https://www.duolingo.com/LaurenJW28

Does anyone else have a really hard time distinguishing 'ni' and 'mi'?

Hi everyone, the title pretty much says it all. I'm having an extremely difficult time separating these two pronouns during the listening exercises. Is there anything I can do to solve this?

Thanks!

2 weeks ago

28 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
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I agree with those people saying "yes." I disagree that this is an issue with Duolingo. For better or worse, this is how Esperanto is. Lipreading and context help - but yeah, mi vi li ni - all sound very much the same.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LaurenJW28

I've been thinking this too. The uniformity of the language makes it easier to learn but harder to comprehend someone speaking. Would you agree?

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
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I agree with bicolingo's "yes and no" answer. Whenever anybody expresses a doubt about the recordings in the course, I play them for whichever family members are nearby. They rarely have a problem with mi/vi. (We've been an Esperanto-speaking family since before the kids were born, so they're used to the sounds of Esperanto.) If I could go back in time and give feedback, I might have suggested different pronouns, but Esperanto pronouns are what they are and generally they work pretty well.

As is the case with -as/-is/-os (which LectroidMarc mentions elsewhere), it's important to speak clearly and train your ears - and ask questions when in doubt.

Similar problems are found with the sounds for c, s, and z among speakers from different language backgrounds. It's necessary to learn and practice these things.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LaurenJW28

I have noticed that my first time through the first 20 skills I had a very difficult time understanding the recordings. I'm on my second time through and I'm finding the recordings much easier to understand (I can usually understand it first go).

It is the newer sounds that I've been struggling with. So maybe you are right and its about training your ears.

Thanks for your detailed response!

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nikhil3
Nikhil3
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I give you a Lingot for understand how it works ! Bonan klopodon!

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bicolingo
bicolingo
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My early impression is yes and no. It's easier to determine the subject of the sentence in other languages because either (a) the subject is used explicitly and they sound quite different from each other; or (b) the verb is conjugated by person, and the different conjugations are easily distinguishable.

But offsetting that, I really like the consistency of all nouns ending in 'o', all adjectives ending in 'a', all adverbs ending in 'e', and the stress always falling on the penultimate syllable, because it makes it so easy to turn a stream of sounds into a grammatically sensible structure, even if you don't understand all the individual words. That really helps, and I think the more advanced we become, the more it will help.

The problem we're having with the personal pronouns (and the possessives derived from them) is the only one I've come across so far. But it is an important one.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ISpeakAlien
ISpeakAlien
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What's really confusing is that ni- in Swahili indicates the first person singular forms of verbs. I have also heard that "ni" and "vi" in Swedish mean the opposites of what they mean in Esperanto.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Daniel379898
Daniel379898
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In Basque which I learnt as a child, ‘ni’ straight means ‘I’. And in Russian which I'm trying to learn now, ‘my’ means ‘we’. So I have to pause and make sure each time.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nikhil3
Nikhil3
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Ni = you (all) in Swedish

You (singluar) is mostly Du

Vi = we in Swedish

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lectroidmarc

Sure, and I also struggled with the -as/-is/-os endings for a long time too. In fact I went through a phase where I was more likely to fail the listening exercises than not.

And then I improved. It's weird, it's just another skill that develops. I found that listening to multiple sources helps immensely in developing one's ability to "hear" the subtleties of a language.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JasonMundy2

Lectroidmarc, I don't know how to send someone a private message on here... so I'll hijack the thread. I see that you've made it to level 24 on Esperanto with a 347 day streak. Are you at the point where you can hold a decent conversation with someone?

I'm at day 42 and was wondering what I should expect at the 6 month and 1 year marks...

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lectroidmarc

I really can't say. We're all different and learn differently. Not to mention we all have different interest levels and abilities.

One thing that I think is important to point out is that no one is going to get fluent on Duolingo alone. Duolingo is good for a start but you need to branch out. I didn't spend all the last 340+ days exclusivly on Duolingo :).

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bicolingo
bicolingo
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I do, and my only 'solution' so far is remembering that I got it wrong last time! I'm hoping the ear learns to tune in to the subtle sounds over time. But if there's too much ambient noise -- like in a bar or cafe -- forget it, I'd probably have to rely on lip reading. Face to face, it would be easy to tell the difference between 'mi' and 'ni', but not between 'ni' and 'li'. When the language doesn't conjugate verbs by person, it puts a heavy weight on the personal pronouns, and getting them wrong could lead to some awkward misunderstandings.

