https://www.duolingo.com/profile/msinykin

Error in "Tips & Notes"?

Is there a way to report an error or start a discussion for a particular "Tips & Notes" section? I don't see any way in the UI.

In French (from English), bonus skill "Idioms & Proverbs", there is an "Endings" table in the associated "Tips & Notes" that appears to be wrong with respect to "English Approximation" vs. "IPA".

Best I can tel (from Wikipedia's "Help:IPA for French" article, and other sources), the "English Approximation" for "parler" should be something like "par-LAY" (vs. "cliché") and for "poulet" something like "pou-LEH", vs. "pou-LAY".

February 26, 2016

4 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

I'm afraid this is not quite right.

The -er suffix for all 1st group verbs is the sound of "é" = [eh] (in a smile, no diphthong).

The -et suffix (poulet, ticket) is the sound of "è" (or ê, or -ais or -ait) = the English [e] in "let" (open-mouthed).

February 26, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cindypsych

So, to make sure I understand what you are saying, "poulet" sounds like "pou-LEH" and "parler" sounds like "par-LAY", is that correct?

February 26, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

Just the opposite, if you read again what I wrote here above.

The issue is that neither AY nor EH or EY actually match the French sounds é and è, in particular because English vowel sounds can vary a lot from dialect to dialect.

February 26, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/msinykin

I see two issues with the table:

  1. Every "English Approximation" in the table is an approximation of the whole word (e.g., "chat" -> "SHAH"), whereas ""parler" -> "cliché" is different. Also, using a French word as an English approximation, even of just the vowel sound, isn't very helpful to English learners.

  2. The table agrees with French dictionaries that the IPA sound for the end of "parler" is [e], and for the end of "poulet" is [ε] (looks somewhat like a backwards "3" if this character doesn't render here).

On the Wikipedia page "Help: IPA for French", [e] is given an English approximation of the "ey" in "hey", and similar example French words with this "oral vowel" sound are given as "clé, les, chez, aller, pied". So "parler" would seem to be approximated by something like "par-LAY" (or perhaps someone can come up with something better — I'm trying to learn French pronunciation).

On the Wikipedia page, [ε] is given an English approximation of the "e" in "best", and similar example French words with this "oral vowel" sound are given as "baie, faite, mettre, renne, crème, est, peine". So "poulet" would seem to be approximated by something like "pou-LEH".

So I think the table in the "Tips and Notes" could use improvement in its English approximations.

Of course, I would also like advice on the non-approximated pronunciation of these word endings, although that wasn't the original point of my post.

February 26, 2016
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