https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cyberkatru

The character ha (は)

Just a big heads up. When the character は is in the position of being the topic/subject marking particle it is not pronounced "ha" but rather "wa". This is a big deal. The Duolingo voice seems to consistently pronounce it as "ha". This isn't just annoying being such a basic thing but would be completely misleading to beginners who will be practicing the wrong thing over and over. Not sure how this could have gotten out the door this way.

June 13, 2017

16 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/garpike

Yes, there should be tips and notes on the app—I can't think of a better way to explain things like this.

I also wonder why there is no slow-speed button for Japanese—all the other TTS-voice courses have it, and there's nowhere where it would be more useful than in this infamously quickly-spoken language.

June 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/piguy3

Doesn't the slow speed button only appear for transcription exercises, of which there don't appear to be any for Japanese (or any writing in Japanese at all for that matter)?

June 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/garpike

I got typing exercises in the alpha test; they seem to be thin on the ground, however. I'm sure the button used to appear more than it does now.

June 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lea.1717

And there's a huge audio problem when it comes to onyomi / kunyomi, and counters/numbers, which I haven't even studied, so I'm having a chaotic experience finding out what should be pronounced like what and when...

( I don't know if it's called onyomi/kunyomi for numbers, but you get it, the different pronounciations)

June 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VincentOostelbos

I have yet to start the course (waiting for the web version), so I can't comment on my own experience, but that sounds worrying. It's only for the counters/numbers, though, at least? I guess for other things usually there is either only one obvious/most common way to say it (as with vocabulary) or the reading to be chosen may be understood from context (although I wouldn't know how well a TTS system would be able to pick up on said context in that sense).

June 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lea.1717

I'm still in the beginning of the tree, so I can't speak for the other onyomi / kunyomi, but I don't remember having this problem with other words (except for は and を as particles, etc... those were the ones I could recognize)

(remember that I haven't studied the different pronounciations yet so I wouldn't recognize most mistakes).

June 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BenjaminClendon

Might just be me, but the "nu" as pronounced by the Duolingo voice sounds like bu/du or something.

June 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/piguy3

I've been paying attention to this and at least in the lessons in the first couple checkpoints it has seemed to be right.

June 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Faisane

I think it is pronounced correctly in the complete Japanese sentences. However, in the exercises where you translate an English sentence by arranging different Japanese words and syllables, it's only pronounced "ha", even when it functions as a topic marker and thus should be "wa".

June 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VincentOostelbos

Oh, I see, that's not so bad then. I suppose when the TTS pronounces the words and syllables separately, it does not look at the context, and so it doesn't recognize the は is a topic marker and just pronounces it as the character 'ha' that it technically is.

June 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Faisane

Exactly. There is a similar problem with 中 - in the matching exercises it is always pronounced "naka", even when you are meant to match it with ちゅう.

Just something to be aware of.

June 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Windsaw

I actually think this is a good thing since it forces the learner to put attention to the multiple readings of kanji.

But yes, you have to be aware of it.

June 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/piguy3

Agreed

June 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/testmoogle

Oh wow, is that all this is? I thought everyone was complaining about the sentence audio. I've barely had the sound enabled on Duolingo, and the few sentences I heard seemed perfectly fine, so I was wondering about this.

June 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KagayakuSeiza

A similar problem I noticed is that in sentences where the word "ha" is used to mean "tooth/teeth," the speaker pronounces it like the "wa" particle, when in that case it should be pronounced as "ha."

I also noticed the on'yomi/kun'yomi pronunciation problem. For this, I think it would be a good idea to include the furigana with the kanji and have them as two separate answer options.

June 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FlyinLikeNasa

Great post! I recently joined Duolingo to help maintain my language skill after leaving Japan and noticed that immediately!

Definitely something beginners should beware of!

June 17, 2017
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