- Byki gives the most detailed graphs to show how well you pronounce. Each time you say a word or phrase, you can see an overall score, and graphs on how the vowels, consonants, pitch, etc. sounded in 76 languages.
- Passport to Languages / Learn to Speak has a simple pronunciation score in 6 languages, without detailed graphs, but they have more vocabulary than Byki. Any of these first programs costs $20-$40 for permanent ownership of courses and scoring.
- Pronunciator is $30 per month, has good scoring in 72 languages, and is easier to use than Byki, though its graphs are not as detailed as Byki's. It has at least as much vocabulary as Learn to Speak. It offers free samples of the pronunciation scoring, which most do not.
- Two more are expensive and hard to use, according to reviews: Tellmemore and Rosettastone. Tellmemore scores pronunciation generously. I got undeservedly high scores in Spanish. A graph shows volume and an extra line for pitch to help you learn intonation. This would be especially good for Mandarin, which is one of the languages they teach. Reviewers say that in sentences, you must speak each word separately to get a good score.
- Babbel gives you too little feedback about pronunciation and then moves on to reading and writing. It scores good pronunciation on a scale 50-100, but gives you no score or feedback on poor pronunciation and goes on to the next screen before you get the pronunciation right. They let you say each word just once each time through a lesson.
- Two others are free, but only teach intermediate English: EnglishCentral and GoEnglishMe.
- Berlitzonline is expensive, and no samples or reviews are available.
Several websites record you saying a word or sentence. Then they analyze it and give feedback in a score, and often a graph. The approach allows you to practice repeatedly and improve your accent. The programs work by comparing your recording to the model recording in the program, after adjusting for any basic difference in pitch.The programs vary widely in what they offer. Items 1-3 are excellent and worth getting.
Review of Learn to Speak, from eLanguage.com
MP3+video+web, Pronunciation scored, Cheap, ★
They teach 4 languages in their full course ($20), with MP3 files to learn on the go. They have minimal scoring of pronunciation. They do start with numbers from 0 to 1000, but they go quickly to complex phrases, with little explanation and pauses that are too short to repeat the phrase. There are 40 lessons; each has vocabulary, dialog, grammar.
They show a needle on a dial to score your pronunciation, and it is very inaccurate. In the English course, when I was supposed to say Tail, I got a good score for Teal, and a medium score for Say. Zero pronounced in English, French or Spanish was all acceptable, in the English course.
They have computer pictures of the mouth saying each sound, but the pictures move too fast and are too small and indistinct to learn from.
Some lessons are good and simple, like the difference in English between few and little. Other lessons cover too much, like plurals, and make mistakes. They say, "Both the -s and -es spellings are accepted for nouns ending in -o" and they list heroes and tomatoes. They do not say that -s and -es generally apply to different words. Only 7 words require -es. Most require -s and a few can take either. They teach "How are you?" as a greeting, without saying that the standard answer regardless of health, is "Fine, thanks." They give that answer 4th, after: "Nothing much," "I'm all right," and "Pretty good."
The English course has travel videos of a few US cities, no better than any commercial movie for learning, and hard to hear the words through the music. These mispronounce the Corcoran Gallery and misspell the Juilliard School. Sound quality varies on their MP3 files, which are full speed.
Unlike their 35-language course, this does operate on recent Windows systems. I used it on Windows 7, and the software is also labeled as working in Windows 8, Vista and XP.
Most Amazon reviewers give good reviews to the Spanish course, not to French, nor to English, where all explanations are in English, unlike the same company's 35-language course which has explanations in 6 other languages, and is reviewed separately. Amazon incorrectly refers to a "newer version" which is a competitor lacking speech analysis.