https://www.duolingo.com/Abramacho

Welsh Audio and Accent authenticity

Abramacho
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On the Irish duolingo website, there has been quite a lot of discussion on how authentic the audio speaker is. That was because it was felt by many people that the Irish audio on duolingo was that of a 'learner's accent', someone whose native language was English and not Irish, as opposed to how Irish sounds when spoken by real native speakers from truly Irish speaking areas. It was reported by a German duolingo learner of Irish that the audio of Irish on the duolingo website was spoken with an 'English Accent.' A link to the thread is below if you want to see what I mean: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/4313915

If you don't mind me raising a similar discussion with regards to the Welsh duolinguo. I am a learner of Welsh who has greatly benefited from your course but I also happen to have gone to Gwynedd quite often in my life, and also listened to old recordings of native speakers who were born more than 100 years ago. I may be wrong here, but my impression is that the audio for Duolingo Welsh is that of a Welsh learner from South Wales rather than a native speaker who grew up in welsh speaking area surrounded by other traditional Welsh Speakers. Below is a recording of a native Welsh Speaker from Blaenau Ffestiniog, William Morris (1889-1979) to show you what I mean: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00gttws

I would just like to know, if it would be possible to expose Welsh learners on duolingo to Welsh as spoken in the Fro, if I am right in suspecting that the audio is that of a second language speaker. To what extent are there still Welsh speakers alive today who speak like William Morris, or is even Gog Welsh spoken in Gwynedd today spoken with an 'anglicised' accent?

On the whole, I am happy to say that I have benefited greatly from Duolingo.

Thanks

2 years ago

6 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/EllisVaughan
EllisVaughan
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The audio is from a TTS (Text-To-Speech) system, it is rather neutral, and as a result sounds a tad southern to me as a northern speaker, and I've seen some southern speakers say that it sounds northern to them. I believe that the current system teaches correct pronunciation with a couple of glitches here and there. Most people in Wales speak in a Welsh accent no matter what language they are talking in. I am not one of those people and sadly speak with an English accent, but this does not have a negative effect on my pronunciation of the Welsh language.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rmcode
rmcode
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Yes, that is completely correct. It is a neutral accent but also the accent of a native speaker. The sound from the Ivona website is better than some of the audio on the course. Try this sentence 'Rydw i'n mynd i Gaernarfon yfory'. There is no way a non native speaker could get the pronunciation of 'i Gaernarfon' so spot on.

The major source of strange sounding phrases in the course is that the Ivona sound files obviously don't have a recording of the spoken forms like 'dw i' and 'dych chi'. Instead they have the more common written forms 'Rydw i' and 'Rydych chi'. This means the audio has to be generated from combining other separate word fragments.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ibisc
ibisc
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Wales has 4-5 main dialect areas and many more minor ones. There is a well-known collection of recordings available here - http://www.amgueddfacymru.ac.uk/erthyglau/2011-03-29/Tafodieithoedd-y-Gymraeg/ - and transcripts are available on the Welsh-language part of that site. There was a book written, in Welsh, based on the study which is still available in libraries - 'Cymraeg, Cymrâg, Cymrêg'. Clips from a recent S4C series 'Ar Lafar' about Welsh dialects are available on Youtube and I think also on the Coleg Cenedlaethol resources website.

The dialects are interesting, but they can also be a source of confusion to beginners!

The S4C Clic site gives access to many Welsh-language programmes, many of which will have sub-titles in Welsh, and those can be a source of good examples of pronunciation from all over Wales. The soap operas have a lot of slang, but the magazine programmes use good Welsh, as does Iolo Williams in his natural world programmes.

Somewhere on iTunes there are videos of Huw Edwards' series 'The Story of Wales'/'Stori Cymru', both English and Welsh versions, with transcripts. Interesting programmes, narrated in a good, clear voice. The Pigion podcasts on iTunes are weekly extracts from Radio Cymru output which are also useful once you have learned some basic Welsh.

There is some recorded material from the former OU Welsh course available here, with transcripts - https://itunes.apple.com/gb/itunes-u/croeso-beginners-welsh-audio/id419610407?mt=10

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AngharadHafod

I consider myself bilingual and turn to Welsh in everyday life whenever there is the opportunity (which is frequent), although it is not my first language. And, although some of the words and forms chosen for this Welsh course are not ones I would use, I can say that this is definitely not the voice of a Welsh learner. It's not Gwynedd Welsh, but it is (if there is such a thing) fairly standard Welsh. Carmarthen Welsh perhaps, if I were to pick an area. Maybe slightly simplified in form for the purpose of this course, whilst including dialect words from different parts of Wales.

It's worth remembering that there are more Welsh speakers in South Wales than in North Wales, although because of the concentration of population in the south, a higher percentage of the population of North Wales speak Welsh.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/avrichard
avrichard
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To me, the Welsh audio sounds fine (I'm not a fluent Welsh speaker, so I can't be 100% sure, but still... doesn't sound like an English speaker).

FWIW - the Irish course released new audio last week. The new voice is much more "authentic" - sounds like a native. To make a comparison - the old Irish voice was a bit like the equivalent of if the Welsh course had gotten its audio recorded by a English speaking person who couldn't pronounce LL, RH or CH etc.

It has unfortunately annoyed some users who'd started Irish on here and gotten used to the English-accented one. I think though, this will only be a temporary problem, while people just get used to some of the sounds of Irish which aren't in Irish (most of which the old voice couldn't pronounce, or only pronounced sometimes).

Also, as a good sign, some friends of mine who are native speakers of Irish are much happier with the new voice. One of them said he will actually recommend the Duo Irish course now - he used to tell people not to use it because of the old audio...

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ieuan-Jones
Ieuan-Jones
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It sounds very similar to how we learn to speak Welsh in English schools, but I'm not a fluent speaker, so I've no idea how that compares to how people actually speak the language in everyday conversation. I did notice that on the Ivona website, however, neither Gwynedd nor Geraint pronounce my name correctly with the TTS, but that's probably down to dialect more than anything.

2 years ago
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