Category Archives: Languages

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.

 

Forvo reaches the half-million mark!

Yep folks, we’ve done it. Forvo officially has over 500,000 registered users… and counting.

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We’d like to celebrate this fantastic achievement with all of our users as it’s thanks to each and every one of you who make Forvo such a special place for language learners and those who want to improve their pronunciation.

The news comes at a great time for Forvo as we continue to grow and improve thanks to all the feedback from our community. 2016 is a momentous year for Forvo, with the release of two great new apps for iPhone and Android as well as the arrival on the site of new features such as our brilliant events section or the addition of phrases.

We’re also nearing the landmark of 4 million pronounced words, now in 337 languages. More on that later this year.

We continue to add new features and make enhancements to Forvo based on your recommendations. Watch out for more in the coming months.

If you have any suggestions for us please Tweet us @forvo or email us at info@forvo.com.

 

Forvo at the Language Technology Summit in Brussels

The Forvo team is looking forward to the LT Industry Summit in Brussels next week. Even more so as we will be featuring as one of the presenters!

Taking place between the 17th and 18th of May in Brussels, the LT Industry Summit is the yearly point of convergence between the Language Technology Industry, its clients, research partners and policy makers.

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The topic of Forvo’s presentation is ‘Pronouncing all the Words in the World’ and we hope to make more people in the language technology sector aware of Forvo as we think it’s a really useful tool!

You can find out more about the summit and see the programme here.

For those of you in the area if you’d like to come along and find out more about Forvo we are presenting on Tuesday May 17 as part of the Technology Spotlight talks. The event is taking place at the the International Auditorium, Boulevard du Roi Albert II, Brussels.

Also, if you’d like to attend as a guest of Forvo please let us know and we can provide you with a 15% discount on the entry fee. Get in touch with us at info@forvo.com if you’d like more information.

 

Forvo pronunciations now available on Ikusle.com

We’re proud to announce that we’ve teamed up with our friends at Ikusle to offer Forvo pronunciations on their newly-launched website.

The pronunciation guide is available across the whole of ikusle.com. To listen to word pronunciations simply double click on any word and you will see a blue “play” button appear beside it. Click the button to hear how the word is pronounced.

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The functionality is a simple piece of JavaScript that is inserted into the site which allows the pronunciations to be called up from Forvo’s giant database of words.

Although the site is predominantly in Spanish, Ikusle also features many words and expressions in Basque which you will be able to hear on the site. Ikusle is a general interest news site aimed at people who live in the Spanish-speaking Basque Country. You can find out more about Ikusle and the Forvo plugin here.

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Would you like to have this functionality on your website? We can generate a piece of code for you so you can implement the Forvo plug-in on your site. Get in touch with us at info@forvo.com for more information.

Is it a noun or a verb? You decide!

Can you tell the difference in pronunciation between nouns and verbs in English?

 

 

Is it a noun, is it a verb? Test your English pronunciation

Some nouns and verbs have the same form in English. For example:  The runner set an Olympic record. (noun) I record music in my garage. (verb)  However, the pronunciation (or syllable stress) is different. Where “record” is used as a noun, the stress is on the first syllable: RE-cord (where “re” is the same sound as the “re” in “relative”).  But when “record” is used as a verb, the stress is on the second syllable: re-CORD, and the “re” sounds like “ri”, as in “remember”.)
Try our fun quiz to see if you can you tell the difference between nouns and verbs with the same spelling in English!

‘Conflict’ is being pronounced here as…?

A noun

A verb

The word is ‘permit’. Is it being used as a noun or a verb in this pronunciation?

Noun

Verb

Is this the noun or the verb version of ‘export’?

Noun

Verb

Is the speaker saying this word as a noun or a verb?

Definitely a verb

Get outta here! It’s a noun

Noun or verb? You decide. It’s all in the detail.

It’s a noun silly!

No way man, that’s a verb

Is this the way escort is said when it’s a verb or a noun?

Verb

Noun

What about this one? It’s a noun right?

I reject that. It’s definitely a verb

You’re the reject. It’s clearly a noun

You’re contracted to answer this question…

Noun

Verb

Put the needle on the record and record your answer…

Noun

Verb

May we permit you to have one last chance to redeem yourself?

Verb

Noun

You need to brush up on your pronunciation. Go to forvo.com and start listening!

Not bad. But if you do a bit more listening on forvo.com it’ll help you become an expert

Well done! You certainly know your nouns from your verbs in English!

Ad free version of Forvo’s Android app available

Hot on the heels of Forvo’s recent first foray into the wonderful world of Android, we’ve  launched a new version of our app which is free from advertising.

The app, which can be downloaded from the Google Play Store, now has an option to remove ads which you can find in the side menu as an in-app product.

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By purchasing the ad free option you will be helping to sustain the Forvo community and make sure we can continue to make Forvo the go to place for pronunciations in over 335 languages.

Those who prefer using the version containing ads may continue to do so.

The new version is also based on your feedback. When we released the original ad- supported version of the app we were contacted by a number of users who told us they would prefer to pay for an ad free app.

So here it is! The app, which has a rating of 4.7 on the Google Play Store, has already been downloaded by over 17,000 users. And nearly 25,000 pronunciations have been recorded through the app already.

Android users – what are you waiting for? Download the app today at forvo.com/android.

 

New events section!

Summer time is just around the corner and with it there’s a whole host of events to look forward to.

This year is a particularly good one for sports fans with the European Football Championships taking place in June followed by Rio’s Olympic Games in August.

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Film buffs meanwhile will be looking forward to the Cannes and Venice Film Festivals while Europop lovers will be lapping up this year’s Eurovision song contest in Sweden.

So many events, so many new names and expressions to learn. But how to pronounce them all? To help our users, we’ve launched a new events section on Forvo which we hope will inform on how to pronounce names, places, words and expressions associated with all these top events.

And as Forvo is a language learning site, we’ve also included language days, such as the International Day of Portuguese Language or International Francophonie Day.

As the year goes on we’ll be adding to the section, but if there’s an event you would like to see featured, or if you have any other suggestions for our new section please get in touch by emailing info@forvo.com or tweeting us @forvo.

Check out the new section at forvo.com/events.

Johan Cruyff, Sláinte and Leicester most pronounced in March

The sad passing of Dutch footballing legend Johan Cruyff was reflected on Forvo during the month of March. His name was one of the top searched for terms on the site over the past  week. As tributes poured in for the former Barcelona and Ajax player who died on March 24th, many of you were searching Forvo for the correct pronunciation of his name.

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Sticking with the football theme, also making the list was the English city of Leicester. Leicester City FC have surprised everyone with their incredible rise to the top of the English Premier League. But it’s no surprise to see them top our list of most searched for words. The contracted British pronunciation of place names like Worcester, Gloucester, and Leicester have given many non-British English speakers a headache over the years. You can read more about how these pronunciations might have come about on this fascinating blog post.

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March means St. Patrick’s Day and Forvo favourite ‘sláinte’ – it always features highly in our polls – trended throughout the month. ‘Sláinte Mhaith‘ was also a top search term on the list.

Cheers!

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