Forvo is an amazing freeware web service to learn the pronunciation of all sorts of words, in almost all of the languages spoken all over the world. Apart from the national languages, Forvo’s database also consists of little known regional languages spoken in different parts of the world. It is basically community contributed service, where native users of a language help others in learning the pronunciation of the words by pronouncing it. You can also contribute by recording pronunciation of words and uploading them to Forvo’s database.
It is like Wikipedia of Pronunciations.
It also features handy information about a language, like the total number of its speakers in the world, words pronounced so far etc. Apart from that, you can also search for recently pronounced words in specific categories like people, holidays, food etc. Getting excited to become a polyglot already? Head past the break to find more.
If you are a long time reader of ILFS, you would have already seen Forvo in our article 5 Free Websites To Learn Pronunciation Online. But I am so much infatuated by this website that I thought of doing a deeper review here.
Forvo: Primary Web UI
The homepage of Forvo is quite busy one, filled with tabs, search boxes and things like that. But that’s not to say it’s unintuitive. On the contrary, this website to learn pronunciation is fairly simple and straightforward to navigate. Check out the screenshot below:
As illustrated by the above screenshot, the UI consists of a lot of information, but can be easily navigated, thanks to the five primary navigation tabs that let you access different features. These tabs are briefly mentioned below:
- Home: This is the default tab. It consists of any randomly picked language, called Language of the day, and features important information like Number of speakers, pronounced words etc. about it. It also lists categories of words like people, music, sports, and more.
- Languages: Obviously, this section lists all the languages catalogued in Forvo’s online database. The languages are arranged in groups on the basis of the number of pronounced words that they have on Forvo, starting from the languages having more than 100,000 pronunciations up top, all the way down to those having less than 500 pronunciations.
- Categories: As mentioned above, this section lists different words, grouped into categories like people, holidays, music, etc. You can also sort the categories either alphabetically, or by popularity.
- Pronounce: This is the section where you can choose a specific language from a drop down menu having a list of all the catalogued languages on Forvo, and see the words that are pending pronunciation in that particular language.
- Users: This is Forvo’s pronunciation hall of fame. It consists of a top 20 listing of Forvo’s users, both by the total number of words added, as well as the number of words pronounced (Your name can be in there too!).
How to search for a particular word and hear its pronunciation?
Step 1: Enter the word whose pronunciation you want to hear in the search box on the top right corner, and press enter.
Step 2: Once you do that, all the words matching your search query that are included in Forvo’s database with pronunciations are listed (Note that if a word occurs in more than one language, then all of the occurrences will be listed in search results. You can filter the search results by specifying the language in which you are searching the word’s pronunciation, if you want). Click on the relevant search result, and all of its pronunciations are listed, along with the contributing user. To hear the pronunciation, simply click on the small Blue play icon before a search result. The search results are also accompanied by a map, that displays where in the world the language which you searched is spoken. Check out the screenshot below:
Create a free account to access more features
Although Forvo can be used just fine without creating an account, a free account gives you access to quite a handful of features. So you might want to consider creating one. Here’s a list of all that you get once you create a free account:
- Download pronunciations as MP3 files.
- Rate others’ contributions.
- Choose your main language.
- Keep track of your added and pronounced words.
- Create your own pronunciation list.
Forvo is an amazing web based service, not just for some who loves learning different languages, but for almost everyone. With the world already globally connected and becoming more so with each passing day, you never know when you have to interact with someone who doesn’t speak the tongue you do. Services like Forvo can therefore, come in really handy. And besides, learning new languages is a lot of fun. Personally, I myself prefer Hola and Gracias much more than Hello and Thanks. I suggest you give Forvo a try, who knows, you might find a language that you’d love to learn.