According to wikipedia Thesaurus:  “Is a book that lists words grouped together according to similarity of meaning (containing synonyms and sometimes antonyms), in contrast to a dictionary, which contains definitions and pronunciations”.

Thesaurus is based on “Term relationships” which are links between terms. These relationships can be divided into three types: hierarchical, equivalency or associative.

  • Hierarchical relationships are used to indicate terms which are narrower and broader in scope. A “Broader Term” is a more general term e.g. “Apparatus” is a generalization of “Computers”. Reciprocally, a “Narrower Term” is a more specific term e.g. “Digital Computer” is a specialization of “Computer”.
  • The equivalency relationship is used primarily to connect synonyms and near-synonyms.
  • Associative relationships are used to connect two related terms whose relationship is neither hierarchical nor equivalent. This relationship is described by the indicator “Related Term”. In a way, associative relationships should be applied with caution, since excessive use of RTs will reduce specificity in searches.

The Visual Thesaurus of the Cambridge Dictionary Online is an example of a Thesaurus. In the website, when you look up a word in a selected topic, you can see other entries in that topic on the right-hand side – a group of words that are related to the word you looked up. The words in the cloud are bigger or smaller depending on how frequently they are used. Here we have an example with the word alone.

With a slight click in that square, the website leads us to the Visual Thesaurus. Then, we type in a word (alone) and clicking once again we can find a big thesaurus in the middle of the page.

The yellow points indicate adjectives and the blue points adverbs. Then, we have red points which indicate nouns and the green ones which indicate verbs. The last two doesn’t appear in the example. Moreover, we are given the sound of the word searched, we can hear the pronunciation of words just with clicking the loudspeaker.

If you are interested in this ingenious tool here you have more information: The largest thesaurus in the world, the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary , which contains more than 920,000 words and meanings.


In this section of my review,  I would like to compare both The Visual Thesaurus of CDO and Lexipedia. Lexipedia is another page with thesaurus that is very similar to Visual Thesaurus. However, they have little differences among them.

At first sight as many other thesaurus they looked equal, both show nouns, adjectives, verbs… What’s more, they also show the definition and the sound of each word we have looked up. Apart from that, they have the chance of search a word in other languages which is useful for people who are learning more than one language. However, apart from equalities, we can also find little differences.

VISUAL THESAURUS: Example of a research

First, you just need to type in the word you are interested in and, then, click were it says “look it up”.

After that, you do not need to do anything else, the word just shows a number of words related to what you have searched.

LEXIPEDIA: Example of a research

As well as in the other thesaurus you have to type in the word you are interested in and, then, click were it says “sumit”.

Instantly, as well as in the other example, a thesaurus appears with a number of words related to what you have searched.


  • At first sight, we can appreciate that Lexipedia looks more elaborated and easier than CDO’s Visual Thesaurus as it has very well organised elements. In the case of CDO’s Visual Thesaurus, the page which appears in front of us when we look up a word is rather boring and simple as it has just the meanings of words on the right and the thesaurus in the centre.
  • Another difference between these thesaurus is that Lexipedia gives us the meaning of words such as noun, adjective, verb etc  and Visual Thesaurus don’t.

  • The last but also an important difference is that in Lexipedia, just putting the mouse in any word of the thesaurus a window appears with the sound and definition. In the case of CDO’s Visual Thesaurus you have to click on the word to make the sound appear. What’s more, Lexipedia offers the definitions of words on the left of the page and also in the window I mentioned before.



Second Review: Forvo, the Pronunciation guide

Last week, while I was attending my Language Resources course, I was having a look at Delicious’s bookmarks when I found this pronunciation guide on the Internet. At the beginning, I did not pay much attention to it, but when our teacher mentioned it a couple of times, I said to myself: Let’s have a try!

Although it might sound rather surprising, Forvo has become the largest pronunciation guide in the world just in a year’s time. It was born as an idea in 2007, and is online since January 2008. Moreover, and I am sure many of you would be proud to know, the owner of this site is Forvo Media SL, from San Sebastián (The Basque Country). is a website that allows access to pronunciation sound clips in many different languages in an attempt to make easier the learning of languages. Likewise, what it is amazing about this website is that all sound clips are created by its users, who also have the chance to vote on each clip, positively or negatively, so that it ensures that those sound clips which have a better quality have priority over lesser sound clips when being listened to.

Moreover, it must be pointed out that it offers a huge variety of languages, not only English. For instance, laguages such as Amharic, Assamese, Kotava, Babarian and so forth are presented, which are rarely heard.


I would like to give an example of how this website works.

  • The first step would be to type in a word. Let’s put as an example the word Umbrella.

  • Then, with a slight click in the tiny square that says “Go”, the website leads the user to the next page where the results of the search are presented:

  • At the bottom of the page, it can be read “Umbrella 2 pronunciation”. Therefore, if we click on it, what we find is the next thing:

The pronuntiation guide offers us the different pronunciations of the word, provided by the users. Finally, we only need to choose one of the two and listen to it. (In this case, the second pronunciation does not work or, at least, nothing can be heard).



Very similar to Forvo is the website Although it does not contain as much data as Forvo, it is very easy when trying to look up a word. However, another important difference that might make it slightly restrictive, is the fact that words are not uoloaded to the page by the users and it is precisely this property that I like from Forvo. Nonetheless, users can add comments and suggest new uploads to the page, as it can be appreciated on the picture below.


Its functionality is very similar to Forvo’s as I have already mentioned. First, you just need to type in the word you are interested in and, then, click were it says “sumit”.

After that, you do not need to do anything else, the word just comes out pronounced automatically. Yet, it does have an innovation that Forvo does not include on his web page. There is the possibility to translate that word -by Google Translate- into a large number of languages, such as Korean, Persian, Hindi and many others. For example:


Fonetiks.orgis rather different from Forvo and It is mainly based on isolated sounds of consonants and vowels; that is, it is not focused on the pronunciation of words, but of sounds. In fact, it provides online pronunciation guides to 9 varieties of the English language and 9 other languages, instant sound and pronunciation samples by over 40 native speakers.

In the presentation page, there is some sort of a comparison made between different dialects of English regarding mainly the differences in the pronounciation of sounds from one language into another. Users can listen to the pronunciation of sounds in American English, British English, Irish English, Scottish English, Welsh English, Australian English, Canadian English, Indian English and South African English which are divided into categories such as single vowel sounds, two vowel sounds and so forth.

Apart from all these, it is also interesting the fact that it has more activities in order to practice pronunciation. For instance, it offers a variety of English dialogues, an interactive reading course and many other activities which are available on the web page. In the picture below, there is an example of a dialogue which emphasises the use of the relative pronoun “whose”.


From the three pronunciation guides that I have been checking so that I could write my second review, I would say that Forvo has been the most attractive one, since the involvement of the users is wider than in the other two. Yet, it is interesting the translation service that provides for the users and, at the same time, the diversity of activities offered by is quite helpful for the development and improvement of the pronunciation for those who do not have the chance to go to other countries in order to practice the language.

Information sources: