Cool Speech: Hot Listening, Cool Pronunciation – description

Downloadable Teacher’s Guides for introducing Cool Speech are here,
and Student Guides are here

Cool Speech is an English Language Teaching app for listening and pronunciation. It provides intensive listening practice, and teaches fluent pronunciation, using recordings of spontaneous speech. It is suitable for upper-intermediate and advanced students of English, who need to understand everyday speech and to speak clearly and fluently in everyday situations.

Hot listening – tap to understand fast speech

Learners of English often find it difficult to hear the words that they know in written form. Cool Speech provides the answer to this problem, by taking learners into the fastest, least clear, parts of everyday speech and helps them to understand. Tap once they hear the original, tap twice they hear a clear version.


A hotspot is a moment of fast speech which is difficult to hear. You tap once on the hotspots, and hear them as they were originally spoken, you tap twice and hear them spoken slowly and carefully. There are twenty-four hotspot exercises.


A speedy speech unit is a rhythmic chunk of fast speech between six and eleven words long. You learn to get the feel of fast speech by comparing versions of the same speech unit at different speeds. There are eight exercises.


Rhythm work – you learn to get inside the rhythms of English speech by finding and marking the prominent (stressed) syllables. There are eight exercises.


Dictations – You see six lines of text from a fast recording. There are ten blanks, one each for very familiar words that sound very unfamiliar when spoken fast. Your task is to listen carefully, identify the words, and type them in. There are eight exercises.

Cool Pronunciation – tap to speak accurately, clearly, fluently.

Cool Speech takes short extracts of spontaneous speech and uses them as the pronunciation model: the vowels and consonants of British English are covered, in both male and female voices. Each vowel and consonant is presented in a rhythmic unit of real speech in three forms: (i) the original spontaneous speech, (ii) a slow, careful version, and (iii) a fluent medium-paced version. You tap and listen, repeat, tap and record yourself, and compare your recording with the versions in Cool Speech.

Vowels and consonants, male & female voices, three different speeds

You can choose to work with either a male voice or a female voice. You can then choose from four groups of vowels, or four groups of consonants. Each sound is presented in a rhythmic unit of speech, a speech unit. You can work with: (i) the original speech unit (which is usually fast), (ii) a slow careful version, or (iii) a fluent version at a comfortable average speed. You listen, repeat, record yourself, and compare your version with the version you hear on screen.
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Author – Richard Cauldwell

Cool Speech is written by Richard Cauldwell, who has two decades of experience in turning recordings of everyday speech into learning materials. His first publication Streaming Speech: Listening and Pronunciation for Advanced Learners of English won a British Council ELTon prize in 2004.