What a great IDEA

by Jun 22, 20162 comments

Imagine if you could listen to the accent of your choice in English whenever you wanted. In fact, imagine if you could listen to recordings of English as it’s spoken throughout the whole world by native and non-native speakers. Now, close your eyes and picture detailed transcripts to go with these recordings that help you understand them. And of course it’s all free. I’ve just described the tool I’m going to show you how to use today: IDEA (International Dialects of English Archive).

Perhaps you’re struggling to understand speakers of particular accents in conversation or when you watch films or TV programmes. Maybe you’re going on a business trip to another part of the world and you want to hear how your business partners pronounce English. It could be that a member of your family is getting married to someone from another country, and you want to practise listening to their variety of English. Whatever your situation, IDEA enables you to search particular accents by country and region. You can listen to how English varies, not only geographically, but also by gender, age and other variables because for each accent, there are recordings of many different speakers. I’ve made a short video tutorial that will show you how to use the IDEA website and to practise and develop your listening skills. I hope you find it useful. Please let me know in the comments which accents you find difficult to understand.

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