Category Archives: Languages

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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Forvo is a Finalist for the 2016 Red Herring Top 100 Europe Award

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San SebastianMarch 30th, 2016Forvo announced today it has been selected as a finalist for Red Herring’s Top 100 Europe award, a prestigious list honouring the year’s most promising private technology ventures from the European business region.

The Red Herring editorial team selected the most innovative companies from a pool of hundreds from across Europe. The nominees are evaluated on 20 main quantitative and qualitative criterion: they include disruptive impact, market footprint, proof of concept, financial performance, technology innovation, social value, quality of management, execution of strategy, and integration into their respective industries.

This unique assessment of potential is complemented by a review of the actual track record and standing of a company, which allows Red Herring to see past the “buzz” and make the list a valuable instrument for discovering and advocating the greatest business opportunities in the industry.

“This year was rewarding, beyond all expectations” said Alex Vieux, publisher and CEO of Red Herring. “There are many great companies producing really innovative and amazing products in Europe. We had a very difficult time narrowing the pool and selecting the finalists. Forvo shows great promise and therefore deserves to be among the finalists. Now we’re faced with the difficult task of selecting the Top 100 winners of Red Herring Europe. We know that the 2016 crop will grow into some amazing companies that are sure to make an impact.”

Finalists for the 2016 edition of the Red Herring 100 Europe award are selected based upon their technological innovation, management strength, market size, investor record, customer acquisition, and financial health. During the months leading up to the announcement, Red Herring reviewed over 1200 companies in the telecommunications, security, cloud, software, hardware, biotech, mobile and other industries completed their submissions to qualify for the award.

The finalists are invited to present their winning strategies at the Red Herring Europe Forum in Amsterdam, April 11-13, 2016. The Top 100 winners will be announced at a special awards ceremony on the evening of April 13 at the event.

Learn how to pronounce Scottish place names

We’re proud to announce that we’ve teamed up with our friends at the Scots Magazine in order to help you learn how to pronounce some of those tricky Scots and Gaelic place names.

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The pronunciation guide is available across the whole of the scotsmagazine.com website. in order to listen to how the words are pronounced 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.

The added bonus is that if the pronunciation of a word isn’t already in Forvo’s database a red record button will appear allowing you to record the word yourself. One for the expert Scots and Gaelic speakers amongst you ;-)

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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.

You can find out more about the project here: scotsmagazine.com/articles/pronunciation-guide/

Do you have a language learning website or do you run a site focused on keeping minority languages alive? Would you like to implement the Forvo plug-in on your site to make those words come alive? Get in touch with us at info@forvo.com for more information.

 

 

Forvo launches new video section

Now there are even more ways to learn how to pronounce on Forvo! With the launch of our new video section we aim to provide a complimentary service to our already extensive database of audio pronunciations.

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Initially available in English, the videos are designed to help learners of that language pronounce better. We have concentrated especially on words that learners find difficult due to some of the peculiarities of English spelling and pronunciation. We will adding more videos in English and other languages in the coming weeks.

The videos focus on the pronunciation of words that are frequently requested on Forvo by our users. There are also links out to audio pronunciations of the words that feature in the videos so you can learn to pronounce just like in the video.

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Check out all the videos at http://forvo.com/video/ and as always, let us know what you think at by emailing us at info@forvo.com or contacting us on Twitter @forvo.

 

 

 

January’s most searched for words – Zika Virus, Revenant and Conchobar

Although there can be exceptions, the words people look for on Forvo tend to reflect news  stories that are currently making headlines around the world.

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With the Zika virus now topping 1.5 million cases worldwide, in January 2016 users have been trying to find out how the disease is pronounced.

Meanwhile, we’re well into awards season with the Oscars just around the corner and this is reflected on Forvo too. Twelve-time nominee The Revenant, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, has been one of the most requested pronunciations this past month and the film’s director Alejandro González Iñárritu has also been a top requested name.

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Also hitting the headlines in January was One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson after it was rumoured that he would be naming his baby son Conchobar. Requests on Forvo to hear how the Irish name is pronounced went through the roof. Despite this, the singer later released a statement to say he had finally opted for the easier-to-pronounce Freddie.

The weather is always a big talking point and making the news in January was the Welsh village of Eglwyswrw. As well as its less-than-easy-to-pronounce name, the village made headlines as it became the wettest place in the UK with rainfall detected for at least 83 days in a row.

