[Elsnet-list] Free and innovative software to teach ESL receives positive feedback

Ziyuan Yao yaoziyuan at gmail.com
Wed Jul 17 05:19:01 CEST 2013

Free and innovative software to teach ESL receives positive feedback

Dear ESL Teachers and Researchers,

We're a free software project called PIE (Phonetically Intuitive English),
which provides a novel approach to teaching word pronunciation and meaning.
Since our recent debut, we have been thrilled to receive positive comments
from the US Department of Education[1], ESL experts and users[2], and be
covered by PCWorld and a number of other US and international media
outlets[3]. The Department of Education recommended that the project be
forwarded to local education authorities for consideration.[1] We were also
invited to National Education Association Exposition 2013 (coinciding with
NEA's 150th annual meeting) and got very positive feedback from educators

The said software can automatically add diacritics to English words in a
learner's Chrome web browser to show pronunciation (see [4] for a
screenshot). As soon as the learner masters a one-page scheme (see [5] for
the scheme), he would be able to acquire words' correct pronunciation as he
browses the Web! The software also provides three modes (Full, Lite, Extra
Lite) that progressively show fewer diacritics as the learner advances his
English level (see [6] for screenshots of the three modes).

Knowing a word's correct pronunciation actually has two benefits. The first
benefit, obviously, is the fact itself—the learner can now pronounce the
word correctly in speaking, and recognize it correctly in listening. The
second benefit, not so obviously, is that pronunciation is actually the
best mnemonic to help memorize a word's spelling as well—it's how native
speakers learn a word: first pronunciation, and then spelling.

The diacritics alone only show pronunciation but not meaning. To address
this need, we also provide an associated free Chrome extension
"PIE-Friendly Translator"[7], which can show an English word's meaning to
an ESL learner in his native language, when he points his mouse at that
English word. See [8] for a screenshot that shows PIE and PIE-Friendly
Translator working together, providing both pronunciation and meaning to
the user.

Besides transforming web pages to the diacritically marked form in real
time, PIE can also be used to produce bilingually aligned, diacritically
marked books intended for ESL learners. Such books tell a story in both
English and the learner's native language, and the English part is marked
with diacritics, so that the learner can acquire all three
elements—spelling, pronunciation and meaning—as he reads the story. This
enables ESL educators to both promote English and get rewarded financially.
See [9] for some sample books and a toolkit that helps you create such

Educators of the lingua franca of the world, the time has come to usher
English education from the age of the stagecoach into the age of jet
aviation. :-)

Get the free software directly from here (requires the Chrome browser):

Or visit our project website for more information:

Best Regards,
The Phonetically Intuitive English Project

[1] Comment on PIE by the US Department of Education:
[2] Comments on PIE by literacy experts and users:
[3] Coverage of PIE by PCWorld and other media outlets:
[4] A screenshot:
[5] The one-page scheme:
[6] Screenshots of the Full, Lite and Extra Lite modes:
[7] PIE-Friendly Translator:
[8] A screenshot of PIE and PIE-Friendly Translator working together:
[9] Sample books and a toolkit for creating such books:

Disclaimer: This message is not affiliated with nor endorsed by the U.S.
Department of Education. The content of any information posted herein does
not reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Education.
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