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

New voice?

Did anyone else have a new voice tonight in the Dutch for English speakers web version? It has always been the female voice. But then yesterday, to my surprise, it was a new male voice.

I must confess, I prefer the previous voice though.

April 29, 2016

24 Comments


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

I've noticed that the new voice seems to be more natural. Sure, things seem to be pronounced more sloppy, but which native speaker wouldn't do that? I do prefer the new, male voice.

I think it would be nice if each user could simply click a button and switch between the two voices or have a button next to each exercise that'd play the same text in the older/newer voice.


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

Exactly. A choice would be great.


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

yes this one does not speak as clearly and says words differently


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

Yes, the new voice appeared on my iPad app a couple of days ago. At the moment the male and the female voice seem to appear randomly when I do the different excercises. I'm finding the male voice harder to understand. The volume seems quieter than the female voice and not as clear.


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

I absolutely HATE the new Dutch voice and was just thinking what a shame, I'll not be able to enjoy learning on duolingo anymore. Strange how integral it turns out a friendly sounding teacher is, as opposed to the unfriendly male voice on there now.


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

I can hardly understand what the new voice says. I almost always have to use the slow-down-feature since the female voice is gone. Do Dutch people really speak a whole sentence as one word, leaving out letters that are actually important to not confuse words with completely other words?

However, my opinion is that one has to speak a tad more clearly at least for sentences with no context and all sentences here are random with no context. In my native language, German, if I nutter a sentence that's out of context, nobody will understand me, whereas they would, if it was related to the context (or situation).

So please give me/us the old voice back. I don't even know why you changed it in the first place. Wasn't it pretty good?


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

It may not be what you were used to, but the new voice sounds very natural, the old female voice wasn't that great. Getting used to this new speaker will prepare you a lot better to understand native speakers, compared to the not so natural old female voice. Also we're hoping that the developers can make a few small adjustments to improve the new voice, namely, make it a notch slower (it's fine for a native speaker, but we feel it probably is a bit too fast for learners) and increasing the volume a bit.


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

Bedankt, Susande!


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

I agree it's probably a good thing to get used to a different voice, so will persevere with Ruben. The volume though is a problem. I have to do my lessons with head phones on and the volume turned all the way up now. Previously I had the volume up about half way - that can't be just to do with the change in voice?


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

I don't mind the new voice, but I think it's been set to a lower volume and that makes it a bit harder to understand. I also think this man has a different accent ....."bent" sounds more like " bet" which is interesting!


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

Yes I noticed that too! The older voice seemed to drop 'n' sounds at the end of words sometimes anyway, and this is even more pronounced.

I think we would all do to listen to some Dutch radio or television regularly to get a sense of the actual language. Any computer generated voice is going to be approximate. But I admire how close they can come with Duo!

Also, yes on the volume...I've been muting my phone and cranking up the volume so I can hear the voice but not be blasted out of my seat by the pursuant happy "BLING!" noise telling me I got the answer right XD


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

Yes, I have the volume problem too. I think I like the new voice and pronunciation better, even though I misheard some sentences up till now.


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

By the way, you can turn off the bling sounds in your settings if you do not like them!


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

Not a bad idea for now—thank you, Cynthia! But oh gosh, how I love that little happy BLING! Just easier to not have the volume disparity for now :)


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

I'm also finding the new voice frustrating. I have a hard time differentiating many sounds and am making a lot more mistakes in the "type what you hear" exercises, even if I slow him down. I hope I will get used to it but I've been through voice-changes in some of the other courses and the learning curve here is much steeper, I find.

What I think would be nice would be if there were different voices. The French course has a male and female voice, and their pronunciations are quite different from one another, but I think that's a good way to learn a language, since we get too used to one "person's" way of speaking. I don't know whether this is possible, of course.

I'm also doing the course someone has put up on Memrise to go with this Duolingo one. There are many different voices saying the words there, which I find helpful. These may come from forvo, which is real people pronouncing words or phrases, as opposed to robots.


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

Of course, I have to add that some of the other languages I'm learning are ones that I've learned previously in high school or university, so maybe that's part of it. Dutch is very new to me.


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

Wow, Cat, look at you go with all of your languages! Nice! And I agree completely, the male voice is a bit 'muddy' sounding, the female one was a bit robotic...it dies seem a mix or a choice might be ideal. I'm interested in the Memrise course you mention; what is it called? I have done some Dutch courses on Memrise, but not one that relates specifically to this one. Have a great day!


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

I'm going to provide a link, but experience suggests it might not work: http://www.memrise.com/course/356226/duolingo-dutch-for-english-speakers-3/

And, if it doesn't, you should be able to find it by doing a search at memrise.com for "Duolingo Dutch".

Cheers and best wishes - you've gone quite a way into the Dutch course!


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

Thank you very much! I'll give it a try. Yes, I am very much enjoying Dutch; I like how easy learning languages can be with these fun new programs available now. Cheers!


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

Yeah, I completely agree that several voices would be helpful. I think the new voice is harder, though I've got quite used to it now. But if it's more true to how dutch is spoken then it's better for learning.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ian139

I am partially deaf and the new male voice is a real challenge, it is nothing like as clear (for me) as the previous female voice, due in part to the pitch of the voice. Some things I have been unable to complete as I simply cannot hear the voice clearly enough to understand what is being said. Real shame as I was enjoying the course. Any chance it will revert to the previous female voice?


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

I certainly hope they will at least add a 'voice preference' button. It would solve the problem if everyone could choose to have either the male or the female voice. In fact, up until now, I had assumed that the voice I heard was female because I'm female, and I thought, ' How forward-thinking of them to reason that women who had undergone trauma might be triggered by a male voice, and they've arranged that males hear a male voice(by default) and females hear a female voice.' But now that theory is blown! Let's hope they add an option.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ian139

I Have tried numerous times, but like I said, being partially deaf I am unable to make out what the voice is saying, therefore I cannot complete the section. The pitch is wrong and the volume too low. Looks like I will have to give up. Shame.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ElJefe872

The new voice has greatly lessened the experience for my. The pronunciation is, to me, very sloppy and many times hard to make out...even if you slow it down and listen to specific words...it has become a struggle to make certain things out.

So yes, a choice would be great - I really appreciate the old voice much more.

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