About Speech Key

See what Speech Key™ has to offer.

One of the essential components of clear communication in any language is the crisp production of its vowels. Contrary to what many think, it is usually the vowels, not the consonants, which help us recognize the words we hear. There are 5 letters in the alphabet to denote American English vowels: a, e, i, o, u. These five letters combine to create over twenty distinct vowel sounds in English, including diphthongs. This Vowel Tutorial walks the user through all the necessary steps to become comfortable and confident with English vowels. Each topic has written and spoken instructions with hundreds of examples.

There are 21 consonants in the English language and each one may have several different sounds. Additionally, there are many consonant combinations, each with many different sounds. As a result, it is often difficult to know how to pronounce a word from the way it is spelled. This Consonant Tutorial uses simple graphics and a detailed explanation to help the user understand tongue and lip placement and airflow. Hundreds of examples are included.

Intonation refers to those vocal elements such as stress, pitch, loudness and rate which make our words meaningful to the listener. Traditionally, word level pronunciation is taught by breaking a word into syllables and noting where the accent occurs. Dictionaries use this system. While this approach is somewhat helpful, there are drawbacks. Practicing words, syllable by syllable, usually results in a robotic-like production that misses the natural rhythm of conversational speech. Take the examples "re-gis-tra-tion" versus "registration". When we talk, syllables and words should run into each other, pausing when necessary to keep the meaning clear. This Intonation Tutorial does not break words into syllables. If focuses on a more important concern: knowing where to put the stress in words.

Vowel Tutorial: Tongue position, Lip position, Jaw position, Tongue tension, Vowel length, Compound vowels, Reductions, Vowel Sounds, Vowel Pairs, Vowel Length drills

Consonant Tutorial: Place, Airflow, Voicing, Consonant Sounds, "L" exercises, "R" exercises

Intonation Tutorial: Stress, Pitch, Steps & Glides, Duration, Patterns, Compound nouns, Heteronyms, Word reductions, Sentence level intonation, Contrastive intonation, Response drills, Tag questions