While there are so many ways to improve your English speaking abilities and English vocabulary, understanding the relation between the spelling and pronunciation of English words had always been a challenge for the non-native English speakers.Here comes a free app called wikispeak, a phonetic dictionary that helps you learn world’s most popular language.
Wikispeak has a simple and fast graphic interface to retrieve the phonetic transcription ( IPA ) and the pronunciation of any English word. It is so fast that it lets you determine the pronunciation of English words, in no time. You may also know the phonetic transcription with wikispeak.
Features of wikispeak
The following are the features of wikispeak.
- Phonetic transcriptions are from CMU Project
- Pronunciations are retrieved from the Learner’s Dictionary of Merriam Webster’s
- IPA chart simplified for English with sound included in the program.
- Released under Open Source GNU license
How to download, install and open wikispeak on windows?
- 1. Free Download wikspeak from here to any location on your computer.
- 2. Unzip the file, the wikspeak folder will be created.
- 3. Using any File Manager program (for example, Windows Explorer), browse the wikspeak folder, and double click on the wikspeak.exe file to start the program.
To uninstall wikispeak, simply delete the “wikspeak” folder and any compressed file that has been downloaded.
How to use wikispeak?
Wikspeak works in Manual and Automatic modes.Manual mode is the default mode and to enable automatic mode, place a checkmark in the “Auto” checkbox.
In manual mode, when you type an English word in the text box and click the “Enter” button, the phonetic transcription will be available in the field below. Note that WikSpeak will only show phonetic transcriptions when the “Sound” checkbox is disabled.
In automatic mode, the textbox will instantly display a word that has been selected and copied from within any other application. The phonetic transcription will also be displayed and a sample of the word’s pronunciation will be given, if the “Sound” checkbox is enabled.The automatic mode is appropriate when reading text from any application such as a web browser, word processing program, etc.
Phonetic transcriptions are now built into the program and they can be displayed at any time, even if the software is used offline. It only requires an Internet connection to retrieve pronunciations (when the “Sound” checkbox is enabled).
Pressing the chart button opens a second window that displays the IPA Chart for English. This window is a cross-reference between IPA symbols and English phonemes. Actually, each symbol is a button to play the sound from the corresponding IPA symbol. By positioning the pointer on any IPA symbol within the phonetic transcription and holding down the left mouse button, the selected IPA symbol is shown in a small pop-up and the corresponding phoneme is played. The pop-up is closed when the button is released.
However, the program currently (at the time of writing this article) provides phonetic transcriptions in British English (Received Pronunciation) while the pronunciations are given in American English; therefore, some transcriptions don’t exactly match their pronunciations. Even in these cases, the phonetic transcriptions are useful, given the fact that the difference is very subtle. Wikispeak developers have promised to fix this in future releases.
Free Download wikispeak and improve your English speaking abilities, by learning the pronunciation of English words. There is also a web version of wikispeak, if you don’t like to download and install the program.