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https://www.duolingo.com/Luis

Vastly Improved Speaking Exercises in Chrome

LuisPlus
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We've been working on a significantly more accurate way to evaluate speaking exercises and today we're starting to test it on 50% of all website users. Instead of just telling you whether you said the whole sentence right or wrong, we now show you the words that the speech recognizer was able to identify and give you feedback on each one.

We're very excited about this update because the new pronunciation feedback is a lot more accurate, so it should help you learn better.

Another improvement is that the new exercises do not use Flash, so you'll see a lot fewer bugs and random failures. The only downside of this is that they'll only work in the Chrome browser (which accounts for about 65% of our users on the web). Even though we're not associated with Google, we recommend that you use Duolingo on Chrome (especially now!).

Let us know what you think.

4 years ago

174 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/DavidKutik

Thank you for refraining from Flash

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Eriklover555

I can't say this is vastly improved just yet. The microphone was actually mishearing text I know was spoken correctly, because I asked a native speaker. It seems that the Spanish b/v sound isn't understood by this new program.

To prove a point, I had my friend record herself saying the same sentence, and it said that she was wrong, and she's spoken only Spanish her whole life.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kscheffler

Yeah, I can't get anything right in French any more. Is it possible to revert back to the old microphone?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FauxShow42

Agreed here, it's terrible in French!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Eriklover555

You could use firefox, which is what I went back to using. Basically any browser but Chrome, I guess.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pauloxxxx

in Firefox, the Flash thing gives correct whatever you say (in my experience, cos I tried saying any old rubbish and it still gave me correct).

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kscheffler

Just returning to this thread to note that the voice recognition in Chrome is much better than when I first left the comment above. I think I can cease using Firefox for Duolingo.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ALoUSyUseRnaME
ALoUSyUseRnaME
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Hmm, you just made me want to connect my microphone :D

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nitram.
Nitram.
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Damn... I had to change from Opera to Firefox because Opera is not supported by the new look. Now I have to change from Firefox to Chrome (which I don't prefer, to say the least)...

Though I have to admit that it must be easier to just support one or maybe two browsers as it requires less people... Still, this is not fair :(

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Luis
LuisPlus
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It's not that we're only supporting Chrome. You can still use the site in the other major browsers. However, for the improved speaking exercises we're making use of the Web Speech API, which is a standard but so far only supported by Chrome. As soon as the other browsers support it we'll have it there.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nitram.
Nitram.
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I see, that explains everything. I hope the other browsers would implement this feature soon so I don't have to be forced to use Chrome. Thank you for your reply. ;)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/idshanks
idshanks
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Out of curiosity, does the speech recognition system pick up different major accents? For example, if I do the Spanish exercises and aim for a standard Spain pronunciation, will the speech recognition accommodate for that?

I look forward to trying this feature, but I will have to wait until Firefox supports the necessary API. :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Yerrick
Yerrick
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It is interesting, once upon a time Mozilla and Firefox were the trailblazers adhering to spec standards and IE followed only years later kicking and screaming, and now it seems Google and Chrome have picked up that particular torch.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Equilibrio99
Equilibrio99
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My microphone view changed mid-session. I liked it but sometimes the words Duo THINKS I'm saying are so hilariously wrong that I start laughing, confusing the interface still more.

Seriously, it's great, you can see exactly which attempted word is not doing its job. Thanks for the continuous improvement. ¡Viva la evolución!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jbailey88
jbailey88
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Amazing, this is the kind of progress that I like to see! Now to get it up and running with Portuguese!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Luis
LuisPlus
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You're not even learning Portuguese!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jbailey88
jbailey88
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I was, but I stopped because of the speaking exercises! Plus, I decided to focus on Spanish so that I could do Spanish for French speakers (when it appears). :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fluencyplan

Don Luis! Can you tell us when this feature will be available for Portuguese? So far no voice recording practice for that wonderful language. Obrigado. :-)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jkl
jkl
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when is the portugues voice system going to be fixed? the the way the voice says it is blocky. what r the differences between the spanish and portugues voice systems?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jeddkara5
jeddkara5
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It seems to be the same for me. Would that mean that I am one of the 35%? If this is the case, when would the change be made for the remainder? Thanks for the clarification.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KTKee-EnglishEng
KTKee-EnglishEng
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Seems pretty unfair that you're "perfecting" other languages when you don't have anything for Portuguese (whose audio is awful by the way).

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fluencyplan

^^^^ A VERDADE ^^^^

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ALoUSyUseRnaME
ALoUSyUseRnaME
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Yeah, why Portuguese?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Puddleglum
Puddleglum
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Portuguese doesn't have speech on here, just translating and listening, I think.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ALoUSyUseRnaME
ALoUSyUseRnaME
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Oh, that explains...

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fluencyplan

Yeah, exactly. I've been wondering about this for months now.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pont
pont
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Great news! I've had the mic deactivated for ages because the speech recognition was so unreliable -- I'm looking forward to giving it a try again.

