Judy's Clubs focused only on "speaking" American English. Of course there is much more to learning English than working on pronunciation. Although we did learn several new vocabulary words, we did not focus on building vocabulary or on reading, writing, or understanding, skills that are all very important parts of learning another language.
I hope you continue to practice pronunciation using the many practice materials we worked on in our classes. Two pieces of equipment that might help you are 1) a small mirror to watch your pronunciation, and 2) a device that helps you listen to what you are saying. You can buy a small mirror for 1 or 2 RMB. I found a good one in a shop near the Dragon Union. Watch your mouth as you say each sound, comparing how you are saying the sound with how American speakers say the sound. You can make one of the listening devices by going to a shop where they sell plumbing (PCV) pipe. There are many shops in Tanjia. Have them cut a piece of pipe about three inches long and buy two elbow joints that have the same size opening as the pipe to attach to each end. I paid about 18 RMB for one, but maybe you are better at bargaining than I am! Hold one end next to your ear and talk into the other end. This device is very good at helping you listen to how you are saying the sounds.
Now that I have returned to the United States, I hope this page of websites will help you to continue working on pronunciation of American English. Use the following websites to practice American English pronunciation on your own or with your friends who were part of my clubs. There are pictures of some of you below. Email me sometime to tell me how you are doing! (Judy Kuster)
Below are pictures of many good websites to use. The live links to the pages listed are marked with
Pinyin table with the four tones in Mandarin Chinese combining initial consonants and final vowels. Nice audio that helped me understand some of the pronunciation differences combining Mandarin Chinese and American English!
Common problems between American English and the Chinese language that helped me focus on several specific problem areas.
Phonetics: The Sounds of American English - the sounds of spoken language. Choose American English - shows an animation with audio how each sound is produced by itself. Puts each sound into a word beginning, middle and end positions with a person demonstrating how the sound looks on the lips and sounds.
English Pronunciation/Listening includes MANY interactive lesson plans and worksheets introducing several sounds second language learners have problems with in English, including lessons for the two "th" sounds; "l" and "r"; /i/ and /I/; "s" "sh" and "ch"; "v" and "w"; and many more
Authentic American Pronunciation has words with all the sounds of American English, pronounced clearly as well as many other practice lessons
Judy pronounces words and provides a sentence for each of the American English vowel sounds.
mid-sagittal sections and IPA transcriptions - by Daniel Currie Hall
"American" Clear Speech Sounds has good illustrations and exercises
Videos and information on how to pronounce English sounds with practice words for each sound
English Sounds and Functional phrases - video lessons on YouTube.
pronunication of American English vowels
several pages of minimal pair words illustrated with audios provided
English Club: Vowels in seat and sit with audio examples to practice
practice in LISTENING to American English - choose the correct word from minimal pairs presented
Minimal pairs for English - by John Higgins is a great site for finding minimal pairs for both vowels and consonant sounds
listening for stress patterns and other pronunciation strategies
Intonation - British English with some helpful audio files of intonation patterns
Listen and Repeat Machine for daily practice to improve your intonation, rhythm and pronunciation.
A couple examples from ESL Teachers
Examples of American radio talk shows from all 50 U.S. states to hear some of the different American dialects
Script and audio for more advanced practice. Read out loud pronouncing as the reader pronounces:
VOA's Special English Programs (Podcast RSS Feed Audio for ESL) - Script and audio of American English
Train your accent - script and audio of less formal American English (under "LESSONS" - left side of page).
Scenari-Aid created by Grant Meredith, funded by Telematics Trust, Australia and housed on the University of Ballarat web site provides opportunities to practice English in various speaking situations.
Two spots on the internet that will pronounce words for you
Review of Forms of English is a word document explaining some of the reduced forms you will hear in American English speaking.
English Club: Pronunciation is a very good site with many resources that will help with English pronunciation.
A Few Helpful YouTube Lessons - may not be accessible in some countries