1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Russian
  4. >
  5. Russian from English. Incorre…


Russian from English. Incorrect pronunciation.

Hi, I'm a native russian speaker. I'm here to improve my English and i want to say, this course has a lot of audio-mistakes - a huge amount of mistakes. Sending reports do not resolve the problem. Almost every lesson has pronunciation mistakes - from 1-2 to 7-8:

  • wrong word accent (more often). For example: "змЕю" instead "змеЮ", "бЕгу" instead "бегУ", "вилОк" instead "вИлок", "коробОк" instead "корОбок" and so on.

  • "ё" instead "е"

"Cёстры" (plural, accent on the "ё". Example: мы сЁстры - we are sisters) instead "сестры" (singular, accent on "ы". Example: у меня нет сестрЫ - i do not have a sister).

"Всё" (everything) instead "все" (everybody).

Wrong accent in the words like that changes the meaning of the word.

  • crazy mistakes, for example: "половина" (half) instead "пол" (floor) - sorry, but it's really creepy.

It actually hurts my ears all the time and that's nothing. I care about all those people, who study Russian here, because they get the wrong information.

Obviously non-native russian speakers can't see it, but this problem isn't an isolated incident. I don't know, who can fix this problem, but the course needs a full audio-adjustment.

December 24, 2018



Thanks a lot for telling us!


I agree 100%. It is very confusing for learners like me.

Learning (and remembering) where the stress falls on a word through its different declensions is hard enough when taught correctly, but a lot harder when there are so many errors and we have to guess!

Many times, I have 'learned' one pronunciation of a word, only to find that it is pronounced differently in another exercise, for no grammatical reason whatsoever. As a result, I am having to spend a lot of time checking declensions on other sites to find out which version is correct. Not good.

It's a great pity, because overall, I really love the Duolingo method, and find that its repetitive style helps me to remember Russian grammar points better than when I was working from books alone.


Thank you. I let Russian down on this site then :)


Except for incorrect pronunciations this course is actually good =)


I am learning Russian as Dutch native speaker. And I have to agree that I get confused sometimes with the pronounciations.
Especially from the "deep" male voice on word-endings.


I think we all can help to each other with pronunciation. I recommend this site to start talking Russian. https://www.italki.com/i/DbDBEE?hl=en_us It's free and very effective. You can find a partner for talking. Just try it! Let's talking!


To be fair, this is a free application,so it's kinda like a "you get what you pay for" concept. I find this app is only useful for vocabulary building and understanding how basic sentence structures work. I think the inherent problems with the pronunciation comes from the fact that the courses use an unnatural robot voice rather than a native speaker


Yes, you're a little bit right. We, Russians, even say: На халяву и уксус сладкий - Even vinegar, once you've gotten it for free, tastes sweet. =) On the other hand it doesn't mean that must be ignored this problem. I use other sites and apps. Some of them are free, some are partly free, but no one has so many mistakes.


I agree that the synthesized voices are a bit iffy (the Italian one sounds really strange at times). This may be of little consolation for those who want "natural" sounding voices, but if we take a historical look much has been done in this field and continues to be done.

The first time I heard synthesized speech was on my Amiga 500, sometime around 1984, IIRC. I was so amazed! The computer could "talk"! By today's standards it sounded horrible, but then it was something completely new.

So we have actually come a long way. Much work remains to be done, that is for sure, but we have come this far today. I am sure that in another few years there will be less quirks than today. For anybody who is interested in both languages and computing, this could of course be a possible career path.

Some things are really difficult to get right. In most languages, including my own, one can change the "mood" of a statement by changing the tone, for example to say "thank you" in a sarcastic way.

I remember an episode of friends where Phoebe twice says the following sentence to Joey:

"Dopo averti visto?"

She says exactly the same words, but the intonation indicates that the first time she means: how could they give you the role after having seen you act? (ie, your acting sucks).

The second time she changes the tone to indicate: yes of course they gave you the role, after having seen you. (That is, you are an amazing actor).

Little subtle intonation changes like that are really important, in real everyday language, in order to not just convey meaning, but also to demonstrate the speakers attitude towards what they are saying. We Italians are famous for putting a lot of passion into things we say and we can easily feel hurt if somebody tells us something nice, but in a cold way. I don't know if that makes sense.

Getting synthesized speech to be able to handle this is not going to be easy. But I am sure that one day we will get there. In the meantime, don't rely on Duolingo for listenting practice. See it as a decent tool for learning how sentence structures work and to build a basic vocabulary in your target language(s). And for that purpose I feel it does a fairly good job.


the Russian language is just as rich in intonations. But that is not what this is. Here we are talking about a critical error-the use of the wrong (similar) words.


Озвучка в русском курсе настолько чудовищна, что я вообще отключаю звук, когда занимаюсь в мобильном приложении. Мои уши этого не выдерживают.


Спасибо! I actually really appreciate you pointing these out! I was learning Russian off other websites for a while then my friend suggested I try DuoLingo and so far I have noticed a lot of things that don't quite sound right to what I've learned in the past. It's good to know I wasn't just imagining things haha


ха-ха-ха) А я то думаю, чего этот сайт так скромно оценил мои знания (родного) русского, когда я шутки ради решила решила пройти тестирование " Russian from English" ))


I'm relatively new to Duolingo Russian (7 months, starting in June 2020.) A few months ago, the voices changed. I'm wondering if that addressed this issue? As a non-native speaker, I have no idea!


Yes, as a learner I'm aware the pronunciations are bad and somewhat harmful for people like me who are trying to learn Russian. I think it's a real pity that Duolingo didn't want to spend their budget on a human speaker as they did in the Ukrainian course.

Well, at least the course is free of charge.


В украинском курсе отличное произношение, а русском оно действитеьно ужасное и кучей ошибок. Сверяйте с другими источниками. Дуо хоть и хорошая программа но ведь не единственная.


It's also a shame that the Ukrainian course has a lot of missing audio, yet it's out of beta.


Yes, and I want to add that sometimes a man's voice say the sentence like "Я Вера.", a woman's voice - "Я Тим.".

But if you want to tell to Duolingo's team about it, you should write here. But, as LICA98 said, this problem exists in other courses as well :(


But, I have to mention that I actually learn a lot and fast. At first to learn passive understanding, ... speaking will follow.


Probably not even native Russians can't level up (key function). Google translate for sure can't, it's been tested! DUO Russian is leaking water from all sides!


Thank you for pointing this out, I am learning Russian and the audio can be confusing at best, because a machine can't mimic the same way a real person can say the words. Listening to the real Russian words by video is helpful and then when you go back to listen and learn new words they aren't the same.

Learn Russian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.