What are the best English audio resources and where can you find them?
English listening resources 🎧
Having trouble understanding spoken English? Here are some great English listening resources that will help you improve!
Listening to English is essential part of learning, just as important as speaking practice. Finding good English audio resources is one of the keys to acquiring a great pronunciation in English.
In that spirit, here's a compilation of the best English audio resources (often with supporting text) where you can listen to audio files in English.
English pronunciation sites
Even though any good dictionary should include a tool to listen to the pronunciation of words, I would like to present to you what we call English pronunciation dictionaries.
These allow you to listen to more examples than the ones in traditional online dictionaries. They will allow you to look up and find the pronunciation of the words of your choice. And those are audio recordings made by English speakers with different accents, from all over the world. Your task - imitate them and try to get as close as possible to the original pronunciation!
Wiktionary in English
The English edition of Wiktionary, available at en.wiktionary.org is naturally among the best online English dictionaries, because it includes:
- pronunciation, with one or several audio files to listen to;
- one or several phonetic transcriptions in order to help you distinguish what you hear;
- notes about the differences from one region to another (American English, British, or sometimes even Australian, New Zealand, etc.);
- and, of course, the word's definition.
Forvo is a rich platform, which has a sound bank, organized by category and language.
Despite the invasive ads, you can find many possible accents for the same word, audio examples, potentially a little definition in English (but not always).
Forvo (pronunciation dictionary)
What's great about Forvo is its giant database. For English, you can find 278,190 pronunciations for 167,937 different words. Some words have a single recording (which is already so much better than not having any!), while other examples have a wide selection of recordings. Here's an example with the word awesome.
In short, if you want to look up a word's pronunciation, it's definitely on Forvo!
As a little bonus, you can ask for the pronunciation of a new word or an additional one for an existing word which doesn't seem convincing enough to you yet. You also have the chance to help learners of your native language by recording the suggested words and phrases.
The only potential downside - the quality of these recordings is unpredictable.
Projet Shtooka collects recordings in 18 languages, including English.
Project Shtooka (pronunciation dictionary)
The way this platform works is quite simple:
- Choose a language and look up a word from the top right corner of the screen;
- click on Search,
- listen to the pronunciation of the word by clicking on the speaker next to the word.
Finally, to check what accent is used, click on the blue point on the right side of the playback bar in order to locate where the speaker comes from.
It's very practical and easy to use!
OK, that's nice, you're going to tell me, but working on individual words is slow and is not enough. Can't we learn pronunciation through sentences, common examples, taken from real content, like YouTube or movie extracts, for example?! Well, I'm glad you asked!
Find texts with audio in English
Here's one of the best ways to become at ease with spoken English if you can already read - listen to audio resources in English with the corresponding text.
I advise you to get a profile on Rhinospike.com which will give you access to new English audio resources, as well as to many other languages.
RhinoSpike (Audio texts for English learners)
After that, click on the tab on top of Browse by language and choose English and then Transcriptions.
And then - go wild!
There are generally two types of format:
- either a YouTube video with the transcript below,
- or an audio file of a text (often made-up or maybe an extract from a novel).
The topic isn't so important here. Even though it is true that by learning about a topic that we like, we generally tend to enjoy the process of diving into English content even more, rocked by the voice of an English speaker. The most important thing to do is to become familiar with spoken English.
I'm happy to present this platform to you in particular, because it connects people like you and me from the whole world. It lets us learn about forty or so languages, and we have access to a ton of audio resources in English or most languages you can think of.
As usual, English has the biggest amount of content, but that's even better for us! So, use the site and take the most out of it - click, speak, and repeat!
Clicking, listening, repeating, and learning English as a way to fluency. Those are the secret ingredients to the success of the English training online Click & Speak which has more than 17 hours of dialogues, the 5,000 most commonly used words which will allow you to master 96 % of spoken English, detailed work on phonetics, and much more! [More information...]
The previous resource, Rhinospike, offers two types of format, namely YouTube videos with transcriptions below and another awesome site which is specifically designed to do that is called Youglish.
Youglish has the advantage of size - you can search for a word in English and listen to it in the context of a YouTube video. This offers you the advantage of context and quality (accents, different voices). The perfect combination to check the pronunciation of a word, while enjoying a few minutes of interesting content (for example, many TEDTalks often appear in the results).
Youglish is a platform which allows you to analyze American English texts with audio!
For each word, the platform offers you a nice list of video results in order to listen to the word in question... then you're free to continue watching the video for fun and enjoying some rich, natural, high quality English - just the way we like it!