One thing I've noticed, though, is if the 'mi' or 'ni' is preceded by another syllable (as in "cxu mi/ni...?") I don't have as much trouble telling them apart.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/M.5dd5
M.5dd5
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Yes, I think the speaker does not enunciate those distinctions very clearly at all on many of the sound files. It's a very frustrating part of the course. I will often play the sounds over and over literally dozens of times ("is he saying Mi or Ni???") and still get it wrong half the time. Sometimes I cant hear which it is even when I know the answer because I just saw the corrected answer. Fortunately they Esperanto team has just recently been given (by Duolingo) the ability to make new sound recordings. They are starting to appear slowly (it's a lot of work). So hopefully this will improve over time. I think the best thing for you in the meantime is to just do the best you can and move on when you get it wrong. If you get any wrong you can open the discussion window on that sentence and you'll see the correct translation the next time it comes up. You can use that to check yourself the next time that sentence comes up.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/NickLaCascia

I have this problem too, but I don't worry too much - if I were actually speaking to someone, it would be easier to tell via context and seeing their face.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rob721506
Rob721506
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I have had the same problem myself, I feel that the speaker doesn't distinguish the two very well so I simply try to pay more attention to the first sound as both n and m are nasalized sounds.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Francisco22893

Yes I have ! Not that I just not hear them, but I have troubles considering them. I particulary "miss" the "ni" and make false interpretations. (just a question : you didn't reach the 11th level in two days, did you ?!)

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LaurenJW28

no, I didn't. I had already completed up to level 14 over a period of 5 months (I did the first 16 skills to level 5 each). I then was away for about 2 months and forgot quite a bit. I decided to reset my progress and start again as a way to review it all.

Because I already know everything up to about the 16th lesson I was able to just test out over the last two days as a refresher. I've now got the first 16 skills to level 4, and tomorrow I'll be testing out the rest to gold. Then I'll be learning new stuff as slowly as everyone else haha

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FeinoDrako

Jes, cxi tiun problemon ankaux havas mi. Kiel salivanto diris, mi pensas ke, praktiko perfektas.

Yeah I have this problem as well. Like salivanto said, I think it's just a case of practice makes perfect.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MarkVortexx

I never really had trouble with differentiating ni and mi, but I did have a little trouble with the verb conjugation endings; -as, -is, -os. But even English has similar situations. Sometimes people confuse fifteen and fifty, or one and won. Usually this happens mainly when someone is learning a language, but perhaps even fluent speakers sometimes get mixed up. Context helps a lot, and like Salivanto said, training your ear to recognize easily confused words, is very important.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
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Oh yes. How many times have I said - "not fifty dollars - one-five dollars"?

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/hellomidnight

Even though I think the problem lies with the similarity of the sounds, I've found it helps a lot to listen on headphones. The audio is much more distinct that way, so you're giving yourself the best chance to hear the difference between the m and n sounds. I make a lot of mistakes if I listen with my normal speakers, and almost none if I listen with headphones.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FranzEbersburg

Vi pravas. Foje oni malbone komprenas vorton parolitan.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JasonMundy2

Its gotten to the point where I will type out my response... then replay before I hit continue. This gives me a second chance to make sure I heard everything right.

Since these phrases are repeated over and over, I tend to remember which was used in that lesson.

One good thing I can say is that when my wife is doing her lessons, I tend to pick it up easier. What was difficult in the past becomes easier in the future.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/doctorcd5
doctorcd5
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I guess I usually look at context. If you're noticing plural nouns and adjective forms it's likely a 'we' sentence. Context clues can help, but if you're really having a hard time with the listening exercise, just give it your best guess and click the 'report' option to let the mods know that it needs to be reviewed and fixed. Good luck!

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jdroege

This is just POSSIBLY a problem you have on the recordings and not in real life? The recordings lack context. You don't know what the topic of conversation is and you have no background with the speaker. I would recommend waiting to see if this is a real problem or just a problem in the course.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LeeMiller9

Do you have a problem distinguishing "me" and "knee" in English?

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
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I'm having a hard time coming up with a context where this is even possible in English. (Not so for Esperanto.)

  • Show knee the money.
  • Baby don't hurt knee no more.
  • I tripped, fell, and hurt my me.
  • I got down one one me and asked her to marry knee.
1 week ago
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