Sometimes however, even the team at Forvo is at a loss as to why people want to know how to pronounce words. A couple of recent examples of this are the German word ‘Pickelsausen‘ and the Danish word ‘nørøxe‘. Calling all Danish and German speakers – we’d be really interested to know why these two words have been trending lately on Forvo. Any ideas?

Answers please to info@forvo.com or tweet us @forvo.

 

 

Introducing Forvo’s new Android App

We’re really excited today at Forvo HQ about the release of our new app for android phones.

The app, which is available for download on Google Play, lets you listen to, learn and record pronunciations of words in over 325 languages.

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With an ever increasing amount of traffic coming to forvo.com via mobile devices, we wanted to make the Forvo experience on mobile phones as good as possible. Regular Forvo users will note that much of the website’s functionality is now available through the new app.

Here are some of the new app’s great features, which you can also see in our video below.

 

Features:

* Search for words and listen to word pronunciations from native speakers

* More than 3.5 million pronunciations available

* Compare different accents for the same word

* Listen to male or female voices

* Keep track of your recently listened to pronunciations

* Works with your forvo.com account

* Record pronunciations in your native language and help fellow learners

* Learn to pronounce properly in over 325 languages

* Powered by Forvo, the largest pronunciation guide in the world

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Don’t worry Apple fans, we’re also working on an updated version of our iPhone app and will  release it in the coming months.

As ever, we’re really keen to hear what you think about the app, so if you have any questions or comments about the new app please contact us at info@forvo.com or on Twitter @forvo.

Bowie, Snape and Saoirse trending on Forvo

Forvo is such a fantastic tool for language learners that it’s often easy to overlook its usefulness as a way of measuring the impact of breaking news as events unfurl across the globe.

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The week started with the terrible news of David Bowie’s death at the age of 69 following a battle with cancer. David Bowie has since been amongst the top searched for terms on Forvo. This is likely to be because of the general lack of consensus over how the singer pronounced his surname. Indeed, it seems the man formerly known as David Jones wasn’t averse to speculation over how his name was pronounced either, judging by some of the interviews he gave over the course of his glittering career.

Another sad piece of news this week was the untimely death of British actor Alan Rickman. For many, he will always be known as the enigmatic Severus Snape from the Harry Potter films. Indeed, although Alan Rickman trended on Forvo for a while, it was the term Severus Snape which became one of the most searched for items on Forvo this week.

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A week of devastating events was compounded with the news that singer Celine Dion’s husband René Angélil had lost his cancer battle. This led the former music manager’s name to become a top search term on Forvo.

Amongst all the sad news, there was time for frivolity with the hotly anticipated Oscar nominations being announced. Twelve-time nominee The Revenant has not only caught the imagination of the academy but it also seems to have forged a desire to know how it’s pronounced. The word ‘revenant‘ has featured among the top searched for terms on Forvo all week. The film’s director, Alejandro González Iñárritu, has caused many an awards presenter pronunciation woes as has his fellow Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan. The Irish actress has been hitting headlines following a string of chat show appearances during which she helped the hosts get to grips with the pronunciation of Irish names.

In politics, the Spanish media got into a fluster over how to pronounce Carles Puigdemont, the new President of the Generalitat of Catalonia. And special mention must go to the Welsh village of Eglwyswrw. Not only did its residents endure the longest stint of consecutive rainy days in almost a century, the locality also caused many a news presenter a pronunciation nightmare.

 

 

Most pronounced words of 2015 on Forvo

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Forvo.com’s annual list of the most requested pronunciations of the year is now out and it provides a fascinating insight into how we lived in 2015.

Amongst the online pronunciation guide’s lists this year we can see the global influence of BBC TV series Dr Who (the word Raxacoricofallapatorian) as well as a reflection of political and world events. Words such as the acronym for Islamic group Daesh, French publication Charlie Hebdo or the Greek political party Syriza are also present.

Technology features heavily with words like Chrome, Whatsapp and Airbnb being frequently requested. Other words in high demand were Emoji and Selfie.

As well as the curiosity factor, Forvo’s lists tell us much about the year 2015’s place in history. The words users search for usually tend to lie outside their own cultural and linguistic territory and display a human desire not only to understand, but to be understood.

Whereas a list of most searched words ranks the importance placed on certain events, people, and things, a list of most searched pronunciations ranks what events, people, and things are being most talked about across borders. Therefore pronunciations tell us a good deal about international influence — who’s influencing who, and how.

