One of the things people tend to struggle with when learning a language is the accent. You might not be used to some of the sounds from your target language because every language uses different sounds. Some might be similar to your mother tongue; some others will be completely different. But it is possible to work on improving your accent.
Even though there’s nothing wrong with having an accent, it is useful to work on it. Native people will understand you more easily, and this way you’ll have a more fluent conversation. A popular accent training method is through apps. If you want to try this method, you can check our review of four popular accent training apps. So you can pick the one that adjusts best to your language goals.
Bold Voice is an app created to improve your American English accent with artificial intelligence. They claim that you only need to use it 10 minutes a day in order to improve. Though, of course, we recommend that you practice more time than that if possible.
The accent teachers from Bold Voice are also accent coaches for some Hollywood’s superstars. But not only that! The accent coaches have also worked for Netflix, Broadway, CBS, and more.
A really good thing that they do in the beginning is ask what your native language is. So they can personalize the lessons based on your native language. Because depending on this, they’ll understand which could be your biggest difficulties with English pronunciation.
Every day you’ll get a video lesson from your tutor explaining to you a new pronunciation topic. You’ll learn from unvoiced and voiced consonants to idioms and conversation skills.
There’s a microphone during the lessons, so you can record yourself saying a particular word. Right away the app will assign a percentage to your pronunciation, from 0% to 100%. If you want more details, just press the word that appears next to your percentage, and you’ll get information on to improve:
- You’ll be able to hear a voice pronouncing every syllable slowly, so you can hear exactly how it should sound.
- You’ll also see a percentage for every single letter that composes the word, so you understand which letters are more difficult to you.
- A great point is that they’ll give you written tips on how to move your mouth to pronounce every letter correctly. There are also videos explaining how to imitate the sound of the letters. If we have to choose between the writing or the video tips, we prefer the videos. Because in those you can see and hear how the tutor pronounces the letter.
After the video lessons, there’s a practice session. In which you’ll get different words from your lessons. So you can hear the correct pronunciation again, and how you said it in the recording. You can even record it again if you want. At the end of the practice, they’ll give you a score, and will tell you how much you’ve improved.
We recommend you not to stress too much trying to emphasize every single sound like they tell you to. We did it that way a few times with some words and got a lower percentage than when we pronounce it normally. It’s very different teaching how to say one word out loud than saying it during a conversation.
Bold Voice offers some free resources too:
- A library with all the vowels and consonants for you to hear the pronunciations.
- A “practice your test” tool, where you write your own words or sentences, they’ll teach you how it should be said, and you can record it too to get a score.
- A bookmarks feature, where you save all the words or phrases that were too complicated for you during a lesson, and practice them later.
- A test tool, where you can check the scores of your tests and what you should study more, you can also retake a test.
- A karaoke. You pick one of the songs from their library and sing a small part. Then, they’ll tell you your scores, and which sounds you should work more on. And you can check each word you pronounce to see the details.
You can download the app for free, but you’ll have to pay a subscription to unlock many more lessons. Good news is that they offer a one-week free trial.
This way you can check for yourself if it’s worth your time.
Google awarded it as one of the best 2021 apps. And Forbes named it one of the best educational apps. And we think that, overall, it’s a great app to improve your English pronunciation.
If you still want another perspective, here’s a review from a professional man whose first language is Chinese:
“It is unique in that you can write any sentence and say it, and they can tell you if you are saying it correct or not. So before an important presentation, if I have a last minute question about pronunciation, I can put that sentence or word in there, say it, and know if I’m saying it correctly. There’s no other way to know this unless you have a native speaker nearby to ask. Funny enough, this is a free feature, and it’s the most helpful to me. So you can check this out completely for free. The other lessons are paid, but there is a free trial.
Also, the assessment is a great feature. You have to read a paragraph, they record it, and they compare you with a native speaker’s way of saying it. You do this 30 times with various paragraphs. This client got a 94%. Then they tell you what to work on.
They told me to work on J, like July. Also they told me to work on the OO sound in July. But I had to bring this one to my language coach, because I wasn’t even sure what I was saying wrong or how to say it right. So it’s hard to hear the difference when I’m not sure what’s wrong. If you get a correction, check with a native speaker about it. The fact that it caught this, and it was right, made me believe in the app more, but I still need a native speaker.