Since we're talking about YouTube, let me share with you another solution to finding English listening resources and working on your comprehension and pronunciation... and all that with simple MP3 audio files in English. It's quite simple:
If you find a YouTube video that you love, turn it into an audio resource to learn English!
Do you like YouTube? Here's our selection of some of the best English-speaking YouTubers!
Use a website to download the YouTube videos you enjoy, like https://www.y2mate.com/en68 which allows you to convert video or audio resources into MP3 files. In our case, let's choose audio.
This allows you to create a reserve of audio files to use again and again and, also, to work on your accent with our technique. A bit further down in the article, we will explain to you how to easily work on your pronunciation and your accent in English with MP3 files.
In the meantime, how about watching a movie? Let's add a cinematic touch to our search for English audio resources!
Find extracts from movies in English
You amuse me, Mr Bond! - A View to a Kill
I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse – The Godfather
You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off! – The Italian Job
Surprise! Before looking at a complete article on how to learn English with movies (which is coming soon), we're going to have a little preview with some movie extracts.
One more time, the idea is to stay concentrated on the real English pronunciation of words, when they're a part of a sentence.
The extracts I've chosen are mostly no more than 10 seconds long, so that will allow you to focus on the quality of your work, rather than the quantity. :)
Moviesoundclip.net is my favorite platform to find movie extracts and listen to them.
This online platform offers the best balance between quality and quantity. Actually, there are dozens of sites like this one but the quality of the recordings is often poor and the selection of extracts is quite narrow.
Learn English with movie quotes
The best part is that, even if you don't know the movie (or maybe without even recognizing the title in English), you'll have fun just listening to English audio, the real sound of pure English, coming from the lips of an actor in action, in a quote full of wit. And, after two or three listens, it could really make you want to watch the whole movie!
I'll talk about this again in a more complete article soon, but until then:
- choose a movie, no matter what it is,
- you have two options: either listen to the extract without downloading it, or you can download it. The second option is recommended and is more efficient, I'll tell you why in a second.
- And there you go, you have an extract which is just a few seconds long, which you can listen to as much as you want, until you're able to repeat what the actor says at the same speed as them.
Wavelist is a site which is quite similar to the previous one.
Even though the number of recordings is a bit lower, this platform also has a nice selection of movie extracts. It's a good alternative to Moviesoundclip if you can't find a specific movie or if you just want to change things up a bit.
And, of course, you can always download the quotes in an MP3 format to create a collection of quotes which you will know and will be able to pronounce easily.
Now I would like to show you a technique to immediately apply in order to work with these audio files and acquire an authentic accent.
A method to improve your pronunciation in English
- You have decided to download an audio file from Rhinospike to improve your pronunciation?
- Or maybe you have an audio file from a great YouTube video?
- Or maybe a selection of movie extracts downloaded on your computer?
Now, I would like to present to you a software which will help you to enjoy the most out of the English listening resourcesof your choice and, thus, acquire a good accent and correct pronunciation in English.
Audacity is a simple free software which you can download from here. It allows you to focus on a part of a sound in English which you have chosen, in order to repeat only the part which interests you.
By doing this, you're no longer dependent on the audio file when you listen and repeat : the sound file depends on you, you're the one who controls where to start, where to finish, when to play or pause, etc... It's perfect (and even essential) in order to have the same pronunciation as the one in the MP3 files.
All of the resources we've seen so far have taken us to this point. You have the resources, it's now up to you to use them in order to improve! In this article you have a real language lab at your disposal!
Listen to more English in order to improve
There you go, you've explored my whole arsenal of sites and platforms, which will help you find English audio resources and, thus, enjoy English content in English in a more active way, use them, control them, and work on your spoken English!
Podcasts and audiobooks
There's another type of audio resources, excellent to improve your comprehension of spoken English (and your vocabulary), and those are podcasts and audiobooks. Of course, they're more advanced (longer, contain more vocabulary) when we take into account the techniques which we've explored, that's why we'll talk about them later, in future articles.
English training with pronunciation/ audio
Do you want to listen to English in order to improve? That's good... but maybe you want to avoid wasting your time by constantly going back and forth between several resources, looking for audio in English, downloading it... choosing the interesting parts worth checking, seeing if you've understood well, looking for the phonetics of words, translations, worrying about grammar, and so on.
If you've read this far, you can really do yourself a favor by checking us out. We've created an English training course online which embodies all of the good things I just mentioned, and even more. It brings the above-mentioned advantages of English audio resources, saving time, the structure and the practical aspect on top of that. You log in and you practice - that's all! I'll let you discover the course for yourself: Click & Speak.