New feature! eLearning comes to Forvo

Those of you who use Forvo regularly know that learning a language gives you the ability not only to communicate better, but also to learn, enjoy and interact with others. Former South African president Nelson Mandela once said, “Without language, one cannot talk to people and understand them; one cannot share their hopes and aspirations, grasp their history, appreciate their poetry, or savour their songs.”

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We’re offering a whole new experience on Forvo to help you learn languages and better pronunciation. Using recordings from the world’s largest online pronunciation guide, we’re providing our users with a system to help you learn the most useful words and phrases in the languages available. It’s an advanced tool which will help you learn words and their pronunciations efficiently. Maybe you need to learn a second language for work, for travel, or perhaps it’s just for fun?

Ten minutes a day should be enough to help you learn and improve the language you are studying. The objective of the system is to learn 20 words a day. Let yourself be led by our algorithm which will select the words for you to learn each day based on your learning patterns.

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It’s as simple as choosing the courses that interest you in order to improve your vocabulary. You’ll be able to hear how the word is pronounced, as well as the meaning of the word and how it can be used in a phrase, where available.

You need to be registered on Forvo to start a course. The tool will do the rest for you and the entire process is very simple and straightforward.

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Check out the new feature at forvo.com/elearning and let us know what you think by emailing us at info@forvo.com.

How well do you know British and Irish accents?

Can you tell the difference between a Somerset accent and a Cornish accent? What about Cockney or Estuary English?

Test your knowledge in the fun quiz below which has been put together by travel firm Expedia. The quiz challenges you to identify ten accents spoken in different parts of the UK and Ireland after listening to recordings of speakers from those areas.

And remember that on Forvo you can hear pronunciations in accents of different languages from all over the world. Every user’s recordings are geo-located in order for you to identify their accent. Simply check out the accent map below each pronunciation on Forvo in order to see where that speaker’s accent is from.

The Accent Map by Expedia.co.uk

Join Forvo at Atlantikaldia 2016!

We’re delighted to announce our participation at the Atlantikaldia Festival in the Basque town of Errenteria on the 24th and 25th of September this year.

We will be running a series of workshops which will allow you to discover all 339 languages on Forvo as well as giving you the opportunity to contribute to the world’s largest online pronunciation guide.

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Join us from 11am to 13pm on Saturday and Sunday to take part, with prizes on offer for those who help contribute to Forvo.

We’ll also be using the festival to present our minority language guides in Welsh, Basque, Frisian, Scottish Gaelic, Irish, Cornish and Galician. These mini audio dictionaries have been created in collaboration with Tosta, a project which aims to promote the minority languages of Europe’s Atlantic coast.

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We hope these guides will help you to discover and learn the rich cultural and linguistic heritages of these languages.

Atlantikaldia was first held in 2014 with the aim of becoming a meeting point for the peoples of the Atlantic, with a particular focus on music and culture. This third edition comes with a more ambitious goal: to turn a town of the Atlantic, Errenteria, into a meeting place for cultures around the world. Check out the full programme of activities and performances  here.

We look forward to seeing you!

Gotta pronounce ’em all!

Here at Forvo we’ve been getting into the Pokémon Go spirit.

With the mobile augmented reality game hitting the world by storm, it’s hard to go anywhere without bumping into someone attempting to catch one of the little blighters.

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And after seeing that many Forvo users have been requesting Pokémon pronunciations we’ve come up with a guide to help you say the names of the mystical creatures.

Now you’ll be able to sound like you know what you’re talking about when chatting about  Pikachus or Charizards. Learn how to pronounce Blastoises or Gyarados and many more.

We’ll be keeping the guide updated, so don’t forget to use the ‘add words’ function on Forvo if you can’t find the pronunciation of your favourite Pokémon!

Check out the guide here: forvo.com/events/pokemon_pronunciation_guide

The Pronunciation Olympics on Forvo

We’re getting into the Olympic spirit at Forvo with the release of a series of pronunciation guides for Rio 2016.

The guides, which you can find here, are designed to help people learn to pronounce some of the tricky names of athletes participating at this year’s Games.

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Find it hard to pronounce the names of the athletes Živilė Vaiciukevičiūtė or Tuğçe Şahutoğlu? What about weightlifter Saeid Mohammadpourkarkaragh?

Fear not! Help is at hand with Forvo’s Olympic Games pronunciation guides. All our pronunciations are made by native speakers from the athletes’ countries of origin. And if you see any names are missing from Forvo – get your requests in now, or tweet us @Forvo.

How do you pronounce Payet, Błaszczykowski and Griezmann?

Euro 2016 has sparked a lot of interest in Forvo, with many of our users trying to find out how to pronounce the names of the some of the continent’s top footballers.

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The top three requested pronunciations for the month of June were the following: Antoine Griezmann, Dimitri Payet, and Jakub Błaszczykowski.

The success of the home team may have something to do with the two French footballers featuring so highly. Particularly in the case of Atlético Madrid striker Griezmann who is the tournament’s top scorer. Those requesting the correct pronunciation of Dimitri Payet may likely have been wondering whether to pronounce that final ‘t’ or not.

In the case of Błaszczykowski, for non-native speakers of Polish, several listens may be required in order to accurately reproduce the pronunciation of the Borussia Dortmund midfielder!

