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American Voices is an online service that helps you understand spoken English better. To do this, I bring you a selection of the best radio stories and podcasts I can find, together with word lists, transcripts, exercises, and more. At least two new stories are added every month.
Teachers of English can also subscribe to provide access for their students.
Listening in another language can be difficult for many reasons: people speak quickly; the actual sounds of words can change in quick speech; and there may be words you don't know yet.
So it's important to have a guide who can help you listen. I choose the most interesting stories by professional journalists, and give you the tools to help you understand them. All of these supplemental materials in American Voices are written by experienced language teachers who know how to help you succeed.
Yes you can! American Voices will help you understand native speakers better, but you can also
- talk about the stories with friends, or your teacher
- share your thoughts in the forum for each piece – take part in a global discussion
- practice vocabulary: every piece has flashcards and games on Quizlet
- practice pronunciation: special sections on connected speech help you focus on common patterns for natural sounding English
Since we don't change or edit the stories, American Voices is best for students at an intermediate or advanced level (B1 or above).
If you're a relatively advanced non-native speaker, you may still benefit from working with authentic listening materials. It's good even for experienced learners to maintain their language level with continued practice and exposure to current language.
Connected speech refers to how people speak in normal everday situations.
You've probably noticed that native speakers don't sound like the clear, slow examples in textbooks for beginners. Sounds can be pronounced less clearly, or they can combine with other sounds, or they can disappear!
Listening skills are critical for serious language learners. There will be many times when you're speaking on the phone, or listening to a lecture, or other places where there are few visual hints.
Watching movies is also a great way to learn, of course. If you'd like to work with an experienced teacher to help you understand videos, consider Cara Leopold's Subtitle Free program.
Youtube has millions of videos, and there are thousands of podcasts on the Internet. That sounds great, but there's a problem: how do you find pieces that are truly worth listening to?
American Voices focuses on quality rather than quantity. Some of the pieces presented have won awards. I listen to dozens of podcasts before choosing each one... so you don't have to waste time searching for something interesting.
Yes you can! Memberships include a free, 7-day trial period. And you can listen to free previews on the Driveway Moments page.
You can purchase individual stories and the accompanying materials for $5 (US). This helps pay for licensing fees to the creators of the stories, and for maintaining the website.
American Voices is also available by monthly subscription, with a free, 7-day trial period. New stories are added at least twice a month.
Credit card payments are processed by Stripe.
No, but I'd love to hear what you think of the stories!
- Who did you agree with?
- What did you disagree with?
- What surprised you?
- Did the story make you think differently about anything?
Take part in a global conversation by posting your thoughts and questions in the forums.
No, you'll have your own login details, valid for one login at a time.
I'm afraid not, because the licensing agreement with our audio journalists and podcasters doesn't allow this.
You can download copies of the transcripts to print, though – look for the "Download transcript" button on the Listen page for each story.
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