This is a neat site that will transcribe English texts into phonetic transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet.Here is the IPA transcription of the text above created at http://www.photransedit.com/Online/Text2Phonetics.aspx
ðɪs ɪz ə niːt saɪt ðət wl trænˈskraɪb ˈɪŋɡlɪʃ teksts ˈɪntə fəˈnetɪk trænˈskrɪpʃn̩z ɪn ði ˌɪntəˈnæʃn̩əl fəˈnetɪk ˈælfəbet
How to use this with students?
First of all, you will need to introduce the IPA symbols to students. here is a nice GIF that has been designed for classroom use, and made for photocopying in black and white.
|Downloaded from http://smuliteracyclinic.org/assets/ita-youngerstudents.jpg|
- Initially, students may be a bit reluctant about learning the IPA, as most electronic or web-based dictionaries now include sound (or text-to-speech options). However, you can point out that this will help them focus on accuracy of pronunciation in a way that just hearing won't.
- This is particularly important with sounds that students 'can't hear' because of their L1 filters. For Turkish students, B and P are hard to distinguish, for example, and sounds like the 'schwa' or 'th' do not exist in Turkish.
- As a warmer, transcribe a sentence or two with the featured language point of the lesson. Have students work in pairs to write this in English. This process will involve students 'discovering' features of spoken English, as well as the grammar or lexis in the language point. This is a bit of a variation on the DICTOGLOSS method.
- Use IPA transcriptions for the missing words in a gap fill.
- Create a 'jumbled' sentence, using phrases or chunks, and then transcribe the phrases and have students recreate the original sentence (spoken as well as written).
- Produce two versions (one RP and the other American) and get students to decide which is which. For example,
That advertisement for tomatoes is awesome. Which of the following is American? Why?
ðət ədˈvɜːtɪsmənt fə təˈmɑːtəʊz ɪz ˈɔːsəm
ðət ədvɝːˈtaɪzmənt fər təˈmeɪtoʊz ɪz ˈɑːsəm
- Transcribe some famous poetry or song lyrics, and have students write out the correct verse or lyric. Then listen to an MP3 podcast or the song to check the pronunciation and note variations on the stress that result from the context of the poem or song.
What I like about this site
- Relatively easy to use for short sentences (less than 300 characters) and is free
- Has great options to include stress marks and syllables if you want.
- Has options for RP and American transcriptions
- Has a download to work with longer texts. The download has some neat features (like a 'Rhymes with' search and 'sound wildcard' search--great for minimal pairs). See http://www.photransedit.com/Desktop/MainFeatures.aspx
- Can embed an IPA transcriber into your web page. See below.
What I'm not so sure about
- With any effort to use IPA, you will run into FONT issues. For example, in order for the IPA symbols to appear in the browser (as in this post), you need to 'tweak' the HTML code with a SPAN code that looks like this: <span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Lucida Sans Unicode, sans-serif;">YOUR TRANSCRIBED IPA</span>
- The transcriptions are not always accurate. For example, in the idea to compare British and American accents above, I had to change the stress marker in ADVERTISEMENT for the US pronunciation, and I also had to change the dipthong on TOMATOES for the US pronunciation. It does keep you on your toes!
Any other ideas, comments or suggestions?