When faced with the challenge of improving their pronunciation skills, most people feel that there is no replacement for the connection that occurs with face-to-face communication. Yet how can we help those who, for whatever reason, are unable to access quality one-on-one instruction? That was the dilemma that Keri Jones, a speech language pathologist with over 18 years of experience, set out to address. With guidance from the Center for Learning and Innovation at Pullman Regional Hospital, Jones and her team created an app called Speech Sounds Visualized.
Through the use of revolutionary moving X-rays, Speech Sounds Visualized tells the story of how each English sound is formed, in a way that has not been seen before. The videos are paired with careful instruction written by Jones for each and every sound, as well as advanced recording capability, providing the English language learner with many different ways of learning. Speech Sounds Visualized is currently available for iPhone and iPad.
“An accent is something to be proud of,” Jones says. “It is a representation of who you are and where you come from. The goal is never to eliminate the accent; the goal is simply to reduce the accent such that others can understand you better, and thereby reduce chronic and frustrating communication breakdown.”
While it is a useful tool for a broad range of people and needs, the app is best suited for adolescents through adults. However, given the assistance of an English language learning teacher, this app may also be used with younger children as a part of their overall curriculum. As Speech Sounds Visualized enters its first year of operation, Jones and her team are heartened by the number of people of varying backgrounds and experiences that unite in one common goal, which is to help people connect with one another through the art form of communication.