A pronouncing dictionary with Instant Sound. Sounds are fast, clear and completely natural, pre-recorded by native speakers.
Fonetiks was originally conceived in 2000 as a response to new visa restrictions which made it increasingly difficult for some English language learners to come to study English in the USA, Britain and Australia. Fonetiks enabled these language learners to study native speaker pronunciation without leaving their homes, merely by mousing over the text on their computer screens.
The creator is Tim Bowyer, former director of schools in Italy, Indonesia, Australia and Jordan, and a former British Council lecturer, course-writer and polyglot – he speaks six languages.
How It Works:
First, choose the language that you want to study. To study its pronunciation, click on the pages to the right of a flag. We suggest you start with “Single Vowel Sounds”. Mouse over each symbol to hear the first example of each sound. Practise it yourself and then try the other examples to the right.
You can use Microsoft Sound Recorder to record your own voice and compare it with the original. To open Sound Recorder, click on “Start” and go to Programs, Accessories, Entertainment, and click on Sound Recorder. You’ll need a microphone.
Understanding the symbols: “back” means the tongue is towards the back of the mouth. For example, the tongue is towards the front of the mouth when you say “cat”, but towards the back when a British English speaker says “cart”. “long” means the sound is roughly double length. “round” means the lips are rounded when the sound is made. For example, you can change “cot” to “caught” in British English by rounding your lips as you say “cot”. A symbol in italics means the mouth is more closed than with non-italics. Please note: the symbols are only a guide, not a bible.
You can compare different languages or accents by opening two or more pages at the same time, and arranging them side by side on your computer screen. Now you can mouse over similar words and hear them spoken differently in, for example, American English and British English.