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Database of Teaching Sources

A database of selected, reviewed, tested, assessed and validated e-learning based language teaching sources addressed to Higher education students for the learning of 18 different European languages.

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Forvo

Date of Publication

2008

Target Group

Lecturers
Students

Domain Area

Accounting
Business & Communication
Law
Medicine & Nursing
Teacher Education
Tourism

Learning Scenario

Autonomous learning
Classroom Context

Target Language

Italian

Language of Instruction

Any language

CEFR level

A1
A2
B1
B2
C1
C2

Type of Material

Audio
Guiding resources (online course/book)
Reference resources (online Dictionaries/ grammar guides/phrasebooks)

Linguistic Features

Vocabulary
Pragmatics
Prosody

Skills

Listening
Speaking
Reading

Description

Forvo is the largest pronunciation guide in the world, the place where to find millions of words and phrases pronounced in their original languages.
In 2008, Forvo was founded with the mission of improving spoken communication across cultures by creating a platform where users could share pronunciations of words in their native language and listen to words pronounced by other native speakers. Today, Forvo is the largest online reference for pronunciations with a database of nearly 6 million words pronounced in over 430 languages – all created and maintained by native speakers.
Forvo continues to work toward its mission as a go-to reference for authentic word pronunciations through over 110 million site visits annually and over 800,000 registered users. In 2013, Forvo was included in Time Magazine’s “50 Best Websites of the Year.”
Forvo provides the learner with useful words and phrases in the languages available (Italian). It's an advanced tool which will help the learner learn words and their pronunciations efficiently. The learner can use the dictionary in order to improve her/his vocabulary or s/he can choose a language course. The learner will be able to hear how the word is pronounced, as well as the meaning of the word and how it can be used in a phrase. The pronunciation database is alimented by Italian native speakers and the learner will also be able to distinguish between different regional variants.
10 minutes a day are enough to help the learner learn and improve the target language. The objective of the system is to learn 20 words a day. The learner will be led by the Forvo's algorithm which will select the words for him/her to learn each day based on the learner's learning patterns.
The learner needs to be registered on Forvo to start a course.

Case study

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Guidelines

The resource can be productively exploited both in the class-room and in the self-study situations. In the class-room, the teacher can organize group exercises, games or role-plays, in which: 1- the students must find and orally reproduce list of words in context (sentences) in order to reconstruct specific language interactions; 2- the students can create a database of words of interest in the target special language to exercise their pronunciation, they can also populate the database with new words that require pronunciation and ask for it within the Forvo site.
This last activity can be also used in the self-study context.

Review

Category
Rate
Comprehensive approach
Capacity to match the needs of lecturers and students

4

Added value
The provided tangible improvements

4

Motivation enhancement
The capacity to motivate students to improve their language skills

5

Innovation
Effectiveness in introducing innovative, creative and previously unknown approaches to LSP learning

5

Transferability
Measurement of the transferable potential and possibility to be a source of further capitalisation/application for other language projects in different countries

5

Skills assessment and validation
Availability of appropriate tools for lecturers to monitor students’ progress and for students to assess own progress and to reflect on learning

2

Adaptability
Flexibility of the contents and possibilities for the LSP lecturers to adapt the contents to their and to students’ need

5

Usability
Assess the technical usability from the point of view of the lecturer and the student

3

Accessibility
Assess the accessibility from the point of view of the lecturer and the student

4

Comments:
The resource is motivating because the learner can listen to different accents of the same word, almost always one can access more than 2 pronunciations of the same word in order to distinguish different regional accents. Genre differences in pronunciation are also considered.
The database is alimented by logged-in users, that is authentic users, this methodological choice points out to the real speaker’s environment and not referring to the standardized language.
The tool contains many language sectors from the everyday life to more difficult situations, the medical and the banking sectors are given special attention. Forvo also provides the users with touristic guides of places of the language under study.
Criticisms
It is not easy to find the list of words by category; the given lists are actually ordered by frequency search among all the language dictionary of the site.
Secondly, the site can be consulted in different languages, but when in one, it is not possible to study that language (only pronounce can be practiced), thus forcing the user to use a lingua franca, which can be questionable under the methodological point of view.
Website of the Teaching Source:
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