I had no idea that there even was a Web Speech API (W3C spec here for anyone else interested: https://dvcs.w3.org/hg/speech-api/raw-file/tip/speechapi.html ). I readily accepted the pragmatic reasons to use Flash, but I can't say that I'm at all sorry to see it go :).

Thanks for the never-ending improvements!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sparkle
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Glad to hear this is something that Duolingo is working on, as I turned off the mic on my computer ages ago out of frustration. But so far it still seems off. I was just trying to repeat "Es ist positiv" and it heard "Die musik"... there is no way my pronunciation can be that off. That was about the 5th attempt and as close as I got.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mitchell_MT
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The new microphone is very sensitive. I have to repeat myself at least 10 times to get at least one word correct. Please fix this. Thanks.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SergeantFTC

Nice improvement, but please bring back the ability to listen to how we pronounced it.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Puddleglum
Puddleglum
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Now people have a reason to get a real browser! Chrome browser is best browser! :-D

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MRMsys
MRMsys
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Yes and everyone who uses IE has a lower IQ the Internet told me blah blah blah

Never thought I would see the day of web browser fanbois, but here they are.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/hazza_h
hazza_h
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...why is that?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/edenludgate
edenludgate
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I agree

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JoeOcher
JoeOcher
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Love it, it's made me realise that a couple of words (e.g. humor) I had no idea how to say in German and was just using an English accent :)

Couple of points:

  1. How are you going to test it? Since it makes the exercises harder metrics might show people doing worse, but that doesn't stop it being a good feature.

  2. For this new feature I find I have to enunciate more, and so I speak slower, can you add a couple more seconds before the microphone thinks I've stopped speaking. A few times it's cut out.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Puddleglum
Puddleglum
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They might see an increase of microphone users because of the improvement. Tighter and more informative speech recognition would help with people's comprehension in general, so it could actually boost metrics.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/olneyce

This is really neat! It seems to get a few sounds wrong in very strange ways, but I'm guessing that's always been the case and it was just hidden behind the curtains.

One feature that would be great to add on: having the chance to try again even after you've got it 'close enough.' I can sometimes tell how I'm saying something wrong, but just can't get my mouth to form it right. But a lot of the time I think I'm doing it the same and get very different results. It would be great to try things out multiple times to see if I could perfect it.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/idshanks
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Absolutely agreed with this! In fact, I want to be able to try multiple times, even if I get it accepted as perfect. Even if we nail a pronunciation once, it can help to have some immediate and repeated reinforcement. (though perhaps with the allowance that we don't lose our hearts for getting it wrong on a repeat attempt)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/idshanks
idshanks
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Haha, so the API demo recognises my pronunciation of German, which I've been practising seriously for about half a year, and Spanish, which I've been practising for a few days, better than my native language pronunciation (Scottish accent)! It's funny in a really sad sort of way... :P

Just goes to show that standard pronunciations really rule the roost in a big way!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JedMeshew

this is the exact opposite of new and improved. i fail every test because it cannot even kind of understand me. its super frustrating and I would like the old, completely functioning method returned please.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Naylor1993
Naylor1993
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I almost threw my laptop out of the window using the French voice recognition. Keep up the good work Duo because there's still a lot to do!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tonyph17
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I would have thought that a significant proportion of users use either the Android app as I do or the iOS app rather than any specific browser. How well does voice recognition work on these devices please?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Luis
LuisPlus
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We'll be working on improving those soon. For now this is only available on the web version.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Puddleglum
Puddleglum
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It is still the old style of voice recognition. This is a website-only update that is specifically for Chrome. The 65% refers to website users only.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FrenchAddict7

It is really difficult for me to get the pronunciation right, so I disabled it sadly. It could be my microphone, me, or maybe the improvement itself. Thanks anyways!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Gelle89

The computer has a really hard time understanding my French but not my Spanish. So sometimes I do my Spanish work first then switch to French and disable to mic for an hour so I don't have to do the spoken exercises.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Puddleglum
Puddleglum
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It seems to be working fine for me, even in French. No problems.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/marcocaramori
marcocaramori
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Does that work on Chromium too? Don't know if that is the problem but I tried activating my microfone, but seems like it never captures anything. I tried on the Google Web speech API testing page and it worked (https://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/demos/speech.html). Apparently it is not asking me access to the microfone, while the google test page does it. I tried removing browser data, but that didn't work too. Some weird browser console logs that maybe tell something about it:

new data in session => 6b82dffeafff06943d380f4968f17090_mv_.min.js:184

ready => 6b82dffeafff06943d380f4968f17090_mv_.min.js:277

new data in session => 6b82dffeafff06943d380f4968f17090_mv_.min.js:184

These logs all appeared during an audio exercise in a practice session.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EmCee2

I still have a lot of trouble getting the program to understand what I'm saying. Any tips?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger
sloggerPlus
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Speak slowly and enunciate quite clearly at first. As you become used to the interface you will be able to speak faster and relax a little, probably.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
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My native dialect is midwestern American English. I'm learning Spanish and doing the modules in both directions. For the most part, the new speech recognition is pretty nifty, but it hilariously thought I said "read" (past tense) instead of "red" when translating "rojo" -- How, pray tell, did it come to that conclusion?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/alejandro_4321

i'm not so sure if the way to evaluate speaking exercises is more accurate, or if i can't pronounce even a single word after the improvement. still very good the feedback stuff.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/M.Dantes
M.Dantes
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So lots of hating mixed in with the positive reviews. My take after doing a couple lessons with the new feature follows. FYI I am a French teacher about to be done my Masters in the language with several phonetics courses under my belt. To this point I had hated the recording part as it was too easily gamed by students--won't be the case any more.

