July 21, 2013

Phonetically Intuitive English Project: Free Software Helps with Pronunciation

Phonetically Intuitive English (PIE) is a free software project which provides a novel approach to teaching word pronunciation and meaning. The software can automatically add diacritics to English words in a learner's Chrome web browser to show pronunciation. As soon as the learner masters a one-page scheme, he would be able to acquire words' correct pronunciation as he browses the Web. The software also provides three modes (Full, Lite, Extra Lite) that progressively show fewer diacritics as the learner advances his English level. The diacritics alone only show pronunciation but not meaning. To address this need, the project also provides an associated free Chrome extension "PIE-Friendly Translator,” which can show an English word's meaning to an ESL learner in his native language, when he points his mouse at that English word.

Besides transforming web pages to the diacritically marked form in real time, PIE can also be used to produce bilingually aligned, diacritically marked books intended for ESL learners. Such books tell a story in both English and the learner's native language, and the English part is marked with diacritics, so that the learner can acquire all three elements—spelling, pronunciation and meaning—as he reads the story.

Get the free software directly from here (requires the Chrome browser): https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/pie-international/jafbohhbdpejlcfpkbbpkegglokegjid

Or visit the project website for more information: https://sites.google.com/site/phoneticallyintuitiveenglish

Yao, Z. Free and innovative software to teach ESL receives positive feedback. CALICO-L listserv (CALICO-L@LISTSERV.CALICO.ORG, 16 Jul 2013)

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