https://www.duolingo.com/Bill512199

Hebrew Audibility

The woman's voice is very quiet and difficult to hear. In contrast to the man's voice, which is loud. However, the man's voice is sometimes difficult to understand also, as he does not enunciate clearly. Sometimes it helps to max the volume; sometimes it does not. It might help to look at a sound chart. Various spoken sounds can be difficult to distinguish, especially given the quality of headsets and computer speakers. For example, R ר and L ל can be difficult to distinguish. In Hebrew, the ח, ק, כ, ה and the מ/ם versus נ/ן. I understand we need to learn to understand native speakers, who, of course, speak quickly. But in a course, especially in the earlier lessons, it would help if the speakers would enunciate better when they're speaking quickly.

Also, given the loudness of the voices, and as a result the volume settings, it would be nice if you played the end of lesson and end of skill sounds quite a bit quieter so they don't blow out our ears. תודה

3 weeks ago

15 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/JacobBarides

Agreed. They should also add new voices. Both the male and female voice in the Hebrew course sound extremely official as if spoken on the radio or news.

He says simple sentences such as "אני אוכל את האוכל" in the same tone as a train conductor or a sports announcer.

Some more 'casual' voice additions would be great.

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Einat162
Einat162Plus
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Learning another course on Duolingo, I understand what you are saying- you want to jump to the 'spoken' version of it, but, it's very important to know the correct form- before jumping to slang and modern street talk. I feel like, after you mastered the basics you can watch movies ,TV shows, and youtube videos to get the mistaken version of the language.

Coming from the Welsh course, where the voice is computer generated (like many on the Duolingo), having real voice actors doing the reading is a major plus in my opinion.

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Bill512199

I didn't interpret JacobBarides' comment that way. I don't think he means street versus formally correct. I think he means having the same sentences spoken, but by someone who seems to be saying them naturally rather than mechanically. I think it's a matter of how well trained the speaker is. A good actor can speak from something that is written, e.g., a book, much better than an average person can.

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Einat162
Einat162Plus
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Posting here as a native Hebrew speaker, having the solid grammar correct basis and then moving to the modern spoken one is more important... I mean, in Welsh, there is a habit (especially by younger people) to put in English words as part of their speech. It's frustrating to hear, but they have the right to, if they know the actual welsh word (and just choose not to use proper Welsh). The Hebrew spoken in Israel by 18 and under is so much slang and borrowed from other languages expressions, that it's not really Hebrew sometimes....

You can't get the correct, perfect pronounciation without being sound archaic (mind you, the Hebrew course on Duolingo is not Biblical Hebrew).

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Bill512199

First, I would say the same about English in the U.S. and I would expect it to be the same about any language commonly used anywhere. No one speaks any language perfectly, i.e., following every rule. And what is proper English anyway? Is it the language spoken in England or the U.S. or elsewhere? Well, in the U.S. we say bathroom (or infrequently lavatory), but in England they say loo. In the U.S. we say elevator, but in England they say lift. There are numerous such examples, right? But what about just in the U.S.? In New York, we say paper bag, but in Ohio they say paper sack. In NY, we say soda, but in Ohio they say pop. And there are numerous examples of these kinds of differences not just between NY and Ohio, but between any two places. The more distant, the more differences. There really is no proper English. That's a fiction for learning.

Second, similarly, there is no correct pronunciation. Every person pronounces words at least slightly differently from every other person. And over time and space, the pronunciations vary greatly.

Third, there is no such thing as Biblical Hebrew. The various parts originated in multiple languages, many from relatively far away, e.g., Egypt, Babylon, Greece. What was written (over time) in the area that is Israel and thereabouts today was written in various Aramaic and related languages. The final composition, before Greek translation, is written in multiple languages and multiple dialects of each language. It is a fiction to refer to any of that as Biblical Hebrew, even to the extent that some parts of it are closer to modern Hebrew than other parts. For those of you who don't have a clear picture of this, consider Shakespearean English (16th C) versus modern English (20th C). That is just 400 years. The distance between modern Hebrew and the languages of the Bible is, for its youngest parts, more than 2000 years. (And, sorry for those who don't like this, but we know that some of it was written as late as the 1st C BC and much of it had to have been written after the 3rd C BC. It is not 5000, 4000, or even 3000 years old.)

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MissSpells
MissSpells
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When you say there is no such thing as Biblical Hebrew, are you referring to the New Testament? Biblical Hebrew generally refers to the Hebrew of the old testament. To say there is no such thing, is a pretty bold claim.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Bill512199

Not bold at all. Factual. What the Christians call the Old Testament is, I believe, more or less the Tanakh = Torah, Nevi'im (Prophets), and Khetuvim (Writings). These are quite obviously, when you read the originals, not written in a single language. And the various languages are not all the same dialects. The Torah (more or less Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, Leviticus, and Numbers) contains multiple versions of some stories, e.g., the Creation and Noah. The different versions are in different languages and dialects. Also, there is no one God in the Torah. The Elohist stories are written in different languages and dialects than the Yahwist stories. And then there are the late era Hellenistic naturalists who wrote such things as Job, which is written in the form of Greek drama. Their writings are dramatically different in language and linguistic style. There was no single culture or language before the Romans came. The Romans lumped everyone together as Jews. But, in fact, the Jews have never been a monolithic or monotheistic (some are, some aren't) group. And no form of Hebrew has ever been the language of all Jews.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MissSpells
MissSpells
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You might want to try out the Mango Languages Hebrew course. (It is free with many library subscriptions) Because it is more conversational, you might find the audio more natural sounding. (Also they have audio for every sentence, and nikkud which is a big plus for me) I use it along with Duolingo (for more grammar focus) and find they make a nice compliment.

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JacobBarides

That's why I said voice additions and not voice 'replacements."

And as a non native speaker, I want to know how the average native speaker sounds.

And these news broadcasters use more slang than anyone. Pretty much half of their speech is English: "English word-אציה, English word-אציה, English word-אציה, English word-אציה."

More voices need to be added to every course, not just Hebrew.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MissSpells
MissSpells
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Yeah, I find the quantity of the audio in the Hebrew course is not enough, because only some sentences have it. I think if they had included nikkud it would have helped alot. As it is I use several sources. I learn the vocab on 'Memrise Duolingo' (full audio for every word in the course) and Drops (option to choose make or femal speaker) and I also use Mango Languages and watch a lot of cartoons. I guess I think of duolingo as sort of a base, and then I try to find as much authentic content as I can as soon as I am able to understand even a bit of cartoons.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/WarriorCleberz
WarriorCleberz
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I agree with you Bill, I would like adding that there are no speaking exercises in this course! I don't know what's the purpose, but I'm really trying understand why this course doesn't have speaking exercises. At least for me.

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/epiphany88

Agreed. Speaking exercises are super important.

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Bill512199

I agree with you about having speaking exercises. But it's very difficult to implement. Orders of magnitude beyond what is currently provided.

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Bill512199

I'm amazed by how many languages you have gotten to Level 25. Is that the highest possible level? How do you have time for anything else? :)

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MissSpells
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I actually really like the voices on the Hebrew course. I feel like they annunciate really well and speak at just the right pace for me. (a bit slower than normal conversation). I don't mind if it is a bit newscastery because that is what I find helpful for learning. One thing I noticed though is I feel like most of the sentences as spoken by the male speaker and I wish it was more fifty fifty.

3 weeks ago

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