  1. The microphone and recognition seems spot on to me. In a quiet environment with a solid French accent (which takes a ton of practice and repetition to perfect or even get close to perfecting) there don't seem to be any issues. To those who say the microphone is off, I would politely suggest that it is your accent that is off, and that is to be expected. Just enjoy the new and improved learning opportunity!

  2. The instant feedback is great--as as the different color codes that can be seen right away.

  3. This new approach will allows users to have focused practice on their accents. I'm already envisioning having students take screenshots of all their phonetics exercises and dropping them in Google Drive folder so I can keep up with each of them--what are they getting wrong and what do they need to practice--nothing like this would have been possible before.

I have more to say but that's it for now. In closing, thank you again for this, and each change you make. It's clear that your goal is improving this medium for all. THANK YOU!!!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/idshanks
idshanks
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I'm glad it's not just a fluke that the German seems to be functioning. I know the weaknesses of my German accent (I can sometimes be a little slow on my uvular 'R' mid-word, my 'Ö' can be questionable at times, and I've never quite been happy with my syllable-final 'R'), and I know the strengths of it; as a musician, I'm very self-analytical with my listening, and Duolingo's speech recognition falls pretty much perfectly into line with my assessment of my pronunciation's strengths and weaknesses so far.

I just say this because it would be a shame for Duolingo to ease off on the accuracy of the recognition merely to allow weaker pronunciation pass through! Although strictness options could always be a solution, should it come to that.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MRMsys
MRMsys
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I get what you're saying, and believe me I really did think it was my pronunciation. Then I investigated further and found that the API being used could not even understand me speaking a native language (English) slowly and clearly! Try it at https://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/demos/speech.html. At this point I don't know if it's my computer or internet connection or if either of those should even affect this in any way (they shouldn't).

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lynxlynxlynx

Same catastrophe here. Some Slavic accent, but roleplaying British didn't help either. Even speaking very slowly didn't seem to improve anything.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RobinHerrick

I tried multiple time to say "enchanted" into the Google API and got this: any chance today engine shed and chanted ng9 2az

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/idshanks
idshanks
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What's your English accent? Mine is Scottish; it does pretty poorly with me unless I put on a southern-English or some kind of generic US accent.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MRMsys
MRMsys
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Best described as a standard American accent with a hint of non-descript foreignness.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Eriklover555

I understand that the program does seem to work for you in French, but I took my pronunciation out of the equation when I asked my friend to say the same sentence I did. She wasn't understood, and she's a native Spanish-speaker. There is some problem with the program's understanding of the Spanish accent.

I appreciate Duo's attempt at making the system better, but it does need a little work.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/idshanks
idshanks
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Perhaps the Spanish in particular has a weakness, or perhaps your friend's accent is just not accounted for (which is something I'm all too familiar with in voice-recognition software, as a Scot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAz_UvnUeuU - more truth than comedy, unfortunately :S); hopefully they do account for some degree of dialectal diversity.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Eriklover555

That's my point. There should be some acknowledgement that people trying to pronounce the words in a certain way that should be accepted might run into trouble. Most people don't even check the discussion forums, and this is just going to confuse and frustrate them.

I'd be happy if there was just a pop up or something else that told them that they could run into problems. Then people would know to use another browser and/or turn off their mic.

I can attest that hitting that annoying red screen over and over again is a killer for your motivation.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/idshanks
idshanks
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Indeed, I hope that they do have a solution for this; I've begun learning Spanish with a focus on Iberian phonology, and it would be pretty unfortunate if I can't make use of this feature as a result. That said, it is a fresh release and this is their initial wave of open feedback, so I'm sure they'll work towards some kind of solution in the near future.

EDIT: So I've tried the Spanish, and while I'm only on the basic lessons, it seems to recognise the word's I'm saying with Spain-style pronunciations effortlessly.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/phyzelo

I just did a test, by recording the Spanish audio example one is supposed to say back to the recorder. The system cannot recognize it's own recording when played back to it. Not even one word.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MRMsys
MRMsys
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That... is amazing.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/idshanks
idshanks
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To be fair, they are separate systems, and the speech synthesis is simply that - synthesis. I wouldn't really expect voice recognition to recognise a TTS engine even if the recognition was working perfectly for everybody.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/aemann

