Help!- recursos online para sonar más “natural” en una lengua extranjera

Publicado 2.5.2014, actualizado 20.07.2019

Todos los profesores de/en lengua extranjera, así como los alumnos, en algún momento desearíamos tener a algún hablante nativo al lado para poder preguntar algo que no sabemos decir, o que quizás podemos expresar de una manera gramaticalmente correcta, pero no sabemos si suena “natural” para los hablantes nativos. Para intentar paliar este problema, os propongo varias herramientas lingüísticas online gratuitas:

Diccionarios online: 

  • diccionario “vivo” de pronunciación. Busca una palabra, nombre propio, marca, nombre de lugar…hablantes nativos se han grabado pronunciando ese término. Permite oír a alguien real pronunciando (no a un ordenador), y además, se puede mostrar a los alumnos (confiere cierta autoridad a lo que ha dicho el profesor: “¿no me creéis? Escuchadlo”. Acentos de diversas variedades geográficas y sociales.
  • YouGlish: busca términos en videos de YouTube. Ese video, además, aparece con subtítulos. Ideal para oír la pronunciación de términos, expresiones…y para buscar videos relativos a un tema. Disponible en inglés y francés.

Click en el idioma para cambiar inglés / francés

Expresiones en contexto:
  • permite encontrar expresiones, frases hechas, en contextos reales online (fundamentalmente periódicos, revistas…), para asegurarnos de su uso,  qué preposición va con qué verbo, ejemplificar nuevo vocabulario…Disponible en varios idiomas (click en el idioma para seleccionar).

Inglés- online collocation dictionaries:

Intercambio de idiomas: 
  • registro gratuito. Puedes escribir textos, o hacer preguntas a la comunidad. Hablantes nativos corregirán ese texto, o te dirán qué suena más natural. A cambio se solicita que tú, como hablante nativo de tu idioma, también corrijas a otros miembros que aprenden tu idioma materno como lengua extranjera. MUY ÚTIL

Así, por ejemplo, si queréis practicar la expresión escrita, podéis copiar vuestras redacciones, y hablantes nativos os las corregirán, no solo desde un punto de vista gramatical, sino que lo harán desde el punto de vista de “qué suena natural”. De este modo además tendréis varias posibilidades, ya que es un foro abierto. Y en muchas ocasiones tendréis comentarios de por qué os cambian vuestro texto original.

Para acceder a esta opción, pinchad en vuestro nombre de usuario, y allí os saldrá la opción “mis correcciones”. Allí podréis escribir vuestro texto, o corregir el de otras personas que aprenden español.



Además, la comunidad de polyglot club organiza reuniones en ciudades, así que de vez en cuando podéis ver que hay un “polyglot club meeting” en vuestra ciudad, por si queréis practicar la lengua extranjera que aprendéis con otras personas que también están aprendiendo.

  • (similar a polyglotclub).
  • https://hinative.comEs un servicio derivado de lang-8 (puedes usar la misma cuenta, registro gratuito). Permite hacer preguntas sobre el idioma, cultura, o cualquier cosa que quieras preguntarle a un hablante nativo de un idioma de cualquier parte del mundo. Tú también puedes enseñar cosas de tu lengua o tu cultura. Aunque no preguntes, también es interesante leer lo que otros han preguntado. 


* Aviso: en alguna ocasión, si planteáis estructuras gramaticales poco frecuentes, demasiado académicas…puede que la solución que os planteen estos hablantes nativos sea que digáis algo mucho más sencillo. No porque vuestra opción sea incorrecta, sino porque les suene demasiado “academicista”, poco frecuente…y en ese caso esa recomendación no os sería de gran ayuda. Es algo que os puede pasar, especialmente en niveles C1-C2. Probad a encontrar algún ejemplo similar al vuestro en, por ejemplo (ver explicación más abajo). 


Listening- Alan Turing to feature on the 50 GBP note

Some months ago, there was a consultation in the UK about the candidates to feature on the new £50 banknotes. You can read more about it and do a listening comprehension exercise on the news here:

Listening comprehension: The new £50 note.

The winner has been announced, and mathematician Alan Turing has been chosen as the face of Britain’s new £50 banknote.

Now, read the questions in the form below. Then, listen to this news report about the mathematician who is going to feature on the new £50 note. You can listen to it twice. Once you have finished, submit your answers to check whether you were right or wrong. Please pay attention to the feedback to both right and wrong answers.

Open form in a new tab

You can also read the transcript here.

Further reading:

More about Alan Turing in the blog:

taller “TIC para todos”- CARLEE on Tour 2019-Huesca

En este enlace podéis ver la presentación preparada para el taller “TIC para todos” (CARLEE on Tour 2019-Huesca, 4 mayo 2019):

Cross-linguistic mediation: Easter-related idioms in Spanish explained in English

During the Easter break, I came across this post on Twitter:

Click on the picture to visit the authors’ blog.

So I thought that could be used as the input for a cross-linguistic mediation activity, to mediate communication, as well as the cultural and historical background involved in those Spanish idioms.

