Forvo

 

Learning(i)

Millions of words pronounced on basic, crowd-sourced site.

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Violence
Not applicable
Sex
Not applicable
Language

According to Forvo, "Bad words are not forbidden as long as they are politely pronounced and appear in well-known dictionaries." If kids are prone to looking bad words up in the dictionary, they'll be tickled to find five pronunciations here for "shut the f--k up," nine for "full of s--t," and a whopping 21 for "a--hole." These words do have to be sought out, though.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Privacy & safety
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Forvo is an online, crowd-sourced pronunciation guide that kids can use to learn -– or confirm -– word pronunciations. Just like the dictionary, there are swear words and terms for body parts that can provoke giggles. On the whole, however, it's an excellent tool for double-checking pronunciation when away from the classroom. The site is fairly easy to use, but some younger kids might have a hard time getting around on the site to find just what they're looking for.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • phonics
  • speaking
  • vocabulary

Social Studies

  • cultural understanding

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • asking questions
  • memorization

Communication

  • listening
  • speaking

Tech Skills

  • using and applying technology

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

For a word-pronunciation site, it's about as fun as it can be. Kids can get a kick out of recording their own words and hearing them. For those with more serious language questions, the site's design is clean and fairly simple to view.

Learning Approach

There isn't a lot of depth with Forvo. Basically, you click a word, hear the word, and that's it. But kids will feel empowered by recording their own voices and learning new pronunciations.

Support

There's an FAQ explaining the rules and regulations of Forvo, and adding words is pretty intuitive. A separate help section describes how to use a microphone to record words, which can then be sent directly to the site.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • phonics
  • speaking
  • vocabulary

Social Studies

  • cultural understanding

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • asking questions
  • memorization

Communication

  • listening
  • speaking

Tech Skills

  • using and applying technology

Kids can learn to correctly pronounce any of Forvo's 1,771,172 crowd-sourced words in one of 306 languages. When kids choose to upload their own pronunciations, they can also learn how good they are according to other users. Every user on Forvo can rate the quality of each pronounced word. Forvo's randomly generated "Language of the Day" gives a few extra tidbits of info, but on the whole the site's all about pronunciation. Because all content on Forvo is user-generated, the site's quality will improve as more people use it, and so will its ability to teach pronunciation to kids.

This Learning Rating review was written by Polly Conway

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What's it about?

FORVO is an online pronunciation dictionary. Its content is crowd-sourced, meaning that anyone registered with the site can add their own voice and pronunciation of chosen words. With a searchable database of over 1 million words in 300 languages, kids can review words they think they know in English, or find out how a native speaker pronounces a word in a different language. Forvo's audio clips are 2.5 seconds long, tops, which is apparently long enough for any word to be spoken. Some words also include phonetic spellings to help as you listen.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Forvo's catchphrase is "All the words in the world. Pronounced." With well over a million words and counting they're getting there; it can be fascinating to see a crowd-sourced project like this develop. While the site works well as a pronunciation tool, it isn't a translator. For example, when you look up the word "cat," you'll see many examples of how to pronounce the word "cat" in English. However, there aren't links to the pronunciation of cat's translation in French, Spanish, or any other language. You can hear how "cat" sounds in a handful of different accents, though, which can be interesting and amusing.  One of the site's best features is that you can hear different voices saying the same word -– this really helps to give you a sense of the "best" way to say it yourself. It's worth noting that the sound quality varies from recording to recording; some are very clear while others are muted, distorted, or totally unintelligible.

Families can talk about...

  • Ask your kids: What's your favorite word, and why do you like it? Is it the sound? Does it make you feel a certain way?

  • Talk to your kids about how people from different places pronounce the same words. Do they sound the same or different? Why is this? Should everyone try to sound the same, or is there a value to regional differences in pronunciation?

Website details

Genre:Educational
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free

This review of Forvo was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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