Sorry guys, it's not yet ready for prime time, but I do hope you get it working well soon.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/emily126

i've been extremely frustrated with this "improvement". it can't seem to recognize my words, even when pronounced perfectly. it's not helpful at all. and it hears ridiculous things that sound nothing like what i said! for example, it heard the word "youtube" at the beginning of one of my french sentences, where it couldn't possibly have been confused for what i actually said. no background noise, either. just adding in random words and syllables. i'm having to repeat myself over and over just to get it to understand me. the timed practice exercises is where it really takes its toll... now that i know this is just for chrome, i'm thinking of just using another browser. this could be a good idea and a helpful tool if it actually worked. i'd love to see it pulled for now, worked on, and then reintroduced when the bugs are fixed.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SyxHyTex

Duolingo's microphone exercises have always been extremely spotty, but I think the fault lies with how difficult good speech recognition is to develop, rather than poor effort or lack of integrity on Duolingo's part. Since I joined I've been able to pass a surprising amount of voice questions by saying whatever I want; I've even gotten a question right by saying "blah blah blah blah".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chartreux

When I speak it fills in with the correct wording (generally) then the whole thing gets replaced with the wrong words. I mean literally it figured out in French that I was saying and thus spelled "Nous sommes amis" and replaced it improperly with "travel 202". Yeahhhhh!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/idshanks
idshanks
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Okay, I decided to get and get on via a chrome client to see what all the fuss was about; I have to say, the speech recognition seems pretty good for German so far! It confused my pronunciation of 'Löffel' for 'Teufel', which I'm fairly confident is a stretch - but it's far more accurate than not! Unless the standards are varying widely from language to language, I have to say I don't know what all the complaints are about! I love it, and I might just have to sort out my chrome issues for it!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/phyzelo

Is the bobbing line in the record button supposed to represent the signal strength?

So far in a few tries, the system cannot recognize almost all words I say. Which is nice to have the feedback. Don't know if it's me or it, or a little bit of both.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scorpmote
scorpmote
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How is it when I pronounce il, it comes out as Hervé?? It is not accurate at all. And I don't even have a chance to do over to correct this horribly recognised words.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rollingXskull

same problem here, i can not use the microphone for my French. as a feedback i suggest another approach. for now, i exercise without

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/edumelo
edumelo
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I like the new feature. It would be nice if we also could listen to our record just as it was before.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CecilieO.

I'm not managing to make it work. Except, If I speak very slowly with pauses between each word it managed to catch some simple words.

example: "Lei mangia il pane" it consistently registered "lei mangia" but afterwards nothing came up... or sometimes it started out reading "lei mangia" and then it changed into "ebay annunci"

not surprisingly I got the message "oops, that seems to be wrong" after that..

Now I loose a heart if I skip the speaking excercise (because no correct answer is registering). It's nice to have as many shots as possible, but this would be very demotivating as a new user.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/GSDG
GSDG
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This doesn't work for me at all. Spanish, French, German, none of them work.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/queendeeny

I was excited to try this but it's not accurate at all. I said "definitivamente" and it heard me as "realamente." I said "Ella vio" and it heard me as "Hablado."

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/aliceodea

Unfortunately, my experience with it has been a mixed bag so far. When it works, it's great and I love seeing the words appear as I say them. But when it doesn't work, it's very frustrating. I'll say a phrase over and over and over again -- slower and more distinctly each time -- and it keeps not getting it. And if I finally give up out of frustration, I lose a heart.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/aliceodea

ps. no matter how many times I try, I cannot get the speech recognition to understand "c'est." Most of the time it thinks I'm saying 7, but it comes up with other possibilities, too. But never "c'est."

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dr.arioso

It seems to me that duolingo's speech recognition has gotten worse and slower. In particular, it seems to be ignoring a lot of sibilant sounds (e.g. f, s). I appreciate seeing what the recognition engine thinks I'm saying, but it's distracting to see bizarro words showing up briefly until it settles on its translation. It seems to work more often than not in recognizing Spanish, but less often than the previous method.

I love Chrome and use it for most everything. But I hate the idea of going back to the Bad Old Days of "this site only works in one browser (in the old days, generally IE)."

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kalquimarke

Thank you! The new feature is great while recognizing word by word.

Sadly, I'm not good enough in pronunciation and I can't pass through the oral exercises... It would be really helpful if there were a "clear-last-word button" in order to maintain the few words I can pronounce properly and to allow me to improve pronunciation for the other words.

I'm also wondering if there's a "button trick" or something to help Duolingo to understand what I say. Is there any? How should I speak or use the system in order to clear the question? Speaking slower, faster, word by word?

Oh, and by the way... I'm learning French as many who have commented too.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kalquimarke

I can't believe that my German pronunciation is better than my French pronunciation. I'm happy that I passed some timed oral tests in German! :D

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/swagford

This isn't working well for me either in French. The microphone translate into super random sentences.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AdamT6

Awesome idea. and I was completely blown away by it as soon as I noticed it last night (and then promptly shared about it via Google+. However, as a brand new learner of French I am having difficulties with it being "a lot more accurate" and as others have stated, with the seemingly miscellaneous words popping up, as well as the noticeably longer lag until it completes.

