Voice Actors for German
My first exposure to german was through duolingo and it wasn't until I listened to native german people speaking that I realized the robotic voice for the course is really lacking & it took me a lot of effort to recognize the words I had learned in native people's dialogues.
duolingo is awesome but for the german course I feel using voice actors instead of the text-to-speech would be a great improvement.
There are various pros and cons of using voice actors versus TTS. The downside of voice actors -- as discovered with the Hebrew course -- is that (a) you lose the ability to do slow repetition and (b) you can only record a limited portion of the sentences and so have fewer listening exercises. (This is actually a particular issue in the Hebrew course given that the language is written without vowels so you can't necessarily tell how a new word is pronounced due to the lack of audio.)
Even if the German course used a voice-model or two, I suspect you'd have similar challenges in recognising words in native people's dialogues as you transition from Duolingo to other sources. There is a lot of dialectical variation in German.
These are really good points; but about the dialect variation you mentioned,I think it's secondary to My primary problem which is the fast speech that native speakers have & the sometimes hard to detect sounds when they pronounce words in a really advanced speed. the main problem with TTS I think, is the really robotic & slow speed; granted, the choice of having a slow repetition isn't bad but the default speed is also slower than the natural spoken language. so maybe TTS for slow repetitions & VA for default speed would be a good idea.
I've found that the German news TV channel, Tagesschau, is a great resource for hearing native German. I complement it by first reading Deutsche Welle news in English. As both sources are often reporting on the same topics, I understand a bit more of what is being reported in German on Tagesschau, that way.
Tagesschau has different programs and, of course, a lot of different reporters, some of whom speak more slowly and distinctly and others rapidly.
Both Deutsche Welle and Tagesschau are available as apps. They supplement what I learn from Duolingo. I especially like being able to see the reporters speaking on Tagesschau, as I can try to mimic their mouth movements. Germans speak more with a "smile", while Americans speak more with our mouths opened "up and down" like "ah". This sort of thing can't be taught in a program like Duolingo; and mouth/tongue movements really affect sounds we produce when speaking.
Wow, I'm going to check that out. actually in retrospect I had kind of the same experience with the BBC when I was learning english, watching mouth/tongue movements on the reporters were a considerable part of my grasp on the British accent & prior to that I had the same experience with watching the CNN for the American accent; however, I think mimicking those movements is going to happen unconsciously because I can't remember really focusing on the movements consciously; I think it was more like forming a link between what I heard and what I saw unconsciously.
anyway thanks for pointing that out ;)