https://www.duolingo.com/RanzoG

Basics 1 Notes - Lack of clarity?

Two notes on vowel pronunciation seem like they would be confusing. It seems like the comparative examples they are using might be based on Indonesian-accent pronunciations of English.

  1. e << ay like “e” in “let”, or “a” in “a lot” >>

Why "ay"? That doesn't represent the sound of e in "let." Are they saying this really sounds like the e in "let" or like the a in "late" (minus the diphthong)?

  1. o << oh like “o” in “on” >>

"On" is not pronounced with "oh" sound in most dialects of English. I assume this is just your typical "international" /o/ in in Romance languages, etc. Is it? Need to change it to a different example word than "on."

August 16, 2018

2 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/joeHF

Yes, while I thank the course creators for (finally) getting it released, it very much has been written from an Indonesian perspective rather than an Anglophone one.

I've noticed several of the test sentences can sound quite artificial in English, and the Notes sections also come across as written by non-native speakers. There's an example in Intro notes that "To be means adalah in Indonesian". Although we can see what they meant, the sentence only really makes sense as an Indonesian speaker. In English, "means" is kind of "directional"; the order of subject and object matters. To an English-only speaker, "To be" doesn't mean "adalah" (because adalah doesn't mean anything to me natively, yet); but "adalah" means "to be".

In terms of the pronunciations, yes, those are a little confusing, but I don't know what examples I'd use. From my experience, the Indonesian "e" is often quite a short and truncated sound. For example, "empat" sounds more like what most English speakers would write as "umpat" - with a really short "uh" - but it does have slightly more of an "eh" sound to it, like a really short e in let, and the "a in a lot" also works if you say "a lot" quickly; as most people commonly would - something like "eh-lot" - I think they're trying to get across how short of a sound it is.

The "ay" sound of late - I'm a little confused about, I don't think I've heard many e words with that sound yet, but it may be an alternate pronunciation in some words.

August 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/RanzoG

Yeah, they explain that /e/ can represent a schwa sound. That's not at issue. What's at issue is that they say it also makes the sound of "e" in /let/, while at the same time representing that sound as /ay/, which is nonsensical. One can only guess that people speaking English with Indo accent are saying "let" as /layt/! ha!

August 19, 2018
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