To be clear, I would take all of these drawbacks to keep this new system but, as a possible third-way, could we have an option that allows us to disable the microphone after we try so that at least we can give it a go before being locked in one way or the other?

I know this is a beta test, and lots of new fancies are coming our way, but this is my feedback for what it is worth.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wstoutamire

Doesn't work for me on Chrome on a Mac. The first phrase I received was "Tengo un espejo." No matter how many times I tried, Duolingo failed to recognize that I was saying anything at all. Worried that maybe my pronunciation was terrible or my microphone was the issue, I tried testing it directly on Google at: https://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/demos/speech.html

On my first try, Google recognized exactly what I was saying in Spanish with no issue. So the issue is neither my pronunciation nor my computer. I've reset my browser cookies, etc., but that did nothing. Any help?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chartreux

Luis, this fix, at least as far as French is concerned, simply does not work properly. I can't even get past the most basic of voice sentences. I'm evening recording Duo's voice and playing it back. It fails with every attempt, no matter how slow I speak. Please help !

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Laetitia_Lalila

Hi guys, I'm using Duolingo on Chrome and since the new voice recognition was introduced, it has totally stopped working. I have to turn off my microphone in order to do the excercises... Hope it will get fixed soon! Thanks so much for all the hard work!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/zstelling

For Spanish, the microphone input now only understands me less than 25% of the time when it used to pick up 95% of what I was saying. I find myself having to yell slowly in an American accent for the program to understand me.

Also, the transliterations are slow and often come out as misspelled, jumbled, nonsense. I find them distracting and greatly preferred the old system without them.

I am using Chrome and have not attempted lessons on another browser.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MRMsys
MRMsys
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Is anyone else finding this "new and improved" voice recognition to be basically non-functional, at least for French? Most of the transliterations being generated are total nonsense, and no, it is not my pronunciation. Please stop making comments like "awesome!" and "great work!" until we know a feature actually works!

I'm actually reverting to Firefox because the experience has been so poor.

UPDATE: So I've continued and given the Web Speech API a chance after looking at specification at W3C. There are a few variables which may have been causing problems. First thing to realize is that the speech recognition computation is being done on the users computer, by the Chrome browser in this case. I could be incorrect about that, because it is not a requirement of the specification. Second thing is that both a language and a grammar or grammars may be specified. The language specified often carries a specific accent e.g. Español-España. I'm not familiar with how the grammars work but... considering that some people have been getting recognition in a completely different language than the one being tested, I believe the languages/grammars may have been called incorrectly in Duo's implementation.

Lately I've noticed it works MUCH better if I click the microphone, say the sentence, and then click the microphone again. Otherwise, rather than stopping and analyzing what I've said, it will continue to analyze it for a time and I can WATCH as the correctly recognized input is contorted into some horribly mangled nonsense transliteration.

See the specification at: https://dvcs.w3.org/hg/speech-api/raw-file/tip/speechapi.html

Sorry for the long post, but I really hope this works out and Duolingo gets to the bottom of it!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ekindred

This new detection is unusable and I have had to turn it off, because it simply wont pick up words

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FrenchAddict7

Me too! I am also having trouble with the French. See my comment below, if you want, also.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Royal_WithCheese

Same here. Can't really get the French to work. I usually leave the microphone off anyways.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MRMsys
MRMsys
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Upon further investigation, the voice recognition demo on the GOOGLE webpage (https://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/demos/speech.html) cannot even recognize me speaking English at a normal or slow rate of speed. Can other people try this out and maybe we can determine if the problem is this API or Duolingo's implementation?

And no, the problem is not my microphone, sound playback of a recording is perfect.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Naylor1993
Naylor1993
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When I said "Web speech API demonstration" it thought I said "What's the Latin strippers".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sparkle
Sparkle
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I had only slightly better success with the google page than Duolingo. It seems to miss all the small words. I was happy to hear about this improvement because I gave up on using the mic ages ago. I turned the mic on and started practicing German and got stuck fairly quickly. It only heard one of 3 words. (also not a problem with my mic, I use it regularly and it's fine)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PinkyGreen

Worked fine on Google but Duolingo only occasionally works and very, slowly.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PinkyGreen

Ok, tried clearing cache on Chrome and then closing and relaunching, seems to be a little better.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/gnatn88

The Google demonstration works well in for me in English. However, if I set it to French it does not understand.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/martiice

I tried it first in English. Not a hint of a problem so obviously my mic works. Switched to Spanish. Recognized a few words but totally didn't recognize most--my pronunciation may not be perfect but the words displayed were miles from what I said. And short words were totally ignored. So, since my goal is to learn to speak Spanish, I am going to have to turn Duolingo off until this all worked out. Too frustrating to keep trying to say a word or phrase and the system totally ignores it or comes up with something far removed from you said.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JamesB84
JamesB84
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I didn't really have any issues with Spanish, but when I started trying French... Oy

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexShirl
AlexShirl
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Same here, French pronunciation works only for very short sentences for me.

