Click here to hear all the world’s dialects

Forvo’s a Web database with a single, insanely ambitious goal: to collect the proper pronunciation of every word, in every language, on the planet.

Here’s how it works: Userssubmit a word or a name they’d like to hear spoken in its native tongue. Don’t know how to say the name of the Brazilian dance xaxado? A local named Brazguy can help! And you, too, can help, by recording an mp3 and answering someone else’s query: As of this writing, there are 104,429 words in 190 languages, but only half of them have audio pronunciations. If you know how to pronounce the name of British rocker Midge Ure, please visit the site immediately — they’re in dire need of your assistance.

This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here.

Click here to hear all the world’s dialects