Question on this note: in the recording (here and in similar cases), "elles [voyelle ou h muet]" is pronounced with almost equal stress on, and time devoted to, the first and second syllable (el-lez-) ; it sounds rather bouncy for French. Is this indeed how it is done, or is the second syllable generally more compact?
I've been trying to discern it in the audiobooks/podcasts I listen to, but it all flies by so fast and I'm busy trying to catch whole sentences at this point; the nuances of single syllables are a tad beyond me - en ce moment ;)
Try listening here to both sentences on google translate. (click the speaker icon in the french box) https://translate.google.com/#fr/en/elle%20utilise.%20%0Aelles%20utilisent.
I understand your replay as: "you don't put "the" when there's de/du/des, and otherwise you do". But I've seen many times in Doulingo that the article is omitted in the translation. I'll give you a question I just solved: "Les minutes et les secondes", and the translation by Duolingo: "minutes and seconds".
Glasses in general can be found in generalities, like:
- les verres sont utilisés pour boire. (universal truth).
"they are using the glasses" is about specific glasses (the ones already mentioned in the conversation), so the translates to les.
"they are using glasses" is the plural of "they are using a/one glass"; in French, "des verres" is the plural of "un verre"
Sitesurf, I really appreciate your help, but it has come to my attention that, often, the Duolingo audio is not entirely discernible... which is a shame, because to learn, we are required authentic, clean sounds. Perhaps sometimes it is the speed of the normal paced recording (a tad fast), and as you say, the decreased speed recording does not always give the responder the ability to discern the certain nuances and liasons between words, either- as the recording is isolated. I hope these sort of problems can be resolved at some (hopefully near) point in the future.
Yes, we are aware that sometimes, the audio is suboptimal as TTS can be. We have been promised that the French audio would be improved at some (hopefully near) point in the future, but I guess we have to be patient.
In the meantime, you can use other resources like Google Translate (rubbish for translations but very good for audio) or forvo.com or acapela-group, to check on different voices, accents, etc.
The good news is that if you learned French with a perfect audio, as soon as you would be in real life faced with real French people, you would feel completely lost.