I agree. It certainly seems like a trick. They have no shortage of female voices and there is not a lot of gender bias in the text of the sentences that they use in the exercises. When I was tired, before I caught on, I would use feminine forms because I sometimes tended to perceive what I expected to see based on the voice, rather than what I should have read. It's human nature. Surely they know this. Maybe it is their way of keeping us awake and on our toes!
I think y'all are tripping (can't say that for sure). My guess is that the voices are mixed because it means less effort for them in storing, processing and managing this kind of data in their system.
In order to assign voices by gender, they need to create some kind of automatic sentence classification (a computer program analyses the sentence structure and outputs the gender). The problem is: it is not a binary answer. It might not have gender specified by a pronoun, it can be plural etc.
If not classified by computer programs, the sentences would be classified by humans. Now imagine all the work.
Hard work for low pay off.
There could be simpler solutions for this but their unwillingness to solve the "problem" says it all.
And a child should read stuff about "su hermano" or "su hermana", and a cook about cooking something, as well as a farmer's wife when she talks about her husband, a farmer, and an actual nurse should be talking when something is said about being sick, and shouldn't a genuine priest be present in the room when being referred to as well?
Any farmers that are students here, or nurses, or priests, or all the young students can feel insecure too!
And what about the students that are cooks or carpenters?
I found it a bit confusing as well when I heard what sounded like a male voice saying "emocionada," but after a replay the word was quite clear.
I doubt there's any trickery at play here; it's likely random which voice is selected for a given question and they probably intentionally mix it up (as reinforced by ygoloeht's comment below). Even if it is intentionally misleading, I would suggest that part of our learning process is developing good listening comprehension regardless of the pitch of the voice since pitch doesn't necessarily signify gender.
This is one of the big topics to learn in Spanish, kind of like how prepositions are hard to learn in most languages. Takes about 10 minutes to read the rules but months to get used to them. You can read about it if you google "ser vs estar", eg. here: https://www.spanishdict.com/guide/ser-vs-estar
Here we have a deep voiced male saying HE is muy emocionada. I caught onto their trick and got the right answer but it seems as though they're trying to be a bit too tricky. They do it pretty frequently too. The audio is bad enough and I don't understand why I have to strain my headphones to distinguish between an a or an o.
This raises interesting questions about gender categories of grammatical gender in relation to cultural gender constructions. It's worth mentioning that grammatical gender very often does not correspond to cultural gender expectations (e.g., "table" in Spanish is grammatically fem. while in German it is grammatically masc.). In the case of an ostensibly "masculine" voice reading a sentence with a grammatically feminine referent, emocionada, while the vast majority of human beings identify on the gender binary of male or female, millions of people, not an insignicant number of human beings, do not fit neatly on the gender binary. In other words, the ostensibly masculine voice could be a person who identifies as female but our culturally conditioned senses trick us. There are a lot of culturally gendered notions that don't always work, such as facial hair. Some women have facial hair and do not shave and so have a small mustache. It can throw a lot of people off who exist comfortably on the gender binary. It is simply a cultural convention in the US that women shave their facial hair, armpits, and legs. At issue is whether the tyranny of the majority will continue or whether people will think more deeply about gender categories, both grammatical gender and cultural gender. Many people who are gender essentialists will still admit that many gender categories are culturally dependent. Unfortunately, in the US second language learning is not as common as it could or should be, which has the result that it is not as common to think about grammatical gender vis-a-vis culturally constructed gender. One might call it gender obliviousness. A deeper discussion of this topic would delve into the intersectionality of race and class with gender and bring in post-colonial concerns, because, for instance, there are power dynamics rooted in colonial domination systems that affect a person's presuppositions about these categories. Having written all that, yah, I too was thrown off by the masc voice + emocionada. LOL
Please forgive me for my flippant response last week. I really don't give a rats ass what a person does in his or her private life. My problem is with figuring out how language (in my case learning Spanish) denotes gender. ie...Is a student la estudiante or el estudiante? I really want to get a grasp on the LANGUAGE, how to use the correct verbiage, and truly understand how it works. I'm not interested in the innuendos, and that was wrong of me to indicate that I do.
Good point. I think they could program the robot though to avoid that. The robot theory makes sense. That would explain why a perfect sounding accent hammers a rare word with accent on the wrong syllable. I am certain your hunch is correct. They used many examples of male and female Spanish conversation to program them.
There's no "better" way. Don't think of "estoy" as meaning "I am". A more accurate way of thinking about is it's the equivalent of the first-person conjugation for "to be" in Spanish, so closer to just "am", BUT in Spanish because "estoy" is only used when you're talking about yourself, you don't have to explicitly say the "yo" (i.e., "ella estoy" is grammatically incorrect). So in effect, "Yo estoy" and "estoy" mean exactly the same thing. Adding "yo" at the beginning is a matter of personal choice, and oftentimes the speaker does it for emphasis.
