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hebrew speaking exercises

Why are there no Hebrew speaking exercises?

August 18, 2016



The vast majority of the incubated courses don't have speaking exercises. (Afaik, Turkish had/has them, but it's the only course that officially does. I believe some people but not all were getting them for Russian at one point.)

I suspect that the lack of a decent TTS is a limiting factor - with the disclaimer that I could be entirely wrong, I believe TTS and voice recognition are somehow linked.

The voice recognition is a bit hit and miss anyway. You'd do better speaking the sentences out loud as a matter of course and pursuing other avenues to practise speaking.


Maybe. I mean for sure that's a lot to ask for a free resource like Duo but asI understand it, speaking lessons is something Rosetta Stone uses. I have never used it so I couldn't say how good it is though. I can say I was fooling around with "Okay Google" on my android phone and the voice recognition for Hebrew wasn't bad, although I never could get it to recognize the words for sunglasses! I even tried the duolingo voice in case I was saying it weird but nope. Surprising it was the words with ח and כ that did best and I'd have thought areas like that would be where voice recognition would struggle. Voice recognition seems to be presently better than text to speech from what I've seen with Hebrew online. (As an example my name is Tzipora. It was awesome when Facebook introduced a TTS pronunciation guide for names but I spent a good hour or more trying to get it come reasonably close! I could say Tzipora into "Okay Google" and it would know exactly what I'm saying)

Anyway, I wish there was some kind of optional voice recognition pronunciation practice. I mean I'm reading or repeating every single sentence out loud as I go and I have a lot of exposure to the language and some formal lessons with native speakers but those were years ago and frankly I'm further along now in Duo than anything I ever learned in my classes (woohoo for Duo!). Hopefully once I move to a bigger city I can get some more in person practice or find an Israeli Skype friend. Might try recording my own voice sometime just to see how I sound. I guess there's always that.


One think I've seen people do - if you have the ability to - is use voice recognition to 'type in' their answers. I know this is possible on an iPad or similar, anyway. Basically, use voice recognition as input for your answers.

The speaking exercises on Duolingo are a bit useless anyway, to be honest. On the plus side, it forces you to try and speak in the language - on the minus side, the voice recognition is terrible.

I just tried it out in German to see how badly I could speak and still have it accept an answer/see if it had improved. It had not...

It accepted answers up to and including "flee flew flum" (I believe it was expecting Entschuldigen Sie bitte for that one); I started by just garbling the German, and then got sillier and sillier. Mumbled and garbled German got accepted just fine, something vaguely in the right rhythm got accepted, actual gibberish got accepted.

The only time I managed to not get an answer accepted was when I literally spoke in Hebrew instead. (Which my iPad can recognise: ‏אני לומדת עברית I'm unreasonably pleased that my Hebrew is good enough to talk to my iPad!)

I'm honestly far from convinced of the value of an exercise where deliberate nonsense that bears no relationship whatsoever to the actual words I'm supposed to be saying :-/ I don't think we are missing out much. I think attempting the sentences oneself out loud and repeating the audio where it's available is probably at least as valuable as relying on speak change recognition that unreliable, ya know? (At least then if you are messing up pronunciation you're aware you might be, whereas Duolingo might mark it correct even if you were speaking total garbage.)

Basically, I think what you're doing is probably as good as or better than VR unless the VR improves dramatically. You don't have VR exercises taking slots away from other (potentially more valuable) exercises, and you're still getting speaking practice without being falsely assured you're saying stuff right.


Oh my, haha. I never considered that the reverse might be true of it accepting complete nonsense. Kind of funny but a great point in why the speaking exercises would be difficult to implement. Don't know why we got hit with down votes...


It was kinda fun to see how badly I could speak and still have it accept my answers! I find it curious why it would accept actual nonsense, but as soon as I switched to a different language, then it recognised an error. Very peculiar!

I think some people just randomly down vote for no good reason. Or maybe they think the VR on Duolingo is wonderful, I'm not sure!


mine got marked right just from the sound of passing traffic so i gave up on it

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