Category Archives: Pronunciation

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.

When politicians pronounce

Donald Trump is not the first politician to make headlines over his pronunciation, but the way he said the word ‘Tanzania‘ in a recent speech probably tells more about his international policy credentials than poor pronunciation skills.

The Republican presidential frontrunner made the unusual pronunciation of the name of the East African country while making a major policy speech on US foreign policy. Ironic?

Earlier on in the US presidential campaign, candidate Ben Carson dented his hopes of making it to the White House by mispronouncing Hamas – warning instead about the “hummus” terror threat. And back in 2012, presidential candidate Herman Cain infamously mispronounced “Uzbekistan“. Perhaps advisers to these politicians need to get themselves onto Forvo once in a while to help out their struggling bosses?

Meanwhile, in the UK there was also a stooshie over pronunciation this week. Prime minister David Cameron poked fun at Ukip leader Nigel Farage in a House of Commons debate. Praising Labour MP Ben Bradshaw for referring to the Ukip leader’s name to rhyme with “Farridge”, rather than “Farrahge” he said:  “I’m glad he takes the English pronunciation of Farage rather than the rather poncey foreign-sounding one that he seems to prefer.”

Farage, who has intimated in the past that his name rhymes with the the word ‘garage’, asked in a tweet what “Eton-educated David Cameron” parks his car in.

Perhaps if the party leaders took some time to listen to how garage is pronounced around the English speaking world on Forvo, they’d see that both pronunciations are accepted.

As is often the case in the world of politics, a little bit of thought and research wouldn’t hurt before politicians pronounce.

Can you tell the difference between US and UK pronunciation?

Do you know how to tell the difference between British and American pronunciation? Test your knowledge in our fun quiz!

Test your knowledge of the accents of English

Can you tell the difference between US and UK accents? Try this quiz to find out.

What country is the speaker from?

UK

US

Where is the speaker from in this example?

US

UK

The word is ‘mobile’, but is the speaker American or British?

British

American

This is how you pronounce ‘garage’, but in which country?

US

UK

Is this pronunciation of ‘schedule’ made by a British or an American speaker?

American

British

You drink it every day, but is this the way you say it in the UK or the US?

UK

US

It’s a word that’s in the news a lot lately. But where is the speaker from?

US

UK

You might use this to make your food more tasty, but is the speaker American or British?

British

American

Which country does this pronunciation come from?

UK

US

Is this how the past participle of eat is pronounced in Britain or in the USA?

USA

Britain

Keep going!

You still need to practise a bit more to improve your English pronunciation

Well done!

You’re able to differentiate between the different accents of English

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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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.

Watch video!

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.

 

 

Forvo teams up with The Name Engine

We’re really keen at Forvo to help make sure that learning correct pronunciation is accessible for everyone.

This is why we’ve teamed up with our friends at The Name Engine to make sure users get the best of both worlds.

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The Name Engine provides audio name pronunciations of athletes, entertainers, politicians, news-makers, and more. Although their database isn’t as big as Forvo’s they provide a really useful service with a special focus on names. Perhaps you’re a professional broadcaster, local reporter, or simply a curious fan? You can check out their site to help you pronounce better, and if you can’t find what you’re looking for on The Name Engine, they’ve placed a helpful link back to Forvo so you can continue your search. We’re sure you’ll find this useful to help you learn how to pronounce some of those difficult names.

To find out more about The Name Engine, check out their site at www.thenameengine.com.

 

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.