Pronunciation Dictionary is probably the best publication of this kind on the market. Prepared by one of the most recognisable British phoneticians to date, it has both a paperback edition and a CD with recorded materials. The latter is particularly useful when you are still a beginner, but advanced students may rely on the printed version. Both give a deeper insight into the pronunciation, denoting accents, regional variations, strong and weak forms, etc. They do not provide definitions but show the way of pronouncing words and phrases by means of phonetic transcriptions (we discussed it in one of our previous entries).
It may seem like an excessive accessory for a language learner, but – truth be told – there is no better way to ensure you speak properly. Should you have any questions regarding pronunciation dictionaries, we’re happy to answer them.
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