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Reprinted from ESL Magazine of March/April l999


Pronunciation In American English CD-ROM

Kathy L. Hans

AmEnglish.com, l999


Poor pronunciation has held many of my professional students back in their careers; they either couldn’t be understood as well as they needed to be, or they were too self-conscious to speak up because they were afraid they wouldn’t be understood.  The classroom could never give them all the individual coaching they needed.

I have recently found a remarkably useful and well-designed tool, Pronunciation in American English. This CD-ROM is successful because it is interactive; it has a record and playback function as well as video and audio examples.  Students can instantly hear the difference between American pronunciation and their own.  It also focuses on what will make a real difference in their being understood:  stress, intonation and rhythm.

My students have found Pronunciation in American English both user-friendly and interesting.  It is self-paced and takes about 30 hours to complete.  Because it focuses on the language they need, it has kept students engaged and learning to the point where I could hear real improvement in their speech.  Previously, I had often seen my students reach a plateau in pronunciation improvement.  Pronunciation in American English has pushed them past that plateau to a new level where fossilized problems have been corrected.

I don’t always agree that a high tech solution is better than what I could have provided with cassettes or classroom instruction, but Pronunciation in American English gives my students what I could not; a skilled, private tutor who will be there at any hour of the day or night to give them exactly what they need.  I wish I had such a CD for each of my college classes.  The CD is available online at www.amenglish.com.

Lu Ellen Schafer manages a company that provides professional ESL training in the Silicon Valley.  She can be reached a luellen@globalsavey.com.