1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Duolingo
  4. >
  5. Speech recognition


Speech recognition

I've been playing around with the Duolingo app and instead of typing my responses I'm using speech recognition in an attempt to improve my pronunciation. It can be frustrating, rewarding, and hilarious.

January 4, 2018



I haven't tried this, but it seems like an excellent way to improve my speaking skills, so I'll definitely look into it!

Thank you for sharing, Lrtward! :)


It looks like your voice recognition software is not working in the same language as your keyboard.


There's that, and that the keyboard seems to be set to Canadian French (no doubt to avoid AZERTY). However, were they synched as they presumably should be, the speech recognition software might be seeking Canadian French pronunciation (if only to avoid this sort of problem), which I'm guessing is likely a needlessly tall order.


How do I set this up?


I've been recommending this to folks forever - jury rigged speaking exercises, and frankly better than the Duolingo ones.


frankly better than the Duolingo ones

No doubt, and better speech recognition, too, well, at least in my experience :)


Definitely! I once tried to fail a German speaking exercise, slurring the words more and more. I only managed to get it to fail me when I gave up and said something in Hebrew LOL


Have you tried this again recently? I think they did change out the speech recognition software a few months ago.

It's hard to depart from my long-held assumption that Duolingo speech recognition is largely playing people for suckers (generally giving a good deal of false confidence, but sometimes being way to strict), but they might really have put something better in there. I'm not sure.


Just switched the microphone on for the first time in I don't know how many months. I don't remember if it used to display the word-by-word checking. That's kind of nice. It did seem to detect when I was deliberately saying a word that wasn't even close. However, as long as the first syllables were the same, it seemed well nigh uselessly forgiving. I don't think it successfully distinguished "жидкость" from "животное" :) [for the benefit of those not familiar with Russian, that's "liquid" vs. "animal" pronounced something like "zhidkost" and "zhivotnoye"]


In fairness, it's been a while - I should experiment again! I've never had VR exercises in Russian, is that new?


I think they've been there for Russian since I joined — and promptly shut them off a few days later out of annoyance.


I've never had them in Russian, even with the microphone on. Weird.

I've been playing with German today. I've tried 1) drunken slurring 2) mouth full of food and 3) deliberate mispronunciation. So far, it hasn't failed me. I just said ermöglichen as erg merg and it was accepted.

I honestly think the only value of the spoken exercises as they currently stand is to make people speak the language out loud, no matter how badly, so IMO it makes much more sense for people to get into the habit of repeating sentences back as a matter of course, or using much better VR than Duolingo currently has.

Either way, though, the current German speaking exercises still suck, I'm afraid!


Your experience affirms my longstanding confusion at the people with level 20ish+ in some language or other occasionally posting threads lamenting that the speech exercises have suddenly had some technical glitch / been discontinued / etc. Haven't they figured out these things just aren't what they're cracked up to be?

I could see an argument for the utility with not-at-all-phonetic writing systems. However, I'd have no confidence in the system's ability to distinguish Chinese tones and be all the more concerned about instilling false confidence.


Thanks for this hack- although I can't get Russian Gboard to recognize Russian speech and translate it on my iPhone. Any additional help would be greatly appreciated.


What are you trying to do exactly? I'm not sure how far back it goes, but I think current iPhones have built-in Russian speech recognition.


I'm just trying to speak Russian into the phone...


@piguy3 you are 100% right! No need for gboard! Dictation for iPhone is really really good (at least for the low level stuff) Thanks!


Ah, glad you got it to work!


I'd like to use SR on the PC (Windows 10) so I can speak my English translated sentences rather than key them in (to save time) but I don't understand how to set this up. Can anyone help?


Not sure that I find it rewarding. I largely stopped using it because the amount of misspelling is just phenomenal. Don’t know if it’s the phone I am using or the Duolingo software.

Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.