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

Did the audio used in Portuguese change?

I'm pretty sure that Duolingo is using a new voice on the desktop version of Brazilian Portuguese. I wonder if this is an A/B test or if everyone is getting the new voice? I like the tone of the new voice, but I feel that it sounds less clear. Anyone else's thoughts?

April 28, 2016

21 Comments


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

The old one might be happier, prettier, nicer, etc. But definitely not clearer.

April 28, 2016

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

The new voice is much better; the old one made me want to stick needles in my ears—it was choppy and skippy and so inhuman-sounding it I found it impossible to mimic. I really couldn't stand to do the course with it; now I have no such excuse! Thank you for the new voice!

May 1, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LICA98

why is that?

April 30, 2016

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

The old one can be choppy and frequently butchers consonants and vowels in certain situations. Often I find it hard to hear a particular letter or sound, if it is choppy on or near that letter.

Also, in a few cases, there seems to be a consensus that some words it pronounces words incorrectly. I've talked to native speakers, read discussion pages, and checked Forvo. Some of the mistakes I've heard the old voice make include pronouncing "lh" as a regular "l", or choosing the wrong way to pronounce a vowel.

April 30, 2016

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

Yes... she did that a lot.

But mixing two vowels in a very fast transition, almost like one vowel only is totally normal.

You can see that in English with "have a". The "e" is totally gone.

The new voice tries to avoid that fast transition, making it "café com leite" for learners :p

"Café com leite" is a phrase used to define people that are too young or newbie in a certain game so the rules are softened for that person.

April 30, 2016

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

Apologies, I know this is an old discussion and you may have already learned this but most of the time, the "e" at the end of an English word is silent (unless it is a loan word like, "café").

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silent_e

While have is different (one of the many exceptions in English), usually the "e" at the end (or next to another "e" for "ee" as in "see", or even an "a" next to an "e" as in "beach" is mostly to signify the first vowel is long (I believe that is "closed" in international speak... another, "ea" word). But still, for most English natives, the "e" on the end of "have" does not really exist in any functional verbal way. That is why "have a" and "have to" seem to blend I guess.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silent_e#Truly_silent_⟨e⟩

In some common words that historically had long vowels, silent ⟨e⟩ no longer has its usual lengthening effect. For example, the ⟨o⟩ in come (as compared to in cone) and in done (as compared to in dome). This is especially common in some words that historically had ⟨f⟩ instead of ⟨v⟩, such as give and love; in Old English, /f/ became /v/ when it appeared between two vowels (OE giefan, lufu), while a geminated ⟨ff⟩ lost its doubling to yield /f/ in that position. This also applies to a large class of words with the adjective suffix -ive, such as captive (where, again, the ⟨i⟩ is not lengthened, unlike in hive), that originally had -if in French.

European Portuguese, perhaps due to their proximity to the UK and all the royal intermarriages with the Brits also has a greatly reduced "e" at the end of words but it is still subtly there.

Which brings up another thing that has really helped my abilities to accept Portuguese in my life, and that was discovering (from a text translated into English) that the Portuguese divide syllables up quite a bit differently than English-speakers do. An English-speaker might say, "re-duced" (2 syllables) while a Portuguese-speaker would see that as "re-du-ced" instead with 3 syllables.

https://www.englishclub.com/pronunciation/word-stress-syllables.htm

Further, Portuguese-speakers tend to end syllables on vowels while the English-speakers do so commonly on consonants (except in cases like above where "re" is a prefix, just as "pre" is one too and of course more loan-words or words with roots in other languages such as syl-la-bles... and probably dozens of other exceptions).

Well, there are more phonetic rules such as when consonants double up between vowels that often negates the silent "e" such as in exceptions or "soften" (despite that the "t" in this word for many dialects of English is mostly silent then) but that is also a reason why "English" would call the new voice, "*Victoria" (with a "c") because otherwise we want to pronounce it "Vi-tor-ia" with a closed (long) "i" (like the word, "eye" or even "aye" – I think that is most represented in Portuguese but the "ai" combo) rather than the open (short) one... or as the Portuguese pronounce the "i" with what the English would call a long "e" sound... Vee-to-ree-a).

And well, it is all kind of complicated unless we are 6-years-old which for some reason then it all seems so plausible. =}

May 25, 2018

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

Well.... because Vitoria (the new one) makes a lot less mistakes than the old one. She doesn't click or choke all around too.

April 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LICA98

yea I have it too, it kinda sucks 'cause I liked the previous one better

April 28, 2016

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

I really like the new voice and I think that the new one is clearer.

April 29, 2016

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

The new voice is fantastic - it's much clearer and slightly louder. Additionally, it doesn't have any strange "noises", like the previous one.

April 29, 2016

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

I still have the old voice.

April 29, 2016

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

Maybe it's still in a test phase? See this thread: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/15529924

"Davu: It was changed a few weeks ago, though only for some users."

May 14, 2016

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

I just noticed it now. I like it. I agree with Danmoller that this voice sounds clearer. I think what would be ideal in any of these courses is to have several different voices, so we don't get too used to one. Someone created a course on Memrise for Duolingo Portuguese, and there are a number of different voices, which is interesting. One woman has a very enthusiastic way of speaking, which always makes me smile.

April 29, 2016

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

This one is waaay better. It sounds like a real person, I immediately preferred it. The other one sounded like a robot. Unless you actually plan to talk to Brazilian robots I think this is going to teach you better listening skills.

April 30, 2016

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

I REALLY love this new voice. To me, it sounds dramatically clearer, but it also sounds much more human and natural. It addresses all the concerns of clarity that I had with the old one, I think this is going to hugely improve the course. The old one would sometimes butcher vowels and consonants, sometimes have an unnatural-sounding inflection too. I have yet to hear the new voice trip up or butcher anything the way the old voice frequently did.

I think this will not only make it easier to learn, but will probably improve my accent / pronounciation as well because I'll have a more organic-sounding voice to listen to in these exercises!

Yay!

April 30, 2016

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

Unfortunately, the new voice can lead you astray sometimes: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/5321158. https://www.duolingo.com/comment/631182

April 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gtg061r

this happened a while ago for me (at least a month I believe)

I pretty much agree one hundred percent with Danmoller's assessment

at first it seemed less clear, but then I noticed i was not having all of the issues with understanding what it was saying that I had with the old voice that would also become a distorted robot sometimes

April 30, 2016

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

I find there's a better distinction when she says "ela". and it does sound more clear :)

April 30, 2016

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

I like the new one better, it's clearer and gives me more information about word pronounciation. It also shows when to make d's and t's sound like "tsh" or "dj", which is something the older voice didn't always do.

April 30, 2016

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

It sounds clearer to me. It also sounds more European.

May 2, 2016

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

I only have the new voice on my phone.

May 2, 2016
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