How do you pronounce…

With news that a team of computer programmers are working to create a video dictionary of word usage and pronunciation. I thought it might be interesting to look at how useful this would be, and its potential applications.

The team behind EmbedPlus are in the process of developing an API for a video dictionary that not only tells you how to use words, but also how to pronounce them. If this works, never again will you have to suffer the embarrassment of saying or using a word wrong! The potential usefulness of this type of dictionary would be great for language learners, especially those without access to native speakers of the language they are learning.

Specific Pacific

Maybe this could also help a lot of native English speakers too – I have heard the word ‘specific’ pronounced as ‘pacific’ far too many times. I really think that something like this would be useful. If the dictionary gave examples of American vs British usage, this would also be very useful. I remember the embarrassment of being told I had pronounced something the American way while at university. Frankly, with so much American influence on television. I think many people don’t realise how much of the pronunciation they’re picking up. I certainly hadn’t.

This would also be useful for people who read a lot, but don’t necessarily hear these words spoken much. Due to the number of loan words in English, it is easy to make an assumption about a word’s pronunciation and be completely wrong. Take the ‘ei’ in ‘stein’ and ‘albeit’ for example. If you’d never heard ‘albeit’ said, but had seen it written down, you may think it would be pronounced like ‘albite’. Or the ‘orse’ in ‘horse’ and ‘worse’– the examples are endless.

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I personally think this programme sounds like a great idea, especially for those learning English as a second language. What do you think?