One of the greatest difficulties for people trying to learn English is precisely the pronunciation of words. Well; unfortunately it is not as easy in Italian; where that which is writtenis pronounced. From the earliest lessons in elementary school; we remember the teacher who tried to make us pronounce the article “the”, “school”; “afternoon” … and so on correctly.
But often, the English dictionaries we come across go beyond the definition of the term itself and even introduce a series of phonetic symbols that help you to understand the proper diction.
Paper dictionaries with Phonetic symbols
1. Oxford Advanced Lerner’s Dictionary, which remains one of the best English dictionaries; with clear definitions; examples; customs and ways of speaking; also allows you to read the phonetic symbols; next to the word. Get this volume, especially if you are a high school or university student. It will certainly help you with specific phrases you might come across.
2. Cambridge Advanced Lerner’s Dictionary, worthy competitor of the previous one, is able to offer a lot to those who already have some basis of English; you can find thousands of definitions; examples; contexts, synonyms; and; of course; also an indication of the pronunciation with phonetic symbols. Have a look at this book and see if this is exactly what you’ve been looking for!
3. Academic Vocabulary in Use, written by Michael McCarthy and Felicity O’Dell, and published by the University of Cambridge, this book accompanies students for their high-level courses; but also addresses the IELTS exam appropriately. It also gives clear indications of the correct phonetic pronunciation. Get hold of this volume to face your studies with confidence.
Free Online dictionaries with phonetic symbols
On the web there are really many online tools, whicc are above all free, where you can search the term that interests you, and read the pronunciation using the phonetic symbols. In some cases you also have the chance to hear the word pronounced by an automated voice. A real power-tool!
1. Wordreference, the site of which sooner or later everyone has heard. It is considered to be one of the best, available for free, which gives you the opportunity to search for the meaning of an English word, its translation into Italian, synonyms, antonyms, use, and especially both phonetic symbols, but also the opportunity to hear the word spoken, even choosing between UK and US. Go to the website and start listening!
2. Google translate, used every day by millions of people. Have you ever noticed you can hear the pronunciation of what you would have entered? You just have to write a word or a phrase, and click on the speaker at the bottom, between the microphone and keypad. And …. magic! A recording will tell you the correct pronunciation. Moreover, the site also gives you the phonetic transcription to clear any doubts you might have.
Interesting tools for your pronunciation
A special mention for a totally free tool that enables you to enter a phrase and see it being translated into the phonetic alphabet. Ideal for students; but also for teachers; to accompany the various exercises and prepare lessons introducing the concept of phonetics and correct pronunciation. The site was created by Photansedit and can be found on this link.