Finding Youglish: Internet as Wunderkammer

Amongst my favorite feelings about the internet, having been “on it” since the late 1980s, that I feel like I never even approach it’s farthest reach. So it is again with someone sharing Yet Another Wonderous Resource.

This started with a request from Rebecca on the CCCOER community of practice email group:

Our art program is searching for a tool that would help students pronounce names and techniques for their presentations. Some students were using Google, but that doesn’t provide much in the way of correct pronunciation for non-English names and terms.

Our Librarian found HowToPronounce which we’ll likely use if we can’t find an alternative. It’s great with pronunciations but it’s overloaded with ads and isn’t very intuitive. Any suggestions?

On thinking of possible answers I wondered about Wiktionary, and find at least one audio pronunciation for the term chiaroscuro. It seems hit and miss for terms, and does not include pronunciation for names, e.g. no entry for Frida Kahlo.

Merrian-Webster online dictionary has entries with pronunciations for chiaroscuro and Frida Kahlo but this is one of the sources Google search uses, so as Rebecca noted in her post, Google was not a good enough source.

I put the search aside, and fortunately Elizabeth replied with a better answer:

I would suggest checking out It compiles Youtube videos with transcripts and makes them searchable by word. For example, here is “chiaroscuro”. I also tried it with some other artists’ names and got enough results. It’s useful for scrolling through and quickly hearing a bunch of different people saying the word in context.

I had never heard of YouGlish, and fell into one of those wonderful rabbi holes trying it out. The search Elizabeth shared has 175 different YouTube videos for chiaroscuro, and more than just the pronunciation, you hear it used in the context of videos of art historians and experts discussing this term.

Find one that works best, and it can be shared as a link

The site is really meant to help learn how to speak a language, so you get links to definitions, pronunciation guides. Oh, and you even get options for examples from UK English and Australian.

There is so much more because the site offers the service for many other languages, including sign language, e.g. Japanese, Italian, even

It’s not clear who is behind this site, but the only commercial area seems to be a place for lessons. What are the licenses here? The terms of use all point to YouTube’s policy, because all of this functionality is leverage through The YouTube API ( so no different from how YouTube terms of use allow links and embeds). There is no copying of content.

Youglish is truly, to me, a wunderkammer.

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