MODS! Bumping to get your attention. Look how many replies are made for the sole purpose of bookmarking a comment thread for later reference.
Please tell your developers that DuoLingo should add a "Follow" or "Bookmark" feature for the comments.
These replies represent a dedicated user base that is practically demanding this small UX improving feature, and the irony is this well intended comment clutter degrades the overall UX of the comments feature.
Fellow DuoLinguists, if you agree, please upvote to show the DuoLingo developers how much you want this feature.
In this case, the second. Whether you're a girl or a boy, it would always be "моя мама", because your mom is a woman; and "мой брат", because your brother is a man. So, using мой/моя/моё/мои is a matter of the gender/number of the object that we're talking about, not about the gender of the speaker.
Russian unstressed vowels have lower intensity and lower energy. They are typically shorter than stressed vowels and tend to merge:<pre>
/o/ and /a/ merge in most unstressed positions Likewise, /e/ and /i/ merge in most unstressed positions All four merge in most unstressed positions after soft consonants (although o and a merge more often than not</pre>
The vowel О can be pronounced in two ways. If it is stressed, it is pronounced as О. If it is not stressed – pronounce it as А this site gives examples and explains it better -> http://learnrussian.rt.com/phonetics/
The stress on this example is incorrect. In Russian, pitch is a primary indicator of stress, which is a crucial feature of the language. The synthesized recordings (which sound awful in general - very poor approximation of the actual pronunciation!) do not reproduce the correct pitch patterns.
моя should have stress on the second syllable, which means the pitch should be high on the first syllable, with a sharp fall on the second. The pitch pattern of the audio here makes it sound like the speaker is saying the (nonexistent) word мая, with stress on the first syllable.
This is just one particular example of the serious issues with using synthesized speech. I'm doing the Duolingo Irish course - so glad it has live human recordings, which are much better! I was just flipping through the Russian course a bit out of curiosity (I already speak Russian at a high level) - really would not recommend that anyone learn Russian with such terrible pronunciation models. :-(
The voice has some artificial metallic shade but it reflects the real speech pretty well. There are regions where schwa is noticeably accented as A. The stressing is correct. Individual differences are bigger than the difference between an average norm and this robot. Learning to speak and listen should be done in other places (video etc... you will start to imitate the speakers anyway), duolingo is the earliest beginning.
I'm familiar primarily with the Moscow dialect - perhaps there are other non-standard/regional dialects that display the pitch pattern of this example, but it certainly does not correctly approximate "standard" (Moscow) Russian, and does not sound like any dialect I am aware of from interacting with various people/movies/TV/etc. either. My husband is a (Muscovite) native speaker, and he agreed - in general he found many of the audio examples in the first few lessons so off as to be unintelligible or nearly so.
There is no schwa in the word "моя". Unstressed [o] weakens to [a], and the Duolingo program does appear to correctly handle this. The issue is not with the change in vowel quality that occurs in stressed and unstressed syllables in Russian, but with the suprasegmental indicators of stress, particularly pitch but also segment length. In many languages, these suprasegmental features are just as important as phonemes (individual sounds) of words. Russian is just such a language - pitch is a primary indicator of stress. Duo's speech synthesizer does not appear to handle the suprasegmental information correctly at all. This is a serious problem in languages like Russian, since if the correct sounds are present but the pitch is off, that sequence of sounds can be interpreted as a different word, or simply become garbled.
The poor quality of the audio in a language I know well is now making me wary of using the Duolingo program for any other languages I might have liked to study. I don't personally want to expose myself to incorrect speech models, especially early on. Personally, I don't think my brain would have any way of remembering which models it was exposed to were "correct" and which were "incorrect" - I would simply absorb it all, and would be likely to make errors like the one in this example. Maybe others would not mind this, and that's certainly fine. I was just somewhat startled initially when I heard that awful excuse for Russian... I've been doing Duo Irish for a while now, which has quite nice native speaker recordings - was not aware that poor audio is the norm in their other language courses. It's a shame because I do like the program quite a bit overall.
Russian nouns have 3 genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter. Мой is used for masculine nouns, моя for feminine, and моё for nueter. There is also мои for plural nouns. I'm not entirely sure, but I think the pattern for finding the nouns gender is as follows: Masculine nouns end with consonants. Feminine nouns end with а or я Neuter nouns end with о or е Nouns ending with ь you just have to use a dictionary. I'm not a native, and I know there are lots of exceptions, but from what I've gathered that is the general pattern. And this is for when nouns are in nominative.
Did we? There's no instance where "мой" goes with "мама". Both "мой" and "моя" mean "my" (also "моё" and "мои"). The difference is gender and number:
- мой папа <- "мой" is used for masculine words, in singular
- моя сестра <- "моя" is used for feminine words, in singular
- моё дерево <- "моё" is used for neuter words, in singular
- мои родители <- "мои" is used for all plural words
Nice tool - though I have to admit that having to copy and paste all the stuff and having to change tabs or windows for it might be a bit tedious. Too bad that physical keyboards can't change the labels on their keys when you change the keyboard layout. That'd be the most convenient way. ;)
Eventually Duolingo will put their own virtual keyboard on the course to make this easier. It did just come out into beta only a few days ago. I would assume that by the time they graduate this out of beta, it'll have a virtual keyboard built into the course itself like the German, Spanish, etc. courses do.