Indistinguishable sound bytes "om" and "omme"

I cannot distinguish the sounds on the card containing "om" and "omme". Duo tells me "om" is correct and rejects "omme" for no discernible reason. When I "test" the sounds before choosing, they sound exactly alike. If Duo is trying to teach me something about some subtle distinction between "om" and "omme", the message is not getting across. Either both words are linked to the same recorded sound byte or the sound production algorithm "reads" them the same. If they are the same, how can one be right and one wrong?

I do account for the fact that my ear my not be accustomed to French pronunciation. I cannot discern any difference in the way Google Translate sounds these phonemes either. I have prior experience distinguishing subtle sound differences and generally my ear is pretty good. But even IF I am having a problem hearing an actual difference, this is Duo's problem. It is Duo's task to make the difference discernible to learners.

I suspect it is simply an error on Duo's part that does not get any attention because there is no feedback permitted on this card except to report "an error in the sound", which I have done, but which is misleading as the error is not in the sound produced but in the cross linking of the sound to multiple cards only one of which is accepted.

April 30, 2019


om has a nasal sound and omme doesn't

April 30, 2019

Thank everyone for responding. I did not say that there is not a difference in pronunciation of these two sounds in French. I said that I cannot hear any difference in the sound samples offered by the card. If you were to tell me that you can hear the difference on that particular card, then I would have to accept the problem is my ears. But when you only tell me there is supposed to be a difference in the language, that leaves open the question of whether this card has an error or not. What is at issue is not the French language, but the quality of Duo's instruction. Perhaps Duo has it right and my ears need further training. But perhaps not.

April 30, 2019

I agree with you Jamie36257. I cannot hear a difference in the two sounds either. I have been taught that "om" as in nom is supposed to have a nasal sound, however the "om" heard in this question does not have that nasal sound, at least not to my ear. I think there is a bit of a glitch with DL.

May 18, 2019

Thank you Charlotte.

May 19, 2019

I had the same problem, didn't see this discussion and started a separate one. As you say, it is Duo's sound files we're talking about here, not how French should sound, but how Duo is pronouncing those two alternates exactly the same but only accepting one of them as the correct answer.

July 11, 2019

Being able to hear distinctions in a foreign language (or even your native language) is often a brain function. It can be improved with training but what is obvious to a native speaker is often hard for a learner to pick up. Exposure to more spoken language should help.

May 1, 2019

This is true but you can listen to the sounds before selecting one. Although I have not recorded them and tested them, I do not think there is any meaningful distinction a person could reasonably be expected to pick up, let alone learn, especially at this level of the language.

Your point is well taken, though! It is just asking too much at this point in the training.

June 5, 2019

Duolingo is imperfect in many, many things. I am not listening to the card. I don't know what you are hearing. You will need to report it if you think the error is with DL, like I said above. I and others have tried to help you understand and learn the difference just in case it is in your ears. Does the card sound like the Google Translate or different?

This forum is for topics relating to language. If the issue is with your sound or DL programming, it might be best to at least post in troubleshooting. Also, be sure to check on the sentence discussions or listen carefully to words with these sounds that are included in the lessons in sentences. Just some more suggestions. I hope you get it sorted out.

May 1, 2019

Oui Sandra, parfois ils font les liaisons... et ils ne devraient pas. Parfois il ne font pas les liaisons... et ils devraient. Parfois un enregistrement devient un peu stupide... et drôle ! Je me dis que ça doit être ainsi dans toutes les langues... que l'informatique ne peut pas remplacer toujours les humains... et qu'il faut ne pas s'arrêter sur ces difficultés, mais continuer toujours et toujours ( comme j'aimerais , un jour, pouvoir dire tout cela en anglais ! ;)

May 1, 2019

I totally agree. I have gone back and forth between the two buttons for "om" and "omme" and can hear no difference. That is why I searched and found this discussion. I also realize I still have a ways to go in distinguishing these nuances, but it's definitely not just one or two people having this problem.

May 22, 2019

Completely agree! I went back and forth 10 times and could not hear a difference. This is not the first time either - in many lessons, I hone in on what is being taught, but in om vs omme, words with both endings exist.

Perhaps my ear isn't tuned to how Duolingo presents the words, but I cannot hear ANY difference at all. It sounds like both words generate the same vocalization, or if there is a difference, I can't detect it via the speakers in my PC and/or my smartphone.

July 9, 2019

I'm having the same problem.

June 2, 2019

I am also having this problem and it is super frustrating.

June 5, 2019

First of all, have you looked at the discussion of the actual exercise (available at the bottom of each question)? There is often some helpful advice there as to whether it is really a glitch or not.

Keep practicing. It is NOT DL's goal or responsibility to accustom your ear to the variations in sounds in French. Report that the sound is off if you think it is. That way they will review it But in the meantime, keep working. I'll bet within 3 months (or less) you will think your question rather silly. I only know because I have been there! LOL.

To help you a bit now, the omme has a more open sound, like "ahmmm" or even "umm" (these are French sounds, not English so it's hard to describe). "Om" is more like just "ome". Sometimes when there is a double consonant, too, the sound of it is just a little stronger, holding the lips together while continuing the sound rather than just closing them in an "M" and stopping. Check out Google translate. Type in "homme nom" and listen.

April 30, 2019

Bonjour ;) Je comprends à peu près le problème. Je suis d'accord avec la réponse de Sandra.

Je comprends quels sont les mots avec le son "omme". Par exemple : comme, gomme, homme, nomme, pomme, somme... ;)

Mais de quels mots parlez-vous, avec le son "om" ? Pouvez-vous donner un ou deux exemples ? (oui, la langue française est diabolique ;)

April 30, 2019

Nom, pronom, condom, prête-nom, renom, surnom, pogrom

May 22, 2019

They don't have a discussion button for the phonetic questions.

April 30, 2019

SandraStea1 I liked your suggestion of typing "homme nom" into Google Translate and listening, so I tried it. To my ear, the two words sound quite different - no problem hearing a difference. This confirms for me that the Duolingo sound byte for "om" must be incorrect.

June 5, 2019

The task is to hear the difference between 'om' and 'omme' that is not possible if Duo is using the SAME sound recording for both. It is not 'silly' to point this out. There is a report button because mistakes like this are quite common and thankfully get sorted when people report them.

July 15, 2019
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