Below you'll find my favorite resources for all things speech, accent and voice!
Most of them are FREE, some of them you'd have to pay a small fee for. Have a look!
This trick is used by speakers, actors and singers alike - if your articulators could use with a bit more agility too, help yourself out with one of speech & voice therapist Annie Morrison's bone props to improve your diction. Gently bite down on the prop and practice your speech. Careful not to bite down on the prop too hard nor to open your jaw too wide, we don't want excessive muscle tension (and no harm to your teeth!). Notice the difference in clarity? You can also achieve the same result by using a wine cork instead! So next time you or your friends happen to WINE down after a long week of work, save the cork and use it to take your diction to the next level.
Tired of being too repetitive? Or of feeling like you might not sound as sophisticated with your words as you'd like to? For that extra nudge on eloquence, why not try and replace some of your most repeated words with Thesaurus. Make sure the synonym fits the content et voilà!
This one's for my fellow multilingual speakers: choose your language combination on dict.cc for when you're missing the word. They're constantly updating their dictionary database. You can also download the app and use it offline - pretty useful for that rural spot during your next holiday trip!
For that last-minute piece of text you need to translate... please know that Google Translate is the McDonalds of translation services. It's great to use if you're on holiday and need to find the nearest toilet, but for anything else including your business presentation, it's simply not proficient enough. Instead of using Google Translate, have a look at DeepL. It's still no Gordon Ramsay, but I'd say at Starbucks level surely.
The IPA chart is an overview of the International Phonetic Alphabet and helps describing and distinguishing sounds of spoken language. For standard English accents (General American, Standard Southern British, and General Australian), it's certainly useful to have in your pocket.
The interactive version of the IPA chart from the International Phonetics Association lets you search for the consonants and vowels (and more), click on them, and know how they're pronounced. I recommend you use the audio recording on top because it represents the sounds most accurately.
If you ever want to type out anything phonetically, typeit is your resource for it. It's an online IPA keyboard that allows you to type any word and copy paste it to wherever you need it. Its organized view allows you to make use of the full IPA without having to download a separate keyboard.
The Cambridge online dictionary is a dictionary and thesaurus in one. It gives explanations of various meanings of the word, any further connotations, as well as different usages and even related words. Additionally, it provides pronunciations of the words in UK and US standard English accents in phonetic and audio format.
The OED, the largest dictionary of the English language, not only holds a historical and contemporary dictionary database, but also provides free resources of various world Englishes, including pronunciation models and keys.
The IDEA or the International Dialects of English Archive is a database that holds voice recordings from a vast array of dialects. It covers speakers from over 120 countries. With some recordings, it is not an entirely accurate source of accent, however, because additional speaker information, such as other influence on speech, is not always provided.
With YouGlish, you'll find words and expressions in English from YouTube. It searches the YouTube database for clips that contain your word or your expression. Captions are provided with your word or expression highlighted in yellow. You can even switch between different clips, to see how it is used in action and across different accents. While you can browse for certain English accents, any speaker specification or background is not provided, therefore please take it with a grain of salt.
If you'd love to listen to English speaking podcasts and would like some recommendations, look no further - I've compiled a list of my favorite podcasts, sorted according to general accent region.
If you want to learn an accent but are not quite sure how to embody it, I got you covered. Access your copy of my 5 quick tips on how to go about learning any accent. My FREE resource on how to learn any accent is suitable for accent addition and accent reduction alike. And if you want to know more, be sure to reach out or check out my programs. I'm here to help!
Straw phonation is a great tool for anyone who performs on stage. It is beneficial to prepare before presenting on stage to find the perfect balance for your vocal tract. It also aids in preventing any damage to your vocal folds if used regularly in your vocal warm-ups. There are thick and thin straws, depending on your needs, and they usually come with a cleaning brush. I use these ones.
This is The Voice Deck by fellow voice coach Nic Redman that takes the guesswork out of your vocal warm-up. Want to have a routine without coming up with your own techniques, or don't know what to include at all? Nic has designed a deck of 38 cards divided into four categories. Simply choose one or two cards out of each category, and you got your vocal warm-up!
This is not a tea pot. This is a neti pot to cleanse your nasal cavity with. Rinsing your sinuses has lots of benefits such as improving breathing and relieving cold symptoms - and, you guessed it, freeing the nose so your voice sounds less nasal. Be sure to use distilled or filtered water, however. For a full list of DOs and DON'Ts, click here.
For any of you who are really curious about practical phonetics, Praat is a free software to analyze speech. Whether you're a fellow linguist geek or simply want to have a tattoo similar to the one on singer Shawn Mendes' forearm, download the FREE software here to get started.
PS: This spectrogram right here is me saying my full name in my Swiss German dialect.