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Speaking of Apps

Fun with Phonetics

Published May 7, 2013 5:05 PM by Megan Sutton

Every student of communication disorders learns the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) at some point in her education. I recently found two outstanding free apps that are unique amongst IPA apps for using North American English and games to encourage learning. Both focus only on vowels, but let's be honest - the consonants are the easy part. If you're in school or need a refresher for transcription, check out these 2 apps:

 

 

EAC Vowels 1 Lite - English Accent Coach (EAC) gives users near-full functionality in this free lite app ($0.99 full version). This iPhone app offers a chance to hear American English vowel sounds - pronounced after /h/ - when you tap the phonetic symbol in the practice mode. Once you feel ready, there's a game to play! The app plays one of the vowel sounds, and you have to touch the symbol on the vowel chart that matches it. Turn on "Extra Vowels" in the settings to practice diphthongs as well. 

 

 

EAC Echo Lite - This app offers the same vowel practice mode as Vowels 1, but the game is different. Just like the Simon memory game, players press each of 4 vowel sounds in the same evolving sequence as they are played. The full version offers more settings and difficulty for $2.99.  Personally, I prefer the game in Vowels, but download them both to see which you prefer. Both apps are sized for iPhone but work on iPad.

 

 

These apps remind us that games make learning even dry materials fun and give us increased tolerance for more repetitions. We should be incorporating game-like challenges into therapy for all ages to keep up motivation and interest when the material may be boring.

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2 comments

Thank you for sharing your app Judy. Speech-Language Pathologists must learn and use the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) to accurately transcribe speech samples, so while I'm sure your app is wonderful for teaching people to speak English, it would not work as well for our profession.  It is a good resource for accent reduction therapy though. All the best to you!

Megan Sutton May 8, 2013 3:09 PM

Speaking of Apps,

Teacher Judy's Sound Dictionary ($2.99)

uses the English Phonetic Alphabet (EPA) and the strong link between vowel sounds and the names of colors to categorize the 2,000 most common words in English into 16 chapters by vowel sound (color) It is a handy pronunciation and spelling tool for all levels of ESL/EFL..

Judy Thompson, ESL - Teacher, TLC May 8, 2013 8:25 AM
Caledon NY

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About this Blog


    Speaking of Apps
    Occupation: Speech-Language Pathologist
    Setting: Rehabilitation
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