So here is an example of when the app is wrong. It wanted to correct my client, saying that he did not say the D sound in the phrase “walk around Central Park”, but a native speaker would jump over that D sound and go straight to the S sound as well. We would not over pronounce the D in this sentence, or, honestly, pronounce it at all if speaking at a normal speed.
Downside – Because it’s artificial intelligence, (our client actually works with AI!), it’s never going to be 100% correct in its judgment. So you could be sounding 100% right, and it will still say 80% right, and you could be making mistakes and it can say you’re perfect. So it’s good, but people could get discouraged if people put too much faith in the app. I could say the sentence again and again, and it could be stuck at 90% correct. It might not be the learner’s fault. It’s just that the app would not be able to make the correct judgment.
It has lessons too. Those could be helpful for a lot of people, but for me they are a little too basic. I’ve covered them with my language coach or with others. I think they weren’t helpful for me, but could be helpful for others. For example, foundational pronunciation, and mastering the R, lengthening the vowels… but they didn’t touch on linking your words, which is a topic that is more advanced (or more basic, if you think about it). That is not included.
I think it’s best for your first lessons in pronunciation. These cater to a large audience. No matter your skill level, you can find something. But even the advanced stuff was not helpful for me. But I can see how it would be helpful for most.
There’s also a karaoke feature. You will sing a song and it will rate you. I don’t think this worked very well, or maybe I didn’t sing very well. But it didn’t’ say it was rating my singing! Haha. Maybe this technology was not yet there, or maybe my singing was horrible. I got a 94% on the speaking paragraphs but I got a much lower score on the singing, so that doesn’t match up.”
Mastering the American Accent
This is a free app that, just like its name says, teaches you the standard American English accent. This means that it’s a neutral accent; it doesn’t belong to a particular region from the U.S.
Since it’s free, you have to watch an ad every time you want to start a new lesson. This could be annoying for some people, but the ads are not very long, and it’s worth it, since you don’t have to pay anything. The only downside is that sometimes when you’re watching a commercial, the audio from the lesson starts to play. So, you are watching the ad, but hearing the lesson simultaneously. This could be a problem if you want to follow the text and the audio from the lesson at the same time. To fix this, after the ad finishes, you have to close it and repeat the audio from the class.
There’s an introduction where they give you tips on how to practice. They advise you to hear the recordings over and over again. This is good because you’ll truly hear the correct pronunciation of the words. They also tell you that there will be a pause between every sentence they say, so you can repeat the sentence to practice. The problem is that sometimes the pauses are not long enough, especially for beginners that might not speak very fast yet. So you might be repeating a phrase and be suddenly interrupted by the voice of the app that has already started saying the next phrase.
It would also be more practical if you could record yourself repeating the words, and the app telling you how you did. In fact, they advise you to record yourself, but they don’t provide a tool for that. You’ll have to download another app specially for this. Otherwise, you’ll repeat words and sentences to the air. Though it’s good to listen to yourself, it might not be easy to judge how you’re doing if you’re a beginner.
They have many chapters that cover different important topics, such as vowels, consonants, syllable stress, and intonation. Every lesson is written, but there’s also audio, so you can follow the words while hearing the recording.
A very important feature that this app has is the “native language guide”. There, they will show you some common difficulties that you might have depending on which your first language is. This will be a very helpful tool for you, and we recommend you read it before starting any of the lessons. That way when you’re learning the other topics, you’ll already know which areas you should work more on.
Mastering the American Accent is a good app, but they could definitely make some minor improvements. Especially by making it more dynamic, like adding a microphone to record your voice, creating some games to learn while having fun, or grading you. If you’re a student that needs fun ways to learn, then you should use this app as a complement to another one. It’s better for autodidactic people since it doesn’t give you a follow through.
American Accent App
This app teaches you the standard American accent. And they say that you can neutralize your accent from one to three months of using it. The information and exercises on this app are from part one of the book Get Rid of Your Accent: General American Accent Training Manual. You can use this to your advantage by using both the app and the book; they’ll complement each other.
First, the app has a section where you can read about the main difficulties of English pronunciation based on your native language. Just like with the apps above, this is very important. Because you’ll discover which sounds you should practice more as a speaker of a particular language. In this section, they’ll give you some recommendations and will direct you to the lessons that talk about the most difficult sounds for you. The guesses about what could be your main difficulties are on point, and the tips are very good.
