If you ever traveled around the world and stayed for long enough to get caught in the new country’s culture and language, you most probably know how hard it is to get the foreign names right. Whether you simply met someone from another country and want to pronounce his / her name correctly, or you constantly need such help for business, you’ll appreciate a website that guides you with that.
It is, indeed, one of the toughest things to do, and it can sometimes become a problem even in your own country. You can always come across a few uncommon names that you’re not used to. For such moments, as well as whenever you want to have some fun with unfamiliar names from the world, the following websites will be of great use.
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The first such website that we encountered was Hear Names, and as its name suggests, this is the place to hear how different names are pronounced. Once you enter the website, you will be presented with a search bar that allows you to enter any name you wish.
You then have to hit the “Search” button, and you will have access to the origin of the name, as well as audio with its pronunciation. Under this specific information, you will find a list of tags that allow you to look for other names from the same country or check out names from other parts of the world.
In case you didn’t find a name that you were looking for, you can simply fill in the form to request the staff to add it in the future. They are very responsive to any feedback and comments coming from their website’s users, so don’t worry about them not getting back to you.
Similar to the previous one, Pronounce Names offers you access to a wide collection of names from various countries. When opening the official web page that leads you in pronouncing names correctly, you will see a search bar and a list of popular names others looked for.
Next to each one of the names, you will also see the exact pronunciation in the text version. By clicking on the “show more” button, you will be taken to a new page where you can look up lists of names by letter – starting with A and up to Z.
If you look for a name of your choice, for example, Raluca, you will be given the phonetic pronunciation, as well as an audio version. Apart from that, you will find out whether this is a first or last name, what gender it is typical for, and its origin. In case the name is common for more than one language, you will see a list of all the available countries and their specific pronunciation.
The Name Engine
A little different from the previous two, this website is focused on correcting the pronunciation of famous people’s names. Whether you’re looking for an athlete’s name, a newsmaker’s one, the name of a politician, a brand, a place, or an actor/actress, you’ll have it all there.
The Name Engine also comes with a list of featured names. These ones are some of the most researched names, but you can also look for others by category – entertainment, companies/brands, etc. For example, if you’re looking for the defenseman Haydn Fleury, you could enter the name in the search bar and hit Enter.
You will then be given information such as the text and audio pronunciation, the occupation, and a brief description. The latter can include where and when the person was born and a few relevant details about his / her career.
VOA Pronunciation Guide
Most of us know Voice of America’s official website – VOA. What many of you may not know, though, is that they also have a section that is entirely dedicated to pronunciation. It is called pro-nounce and can be found at pronounce.voanews.com.
The same as the previous website, this pronunciation guide is focused on helping you pronounce personalities’ names and places correctly in a much easier and quicker way. With over 14 years since they started offering these services, the staff at VOA gives you a list of the “hottest” names others looked for and lets you look for names by region.
You also have the typical search bar where you can enter a name you’ve been looking for. For example, if you’re looking at Joaquin Balaguer from the Dominican Republic, you will be given access to audio with the correct way to pronounce his name, as well as the text version.
Inogolo presents itself as an “English pronunciation guide for the names of people, places, and stuff.” This is because the web page doesn’t just teach you how to pronounce other people’s names correctly, but it also guides you in looking for names of places and many other things.
You could look for names alphabetically or by using tags – commonly mispronounced, author, cartoons, popular music, etc. Within the “stuff” category, you will have access to fashion items, types of beers and wines, as well as other beverages, automobile brands, types of chocolate, food, coffee, and so on.
If you choose to simply look up a name using the search bar at the top of the page, you can enter your name and click on “search.” You will then be presented with both phonetic and audio pronunciation. In case there are various ways of pronouncing the same name, you will have access to all available options.
Having been created to function as a general pronunciation guide, this one doesn’t just focus on named of people and places. Forvo also includes categories such as food, sports, music, and holidays. You can sign up for free to have access to all the available words.
There currently are 160.632 speakers within the community. You can interact with any of them if you need help with pronunciation. Similarly, if you didn’t find a name you were looking for, you can fill in the request form. In case you’d like to help grow this forum, you can add new words and names from your own language and save audio files with the correct way of saying them.
When entering a name in the search section, you will be given a list of all countries where that specific name is being used. Once clicking on one of the shown options, you will have access to the exact region where the name is popular, the gender, and its audio pronunciation.
Livemocha and similar websites
A website where you can meet other people, make friends, help others learn a language and get help with the one you’re trying to learn. Although Livemocha was initially created in order to help people learn new languages, it can also help with your names’ pronunciation.
Here is how it works – once you create an account and start making friends, you can easily look for someone from the same country where your name is from. You can ask that person directly, and he/she will most probably guide you with correctly pronouncing it. Similarly, you can also go for a class that will familiarize you with the names from that specific country.
The same as this one, there are various other websites (e.g.: DuoLingo) that were initially created to help people learn new languages or practice the ones they already know. Although this was their main goal, they can be easily used to get in touch with native speakers that will guide you in pronouncing a wide variety of names correctly.