Forvo is an online pronunciation dictionary and phrasebook whose aim is to help its users learn and develop basic conversational skills in Swedish by listening to words and short phrases at a beginner level. It has available audio files in several languages spoken by native speakers in several varieties and accents. This teaching/learning resource allows its learners to actively contribute to their own learning process.
The tool also allows you to create lists of terms around a topic, as well as download files in .mp3 format to allow offline use. A mobile application is also available to support those who travel or apply vocabulary in the tourism industry, thus facilitating communication.
You can listen to basic vocabulary presented on the several topics available (shopping, getting around, banking, etc) it also shows useful travel phrases for someone working in the tourism industry or business area, or simply if you’re a tourist.
Even though more adequate for autonomous learning, as learners can check and focus on the phrases and words they need to know for their travel and business purposes at their own pace and time, this resource can also be used in the classroom as it can assist the lecturer in practising pronunciation.
If the resource is to be used in the classroom, the following suggestions could be implemented:
Warmer: The lecturer elicits from the students the words or phrases that are most useful when travelling, more specifically to Sweden. L. elicits from students words they know in Swedish. L. gets feedback from the students. As we’re dealing with a beginner level, it is most likely that the words mentioned won’t be that many.
Step 1: The lecturer can then use some flashcards with pictures on them and the corresponding written word (should use the same words which also appear on the online pronunciation dictionary so that students can check pronunciation). As most of the times spelling and pronunciation do not match, L. can ask the students to try to pronounce the words given.
Step 2: Lecturer pronounces the words and randomly asks students to repeat the words again (individual drill).
Step 3: Students are asked to go to the website for further practice of the vocabulary and phrases, some already familiar with, some new.
Step 4: Students can do consolidation work at home.
Capacity to match the needs of lecturers and students
The provided tangible improvements
The capacity to motivate students to improve their language skills
Effectiveness in introducing innovative, creative and previously unknown approaches to LSP learning
Measurement of the transferable potential and possibility to be a source of further capitalisation/application for other language projects in different countries
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
Flexibility of the contents and possibilities for the LSP lecturers to adapt the contents to their and to students’ need
Assess the technical usability from the point of view of the lecturer and the student
Assess the accessibility from the point of view of the lecturer and the student
This tool is rather motivating as it is easy to use. Furthermore, it allows the learner to select topic areas according to his/her own needs. This resource is easily accessible and very user-friendly.
It can be used in a variety of ways and by users who are not native speakers of the Swedish language.
As its contents are separated into different topics, it allows transferability to different areas and working specific language chunks.
It is rather well organised, as it is divided into different topic areas such as Greetings and apologies, Drinks, Banking, Professions, meteorology, etc. The user also gets phrases in Swedish, divided into different lexical areas: Banking, getting around, eating & drinking, etc.
Despite its usefulness in terms of pronunciation practice, the fact that it doesn’t cover a more interactive communication approach to the language can be a downside. However, this should be complemented with other teaching/learning materials.
Website of the Teaching Source: