Audio problem reported today on that issue, but I don't think the moderators can do anything about it. We seem to be stuck with whatever the computer churns out, which is often not-quite-right.
I check lots of words at forvo.com - but even there, out of 5 different speakers, one said "polu", 3 said "palu", and 1 said "palu...polu" - right, both ways. But I think you're right. Site_Surf says the ending is stressed, so that means the "o" should sound like an "a". https://forvo.com/word/%D0%BF%D0%BE%D0%BB%D1%83/#ru
I thought I heard the same thing, but you're right.
After listening a few more times, I hear hard к(ъ) and not soft к(ь). I think we're not good at differentiating as well between hard and soft sounds, for me, I can almost hear the voice say Кошкы, but I know I must be wrong.
There's also a lot of vowel reduction I am still getting used to.
Thanks for all your contributions!
It is not that the synth is perfect in this sentence. Not that imperfect, though. :)
The strongest syllables are the stressed one and the one immediately before the stress (it can even be objectively longer than the stressed one at times). Do not rely too much on what you hear after the accented syllable if you are not sure what it was. Better listen again and try to think what can and cannot be there.
I think, only У (and Ю) is pretty recognizable in all syllables (which, obviously, has to do with Russian "ooh" always being rounded).
It sounds like кошки to me as well! Very clearly in fact. I listened to it multiple times because I was confused why he would say «кошки любит» but the кошки was definite enough to my ear to convince me it was actually любят and the second syllable just sounded off due to being unstressed.
Definitely doesn't sound like any other time this voice says кошка, weird.
By context. :)
It's true both лю́бит and лю́бят are pronounced /'lʲubʲɪt/ (except in extra-careful pronounciation), but лю́бит is a singular form, лю́бят is plural. So, you look at the subject of the sentence: ко́шка is singular so you use лю́бит. If the sentence had ко́шки, you'd use лю́бят.
«Кошка» can also refer to a specific female cat, not just to cats in general.