https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChristinaM737788

How accurate is google translate's pronunciation?

It is kind of hard to hear a single word on Duolingo sometimes. Plus the speaker can be a bit off for some languages. I'm working on notecard with pronunciations included on them, and it would be nice to learn how to pronounce the words correctly. Some of the words (like carrot or carota) sound different between Duolingo and Google Translate, which brings up the question is Google Translate's pronation very accurate? Or does anyone know a better source to use?

January 31, 2018

11 Comments


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

Some of the words (like carrot or carota) sound different between Duolingo and Google Translate.

I listened to carota in both Duolingo and Google Translate. The voices are very different, their speed is also different, but the way they pronounce the word is the same, i.e. /kaˈrɔta/.
The voice pitch can depend on the position of the word in the sentence, but this does not affect the way it is pronounced.

Instead, dialect inflection can affect in many ways the pronunciation of a word, but the voices in both Duolingo and Google Translate have no specific inflection (standard Italian).

There are a few words, though, whose dialectal pronunciation is so widespread that they are often perceived as correct. One of them is casa, which Knudvaneeden used as an example.
Both the Treccani dictionary ( http://www.treccani.it/vocabolario/casa_(Sinonimi-e-Contrari) ), and the D.O.P. (spelling and pronunciation dictionary by the national TV company, http://www.dizionario.rai.it/ricerca.aspx ) claim that the word is pronounced /'kasa/ i.e. with a voiceless (unvoiced) 's'.
Beware that the second website does not use the IPA, but indicates the voiceless 's' with the usual shape, and the voiced consonant as 'ʃ ' (which may be confusing for IPA users).
This is how the word is commonly pronounced in the central and southern parts of Italy.
In the northern part of the country, instead, it is pronounced /'kaza/ with a voiced 's'. But this, despite being widespread in the north (and sometimes thought to be correct), is not the standard pronunciation. It seems to me that Duolingo's sampled voice speaks the word with a voiced 's'.

Wiktionary mentions both of them ( https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/casa#Pronunciation_5 ), but it spells the first vowel with a long sound, i.e. /'ka:sa/ and /'ka:za/. I don't think this is very accurate, at least for the correct version (with a voiceless 's'), because in standard Italian there are no long vocalic sounds, and the very slightly longer duration of the first syllable is merely due to the fact that it carries the stress of the word, not to the way 'a' is pronounced.

January 31, 2018

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

I made some further research on this topic.

I found a website by an actors academy that says:
"Some phonetic dictionaries claim that the sound of 's' should be voiceless also in several other cases, such as casa, cosa, [...] Actually, this type of pronunciation has fallen into disuse, with the exception of some central and southern Italian inflections." It is needless to say that this academy is based in the north-west (Turin). :-D

Instead, Wikipedia's page about the voiceless 's' claims that the intervocalic 's' (i.e. vowel-s-vowel) is generally pronounced as voiced in the north, voiceless in the centre (except in Tuscany) and in the south, and either voiced or voiceless depending on the word in Tuscany. The examples mentioned are casa and viso:
North: /'kaza/, /'vizo/
Tuscany: /'kasa/, /'vizo/
Centre + South: /'kasa/, /'viso/

An ultimate and authoritative explanation is provided by an article about the pronunciation of 's' in the Accademia della Crusca's website, which says that in recent years, the northern pronunciation of casa (i.e. with a voiced intervocalic 's') has become widespread, despite being the other pronunciation etymologically more correct (as spoken in Tuscany, as well), because Latin casa = 'hut', 'hovel', 'small house', ' has a voiceless 's'.

References:
http://www.attori.com/dizione/Diz08.htm
https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/S_sorda
http://www.accademiadellacrusca.it/it/lingua-italiana/consulenza-linguistica/domande-risposte/pronuncia-s

January 31, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GTV19

Google translate’s pronunciation is a bit inaccurate, and some languages can be said from different regions of the world that you don’t want.

Spanish, for example, is usually translated into Latinoamerican Spanish, not Castellano, and English is usually translated into American, not British or Australian.

January 31, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HareemKhan2

oh. what about french? is it accurate for french?

May 23, 2018
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