An update: I had my girlfriend try the speaking exercises and would be stumped when she would try to dictate "vignt-cinq" an the transcription would hang up with '25'.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AndreasII
AndreasII
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For people who says this, could it have something to do with your microphone?

I know that I have such a terrible micophone that I won't even try this new feature. Many integrated microphons in laptops are no good at all, especially if you don't buy a high-end one.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/idshanks
idshanks
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That's my suspicion - even a microphone that sounds decent for human ears could still have unforeseen issues for speech recognition. Especially if pops aren't filtered properly.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Bat_Fish

My microphone is very good.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/hydrargyrus
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I am having the same issues and had to disable the voice recognition for now. However, I went one step further and recorded myself speaking using Windows' voice recorder and well... There seems to be some serious issue with my microphone, because there is a lot of noise in the recorded audio. My audio driver includes a feature to suppress noise, but it lowers the recording volume a lot. So, with these issues, I cannot expect Duolingo to properly recognize my speech. You should make the same test to see whether or not this is a problem with your equipment.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Drewchan95

I completly agree. Furthermore I say something and that software recognizes in english!! Neither french!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/naut
naut
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I don’t know what your problem is. I just passed 5 challenges in a row at French level 7 and it perfectly recognized all the words.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jack.Elliot
Jack.Elliot
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you probably do not have a Scottish accent... it will work well with your accent because the accents closest to the research would have been used ? still it sounds brilliant

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fer84
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I tried it on the google page and the voice recognition in french worked pretty nicely for me. However, I am not in the 50% test group and I cannot test it on DL :/ Any chance to switch me to the other test group ? ^^

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/S.Liebermann
S.Liebermann
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works fine for Spanish, and I love it!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JaimeCampo4

Thank god! I thought my French pronunciation was just really bad. I think it is extremely accurate in German and Italian, but yeah, French needs improvement.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/hahayeahnah

Thank goodness now I at least know why the voice recognition is useless. The transliterations are absolutely atrocious for French, please if anyone in the DL team has a conscience, please fix this. I am so close to tearing my hair out.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Alicet87630

Exactly, I have the same problem for French! I know it's totally not my pronunciation because I checked with another person compared to the Duolingo pronunciation and he said I spoke it right!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AdeleOfficial

d'accord!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/debrina60

no wonder that for the longest time Duolingo would not load up on my computer, only would work on my tablet. so once i installed Chrome... bam! its working great on my computer, except for the voice recognition, cant get that to understand what i am saying. thanks!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vinicius.albuq

Thanks Luis. You all are doing a really good job here.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/blohrding
blohrding
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the trick to it is to speak slowly if you speak slowly it works pretty good

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Leslie_Duo

I LOVE the new pronunciation feedback! It's really cool to see each word get recognized & appear as I speak it. Wonderful feedback tool. Keep up the trabajo fabuloso, Duolingo. :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/nathansk8s
nathansk8s
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I like it a lot! It works better and adds to the look and feel of duolingo.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PeterBizjak

It works very well for my Spanish (Slovenian accent) in a Windows XP Chrome app. Recognition is comparable to Siri's or Google Voice's.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jolievintage

I noticed this earlier and think it really does help. It's so much better being able to see what you're pronouncing wrong, thank you Duolingo!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/therion2k9
therion2k9
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When I need to translate and speak something, I cannot find a way to give up when I have no clue how to translate it. Having to activate the mic to say nonsense to be able to go on the next question is a bit annoying. Apart from that... it looks fine ;)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Yerrick
Yerrick
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I like the new real-time feedback. The best change is that now, those exercises provide mouseover-text on per-word translation, like all the others do. I wish the voice recognition could be more accurate, but that is an issue independent from this new UI specifically.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KooKooZoo
KooKooZoo
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Well, I'm having mix feelings with this feature. I'm not totally convinced. It seems to me that the voice recognition is not completely reliable (almost for Spanish lessons). I'll jump between using Duolingo on several platforms or browsers. By this way, I'd be challenged.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/3wereld
3wereld
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When I try this new feature in French it almost always says I'm correct, even if I speak total rubbish, like blablabla. that doesn't seems right, does it?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jabdallah

It works if I have no TV, radio, or other people talking in the background.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Skutir

I find it very useful and helpful to see which part the speech recognition did recognize -- and it's also interesting to know how little it does recognize when it still gives me credit for a right answer!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/aemann

Last night it did not work for me, but now it does and it sure seems like a great addition to the site. Congratulations to the Duolingo team.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Bat_Fish

I am learning Spanish from English (on Chrome) and have been having some problems - sometimes it hears me perfectly and other times no matter how many times I repeat myself or how slowly, clearly and loudly I speak it can't understand me at all. This has not happened to me on the iPhone app.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MarzipanSky73

Really great and we're grateful for your huge and continuous work, but repeating/speaking exercises is still too critical and too difficult (may I say, also? Even boring) for those who are not in the 50%, as I am, :=((( . For example, speaking french, it's almost impossible to be understood by your microphone, I often have to repeat the same words twenty times, that seems too much, in my opinion. It would have been better to give to everyone of us students the opportunity to choose whether using old duolingo microphone or beta.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mark2020
Mark2020
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After a quick test on Spanish using my laptop microphone it seems to work quite well. I think I need to improve my pronunciation somewhat though and hopefully this new feature will help a lot.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tinnmel
tinnmel
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I like the idea of what you are doing with this, but my microphone must not be good enough. I finally had to disable the mic.