First, I apologize for seeing your I I am as 11am. OMG that was silly LOL! Anyway, as others pointed out, sometimes the speaker will use the yo for emphasis, but both ways are correct. I frequently leave off the first words like tú, yo, nosotros,ellos, etc when they don't alter the meaning of the sentence.
Why assume the gender of a masculine sounding voice? Or assume we know the full context of the statement? The speaker could be reading a quote from a femake who is very excited.
I think its actually very helpful to be cued into listening carefully to the words themselves and not jump too quickly to assume who is what based on the limited context in the exercises. Especially for native English speakers who are unaccustomed to gendered word forms like those in romance languages, this is really important to pay attention to.
Yo is the pronoun I - It identifies yourself, or the 1st person perspective. It shows no action or possession.
Estoy is a verb form of To Be - The first person is active at something if only active at existing at the moment: I Am
In Spanish the pronoun gets rolled into the verb so, "yo" in this sentence isn't necessary. The sentence could easily be, "¡Estoy muy emocionada!" But adding "yo" is like adding emphasis.
Or, in the case of the third person it can clarify:
- Ella está - she is
- Él está - he is
- Usted está - that person who is older or superior to the speaker (parent, boss, favorite movie star...)
- Ellas están - they are (group of all females)
- Ellos están - they are (group of all men, or mixed genders)
- Ustedes están - they are (group of older folks or "superiors")
When you look at verb conjugation (verb forms that identify the person [1st person, 2nd person, 3rd party], number, tense or mood) tables, él/ella/usted [ud.] and ellos/ellas/udstedes [uds] get grouped together on the same line cause it's the same verb form as can be seen above.
If you haven't already discovered SpanishDict.com I suggest you bookmark it. It has definitions and conjugations as well as examples and articles. It's also mentioned most commonly as a good companion site to Duolingo, which doesn't often explain things in their "tips."
Helpful link for pronouns: https://www.spanishdict.com/guide/subject-pronouns-in-spanish
English is tripping you up a little: estar emocionado/a is the common way to refer to being excited and so a person can get into a bind if they say estoy emocionado/a after witnessing or taking part in an emotional situation in which you don't mean "I'm excited." So estar emocionado/a is a "false friend" for English speakers. That leads to the obvious follow-up question--How to tell someone that you are feeling emotional? One way is to go with sentarse + adjective to express your feelings: Me siento mucho emocional, "I feel very emotional." If you wanted to tell someone that something made you emotional, you might say "La ceremonia me hizo emocional." If one were to say estoy emotionado/a por la ceremonia, it could mean that you were excited by the ceremony. I'm not a native Spanish speaker so I'm sure we could get better help with this matter than I'm giving, but I think if one were to say Me emocioné por la ceremonia you would be saying "I became emotional on account of the ceremony." La boda me hizo tan emotiva que lloré, "the wedding made me so emotional that I cried."
So why did Duolingo mark me wrong with a previous sentence that I said was “Hoy es mi cumpleaños y yo estoy emocionado “ when they have “yo estoy emocionado” here instead of “estoy “ without the “yo” which was not acceptable to Duolingo in that previous sentence in this same lesson?
No, it has nothing to do with your intelligence! When you see the 't' as in 'estoy', it relates to something that is temporary. With no 't', as in 'soy', it relates to something that is more or less permanent. If I wanted to say that I am worried, I would use 'estoy' because I won't always be worried. If I wanted to say that I am female, I would use 'soy' because I intend to stay as I am.
There is more with to do with and without 't' things, too. Like the bank is here uses 'está' because it could move. And saying it is a dog would use, 'es un perro' because once a dog.... Oh gosh I hope this helps :/
One more thing. Please read the TIPS at the beginning of each section. I learned to do that rather late, but realized that there is some really good information there! Although I don't recall just where, I know that this was in one of the TIPS.
Gina85350, re Ser v Estar, I like what said and agree that no one should be ashamed for not getting the distinction as so many learners have problems with it.
And agree that the temp v permanent solves resolves most head scratchers.
I amended the PLACE (Estar) in my notes from plain ol' "location" to "location of a thing" to differentiate it from "Origin" on DOCTOR (Ser).
For those who haven't discovered it:
- Estar - PLACE - Position, Location of a thing, Action, Condition (on/off, painted, old...), Emotion. I also associate Estar w/Emotion a bit simpler mnemonic, as all motions are temporary.
- Ser - DOCTOR - Definition, Occupation, Characteristic, Time, Origin, Relationship. (Note: other "D's" I've seen are Description and Date but I feel they're duplicated Characteristic and Time respectively.)