Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pronounce (almost) everything with Forvo

Here's a cool site I came upon yesterday: Forvo. It's a Web 2.0 site, still in beta, that's a sort of Wikipedia for pronunciation. Words are pronounced by users all over the world who create an audio file. It also includes proper nouns (names of people and places, starting with caps).
I took it for a test drive in Italian and was pleased. It correctly pronounced Valdobbiadene (the town that specializes in Prosecco), Abano (a spa town near Padova), chierichetto (means altar boy), Ghirlandaio (Renaissance artist) and of course bruschetta. It did not, alas, include gheriglio (the meat of a nut). It had an Italian mispronouncing Barone Ricasoli (RiCAsoli is correct). But I voted him a 1/5 and sent him a message referring him to the Baron's website, where the good nobleman graciously introduces himself ("Benvenuti, sono Francesco Ricasoli").

You don't have to be registered to search for words, but you do if you want to contribute, vote on others' pronunciations, or communicate with them to tell them how wrong they are. And that's always a lot of fun.