https://www.duolingo.com/profile/invader4000

Am I the only one having troubles understanding the italian speaker woman?

example: gli,ha,ho,è?

July 11, 2014

52 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Moomingirl

A lot of people complain about her. You will find though, that you will get used to her and find her easier to understand over time, the longer you study.

July 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SophieHel

Yeah. I have kinda got used and I've only been learning Italian since 15/2/2014. I still get confused though on ha because it sounds like uh. And sometimes I think it's è!!!

July 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/killary45

I am replying to drjlgphd.

There is a great deal to like about Duolingo - it is a fantastic breakthrough in computer aided language learning. I would not spend so much time on it if it were not very useful for me. However even though it is free I think that it is right to discuss its defects in the hope that they be corrected.

I have recommended Duolingo to a lot of my friends and family, telling them how great it is. Unfortunately all but one, my 16-year-old niece who had taken five years of German in school already, found that the serious defects in Duo meant that it was not for them and they quickly gave up. The poor voice reproduction was only a minor problem - the main thing was the total absence of any teaching of language patterns; no explanation of the syntax; the random nature of the exercises; and the poor help with the verbs. These were all intelligent people who are doing well in life, but because they had not studied languages before they found that Duo was not for them. I would have loved it if they had been able to keep it up, and it would have been so great for them, but it was not to be.

Let me give an example of why I think that it is right to criticise even though Duo is free. Imagine if someone opened a range of hotels which were conveniently situated, always available and, what is more, they were free to stay in. Fantastic, no? The only trouble is that the owner of this new range of free hotels thinks on principle that it is wrong to use beds, so there are no beds at all in the hotel rooms. Guests can take their own bed-rolls or sleeping bags, but the owner says that for thousands of years everyone slept on the floor, and that millions of people in poor countries sleep on the floor, so he thinks that it would be wrong in principle to provide beds - they are simply unnecessary in his opinion. I have roughed it before and I might stay at those hotels, but I would prefer to pay a fair price and get a bed. I can tell you that none of my friends and family would sleep on the floor even for free. So would I be wrong to make a note in the visitors' book after a stay in such a hotel saying - "Thanks a lot but I would prefer to pay a fair price and stay in a room with a bed, and I would like it even more if my friends and family could stay here with me, and they will only stay in a room with a bed"?

I think that the mission of helping people to learn languages is fantastic, but that at present Duo is only useful for brilliant and/or highly motivated exceptional people, or for those who, like me, have already spent a lot of time studying languages before. What about everybody else? Am I wrong to speak up for them and suggest how Duo could be made more accessible for them?

July 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BritBlue

I do think Duo could begin with teaching some simple verb conjugations such as I am (ser/estar), I have and I eat/live/speak (regular verbs). Being able to understand the conjugations for these would take you a long way in understanding Spanish - if I hadn't had some notes from a Spanish class explaining these I would have been very confused as an absolute beginner.

As a beginner in any language - I had no experience of conjugations before, it is definitely easier once you have grasped the concept of conjugations. For example in French I could instantly conjugate (or at least understand the concept behind it) because I had already experienced this in Spanish, for English speakers without any experience of this grammar, I think Duo's lack of basic grammar rules makes it very difficult. That said I still think Duo is the best out there but its refusal to teach even a little grammar at the start is a stumbling block for many new learners I would think.

July 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/3_pipit

I would have thought that too, but now I'm not so sure. I'm learning italian, but I have had prior experience with Spanish (and some abortive attempts to learn italian before). So I'm used to conjugations. But a family member is learning Spanish via duo, and her only prior experience (other than English) is Mandarin, which she had in school. And she's not having too much trouble with the Spanish grammar. So maybe prior experience with conjugations is not so important? I think part of the "theory" is that kids learn grammar via exposure w/o formal lessons, so second (or third, etc) language learners should be able to as well. (But of course small kids get a lot more exposure than the average duolingo user).

July 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/drjlgphd

Killary45 - All good. No worries.

