TED.com

Earlier this summer the weather was fantastic in England. In June we had day after day of sun for two weeks - and all the new students thought that the climate in the UK was great. Oh dear! Now we are back to normal. In Devon, in the south-west of England where I live, there have been floods today! I think we may have had our summer already.

Lots of students ask me about lectures with transcripts because they want to listen to someone speaking, and see the transcript (that is the words) of what people are saying. You can do this using television very often because most televisions have the facility of showing the words that are being spoken for people who have hearing problems. Listening to television and seeing the words at the bottom of the screen can be a good way to help you improve your listening skills however it is also difficult to control what is going on and usually you can't easily stop what is happening.

So I'm going to remind students about TED.com and how you can watch a speaker giving an interesting talk, and also read what they are saying at the same time. But it's better than that! With TED.com you can have the transcript showing in any language you want. Wow! That means that you can easily stop the talk, switch the transcript to your first language, read it, understand it, then go back to the English and carry on. Apart from that, you can click on any part of the transcript to hear that part of the talk. Other websites will charge you money for this sort of thing, but with TED.com it's free. After understanding what you hear, you should improve your speaking skills by echoing the speaker (saying exactly the same thing) after they have said it, using the transcript to help you. Some time ago I wrote about using Audacity software to record your voice and improve your pronunciation. If you are serious about improving your pronunciation you should definitely be recording you voice and listening to yourself and trying to compare your voice with someone you want to sound like. So my advice for students is to visit the TED.com website (which you'll find just by putting in TED.com to your browser) and use the transcript button to help you understand what is going on. Then read my article about recording your voice here. If you are clever you'll be able to record your voice and compare it to the TED speaker. Have fun with TED!

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