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ESL Trainer


This essay does not describe an existing computer program, just one that should exist. This essay is about a suggested student project in Java programming. This essay gives a rough overview of how it might work. I have no source, object, specifications, file layouts or anything else useful to implementing this project. Everything I have prepared to help you is right here.

This project outline is not like the artificial, tidy little problems you are spoon-fed in school, when all the facts you need are included, nothing extraneous is mentioned, the answer is fully specified, along with hints to nudge you toward a single expected canonical solution. This project is much more like the real world of messy problems where it is up to you to fully the define the end point, or a series of ever more difficult versions of this project and research the information yourself to solve them.

Everything I have to say to help you with this project is written below. I am not prepared to help you implement it; or give you any additional materials. I have too many other projects of my own.

Though I am a programmer by profession, I don’t do people’s homework for them. That just robs them of an education.

You have my full permission to implement this project in any way you please and to keep all the profits from your endeavour.

Please do not email me about this project without reading the disclaimer above.

This is a project for someone with an interest in accents and language training. ESL (English as a Second Language) speakers do fine with vocabulary and grammar, but have atrocious, indecipherable accents. My guess in people need to learn to pronounce less than 100 words and they will be able to extrapolate to other words on their own.

In the simplest version, the student pronounces the word being learned. The computer echoes it back with the correct version.

In a more advance version, the computer rates the accuracy of the pronunciation on a scale of 0 to 100.

In a still more advanced version, the computer displays an animated model of the vocal tract showing how the tongue and teeth move. The vocal chords might glow red for high pitched sounds and green for low pitched sounds. There is one model for the student and one for the ideal.

The computer might use the internet to call for help on difficult evaluations.

I was thinking of this in terms of English and teaching a received British BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) pronunciation, Canadian CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) prounciation or American newscaster pronunciation. It could be extended to other languages and accents. It could be used to teach actors how to project a variety of dialects and accents.

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