This is the so-called "personal a". It is always used in front of the direct object if that object is a specific person or a specific group of people. It should not be left out.
It's purpose it to tell you that the object of the sentence is a specific person. That's pretty much it.
I give up! Are we learning "Spanish"? It does not matter how it is spoken Chili, Panama or West Texas, We should be taught As it is taught in Spain and it will serve where-ever we go in the world. The "S" should be pronounced, with a notation that it is dropped in many countries. By the time a person completes This course, their ear may become accustomed and recognize the dropping of the "S", otherwise, we might as well teach English as it is spoken in dialects all over the USA.
Spanish people often drop the final "s" (or more accurately, they aspirate it like a soft "h" sound, which many people don't notice and think it's just been dropped).
Also, Duolingo works like an immersion course, in that it doesn't explicitly teach grammar etc - it allows/expects students to learn the language by using it, and to recognise rules and patterns for themselves without having them specifically explained. This hands-on, "real life" approach also extends to having sentences read out by native speakers' in their normal, everyday accents.
We should be taught As it is taught in Spain and it will serve where-ever we go in the world.
That might work less well than you imagine. Spanish has quite a bit more variety than English.
- ¿Qué hacéis hoy?
- ¿Ha-céis? De qué siglo vienes?
- ¿Quieres coger mi mano?
- Preferiría que no.
Ideally you should learn the dialect of Spanish that's spoken in the country you're going to. Since this platform and course are America-centric, it uses mostly Northern and Central American Spanish. Though it's a wild mix in some corners, too.
I originally learnt Spanish as spoken in Spain. Now that I'm married to a Venezuelan, I've learnt to say "agarrar el autobús" instead of "coger el autobús" ;)
They also drop the "S" in some places in Spain. Have you heard of Andalucia?
I lived in Andalucía for several months, and that was where I first learnt about this tendency. On plural nouns, they would aspirate the "s" on the article, and then drop the one at the end of the noun.
- "los otros" became "lojotro"
- "mis padres" became "mih padre", with the "h" sounding like a soft English "h" rather than a hard Spanish "j"
I can see how people who aren't used to this can hear "mih padre" (plural) and think it is "mi padre" (singular), but the "h" sound is there if you listen out for it.
The woman pronounes them perfectly, the man not so much. The final 's' of plural words is often left out (or slightly lisped, like an English 'th') in some dialects.
It's a shame when people don't pronounce a plural 's' in Spanish. Leave that sort of thing to French!
Why would you pronounce words incorrectly when you are trying to teach us correct pronunciation? I have never seen a pronunciation chart saying all or some "s" sounds should be lisped at the end of words or in the middle of words. Where should we slur our s'es? Only the end "s"? What is the rule for leaving out the "s" sound? When we are writing what someone says and they leave out the "s" should we not write the "s" to show we now know it is correct to leave out the "s"? Will DL now count it as correct? What about lisping our words on the spoken part? Should we be practicing that form of pronunciation now? Is it better to leave out all of the s'es or just some of them? Should we now be trying to copy the speech patterns of the lady with the incomplete glottal closure?
Usually I "slur" the "s" between vowels, and at the end I never say it. But your complain is the same one that Spanish speakers have regarding English: is "read" the present or the past? how to pronounce it? why the same word has different sounds? You just have to build your vocabulary and learn the sounds, there no workaround this.
Please note that Duolingo had a different female voice when I made that comment.
Aspirating the 's' at the end of a word is not "incorrect", it's just not a standard pronunciation. When you're writing, you're supposed to include all letters that belong to a word, including 'h', silent 'u', and aspirated 's'. Just like in English where you still have to write "through" even though you only pronounce half of it. Remember that orthography and pronunciation (or written language and spoken language) are things that work independently from each other.
When pronouncing Spanish, I recommend finding out what dialect is spoken in the region that you want to speak Spanish in and emulating that. (Besides the 's' thing, the Spanish dialects mainly differ in how they pronounce the letters 'll', 'y' and 'z/c'.) Duolingo's speech-to-text function is likely lenient enough to not complain about speaking with a dialect.
Glottal closure isn't something that happens when you speak Spanish. It also has nothing to do with aspirating the 's'.
it is very common in Spanish to "eat" sounds. If you ever go to Chile you will find the lack of "s", "d" and "va/ba" appalling.
It sounds as if the sentences are put together by a computer which sometimes drops the ends of words.
Many Spanish speakers aspirate the final "s", so it sounds more like the English "h". Once you get used to it, it becomes fairly easy to distinguish between "mi" (no "s") and "mih" ("mis" with an aspirated "s"), but if you're not accustomed to that it can seem as though they are completely dropping the "s".
You can switch off those animations in the app. Go to your profile settings and deactivate "motivational messages".