Les chevals mangent / Le cheval mange
From the way the voice reads phrases such as these, I have a very hard time figuring out it the sentence is in singular or plural form.
Is this a problem unique to a computer program, or does this happen with French in real life? How do you know when there is no other context?
The only significant pronunciation difference between those two is between les and le. It does happen in real life with lots of other things too, so with French you'll always need to pay attention to the articles. If you hear "lay", it's plural. "luh" or "lah", it's singular.
The difference is indeed in the pronunciation of the article. The difference is heard.
In this specific case, it should be easy to tell the difference as the plural of "le cheval" is irregular. It's not "les chevals" but "les chevaux". Anyway, "le" and "les" are pronounced differently. It might be difficult to tell from the computer voice, but if you listen to actual speech samples, you can hear a clear difference. http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/le#French http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/les#French