I started this padlet with those ten Spanish idioms. Then, I asked my students to give a short explanation of what they mean, intended for foreign students of Spanish. I asked them to record themselves using the Chrome extension/Android app Talk and Comment, which allows you to record short audio comments, and immediately creates a link. That way, their audio recording could be pasted as a link straight to the padlet, without having to upload their recording anywhere else and then create a link. They could also record it using any recording app, and then upload it to padlet.

Alternatively, students were also allowed to simply type a comment with their explanation.

(Open the padlet in a new window to see all the idioms)

Made with Padlet

Since the main reasons to mediate are to help the other speaker understand, to be helpful to them, and to be mindful of their needs (not those of the mediator), what I am asking from you now is: once my students have explained these idioms, can you give them feedback on how useful their mediation was? Was their explanation clear enough? Relevant enough? Please rate their mediation skills by giving them 1-5 stars. You can also type a comment providing constructive feedback under each explanation. Ideally, they should be rated by ELE students (Spanish as a Foreign Language) or non-native speakers of Spanish, but all contributions are welcome.

As you can imagine, there is no need for you to listen to every single comment on every idiom: just listen to the ones that catch your eye, or any you might see which has not received much feedback yet.

Thank you!

fake social media generators- ideas for the classroom

In a world where social media prevail (or can it be ‘prevails’?), it might be interesting to bring them into the classroom. Basically because the language to be used in social media is sometimes different to the language of other media, or may require some adaptation; therefore should be dealt with in class. On top of that, because this kind of communicative activity may prove motivating for students, regardless of their ages.

You can find below a list of online tools and apps I have been using lately. For all of the tools described below, my advice to students (and teachers) is for the tweets/texts to be typed on a word document/pages document first, then copy and paste them onto the website or app. That way, if something happens (if the connection gets lost, for example), you will still keep a copy of your work.

Fake Twitter generators: 

Twister– very quick. Just type the (invented) username of the tweeter, their real name, and the tweet. It will create a ‘twister’ post in seconds, with a picture of the person / character.

Fake Twitter generator: create really true-to-life fake tweets.

*Tip: if you’re creating the tweets on a laptop/desktop, when you finish your tweet you can click on the button “save image”. However, if you’re using a tablet, iPad, or any mobile device,  the button is likely not to work. Try taking a screenshot instead.

Fake Fakebook generators:

  • Simitator: creates fake Facebook posts and walls.
  • Fakebook: ‘Fakebook’ page, can include character bio, posts, interactions with other users… Different students can access the page if the teacher shares the code.

example- Fakebook page for Nicola Thorp– a British actress who started a petition against dress code in the office. (Started by me as a teacher, comments by students).

Fake text messages / WhatsApp:

  • Fake WhatsApp texts: up to two characters / people can take part in the conversation. Plenty of options: delivered, read; time; emojis…

text created by teachers in a CPD course

  • Fake iPhone messages: the conversation can include up to three characters. You can customise the operator, battery, signal, time…

  • Texting Story: This Android and iOs free app allows you to showcase dialogues between several characters as if they were texting. The product you get is not an image, but a video of their conversation.

What kinds of activities can you do with these websites and apps?

  • Turn any ‘write a dialogue between’ activity into an ‘imagine the texts that X sent to Y, and their reply’ activity.
  • Create profiles for (and write comments about) historical characters
  • Rewrite well-known plots (literature, film, TV shows), or imagine how they could be retold in tweets, or the conversations the characters could have at a certain point in the plot.
  • Create custom conversations/social media posts as input for a mediation activity in the classroom (Not recommended for exams-whatever input you provide should be real-life material).

Can you think of other activities? Would you like to share your thoughts on this? Leave a comment.

WAGOLL- film review: Mary Poppins Returns

To model writing a film review, I wanted to show my students ‘what a good one looks like’ (WAGOLL). I decided to use this review for Mary Poppins Returns.  In this case, it may not have been the best review I could find, but it served the purpose of illustrating the typical structure of a review.

I also wanted to provide students with the same explanations I would give them if I was explaining the positive points of the review in class. Even if I did go through them during classroom instruction, having an online document allowed them to access the information again, or for the first time if they had been unable to attend that particular session.

That is why I decided to create a Pages document on my iPad. First, I annotated it (highlighting relevant keywords, or underlining structural elements); then, I took a screenshot of the document, to get an image file, and uploaded it to Thinglink (open link in new tab here). Thinglink allows you to create interactive, media-rich images and videos, by adding text, audio, video, and/or links to specific parts of the image.

On the left-hand side of the document, headings to the paragraphs were added: that way, students can check the structure of the review. On the right-hand side, audio comments for each of the paragraphs were included, with a view to providing further clarification, or the reasons why some language resources and expressions had been/can be used.

This was the annotated/enhanced review (click on the picture to access all the interactive features):

Phonetizer: automatic phonemic transcriptions

If you ever need to transcribe words or sentences into the phonemic alphabet, you may use Simply type or copy and paste the text, and click on “transcribe”.

You can also select some text (not the transcription) in the box on the right, and ask phonetizer to read it for you. It’s artificial reading, but still, it can help students with their pronunciation. At the time of writing, the British voice seems to have a more ‘natural’ intonation than the American one.