Category Archives: Languages

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!

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 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.