Forvo tells you how words are pronounced

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 16, 2018

Forvo is a free online service that helps you find out how words are pronounced in any of the 330+ languages the service supports.

Forvo is a community-powered website that brings together people from all over the world who use the site to learn how to pronounce certain words or phrases, and provide it with new native language pronunciations.

The site claims that it maintains the largest online pronunciation database with over 4 million pronounced words in over 330 different languages.

Side Note: The top five languages in regards to the size of the database may surprise users: German, Tatar, Russian, English and Japanese. You do find large databases for popular languages such as Chinese, Italian, Spanish, French, or Portuguese as well on the site.

Tip: Find out if you should use Memrise or Duolingo to learn new languages.

Forvo: pronunciation database

If you just want to know how something is pronounced you simply type the word or phrase in the search form on the start page and activate the search button to have results returned to you.

The search results page lists languages the word is known in as well as available pronunciations and, if available, phrases the word or phrase is used in. You may also get translations, a map view, and options to provide your own pronunciation, request a better one, or suggest modifications to add languages, add categories, or report errors.

You hear the recording of native speakers when you click on the play button and logged in users may cast votes (good or bad), share it, and even download it as a mp3 to the local system.

You may explore languages on Forvo to find out more about the language system, get the list of the most popular pronunciations, or explore words based on categories such as traveling, body, greetings and apologies, or colors and numbers.

explore language

The category pages list popular and important words and phrases. If you select Everyday Phrases for example, phrases such as "Where are we meeting", "Do you speak English", or "What's Up" are listed, the foreign language translation, and an option to play a sound file to listen to native speakers pronouncing it.

Users who like the service can check out words pending pronunciations to improve it further. An account is needed to provide pronunciations but the recording tools needed are available on-site.

Closing Words

Forvo is a great web service that helps anyone who speaks a foreign language or wants to learn a foreign language improve pronunciation. The reliance on native speakers, and not machine learning and algorithms, ensures that you get accurate "real-life" pronunciations whenever you use the service.

You don't need an account to listen to pronunciations on the site; that is great. Forvo can be a great asset for anyone who speaks a foreign language and is not yet fluent in it, or is just curious about other languages.

Now You: how do you learn new languages?

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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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