What is the VOA News Special English video series?
Voice Of America (VOA) News Special English videos emphasize that individuals can observe the natural rhythm of the American Accent while learning about current events across a variety of subjects, including world news, business, entertainment and technology. Users can access the videos via VOA’s website or YouTube, where they can have videos uploaded to NOVA’s YouTube Channel appear on their personal YouTube page, or subscribe to only the subject matter that interests them.
VOA Special English videos versus the competition
The question for those looking for credible accent reduction instruction is whether VOA’s Special English News videos are better than the English education YouTube channels maintained by a single individual or small group. Similar to the VOA News Videos, individually run ESL You Tube channels focus on increasing comprehension of standard English vocabulary words and common English phrases and idioms, as well as how to carry out necessary work related tasks, such as calling in sick to work, by having actors demonstrate the various scenarios. Videos by the company EngVid on the other hand take a more instructional approach. Instructors explain English concepts and phrases by writing them out on a dry erase board in a friendly and engaging manner, pausing occasionally to repeat a lesson’s main points.
VOA News Special English videos are delivered newscast style at a rate approximately one third slower than a standard newscast. Closed captioning gives viewers the option of reading ahead in the copy to pronounce difficult words or following the anchor’s lead in pronouncing words with a standard American accent. Interestingly, VOA’s official website links to an offsite page called Englishcentral.com which follows VOA News’ special English video format, however these videos are assigned a difficulty, are without captions, and feature 20 potentially difficult in video words in a separate box. Thus, the educational and entertainment components are kept separate and people can view the videos as they were originally shown without feeling the overt pressure to learn something.
Some teaching methods may seem condescending
Although feelings of contempt towards accent reduction videos are likely to exist for some regardless of how material is presented, the one third slower speaking rate and closed captioning approach used in VOA News’ Special English video series could be seen as demeaning to people who want to achieve an American accent by picking up on subtleties and differences in individual accents and dialects instead of repeating words on a computer screen. Ultimately, you will have to decide for yourself, but you are better informed about available accent reduction methods by reading this article. If you would prefer an individualized approach to meet your accent reduction goals, please contact us at Accent Pros to discuss our programs or even try a free accent screening.