Forvo Review: Master Pronunciation
In the world of language learning, correct pronunciation is paramount. This is in part the reason why I’m writing this Forvo review, I feel like it’s a resource many language learners have never heard of. It not only helps you communicate more effectively but also leads to a deeper understanding and appreciation of the language and culture. That’s where Forvo comes in – a one-stop platform pronunciation dictionary. In this Forvo review, we’ll explore the features of Forvo and tips for maximising your language learning experience with this essential tool.
Founded in 2008, Forvo is a user-driven pronunciation guide that aims to improve spoken communication across cultures by creating the largest and most comprehensive pronunciation database in the world. With a mission to improve language learning for everyone, Forvo boasts a database of nearly 6 million words pronounced across more than 430 languages, all contributed by native speakers. Forvo is available on the web or alternatively on iOS and Android.
I last wrote a Forvo review back in 2016, since then the website has had a bit of a makeover, but apart from that the core website and experience are more or less the same.
Forvo’s extensive database covers not only common words, phrases, and even names but also more specialised terminology, allowing users to learn accurate pronunciations for virtually any term they encounter ranging from basic vocab to industry-specific jargon. Forvo’s extensive pronunciation database is its most valuable feature, providing access to a huge range of pronunciations across numerous languages, name any language, and you’d struggle to not find it listed. With over 6 million record pronunciations, the database is continually being updated and expanded by native speakers from around the world which ensures that it remains comprehensive and up-to-date with the latest terms and expressions.
Forvo’s database also accommodates multiple dialects and accents within a single language. This is great, especially if you’re focusing on a specific dialect and want to hear a speaker of that dialect pronounce it. To aid with this, Forvo adds a small description next to each pronunciation e.g. ‘Pronunciation by kent (male from New Zealand), for more detail, you can click on their profile to see more information such as their location on a map, some users provide additional info on where they grew up to further help those after specific dialects.
Users can give back to the Forvo community by contributing pronunciations of words and phrases in their native language, Forvo relies on the voluntary participation of users. You can only contribute pronunciations of your native language(s), this avoids the problem of some sites and videos where you have a non-native pronunciation which occasionally can lead to problems. Forvo encourages users to rate pronunciations contributed by other users. This feedback system gives other users feedback on whether other native speakers agree on a certain word or phrase’s pronunciation but also allows the Forvo community to identify and flag inaccurate recordings.
Forvo’s Request Feature is a valuable tool for language learners who are seeking pronunciations of specific words or phrases not yet available in the platform’s extensive database. This user-friendly feature enables members to submit requests for pronunciations in their desired language, which are then added to a queue for native speakers to contribute. By fulfilling these requests, native speakers can help people learning their language. I use this feature all the time when making my own flashcards, I make sentences, then request a pronunciation for the given sentence, and when someone provides the said recording all I have to do is download it and add it to my flashcard.
Forvo offer a ‘premium user’ plan which costs $2 (one time or annually) , for that you get an ad-free experience plus priority in your pronunciation requests. To cut to the chase, you don’t need to get premium especially if you have an ad-blocker, but this is definitely more of a donation thing similar to what Wikipedia does. If you feel that Forvo has helped you out and want to support the project then perhaps donating some money to a worthy cause is justified.
Forvo recently announced that are releasing a new feature on their platform called Forvo Academy. This will allow users to take lessons with a native ‘personal trainer’. So a teaching service more or less. It hasn’t been released yet so I will update this part when Forvo give us more information.
Maximizing Your Language Learning Experience with Forvo
As I’ve already mentioned, the main reason I use Forvo is to add audio to my flashcards on Anki. Once you have an account on Forvo, you can download the recordings. By adding Forvo audio files to your Anki flashcards, you can practice not only vocabulary and grammar but also improve your listening and pronunciation skills. This combination creates a more immersive and well-rounded language learning experience.
I also briefly want to mention the Forvo app. Now I’ve only tried the iOS app, but I must say that I don’t like it, it takes too long to load pages and definitely is in need of an update. Overall, the site provides a much better user experience.
That’s it for my Forvo review, short and sweet. At the end of the day, Forvo is an incredible free resource. It has been a solid part of my language-learning arsenal for years now, and I’ve found it incredibly useful for making flashcards and checking the pronunciation of certain words. With its huge database of authentic pronunciations by native speakers, it’s unmatched in size. So what are you waiting for? Definitely consider using it when you get the chance.