July 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RoseBosc

that's a lot of words and i mean A LOT :0

July 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RoseBosc

killary45 how could you write that much

July 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bluesocksTN

Duolingo is also great for those of us who have figured out that one can take note of the topic and vocabulary from the next lesson at hand, go watch a few YouTube videos that explain the concepts, and return to Duolingo to put what was explained in the videos into practice. ;o)

September 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/killary45

It is not a woman, it is an unintelligent machine produced phonetic disaster. The Italian machine has a lot of defects. You do get used to them but they are still frustrating when you meet new glitches for the first time.

Would it really be too expensive to pay a real Italian voice-over artist to record the sentences and put them into the program? Perhaps they could even use male voices when they want male endings and a female voice for female endings.

July 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RoseBosc

I don't think you should use a man for when the sentence is about a man and a girl when its about a girl because if you where going to say l'uomo but it was actually la donna you would know because they have have told you that it was a girl so you would never learn

August 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/drjlgphd

It's a free site. I'm amazed and astounded at this resource. Personally I can find zero that's complaint-worthy about what this site has to offer. If you offer to pay for it it might happen though!

July 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/killary45

This year Duo announced $20 million additional investment from some high powered institutions to "expand to translating additional languages and will support its plan to create a language certification exam as part of the app." How much do voice-over actors charge? There are a lot of unemployed actors.

Some free-to-use apps are sold to Google/Microsoft/Apple or whoever for gazillions.

July 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/drjlgphd

I'm not intending to be rude but I still think this is a petty criticism.

July 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/killary45

Petty? I would have thought that the quality of the voice on a language teaching program is absolutely fundamental.

July 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/drjlgphd

Yes. not the topic - I understand it's inconvenient. Rather I was surprised at the negatively critical, somewhat snarky and entitled, somewhat whiny sounding approach to it. Again, apologies for sounding rude - it just surprised me, that's all. I'm still in amazement and appreciation that this resource exists without cost. I remember once being so proud in grad school about a paper that I reviewed very critically and w/o missing a beat my advisor smiled and said "yes, it's fun and much easier to find fault. Now see if you can go back and find as much in there to praise as you criticized." I've never forgotten that.

July 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RoseBosc

well yeah I guess it is a free site so you cant expect it to be perfect but if you where paying then it should be better but it is just free so its pretty good

August 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hombre-Claro

As long as you don't sound like a robot if ever ordering a coffee in Italy, it should be ok. :-)

July 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rossy1000

no she mumbles....and even my italian girlfriend is non the wiser.

July 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/invader4000

when my italian girlfriend pronunce the sentences, I have no problem what so ever understanding them. very easy to hear them. She is from Venice area :)

July 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/James722478

I had trouble, but like others, I have gotten used to the voice. I just wish they would mix it up a bit with a variety of male and female voices, not only in Italian but in all the languages.

July 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lumna

Don' worry I am Italian and I understand because that's my mother tongue and I am used to so many accents. She seems, I dare say,asthmatic, and you perceive a sort of whistle that for a non native listener is confusing.

July 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nancyochs

No, I am also having difficulty, especially the la, il, un, ho, ha etc. I usually have to listen to the slow version. the small words are garbled.

July 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LoretoSanM

She speaks as if she is going to cry.... hahahaha

July 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SophieHel

Yeah!!! I was trying to think of what she sounds like and that's one. And when she takes a breath she sounds like she is whimpering!!! It's so funny!!! In class I showed my friend and we both burst out laughing!!!

July 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/invader4000

It has been a few days since i made this post, and I'm happy to see, that I'm not the only one with this opinion:) I wrote to Duolingo, that my born and raised italian girlfriend from the Venice area, has offered to voice record the entire italian course, with a less robotic/moaning vioce :) hoping to hear from them soon. I also signed up myself for finishing/recording the Danish course.

But keep this discussion going :)

July 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bluesocksTN

That was a very generous offer that and your Italian sweetheart made to Duolingo... I sure wish they'd take you up on it. I am mainly focused on Spanish for right now, but I started the Italian course because I had thought to maybe surprise a friend who lives in Rome with a bit of her adopted tongue. But, I only got three or so lessons in before abandoning the course because the voice was so robotic, bored, slurred, moaning, garbled, etc..

