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Speaking Exercise 1

In this Exercise, you will record your voice, and your pronunciation will be compared to the pronunciation of the native speaker.

At the top of the screen is a large picture (the "Challenge Picture"), with 4 small pictures to the left of it (the "Mini-Quad"). To change the Challenge Picture, click on one of the pictures in the Mini-Quad.

Below the Challenge Picture is the Recording Panel. As the native speaker speaks, a Voiceprint will be drawn in the upper part of the Recording Panel. When you record your voice, you will see your own Voiceprint below it. The Voiceprint displays three different aspects of pronunciation:
<-- native speaker's pitch
<-- native speaker's emphasis
<-- native speaker's form
<-- your pitch
<-- your emphasis
<-- your form

When you start the Exercise, you will be prompted by a picture at the top of the screen, and the native speaker describing the picture.

After the native speaker has finished speaking, the microphone icon will light, which will be your prompt to start speaking into your microphone.
While the microphone icon is lit, your voice is being recorded, and when you speak, you will see a Voiceprint being drawn in the lower part of the Recording Panel.

When you finish speaking, the microphone will cut off automatically (or, you can click the mouse button to interrupt it), and your voice will be compared to the native speech.
At the bottom of the control panel is a meter. The meter shows how well you imitated the native speaker.
If the indicator is in the red area of the meter, it means that your pronunciation did not match the native speaker's pronunciation very closely.
If the indicator is in the yellow area of the meter, it means that your pronunciation matched the speaker's pronunciation fairly well.
If the indicator is in the green area of the meter, it means that you imitated the speaker almost perfectly.
Note that the meter does not necessarily show how well you pronounced the phrase. Rather, it shows how well you imitated the speaker. Even if your accent and pronunciation are perfect, if you do not try to imitate the speaker in pitch, emphasis, and tempo, you may not get a good score.

To the left of the Voiceprints is the Recording Control Panel:
The speaker button at the top will play the native voicing again.
The three radio buttons allow you to adjust the speed at which the native speech is played. Select the top button for normal speed.
The middle button will play the native speech at a slightly slower speed. This allows you to hear individual words more easily.
The bottom button will play the native speech at a much slower speed. This allows you to hear individual sounds more easily.
You can press the microphone button at any time to begin recording your voice. Most of the time, it will automatically stop when you stop speaking, but excessive background noise or exhaling after speech can cause it to continue recording, which will result in poorer comparison and a lower score. You can always stop your recording by clicking anywhere.
Press the speaker button at the bottom to play back your recording.