Recommended Software Downloads

All of the software listed here is freeware. I've tried them all and highly recommended them for your language studies.



Express Scribe

"But they talk too fast!"

"Really? Then you need Express Scribe!"
Express Scribe can slow down the audio.


Express Scribe (NCH Software) is meant for secretaries doing dictation (ťg), but it can work for you too. Express Scribe can play many kinds of audio files, including the .mp3 and the .ra files on this site.

Whenever you want to slow down an audio file...

  • First, download the file to your computer (right-click and "Save As...").
  • Then open it in Express Scribe by clicking on the "Load" button and browsing to the audio file.
  • Control the speed with the slider in the bottom right corner of the software.
  • The program can be made to look very small by clicking on the "Scribe Mini" button.
  • In the Options, you can choose to keep Express Scribe floating on top of other programs so you can always see it.

ConcApp

You need ConcApp to do your vocabulary homework. It is concordance software. With it, you can look up a word or phrase and see how it gets used. You can see its 'neighbors' -- words it likes to be with. By reading many example sentences, you will deepen your understanding of the word.

ConcApp needs a database; you can use any .txt file that has been saved in ANSI or Unicode. A simplified English database in ANSI format is available here. (Just right-click and 'Save Target As...'.) English literature is available at Project Gutenberg. Look for writers who lived in the 20th century and make sure you download the ascii format files.

Note: Project Gutenberg files have not been simplified for ESL students. You might want to look for children and youth literature, like "Doctor Dolittle", "Heidi", "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz", "Beauty and the Beast", "Grimm's Fairytales", or "Anne of Green Gables". (Remember, to download just right-click and 'Save Target As...'.)

ClozeMaker

ClozeMaker can take a text file and make it into a 'fill in the blanks' exercise. It gives you great practice for guessing from context or focusing on a certain part of speech. The part I like is storyboard. It blocks out every word! ClozeMaker works together with Text-To-Speech. Your computer must be Java Enabled to use this software.

Text-to-Speech

Text-to-Speech (TTS) uses a digital voice to read a text (.txt) file. You can choose different voices and adjust the sound quality as well as the speed. Your computer must be Java Enabled to use this software.

Pronunciation Lessons

The Okanagan College in Canada has provided students with thirteen pronunciation lessons. They come complete with MP3 audio and PDF text files. To download to your computer, right-click "workbook in MP3 audio" and "PDF version" for each lesson. Then choose "Save Target as..."

Real Player

You will need Real Player to study from BBC Learning English. You will be able to listen to the news report as you read along.

Java

Your computer must have Java installed for many of the activities on the Edict Virtual Language Centre website.