The why is probably a bug in the TTS engine. The correct pronunciation is the same in English and German.
Actually, that is not right. "Fans" in German is not pronounced the same way it is in English. The TTS engine is pronouncing it correctly.
OK. I double checked again and you're right: The standard pronunciation is indeed [fæn] (English) vs [fɛn] (German). However, many people (including myself) do use the English pronunciation with a somewhat shortened vowel sound. So, as long as you don't stretch the vowel sound too long, I guess it's fine to use the English pronunciation. People won't notice. As to the TTS engine: The audio I'm getting is clearly incorrect. However (and very unfortunately), I just learned in another discussion that the sound people are getting depends much more strongly on the local audio setup and equipment than I'd have imagined. This goes as far as the difference between an English "W" and a German "R". This is very unfortunate since learners can't fully rely on the opinion of native speakers any more if there is such a variety in the audio itself. See here for our discussion of the audio issue: http://www.duolingo.com/comment/821339
Yes, people may not notice it but, as you said, [fɛn] is the right way to pronounce "Fan" in German :) And by the way, the audio sounds spot on on my computer, phone and tablet.
@idshanks: yes, I totally agree with you. Inconsistency between users is a very serious issue because it basically means that you can't even trust native speakers. I'm still completely puzzled about what's going on here. In the "Röcke" example, the sound is clearly and absolutely incorrect if I use my laptop speakers but kind of ok (although not perfect) on my headphones. My guess is some strange interaction between compression algorithms and audio devices. (E.g. an audio device can't clearly output some Fourier components that some compression algorithm heavily relies on – just a wild guess). For learners this situation is most unfortunate.
Sound like it's saying "fin" on my end - definitely seems to be an issue with the text to speech synthesis being inconsistent from user to user. I've heard things that were clearly completely wrong that people I trust insist are being said right.
I hope Duolingo comes up with some manner of solution for this. I'd never put too much faith in TTS anyway, but it's certainly less than convenient. Perhaps if the TTS engine synthesised the sentences server-side and sent the audio to the user? I'm sure someone who knows better could come up with something better, but the increased consistency, so that people know for a fact if something is wrong or not, would be useful. Users hearing things incorrectly that natives are insisting are correct because they hear something different will lead to some people learning the wrong thing.
Kinda rambled, but yeah, just my thoughts :)
It's baffling to me. I don't think it's the audio output devices, or else all of my devices are coincidentally incapable, but they're of highly varied quality (5.1 speakers of decent quality, gaming headset of fairly poor quality, and studio monitors of excellent quality). I hear the same errors through all three devices, but all on the same computer. I can confirm that I hear the Röcke error too. Hopefully they can figure it out. :)
yeah... i lost the entire practice because I didn't understand what IT said.
I got this wrong though I played the first two words about twenty times to figure out what "the engine" was saying.
Is "Die Fans" like the fans that you use when it's hot, or like the fans that really like a particular musician?
Trebor I agree with you all impossible to understand the spoken German in many cases I just put a question mark in the sentence for the word I cannot understand and lose a heart.
It thought it said Die Fans sind ecchi at first. I apologize. But real question, why does echt sound like eshh? Is the t sound there?
I tried listening to it again but now it sounds esshde Is it like essht or esshde because I think it should sound like essht I DONT KNOW I just am curious. If you guys hear it the same way., It is confusing for me.
"Unfeigned" Seriously? LOL!! Some of the translations in the exercises are kind of "seltsam."
What in the world is a "pure fan"? As in the answer DL gave me. An "authentic fan" is just as bad. I think in English the equivelant would be something like "loyal"