Lack of verbal or oratory practice.
In many of the languages, such as readily experienced with Duolingo Spanish or French, You can run your cursor over the words and hear how each of them sound. When you click on any of the pictures or speaker icons, you can her the proper pronunciation of the words. Some of the questions involve the student using their microphone to properly pronounce the words.
In our Irish lessons, at least 1/2 of the speaker icons do not work. Nothing is ever pronounced verbally, as a cursor is run over a word. In many lessons, you never learn how to pronounce a word correctly. For example: I just completed a lesson, where the words, "chicken, orange and fish," were new vocabulary words. Not once did I hear how to properly pronounce any of these words.
Add to this the many dead speaker icons; a slow speech icon that does not work, at all; and the fact there is no cursor access to a word, other than dropdown written... Will any of these issues be addressed and repaired anytime soon?
The main reason for this is that there is no canonical speech synthesizer for the Irish language that is available to license to DuoLingo. All of the speech you hear in the Gaeilge course are recordings of a speaker -- there are several conversations about this, just go back in the discussion board.
As I think everyone would agree -- you have to seek out other learning materials on top of Duo no matter what language you are learning. If you want to hear spoken Irish, check out TG4.ie or the several Irish language radio stations available online. I personally like the little kids' shows, and the news is always good to watch. I'm also in a course at Fairfield University online right now, we meet twice a week on Skype and it's great.
Is it not possible to simply have a fluent Irish speaker speak the words into a microphone and record it for these lessons? Sure, it may not be as efficient as a speech synthesizer, but it is better than the many blanks we have now. It may not be able to be followed with every pass of a mouse cursor, word by word. But each word, each sentence can be spoken. For instance, if I see three pictures: úll, páistí & uisce .. at least i will know the last one is pronounced similar to: ish-ka and not: oo-ish!
As an audio engineer that has done a great deal of voiceover work lately -- no, it's not simple to make that happen.
However, I would volunteer my time to assist in the recording -- you're talking about thousands of words though. We just finished a 90 minute animated movie here and there are literally thousands of files and hundreds of hours of recording to edit and process, across 4 engineers.
Teletype, Curious who teaches the Fairfield course. There is a UCONN prof who teaches it as well, there and at the Connecticut Academy of Irish Music in Wethersfield.
Prof. Feeney teaches it at Fairfield, he is also very involved in Daltaí na Gaeilge -- great guy. I found the course through the Irish Language Learners facebook group.
Could this be done perhaps just for the first few lessons, to help people get started? Irish is the most difficult language I have ever seen/heard so far and I am having real difficulties getting into it - even at phoneme level. If the flyovers showing single word translations and clicks giving single word pronunciations could be done just for the first 3 or 4 lessons this would help enormously. Thanks