Product Review: Spoken English Basics
Confidentvoice.com (an excellent site and resource in and of itself) now offers Spoken English Basics: Improve Your Accent, Pronunciation, & Speak American English with Confidence as a downloadable audio program through Amazon.
It is divided into ten lessons that run to about one hour in total time and costs a mere USD $8.99. Each lesson is separately downloadable (USD $0.99 each), so students can pick and choose which parts seem most interesting or worthwhile and download only those, if they wish.
The program focuses heavily on stress and intonation as well as other especially difficult areas in American English pronunciation. The explanations of these points are relatively simple and expressed without too much jargon or confusion. The lessons feature a number of examples and a fair amount of repetition. Each lesson finishes with a homework assignment that is not too complicated, but generally will require some measure of independent feedback from a native speaker (a weakness, in my opinion).
As it is, the information and content is excellent and the explanations would be worth using in any classroom or tutorial setting.
It’s not quite fair to compare this to a stand-alone program, as it seems to be intended to supplement the programs offered by Confidentvoice.com, so I will hold off on some criticisms that I might otherwise make. My only real issue was with the chapter on American Idioms. Although idioms are an important part of English language learning, they are only tangentially related to Accent Reduction. If those idioms had been used throughout the hour, I might think it worth teaching them, but placed at the end as they are they seem more like filler material and less like a strong value-adding module.