Every lesson is written down and it has audio, so you can listen while following the words with your eyes. There’s also a speech organ position diagram at the beginning of each lesson. Its goal is to explain how to position and move your mouth to pronounce the words. This is very useful; they even recommend looking at yourself in a mirror to see if your mouth position is correct.
There are different exercises depending on the lesson. You will always see the speech organ position diagram. Then, you’ll have an activity where you’ll listen to some words. Then you have to pick a word and record yourself saying it. After that you have to compare your pronunciation to the app’s voice pronunciation. You have to do this with every word, so you learn them all.
Then, there are other activities like listening to some sentences, and then recording yourself pronouncing them. Just like with the words. Then, you have to do the same but with some verses, which are like tongue twisters, so they’re very tricky. As you can see, the level of difficulty of the exercises keeps growing as you advance in the lesson. It’s as they do in a normal, face to face, class. This is great because it allows you to learn, improve and not get stuck at a basic level.
Some lessons also include comparing words, so you differentiate between the different sounds that one letter can have. Plus, the verses have an image to illustrate them, which is a nice element.
A very useful thing is that the app includes a tool to record your voice. And there’s a button that will play the app’s voice and then your own recording, so you can compare both pronunciations. This really makes it easier for you to practice. Though it would definitely be even better if they gave you some sort of grade.
Since they don’t, you’ll have to pay close attention to hear your mistakes to know where you have to improve. This could be especially difficult for beginners whose ear is not very well trained in English yet. But remember: practice makes perfect. Record yourself and hear it as many times as necessary for you to improve.
Overall, it’s a really good app. It has explanations, and exercises. So even though they’re not games, you still have fun, especially with the verses that result hard even for the most advanced learners.
Fluent American Speech
This app is also based on the book Get Rid of Your Accent, but on part two. But on the contrary to the American Accent App that has 42 lessons, the Fluent American Speech only has 7 lessons. Each lesson has many exercises, and all the topics are very different. Among the subjects are contractions, silent letters, word endings, liaisons, and more. So everything they teach is important to make you sound fluent in a normal conversation in English.
In every lesson you’ll find an explanation of what the topic is about and you’ll get some tips. But it doesn’t stop at the theory, there is practice too. You have to listen to some words by pressing on them. Then you record yourself saying each word out loud, and finally you compare the app and your pronunciation. There is no tutor to tell you what you did right or wrong, you have to listen carefully to the audio of the app. So do this cycle as many times as necessary, until you feel like you’ve improved.
Some lessons also have the same activity of listening and then recording yourself but with sentences instead of just words.
This is a good learning method. Because you have an example of how it should sound, then you practice it yourself, and then you hear your mistakes to improve.
Overall, it’s a really good app. The tips that it gives you will truly make you sound more like a native English speaker. They don’t teach you just how to say one word. They also give you advice on how to speak during a conversation, and how to make it sound fluent. If you choose to buy it, we recommend you to complement it with the American Accent app. After all, they’re both based on the same book and work the same way. If not possible, you can complement it with the free Mastering the American Accent app.
Can You Become Fluent Just with Apps?
English accent training apps will definitely help you learn some tips and tricks to improve your pronunciation and sound more like a native. But they won’t do all the work. Some of them don’t have a tutor to listen to you, grade you and tell you what you’re missing to improve. Even the ones that do give you scores and advice are still missing the personal factor. Everyone has different needs and difficulties, so you will need more personalized help than what a robotic tutor can give you.
Don’t worry, that’s why we’re here! TruFluency online English classes will help you sound like a native English speaker. With our native teachers your pronunciation will upgrade considerably, plus you’ll learn useful everyday vocabulary. Plus, our classes are customized. So, whatever your goal is, from getting a bilingual job to impressing your friends, we can help you achieve it. And we will give you effective observations in the process.
Oh, and you’ll have to speak in every class, because that will help you truly polish your accent and lose fear of speaking.
Pick a tutor and one of our monthly package subscriptions with 4, 8 or 12 lessons. And start your journey to sound like a true native. Or try our trial classes – 2 hours for only $49!