The text-to-speech isn't clear enough to distinguish.
Almost always, it's too difficult for a complete beginner to distinguish between certain words (bebes/bebo, yo/tu, etc) with the text-to-speech program currently available. I don't know if it's an issue with the text-to-speech or if I'm just not experienced enough, but I can't be the only beginner having issues.
I'm finding it quite tough as well Reece. It's not so much the audio thats a problem for me but rather knowing in which contexts to use bebes or bebo for example, as you said.
I'm learning with a friend who has very little Spanish experience and he has no trouble understanding the audio. Maybe its your speakers?
I agree with RyanM, let's say that I am begginer and I also don't have any problems with understanding. Try to press ,,slower" button below the audio button, sometimes it helps :-)
I keep getting mixed up on nombre and hombre. Both are basically "ombre," at full speed.
I find the "slower" button really useful in these scenarios. I think it is useful, to not rely on understanding the pronunciation but to have to listen to the phrase again. In the majority of cases the "Yo" or "El" or "Ellas" at the start should help you to figure out the context to use "bebo/bebes" etc.
It is a combination certainly.. Imagine a drunk person talking in English - slurred speech.. But since we are proficient in English we can understand what they are saying..
Good point mikeydee though not even being fluent in a language can help in all cases, for example, I probably wouldn't understand a drunk person from Liverpool as easily as I would from London. Does Spain have as wide a range of regional accents as England?
I'm constantly bothered by her pronunciation of "Yo" as "Jo", which I think is a regional dialect and not standard Spanish...at least not as spoken by any of my friends and neighbors here in California. That said, I have learned to just click the slower button before submitting my translation. It's the safest way to be sure.