If you don’t know the correct pronunciation of certain words or names and you are too embarrassed to ask, no worries as there are dozens of websites that can help you learn how to pronounce any word on your own.
The quickest option is Google. Use the define: search operator with any word and Google will show a little audio icon next to the word’s definition. Click the icon to listen to the audio pronunciation.
<a title="How to Pronounce Croissant" href="https://www.google.com/search?q=define%3Acroissant" target="_blank">define:croissant</a> [Google Dictionary Search]
The pronunciation feature in Google is however not available for non-English words or names of people but that is where YouTube videos can be of great help.
Let’s say we want to learn how to pronounce Eyjafjallajokull, the volcano that disrupted air travel across Europe in 2010 for several days. Here’s what you can do.
Go to YouTube.com and search for any word followed by “,cc” – this is a YouTube search operator that will only show videos that have closed captions.
<a title="Search YouTube Videos with Closed Captions" href="http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Eyjafjallajokull%2C+cc" target="_blank">Eyjafjallajokull, cc</a> [YouTube search for videos with closed captions]
In YouTube search results, pick a video that has that particular word in the transcript. Then click the transcript button and jump to the line containing that word (see screenshot).
You can now hear the speaker in the YouTube video using that word and that should give you a good idea of the correct pronunciation. And since YouTube has users around the globe, you can use the same closed-captions trick to learn how a word is pronounced in different countries of the world – just pick a different video from the search results.
If you want to share a video pronunciation with a friend, just use the deep linking feature of YouTube to directly link to the spoken word.