Female French Speaker Unintelligible

I've always had trouble understanding the woman speaker of French on Duolingo. I cannot hear the difference between words like 'peux' and 'pour,' for example (happened today). I would always have to slow her down, listen many times, and sometimes even give up trying to type what she said because I just could not guess even from context what she was saying (and I was fluent in French about 25 years ago, so the French lessons are rather easy for me, relative to starting a totally new language).

With the male speaker I almost never misunderstood him, and he sounded crisp and clear most of the time.

Lately, it seems that the ONLY speaker in my lessons is the woman speaker - and also lately, I've sometimes just written a few words that I could understand and just given up after trying many times to understand what she was saying - really, just so muffled and unclear that I couldn't even guess from context or from the topic of the lesson - or the fact that I've finished the entire tree and am only strengthening skills. Most of it is very easy and obvious to me and I have no trouble getting right answers - until it's one of those questions where you listen and type what you hear, and the woman is speaking.

So - anyone else find the woman difficult to understand? Anyone else finding you're only hearing the woman now, not the man? Does anyone know how to choose which speaker you will hear?

I'm working through my PC, not a phone (don't have one), and I use Google Chrome.

June 10, 2017


I've had the same issue in the past (not understanding the female voice) and now it seems to be the only one used. Please can we have the male voice back?

June 18, 2017

When I started French, I started from zero, so I didn't have the prior ability to understand. I found the woman's voice incredibly difficult to understand.

I was having trouble with pronunciation, and someone suggested that I say every sentence along with the Duo-voice on every exercise. I'd listen, repeat (a few times, sometimes), then try to say it exactly with the Duo-voice, getting the vowels and cadence the same. To my surprise, as I practiced my pronunciation, my listening improved greatly. Now I don't have any trouble whatsoever understanding her (well I do have the occasional "Whaaaa???" moment).

Also, a good set of headphones does a world of wonders.

June 10, 2017

But be careful you don't start to pronounce your words like the female speaker, or else they might not understand you in France ;)

June 10, 2017

I think it's because of her accent and use of the liasion. Practicing speaking French aloud and listening to French as it's spoken in everyday life (e.g. radio, TV, etc.) can help a lot!

June 10, 2017

I wish it were simply a matter of not being used to a French accent. It just sounds... 'muddy,' unclear, like when your speakers are on super-loud and everything is distorted - and it's been that way from the beginning with the woman's voice. For example, in a recent review exercise, I had (without accents) 'jour apres jour, elle ne voulait manger.' I could discern the words 'apres' and 'manger', but words like 'jour' and 'voulait' somehow seem like she's got cotton in her mouth (or I've got cotton in my ears).

The weird thing is, the male voice has simply disappeared. I never hear him anymore - only the female voice. I wonder if they've bumped off the man, or if the program has worked out that I get it wrong more often with the woman and so it's only feeding me the woman so I'll get used to her.

June 12, 2017

I have a similar problem - mainly (but not always) with the female voice. The start of the recording is often cut off so that the first word or two can't be heard.

I have to replay it again, and often play the slow version (which is also sometimes cut off.

This seems to be a common problem with Firefox (but I've also encountered it on Chrome.

June 11, 2017

It happens a lot on Safari, too, though for me it's usually the end of each recording that's clipped. If I play it again, it plays in full, but it's still irritating.

April 30, 2018

I miss the male voice, too. I've tried Chrome, Internet Explorer and Firefox so it's not a browser issue. Hopefully, the male voice will be restored. I'd prefer that both are retained, but if one has to be dropped, I'd much prefer that it be the female voice.

June 27, 2017

Same here. I do my lessons on my laptop using a pair of pretty decent headphones, and the French voice sounds so distorted that it's pretty much unintelligible sometimes, to the point where some words sound like she's moaning. The slow motion option is hardly any better as the voice appears to speak in staccato so I can't even tell what words she's trying to say. I only notice that in the French course.

FWIW, I've never heard a male voice in my lessons (I imagine it's only available on the smartphone app).

August 20, 2017

I'm on a stationary computer -not even a laptop - and certainly not using a phone and an app. And I used to hear a male voice and a female voice. Certain things changed in the appearance (ads started) and around that time, no more male voice.

August 21, 2017

Interesting. I've been doing the French course for a couple of months now and I wasn't even aware that there was such thing as a male voice until I began reading threads about it. My wild guess is that they got rid of it for some reason, at least in the browser version.

August 21, 2017

Hi there. I was searching for messages about people having trouble with the robot lady. I concur wholeheartedly. Things might have changed in the past 8 months, but I occasionally get the male voice. I find him orders of magnitude easer to understand. But I almost always get the female voice, which has been a source of frustration. I often have to replay her in slow mode, though that doesn't always help. (Paul has a great point about the staccato.) Sometimes I have to give up and type gibberish just to get to see the correct answer.

April 30, 2018

This seems to be a problem when accessing Duolingo through a browser. I tried using the Duolingo app on an Android tablet and the male voice was still available. (I tried the "Arts" exercise.)

June 28, 2017
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