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audio pronunciation observation..

I've noticed the pronunciations (audio read-a-louds) for the translate-and-type questions are a bit off in some places. I'm a native Chinese speaker (I can't read and write that well, however) so I thought Duolingo might help me with that. Some of them are perfectly fine, but it's clear the person doing the audio is not a native speaker. I just wanted to point that out, as it might mislead some people using the course, but of course it's beta and not yet perfected:)

November 24, 2017



I think the pronunciation is made by a machine, it seems really unnatural.


ooh, that might be true


It is a very good point, and I think it is an important caveat for people to know this problem may exist.

I haven't really gone through many skills, so it may not be fair to say it is a general case, but as I heard 学 pronounced as xiao3, instead of xiao4 the standard pronunciation, I had to believe that, if it was a native speaker doing the audio, he had unconsciously used a regional accent. It is a shame to use it as educational material as it does harm rather than good to people who want to learn the language.


Oh, I forgot to introduce an idiom... I will do 2 this time. To avoid confusion, it has nothing to do with the post author joannnnnelin. You just probably would think about using them on me if you disagree with my view above.

大惊小怪 is a Chinese idiom literally meaning horrified by big, surprised by small. It is used to describe the behavior of overreaction to very common and unimportant matters.

小题大做 is a Chinese idiom literally meaning a small topic, yet handled as a big one. Use it to describe the behavior of fussing about trivial things.


I've noticed this as well. In Occupations, one of the multiple choice questions makes these two sound alike, with a pronunciation of "pā": 她 and 他

I don't think either one of those is supposed to sound like "pā".


No worries. My experience is I will be corrected. My wife lives in Chongqing. They seem to pronounce 10 as a cross between si and zi. I ran into this problem when purchasing something and I didn't understand the price. They realized why when I repeated and they corrected. My wife on the other hand is a different ballgame. She gets a little irritated at me. I tell her I am not learning Chongqing Mandarin. We laugh now when I emphasize my pronunciation. I think the program is very good as Beta for now. I don't know what a native speaker is in any country. It's like common sense. There is none. What is common to me may be uncommon to others.


Oh, my father comes from Chongqing! He speaks Chongqing Mandarin, and I do understand a bit of the dialect. However, it's very regional and only around 30 million people come from Chongqing, nearly all of them speaking Mandarin as well off as they speak Chongqing Mandarin. I think it's very important that Duolingo does not teach the "regional" aspects of Mandarin, as the course is "Mandarin Chinese", not "Different Regional Dialects of Mandarin Chinese". However, I agree with you, it's quite advanced for its current beta state!


Yes. The voice doesn't seem like a native speaker is speaking.

It may be: A machine A person who's second language is Chinese Someone with a word list and tone marks

Anyways, Chinese is in beta. I know this isn't the best excuse, but Duolingo moderators are always learning and will probably(hopefully) fix this issue if they can. I hope they do!

Sincerely, -Zink

(Find me on youtube @Zink Zoodles)

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