Request: Accents related
Hi everyone! First of all, I love the website and thanks a lot for all the hard work on implementing and improving it. The thing I'd like to bring out is the fact that Spanish and Portuguese voices in exercises are from Latin America where pronunciation differs a lot from the European ones. As far as the Brazilian flag suggests we'd deal with South American version of Portuguese at the very beginning, for beginners who started learning Spanish in Europe these Mexican sounding words sound sometimes confusing. Would it be possible to give the students a choice of listening to either Spanish or Mexican voice before starting a course for instance? Thanks in advance for considering.
This issue has been raised many times. The Spanish voice here is pretty neutral, and a greater problem is the fact that even in Spain there are 3-4-5 accents/dialects, and there are several Latin American dialects. This coupled with the fact that they are about ten times more Spanish speakers in the western hemisphere than in all of Spain, and the fact that Duolingo goal is to teach people to translate texts rather than converse, suggests there is little likelihood that we'll see more versions of Spanish anytime soon.
If you want to gain exposure to European Spanish you can try "La Vida Loca" (free)on the BBC Languages web site, and you and Google for a free video series called "Destinos," that has over fifty episodes, in European, Puerto Rican, Argentine, and Mexican Spanish.
Portuguese is definitely with a Brazilian accent and Spanish is a neutral Latin American Spanish accent on Duolingo. It's good to hear feedback on what you'd like to hear. Right now, we think it makes most sense to stick with a neutral Latin American accent (widely used and learned), but will consider differentiating in the future.