Forvo Pronunciation Dictionary
Note: Forvo redesigned their website in Jan 2023 adding a $2 premium feature + a teaching platform called Forvo teaching academy. Check out my updated article here
Forvo is a website that provides pronunciation recordings of words and phrases in many different languages. It is a useful resource for language learners who want to improve their pronunciation and hear how words are spoken by native speakers.
One of the key benefits of using Forvo is that it offers a vast database of recordings. The website has over 7 million recordings in over 400 languages, so it’s likely that you’ll find the word or phrase you’re looking for, no matter what language you’re learning. This can be particularly helpful if you’re studying a less commonly taught language and don’t have access to many resources.
Another advantage of Forvo is that it’s user-generated. The recordings are made by native speakers of the language who volunteer to contribute to the website. This means that the recordings are authentic and reflect how the language is actually spoken, rather than being read by professional voice actors.
In addition, Forvo is free to use, making it an affordable and accessible resource for language learners. You can search for recordings by word or phrase, and listen to them as many times as you like. This can be a great way to practice your pronunciation and improve your speaking skills.
Overall, Forvo is a valuable resource for language learners who want to improve their pronunciation. By providing authentic recordings of words and phrases spoken by native speakers, it can help you learn to speak like a local.
Nowadays, I mainly make my own flashcards, usually taking phrases or new words that I have learnt from tv shows, movies and 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 for a word, and nine times out of ten someones has pronounced it already. For phrases, the success rate is a little less, but if a word is not 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 simply download it and add it to Anki or whichever flashcard app you use. Easy peasy japanesey.
Let’s go over the website!
Here you can see the languages on Forvo, obviously some languages are more popular than others.
Another cool feature is the “travel phrases” section. This can be useful if you are just visiting a country and want to have some helpful phrases handy in case you need them. They cover relevant travel topics such as getting around, shopping, directions, banking, flirting and more.
Add words to be pronounced
Probably the most useful feature, and the one I use most, is if you cannot find the word or phrase that you are looking for, then you have the option to add it and a native speaker will get around to pronouncing it.
In this image, I have searched for the 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). I also have the option to download the audio, which is fantastic because I can just put that audio straight into my flashcards.
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 (They have released a premium which removes site ads and priority for your added words but it is more of a donation). There is also an 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!