I've been listening to French lessons on an audio course recently, and the instructor makes it quite clear how to spell some words such as:
Manger (Duolingo says Manges) Parler (Duolingo says Parle)
Can someone explain to me the disparity? Is this instructor perhaps classically trained, old-school or simply wrong? It is a regional thing?
Each verb has a different conjugation based on the gender and number of people. Singular: je mange, tu manges, il mange. These sound the same. Plural: nous mangeons, vous mangez, ils mangent. These sound different. They are all the present form of the verb manger.
manger and parler are the verbs in their regular form. <to eat> and <to talk>. when you describe someone who makes the action you use the suitable form. for example: he eats = il manges. it sounds the same but you write it different.
Remember duolingo is a computer generated voice rather than an instructor trying to make things easy for his students and takes a bit of getting used to. If you persevere it will help you in real French situations.
If it helps you can think of how verbs change in English when following a subject. Example: to be (I am/she is/you are) French has many more conjugations and tenses then English it's takes some time to get used to it all.