By the way, the voice exercises always worked better on my tablet than on my computer. Hopefully this will come to android and will then work better for me.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RivalNYC

This works terribly for French. I sure hope duoLingo fixes this.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JohnGrunewald
JohnGrunewald
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I am a level 14, 62 day streak Portuguese student who was a proponent of Rosetta Stone until I discovered Duolingo. And all this time I have NEVER KNOWN that there is a speech feature on Duolingo. I listen, I translate I talk to my computer to hear the words, but I have never seen any microphone icon or any sign of an interactive vocal feature. What gives? I recently switched to chrome and that solved a bug that I submitted, about not being able to report problems (non-functional Submit button) but no other change. Any help out there?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MRMsys
MRMsys
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LOL, you're not doing anything wrong John! There is just no speech component to the Portuguese course. I really wish there was, fortunately I learned to speak elsewhere and completed the tree as a grammar review.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/idshanks
idshanks
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Check your user settings and make sure you have microphone turned on.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JohnGrunewald
JohnGrunewald
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Boy, that was quick. I went back to my user settings and everything is on: Speaker, microphone, all the buttons that can be on are on. Any other ideas? I'm using a Macbook air, system ) OS 10.6.8. 1/4 Ghz core 2 duo with 2 gig of RAM. Any more suggestions? I went back and started an exercise, but nothing has changed. I have the regular speed and slow speed speaker icons, but that is it.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/idshanks
idshanks
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Honestly, that was my only idea. :S It often seems to be the culprit. However, I can't think of anything else, so I'd recommend making a post in the troubleshooting forum: https://www.duolingo.com/topic/647 - include those specs and mention your browser in the post.

Hopefully you find a solution soon!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JohnGrunewald
JohnGrunewald
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Thanks for your prompt attention. I'll give the post you suggest a try. Wish me luck. John

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/aliceodea

This is a great improvement and I'm still trying to work with the French version. But I have one request: would it be possible to "skip" a speaking exercise after 10 or 12 unsuccessful attempts without losing a heart?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/amazingamazing

I just had to turn off my microphone because the speech recognition has become to frustrating.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RaphaelSpi1

It doesn't work anymore in Chrome browser...works perfectly in Opera...please fix!!!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tomwwagstaff

Similar issue here - works perfectly on Android phone but totally useless in Windows, regardless of whether I use Chrome or another browser. Biggest bugbear with Duolingo by far..

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Olvew

It doesn't work at all. I've said the same sentence, with varying speed and intonation, about fourty times now, and it isn't recognized.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Olvew

It works when I use an external microphone. But that shouldn't be necessary.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/stingerbee12

Awesome!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RodrigoGomes0

I just tried the Spanish Basics excercises and Chrome is still using Flash. Is this new feature just for new exercises?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kfalcian

I usually don't use chrome ( I have sometimes) so when I logged in after not using chrome for a while it did not keep my place. Do I have to go back and redo all the sections or did I miss something?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SuperSwipe
SuperSwipe
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That's amazing!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/livsoccer02

I am not sure why people are down rating when people are saying it is awesome or cool.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tariqnisarahmed

First off: dear Duolingo Team, thanks for making speech practice such an important priority! Merci! ¡Gracias! شكرا!

Second, my fellow Duolinguists, stop acting like the world has ended if this effort by Team Duo has not YET worked out for you on -- hmmm? -- the FIRST day it was revealed? And why do I need to reiterate that this is still a test rollout?

If you were LUCKY enough to be in the fifty percent, is this how you show appreciation for a FREE product that works so hard to get better and better, AND DOES get better and better week after week, month after month?!

When I get home tonight, I plan on testing out my Duolingo in Chrome experience. For good measure, I might compare it to Duolingo using iOS Chrome, too. And if I am lucky enough to help Duolingo with feedback, whether it is congratulatory or constructive-criticism, above all, I intend to provide a report similar to one I would write if I were part of a privileged group of Duolingo Beta Testers.

Because that's what these testers are.

Edit Not directed at anyone in particular, above was my reaction to a lot of posts taken together. Lots of good, positive posts, too.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mercutio

I downloaded chrome and tried to test it but it didn't look any different than before so I don't think it worked?! will it work with anyone using chrome?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/idshanks
idshanks
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No - only 50% of website users are in the test-group, as stated in the original post.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Bellatrix86

So, I could try it now. I tested it in the French course

1) I love it! And I love that you kept on working on a better speech recognition.
I had been criticizing the old one a couple of times because in my opinion it was way too easy. It was basically enough to just make any sound for the lesson to accept is as right. I still think this too easy one was better then none, because it drives people to speak at least a bit but it didn't help much if you were already a quite fluent speaker.