Hugo Lloris, Kevin De Bruyne and Michy Batshuayi were three other Euro 2016 stars making Forvo’s list of most pronounced for the month of June. And although he wasn’t playing at the tournament, new Manchester United signing Eric Bailly featured highly in the logs too.

But June wasn’t just about football. The UK’s referendum over its membership of the European Union was the month’s biggest news story by far. This was reflected on Forvo with the words Brexit, Nigel Farage, Jean-Claude Juncker, Nicola Sturgeon and Andrea Leadsom all receiving a large amount of hits.

The pronunciation of former UKIP leader Farage has been covered in a previous post, but the correct way to say Brexit has provoked debate. Should it be ‘breksit’ or ‘bregzit’? We’ll let you decide that one in our Twitter poll.

 

 

 

New on Forvo – Certificates!

At Forvo we believe that selfless collaboration between people is a really important value in our society and it should be a source of satisfaction and pride to be able to demonstrate that collaboration.

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With this in mind and by way of thanks for the efforts made by members of the community Forvo offers you the chance to obtain a certificate of official recognition to show on your CV, or on networks such as LinkedIn.

in order to get hold of the annual certificate you need to have made at least 500 valid word pronunciations on Forvo in a calendar year. You can find out more about how to get your certificate here: forvo.com/certificates

You’ll be able to keep track of your progress through the account info section on Forvo when you are logged in. The authenticity of the certificate can be checked by entering a digital signature generated when you create the certificate.

Thanks for all your collaborations and we hope you find the new feature useful!

 

How to pronounce Muguruza, Kruijswijk and Hiroshima

The month of May generally brings some nice weather to Europe, and with it the start of lots of sporting action.

Two recent big events catching the eye have been the French Open tennis tournament and the Italian Giro – one of cycling’s ‘Grand Tours’.

The expectation these competitions bring mean that many Forvo users have been taking advantage of our new events section to find out how to correctly pronounce the names of the competitors taking part.

In the case of the French Open, the pronunciation of the alternative title of the tournament, Roland Garros, trended on Forvo for several days.

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But it was the pronunciation of the name of new French Open champion Garbiñe Muguruza which provoked most debate. Which is the correct way to say it – the Basque or Spanish version?

Although she was born in Venezuela, Garbiñe represents Spain at international level. She has a Basque father and a Venezuelan mother and it’s generally accepted that both pronunciations are valid.

As for the Giro, for a while Dutch rider Steven Kruijswijk looked like he was going to be the man taking the trophy home to the Netherlands. Despite a crash putting him out of contention a couple of days before the final stage, his name continued to trend on Forvo right up until the end of the competition.

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Meanwhile, away from the world of sport, US President Barack Obama’s historic trip to Hiroshima led to much debate over how to correctly pronounce the Japanese city where US forces dropped an atomic bomb during World War II. The word trended on Forvo for several days in May.

And it seems many of us have been pronouncing the name of this city wrongly for years. The Japanese language generally doesn’t have accented syllables – meaning each part of the word usually gets an equal weight in sound. Find out more about how to correctly pronounce Hiroshima in this Washington Post article.

Want to know how to pronounce the names of the footballers at Euro 2016? Interested in how to pronounce typical golfing terms? Look out for more upcoming events on Forvo at forvo.com/events.

 

 

We’re on Spanish TV!

It’s not every day we make it onto the national news, so we were very pleased when Forvo’s new iPhone app was featured on Spanish TV channel Antena 3.

As part of a segment on Antena 3 Noticias about apps for learning languages, #A3TECH reporter María Pérez Laya talked about how to get the best out of our iPhone app.

You can watch the full video below.

If you’d like to feature Forvo in your publication please get in touch at info@forvo.com or on Twitter @forvo.

You can download our new iPhone app here and the Android app at this link.

Fàilte Sophie! Forvo welcomes a Celtic visitor

We were hugely honoured to have a visit from Sophie Stephenson to the Forvo offices this week. Scottish dancer Sophie is Gaelic artist in residence in the Basque Country as part of the Tosta 2016 project.

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Tosta is a pan-European initiative uniting partner organisations from minority cultures around the Atlantic seaboard. The artist exchange programme aims to promote the creativity and diversity of smaller-language cultures across Europe whilst stimulating intercultural dialogue. The languages included in the project are Welsh, Basque, Frisian, Scottish Gaelic, Irish Gaelic, Cornish and Galician.

Tosta is also part of Donostia/San Sebastian 2016 European Capital of Culture and will culminate in the Atlantikaldia festival in Errenteria. The Basque town – also home to Forvo – has been chosen as the venue to bring the different Atlantic cultures together.

At Forvo we’re really keen to help promote minority languages and Sophie did a brilliant job recording words and phrases on Forvo to help Gaelic learners with their pronunciation. We hope you enjoy her videos!

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As part of Sophie’s residency she will create a piece of dance film which brings together Gaelic and Basque language and culture under the mentorship of the dance company Kukai Dantza Konpainia.  She is also collaborating with Gaelic singers Eilidh Munro and Màiri Britton, from Huradal, along with Euskal Bertsolari and rapper Odei Barroso and sound artist Xabier Erkizia.

You can find out more about Sophie on her website. We look forward to seeing the film and wish Sophie all the best!

If you’d like to find out more about how you can help promote your language, please get in touch by email at info@forvo.com, or on Twitter @forvo.