- 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.
Web, Pronunciation scored poorly, Expensive, ★
Rosetta Stone teaches reading and listening, but does not emphasize speaking or pronunciation. It uses only the target language and pictures, so you can learn without distraction from your own language. It costs $200 for 3 months unlimited online, or $200 per level per language, which includes online oral sessions for 3 months.
The online demo does not score pronunciation, but the site and reviews (also here and here) say Rosetta Stone does score pronunciation, though they say it does not work well.
Speaking is also available in an online 50-minute oral session after each lesson, where you talk with a "coach" and "2 other learners with a maximum of 4." Here you can pick up the mispronunciations of the other 2-4 learners. Note you have limited months to use these sessions.
Like many courses it does not teach much grammar, unfortunate considering the price (FSI and Byki do teach grammar, and Pronunciator conjugates 100 verbs). Amazon reviewers are split, with criticisms of the lack of grammar teaching, limited vocabulary, limited support, and trouble reinstalling on a new computer.
The Economist magazine notes detailed issues with their teaching of Mandarin.