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What is Forvo?

According to Forvo, it is the largest pronunciation guide in the world, and you’ll find millions of words pronounced in their original language by native speakers. It was founded in 2008 with the mission of creating a platform where users can share pronunciations of the words in their native language and listen to words pronounced by other native speakers, the underlying mission of improving spoken communication across different cultures. Forvo, is the largest online reference for pronunciations with a database of nearly 4 millions words, pronounced in over 330 languages!


Why I use Forvo

Nowadays, I mainly make my own flashcards, usually taking phrases or new words that I’ve learned during my iTalki lessons. The main problem when making my own flashcards is finding audio recordings for particular phrases or words, and this is where Forvo comes into the picture. I can simply search a word, and nine times out of ten someone has pronounced it already. For phrases the success rate is a little less, but if a word isn’t on the website there is an option to request the word or phrase to be pronounced by a native speaker. It might take an hour or two, or a day or two before someone gets around to submitting the pronunciation to the site, but once there you can simple download it add it to Anki or Memrise. Easy peasy japanesey.

Lets go over the website!


Here you can see the languages on Forvo, obviously some languages are more popular than others.



You can view words via category which is useful if you’re learning words pertaining to a particular topic. Whilst I think this feature is great I have one pet peeve and that’s you can’t filter by language, it’s not so bad if you’re after a name of something that is the same across many languages, but if you’re after something in a specific language it can be more difficult to find, and you’re better of just searching for it in the search box. 



There is also a handy event page, to help you learn words related to certain events from driver names in Formula1, stage names for Le Tour de France, and character names in Game of Thrones.


Probably the most useful feature, and the one I use most, if you can’t find the word or phrase you’re looking for, you have the option to add it and a native speaker will get around to pronouncing it.



In this image, I’ve searched for Bulgarian word плен which means captivity, I can see that a user called i100 has already provided a pronunciation for it. The site also tells me that he is a male from Bulgaria and there is a map below so I can actually see where in Bulgaria he is from (this can be useful for dialects).

So, that does it for my wee write-up of Forvo, I really think this website is a useful resource when learning a language, especially when making your own flashcards and you need access to good quality audio recordings from native speakers. You do need to make an account if you want to be able to download the recordings, but it’s completely free. There is also app available on both iOs and Android, great if you need audio on the spot, or if you just don’t have your laptop handy.

Have you tried using Forvo to aid your language studies? Let me know what you think!

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