September 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/keirawinner

I dunno, I have no problems =) Probably because I lived in Italy

July 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ebonywahin

she seems to swallow the ends of phrases which not unusual but a problem in dictation exercises. So was that ragazze or ragazzi? lol

July 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/drjlgphd

I was just grappling with this and I figured out that the the "ee" on ragazzi is very pronounced. If it sounds swallowed or garbled it's the other one.

July 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lavmarx

It happens to the best of us, but it's nothing that you can't fix by listening to the slow version. There are voices like German and Portuguese that, in my opinion, work pretty well, but there are also the English, Spanish and Italian that have a lot of room for improvement. The French one is almost there, it isn't bad, but it isn't as good either.

July 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PopTartTastic

Everyone does pretty much. Still, it does help with learning to understand people, because not everyone will speak loud and clear.

July 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RoseBosc

if your going to speak on a speaking websites you defiently should speak proply no matter what your problem is

July 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PopTartTastic

I agree with you, but there still is something good about the whole situation, even though it may be miniscule.

July 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SophieHel

But not everyone will speak like they are mumbling!

July 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/invader4000

But every Italian speak correct, which "è and Ho" is very far from

July 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PopTartTastic

That is true. Just try your best. After a while you get used to it.

July 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SophieHel

Hey I find it hard when she say ha it sounds like uh. It's so annoying!!! Why can't they just get a real person to do it, it's not too much to ask!!! It also might get you used to listening to the words wrong!!!

July 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/manz4087

I too have a lot of trouble understanding some of what the disembodied voice says. I don't have this problem with other language programs.

July 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HaroldWonham

There are two aspects of Duolingo that are intensely frustrating. One is that they often mark wrong perfect British English (?American insularity again?) and the other is the very poor quality of the voice. Even if the programme is free (for which many thanks), what is the point of a language programme that you cannot understand? The consonants in particular I often find impossible to distinguish, and at times the normal and slow versions sound completely different. I am persisting, but it is very hard sometimes

July 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kriskross4

You'll get used to her voice, you'll see.

July 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mcbarge

me too. it is getting easier though. after i get the answer wrong and see what she said, i listen again and sure enough, it becomes clear. the next time you hear that slurred or cutoff word it just jumps out at you.

July 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EriktheSwede

She is hard, But the portugese is really good.. yet its jumbled up they say it REALLY fast and I have listen a lot.

July 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PopTartTastic

I agree, the Portuguese is probably the best voice here. Spanish and German are good too.

July 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/neyspaul

no, you are not the only one

July 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alison.Tea

just keep on trying and try to listen to the soung each words make!

July 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sea2sicily

No, you are not the only one I find her hard to understand, for me ragazzi and ragazze sound exactly alike when she says it, if there isn't an article I just guess. I asked my Italian teacher to pronounce both and I could hear the difference even when she didn't emphasize the ending. She is a native Italian speaker. That was the main problem for me but I live in Italy so it is perhaps easier for me to decipher it for that reason. There is some times a quality problem, some clicks or static between the words or a bit seems cut off. Good luck with your Italian!

July 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JacintaRuo

i am having so much trouble understanding the woman. that is right @Moomingirl

July 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Crissie2389

I just started an am having difficulties even when slowing her down, but I find the more I listen to it the easier it is to understand what she is saying.

July 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pablovimo

I don't think you are the only one. She pronounces really bad. And it's still worse with the girl who reads in French.

July 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RoseBosc

you have got a lot of comments

August 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheSecondStain

As I mainly learn the Italian course off my Android phone, I plug headphones in to hear as clearly as possible. Even then, sometimes I have to slow down the speaker to get all the understanding. And once in a while I have to wing it, because I can't work out what she has said, and, on reveal, sounds unlike the answer anyway. For example [this was on my PC which has hi-fi speakers attached] this evening she pronounced "nel" as nella. Thankfully, I knew it was wrong and wrote the correct word. But it wouldn't be great for someone who didn't. It might throw them a bit.

Of course, one still has to remember that this is all free.! ;)

February 25, 2017
Learn Italian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.