Most Pronounced Words of 2015

1. Chrome; English — Google internet browser

2. Sprout; English — A newly grown bud

3. 鬼島; Mandarin Chinese — “Ghost Island”. Refers to Hashima Island, an abandoned island off the coast of southern Japan. The island was made a UNESCO World Heritage site in July 2015

4. Audio; English — A recording of acoustic signals

5. Raxacoricofallapatorian — Pertaining to a fictitious alien species which features in the BBC TV series Dr Who

6. Google — American technology company specializing in internet-related services

7. Apple — American multinational technology company

8. Schedule; English — “A plan for matters to be attended to”

9. Sláinte; Gaelic — “Good health” Common toast

10. Dysania; English — A state of finding it hard to get out of bed in the morning

11. Whatsapp — cross-platform instant messaging service owned by Facebook

12. Airbnb — A online service for people to list, find, and rent lodging

13. Charlie Hebdo; French — A French satirical magazine

14. Daesh — Acronym for Islamic fundamentalist militant group

15. Squirrel; English — A rodent

Most Pronounced Names

1. Michael Kors — New York-based fashion designer

2. Simon Kjær — Danish professional footballer

3. Wojciech Szczęsny — Polish professional footballer

4. Friedrich Nietzsche — German philosopher

5. Tommy Hilfiger — American fashion designer

6. Ricky van Wolfswinkel — Dutch professional footballer

7. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry — French writer and pioneering aviator

8. Paulo Coelho — Brazilian novelist

9. G-Dragon — South Korean music artist

10. Maroon 5 — American rock band

Most Pronounced Expressions

1. Je t’aime; French — “I love you”

2. Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani; Hebrew “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Biblical expression

3. Alba Gu Bràth; Scottish Gaelic — “Scotland Forever” Slogan used in Scottish campaign for independence

4. Awesome; English — “Something which inspires awe”, and a common slang expression in English, originally from America

5. Saudade; Portuguese — “nostalgia or yearning”

Most Pronounced Places

1. Leicester — English city

2. Camp Nou — Football stadium in Barcelona which is home to Barcelona FC

3. Edinburgh — Capital city of Scotland

4. Reims — French city

5. Hiroshima — Japanese city

Most Pronounced Brands


1.
Michael Kors — New York-based fashion designer

2. Whatsapp — Cross-platform instant messaging service owned by Facebook

3. Airbnb — A online service for people to list, find, and rent lodging

4. Viber — Instant messaging and Voice over IP app for smartphones

5. Ikea — Swedish furniture retailer

6. Roshe Run — Nike trainer model

7. Tommy Hilfiger — American fashion designer

8. YouTube — Video-sharing website

9. LinkedIn — Business-oriented social networking service

10. Instagram — Online photo-and-video-sharing and social networking service


Most Pronounced Food and Drink

1. Chia Seed — Trending health food

2. Chorizo — A type of pork sausage originating in the Iberian Peninsula

3. Gnocchi — Soft dough dumplings originating from Italy

4. Cucumber — A vegetable originally from Southern Asia

5. Cabernet Sauvignon — A variety of grape used to make red wine

Recording blitz

Sometimes those pesky words on Forvo can get ‘stuck’ in the pending pronounciation queue. It’s nobody’s fault and can be due to a number of reasons.

We noticed this problem was particularly prevalent with one of the languages on Forvo  – Hebrew, which had ended up with 11,000 words pending pronunciation. Quite a lot I think you’ll all agree!

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in order to solve the issue, we reached out to our Hebrew editors who explained some of the reasons which might be leading to this queue of words.

Forvo editor Inbal told us: “We have a unique situation as a language. On the one hand we have modern Hebrew as spoken today in Israel, for which the native speakers should only be Israeli born, or those who sound like them. On the other hand we have words coming from the Bible – we have many requests for those, names of people and places that modern Israelis don’t even know about, let alone how to pronounce.”

So what was the solution? After some cleaning up of the database, Inbal came up with the great idea of a recording blitz. She gathered together some of her fellow Hebrew users  (including her 80-year-old dad!) and they blitzed through hundreds of words over a weekend of frenetic Forvo activity.

Their reward? As well as making sure there remains a permanent record of their efforts and helping others to learn to pronounce – a fantastic Forvo T-shirt, as modelled by Inbal below.

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Well done to all our Hebrew editors who have done an amazing job!

תודה רבה!

What about your language? Do you find there a lot of words which are pending pronunciation? Have you got any great ideas on how to clear those lists? Send in your thoughts to info@forvo.com.

Thanks!

Forvo Team