Testimonials & Reviews


“I just discovered your archive Website [IDEA], and I wanted to tell you what a WONDERFUL resource it is. I’m an actress working on multiple small roles in The Heidi Chronicles, and my characters come from Michigan, Tennessee, and New York. I also am a voice-over artist and always need very particular accents in my repertoire. While I own lots of good dialect tapes, none of them have such a full range of regional accents as what I’ve found on your Website. Thanks for putting together this valuable project.”

Sarah Green, wrote after consulting IDEA


“[Paul Meier’s] most excellent website, IDEA [the International Dialects of English Archive] has been a boon to dialect coaches, actors, directors, linguists, teachers, and general language enthusiasts throughout the world for 17 years.”

Krista Scott [in presenting Paul Meier with the Voice and Speech Trainers Association’s Outstanding Service Award at the VASTA conference in London on August 9, 2014]
Assistant Professor, Voice & Acting
TCU Department of Theatre
Fort Worth, Texas


“Hi there. I just wanted to say a huge, massive, exuberant THANK YOU for the existence of IDEA. I live in Nelson, New Zealand (although I’m originally from the UK) and am currently tutoring a former refugee in English.  The archive is going to be invaluable in exposing my student to a variety of English accents that she is likely to hear living in Nelson in a way that will allow her to really notice the differences, what with each recording starting with the same text being read out. I’m so excited to share this with her!”

Reba El
Nelson, New Zealand


“Many teachers of speech and dialect for actors seek ways to give students a kinesthetic experience when dealing with the International Phonetic Alphabet. Paul Meier’s work with the IPA and the IDEA Website has been invaluable for teachers, coaches, students, and actors studying speech or new dialects. With the rise of technology, having the ability to quickly access resources on iPads or iPhones makes it easy to take your resources with you to rehearsal or to set. However, flash requirements make trying to play sound files on Websites almost impossible on a tablet like the iPad. Paul Meier’s app — titled The Interactive IPA [click here for more information] — is an easy way to take a reliable IPA resource with you everywhere. The app features all current official phonetic charts, as well as diphthong charts for standard American and British RP, which were developed by Mr. Meier.

The user-friendly interactive aspect makes the app a kinesthetic and audiovisual learning aid. The user simply touches the symbol they wish to examine more closely. A detailed description of the symbol pops up and an option to play a sound file, so you can hear, touch, and see the symbol at the same time. The app makes a wonderful addition to classroom use for students in an introduction to speech or a stage-dialects course where the IPA is used, as it can easily supplement some current popular methods such as Knight-Thompson speechwork or Colaianni pillow work. If you are an iPad or iPhone user, download the app or read some of the rave reviews other users have given it by going to your device’s app store and searching for “The Interactive IPA.” Now all we need is an app for the dialect archives!”

Joshua Moser
Associate Editor, The VASTA Voice


“I well remember the days when I was running all over New York City with my little cassette-tape recorder, listening for the source material I so desperately needed, and then went begging to get it. Now, I look back on those days with a nostalgic grin, but never, ever wanting to return to them. IDEA has literally changed the life of my students and myself. I (we) am most grateful to you, and to all the IDEA contributors, for making all our lives easier, richer, and more accurate.”

Kate Ufema
Department of Theatre, University of Minnesota – Duluth


“Thank you and congratulations to all of you! This is such a valuable resource.”

Sheila Gordon, Chairperson
Department of Performing Arts
St. Edwards University, Austin, Texas


“I just wanted to thank you for your Website. I am an English teacher in South Korea and had a student last semester who was heading off this winter for work/study in Ireland. I have lived in Ireland (born in the U.K., grew up in Australia) and know that the accent can take a little getting used to. I managed to find your site and told the student about it so that she could get some listening practice in before she left. The site is a great resource in this kind of situation. The student especially liked the profile information. Thank you again for a great site.”

Leigh Rogers
Ansan, Kyongi Do, South Korea


“Thank you for all you have done in creating and maintaining IDEA. … IDEA is a valuable resource and a tremendous contribution to the field. Bravo!”

Erica Tobolski, Associate Professor of Voice/Speech & Acting
University of South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina


“I rely upon this resource enormously, and it has helped me with my teaching and coaching. I cannot imagine how I would manage without it.”

Geraldine Cook, Senior Lecturer Theatre (Voice) and Associate Dean Equity
Convenor of Postgraduate Studies in Voice
School of Performing Arts
Faculty of the VCA and MCM
Victoria, Australia


“I am a teaching artist with the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte in North Carolina as well as a freelance dialect coach. I have used your fantastic IDEA research site for years and have found it to be the most helpful resource around.”

Sarah Diener, Resident Teaching Artist
Children’s Theatre of Charlotte
Charlotte, North Carolina


“I recently came across your archive and would like to congratulate you on this excellent idea. I am currently finishing my thesis at Sussex University on ‘English as a medium of academic identity: attitudes to language in French higher education,’ and I also work as an EMI trainer. My results have shown that my participants are still very hung up about the native speaker/non-native speaker distinction and this tool you have provided will be very helpful in showing my teacher-trainees and students that they can contribute to the English language as legitimate speakers with their own stories and linguistic backgrounds. Keep up the good work! Bien cordialement!”

Alexandra Reynolds
Service Langues, UFR Sciences et Techniques, Université de Nantes
Nantes, France


“I teach courses in general linguistics, sociolinguistics, and second-language acquisition and pedagogy at the graduate and undergraduate level. I use the materials from the Archive in two classes: Language in Society (an undergraduate intro to sociolinguistics) and Teaching Pronunciation (a graduate course for future teachers of English as a Second Language). In the Socio class, I pull up the site in class, and we listen to samples of speech from different areas of the world, discussing dialectal variations. We use sociolinguistic lexical sets to identify features of dialects, discuss such issues as /u/-fronting, vowel raising, rhoticity, etc., and their presence in different regional dialects.

In my Pronunciation class, we use the material slightly differently. I play samples of non-native dialects in class, and students work on transcribing them (usually a short portion) and identifying areas that are most likely to affect the speaker’s intelligibility. We then work on developing pedagogical approaches for teaching these particular aspects of pronunciation. I also direct my MA students to IDEA to practice transcription on their own. It helps them develop a better ear and learn IPA.

While there are multiple resources available for access to a variety of dialects, I find IDEA the most reliable in the sense that there will be natural speech and reading samples, not someone’s artistic or even imagined reconstruction of a dialect. Moreover, IDEA contains samples of both reading passages specifically designed to elicit particular phonetic environments and natural speech samples. In my pronunciation class, we often play both and then discuss how the task the speaker performs may affect accentedness and intelligibility. It helps my students learn to design activities for teaching and assessment that would best reflect their students’ pronunciation skills and progress.”

Olga Griswold
Linguistics Professor, Cal Poly Pomona


“I was just looking at the IDEA website, and I saw how many dialects of English you have included. … I do remember years ago from other sources that there was much less available on English-speaking dialects from around the world. I mean: Hong Kong! So specific. Caribbean, Middle East, Africa.

I can’t tell you how exciting this is, especially as I am a person of color. Non-white English dialects have previously been so widely taken as representing inferior people in the English-speaking world. The fact that these dialects were rarely included in mainstream dialect resources indicated a lack of interest in, a lack of respect for, and even a lack of contact between whites and people of color.

On your website, I feel that you’ve established the complexity, specificity, value, and reality of the much larger world of English dialects. Thank you so much!”

Fiona Cheung
Los Angeles, California

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