2) I don't find the new one too hard. But maybe this is just me and my experience. I had around 20 sentences in the lessons I just did and didn't get a single one wrong.

3) But it's not perfect yet.
I noticed that it will "press" the check button automatically when it recognises your whole sentence. I'd prefer it if we could record again (and again and again) until we're satisfied. And then press check ourselves.
Because if I make a mistake now I have no possibility to correct it. What if have to cough?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/trtoth

Hi guys! At about 2 days time I have problem with speach recognition. Duolingo does not recognise my voice. Earlier it did. I am using the Italian part.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tomwwagstaff

I've found it's exactly the same as it was before i.e. it fails to understand me at all... In my experience the microphone is the weakest link in what's otherwise a really good programme.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/missnancyy

WTH i was using the speech thing fine until you guys changed it... now i have to download a new browser on my mac ... this is annoying!!!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Puddleglum
Puddleglum
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The new speech works only in Chrome. Other browsers have the same old system. It's not Duo's fault, either. Google decided to put new speech recognition tech into their browser, and Duo just wants to make good use of it.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RobinHerrick

This is a helpful thread because I now have reverted to Internet Explorer for Duolingo and am back in business!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jarrettcolby

A small bug: Chrome's speech API abbreviates some words. For example: "kilómetro" is rendered to text as "km." Duolingo expects the text to be "kilómetro" and doesn't recognize "km" as correct. Perhaps common abbreviations should be added to the validation rules.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DanielOCal
DanielOCal
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I've been having problems with French. I assumed it was me. SInce I'm an Australian in my late 40's I'm way out of practice at French pronunciation I learnt at high school. But maybe the problem has more to do with my input devices - more problems with my Android phone than Winows desktop with Chrome.

I was wondering if it would be possible (and useful) to have speaking exercises where you can get your own input played back, along with what you are trying to mimic. I mean, if you had a French pronunciation lesson with a native speaker, he or she would ask you to repeat individual words (or even individual sounds) that were wrong. Maybe if there were exercises where we could cycle through demo_voice -> your input -> You said <your input played back>. Now try again -> demo_voice.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dmikalova

This is still not resembling anything near working for me. That Google demo works fantastic for me, but Duolingo will rarely even pick up anything. Repeating "El color verde" 10x and the only word that gets picked up sometimes is "Outlook".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JohnTheJag

Just bought a Szenio2032QC tablet, Duolingo works "Great" apart from speech recognition not operating, is an external microphone necessary? as Google search by voice works perfectly without one! ...Answer appreciated!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sammy_Rodger

This is terrible; it wont work properly!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Geoff_Campbell

I really love the new speaking page. I use both the iPhone app and the Chrome page. Previously the app was very (probably too) forgiving of my spoken French, but the Chrome web page was unpredictable with some pronunciations never being acceptable and other badly mangled versions being OK. The new Chrome version is vastly superior to its predecessor. Thanks and keep up the great work.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/longq
longq
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Thanks for letting us know the new design works for you! We will have more updates coming soon.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/thepandabear123

@ MRMsys i am having this same problem with French. I am also trying to say that the voice recognition sometimes messes itself up and tells me something is wrong when it is totally right. Could you please fix that? When I am testing out like lets say all five skills and have 3 lives, that gets annoying. I hope you can fix it.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/thepandabear123

@ MRMsys i am having this same problem with French. I am also trying to say that the voice recognition sometimes messes itself up and tells me something is wrong when it is totally right. Could you please fix that? When I am testing out like lets say all five skills and have 3 lives, that gets annoying. I hope you can fix it.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/alexabeaman

When will the speaking feature be available on the chrome web browser? Can I only access this feature on my phone?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/longq
longq
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It's on both Chrome web browser and Android phones. If you don't have them, check out whether you turned speaking/microphone off in your settings.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/nesivapama

This is not working for German for Spanish Speakers. I mean, when I have to do any speaking exercises, it doesn't matter if you are doing it right or wrong, it always says "it's correct". In some exercises, I said things in another language (english, french) and the voice recognition takes it like if everything you say is right, and the problem is that some people would think that what they are saying is right but the true is that it isn't.

2 years ago

[deactivated user]

    I have not seen this feature. It either tells me I'm correct, or not correct. It does not tell me why it thinks I'm incorrect; it simply retypes the original sentence I was asked to speak. Frustrating. I cannot find a pattern to the correct/incorrect responses.

    EditDelete6 months ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/Catullus

    I don't know what it was like before, so I don't know if it has vastly improved. Just FYI I am using Chrome. I will no longer use the microphone though. Often it hears what I say correctly, but sometimes there are pockets of glitches of two kinds. First, it marks the sentence as being spoken correctly BEFORE I even finish the sentence. Second, it says I mispronounced something that I spoke clearly and correctly. As I said, these problems occur in clusters and then it works fine. It is frustrating to be marked incorrect when it was correct. It also undermines my faith in the audio software when I am marked correct before I even finish speaking the sentence.

    1 week ago