French pronunciation is bad
Is there any way to improve the french pronunciation? it seems to be text-to-speech and for certain things it is AWFUL. For example "Tu es..." is really hard to understand. I couldn't hear the difference between pain and pomme, but worst of all "c'est elle" was read as "set elle" when it should be more like "say elle"
Elka, I'm not really familiar with DAB (digital radio?), but the problem for beginners is that listening to French newscasts with only the audio likely won't help in the early stages. This is because it sounds like they talk so fast and you won't recognize much of the vocabulary. I would suggest listening to audio sources with transcripts or audio aimed specifically at French beginners. Here are a few suggestions:
http://fr.euronews.com - news in French with video and transcript http://www.litteratureaudio.com - free French audiobooks with transcripts http://www.rfi.fr/lffr/pages/001/accueil_exercice_ecoute.asp - listening exercises that test comprehension by Radio France Internationale http://www.learner.org/resources/series83.html - "French in Action" is a highly-regarded free video series for beginners learning French, although the website might not work depending where in the world you are, but you can find the videos on YouTube as well.
There are dozens of learning French podcasts on iTunes, try out a few and stick with one you like. I would recommend Coffee Break French.
And if you ever buy a self-study book, get Assimil's "New French with Ease." Many polyglots swear by Assimil and I've had fantastic results with it.
I too am a native french speaker and I had some trouble with Duolingo prononciations when I tried the test a while ago. For the "C'est elle" issue, it should sound as "set elle" because of the liason, but some of the liasons are usually skipped. This is why:
The "true" prononciation of "c'est" would be like "cè". So, saying "C'est elle" without the "t" liaison would involve saying two "è" sound in a row, which is takes some efforts. In this case, the "t" liaison is really helpful
However, "C'est" is a lot of time prononced "cé" (prononced like "say" in english) (I'm speaking for Québec). So, now, we have a "é" sound followed by a "è" sound. The transition is much smoother and easier. In this case, the "t" liaison actually slows the flow. It is then dropped.
Just turn off the speaker option under settings and those questions are skipped. It makes Duolingo much more enjoyable. If you want to improve your listening comprehension and pronunciation, it's better to listen to native French speakers on radio/tv/podcasts/language tapes.
as far as i understand with french pronunciation... generally when the second word starts with a vowel, you pronounce the last letter of the word proceeding it... so in this case 'set elle' would make sense... but i look forward what a fluent speaker has to say... find it really helps to use the 'slower' button, but then sometimes you've got to look at the context of the entire sentence to figure out the right words.
Thanks for all the help. I realized my "C'est elle" mistake it just wasn't a phrase I'd ever encountered before. Aside from that, on the exercises that are blind (it just says it and you have to type it in french) it is often really hard to understand. However, for the sake of not being all negative. This site / program is awesome otherwise.
Check out Speechling ( www. Speechling.com ). They use native speakers for content and you get free native coach who corrects your pronunciation. I like DL for grammar, but for listening and speaking it is meh. I have accidentally said sentences in English and Dl has accepted it as correct....