I’ve just gotten a copy of the Pronunciation Tutor /W/ app by Keen Research for the iPhone. This app focuses on teaching the pronunciation of the /w/ sound as in “west”, which is often confused with the /v/ sound, as in “vest.” If you are looking to improve your pronunciation of the “W” sound, I suggest you get this app.
The reason this app is effective is because it first gives you the opportunity to learn to recognize the /w/ sound and distinguish it from the /v/ sound. Listening is a key element in learning proper pronunciation and the Pronunciation Tutor /W/ app provides many opportunities for listening practice. There is a listening test which has 25 examples of /w/ & /v/ sounds in single words and words in sentences. There is a listening practice section which shows a close-up video clip of someone pronouncing the words and words in sentences.
There are a few videos in the “How to Do It” section which show how to pronounce the /w/ sound along with a written explanation. The “Speaking /W/” section gives you practice in pronouncing the /w/ sound along with the native speaker. The screen is divided in half, with the native speaker from the app on top. If you have an iPhone with a front-facing camera you can see your mouth on the bottom of the screen. This gives you the chance to shape your mouth just like the native speaker. This is the 21st Century version of using a mirror to practice your pronunciation. You do use a mirror, don’t you?
All in all, I really like the Pronunciation Tutor /W/ app. It gives a thorough and complete lesson that you can study anywhere your iPhone is. According to the The Pronunciation Tutor’s website they are now working on a similar app to practice Th sounds. I can’t wait to see that one too.