29th June 2012 | Comments
There are probably a gazillion tools out there that will tell you how to pronounce a particular word. That’s not a rocket science now. Well, not at least after you have started using the pronunciation dictionary by EmbedPlus.
Here’s how conventional pronunciation dictionaries work: you seed in a word, the tool gives you the pronunciation in weird characters and an audio snippet with the pronunciation of the word.
However, there’s a big twist in EmbedPlus. It’s a video-based pronunciation dictionary that uses API to help you learn how to pronounce and use words and phrases.
When you search for a word using EmbedPlus, not only you get the audio snippet, but a number of YouTube videos that contain that word in real situations. Click on the video and it starts playing right from the point when the word is spoken.
With videos, you get to not only hear the word but actually see facial gestures that different people use to produce pronunciations. It’s almost like having someone in front of you pronouncing the word when you watch in full-screen and/or zoomed.
Co-Founder Shola “Tay” Omojokun says, “Millions of word pronunciation requests are made on the web each day – they come from new language learners to fluent speakers having a hard time with a certain word. Typical dictionaries handle these requests by providing short and isolated audio snippets of spoken words for learners to play, hear, and attempt to reproduce. Our service breaks this convention by combining YouTube’s immense pool of real life situations and real speakers to give learners more authentic and less mechanical pronunciations.”
In complete honesty, I find the tool pretty impressive and useful. The concept is absolutely new. However, accent and pronunciation changes from person to person. So the pronunciations in the accompanying videos may be different and confuse the user.