Pronunciaton of "yo"
to me, it sounds like the speaker is pronouncing "yo" as "jo" or "cho." I once heard that this is how it is pronounced in Argentina. Is that true? And if so, why select it for these lessons? Do these lessons follow a constitent style of pronunciation? I know that there are variations in spoken Spanish in different places.
You will find this to be true with so many words and letter sounds in the Spanish language! Which makes it so beautiful! I took a translation course called "The Art of Translation" and it totally opened my eyes up to how diverse the language is. None of the pronunciations are incorrect, nor would any of them impede another Spanish speaker (from a different country) from understanding your pronunciation of the same word.
I wouldn't look at pronunciations as one being better than the other, or more "correct." As most people are partial to the pronunciation of the word that they were taught as a child. Same with English, as some would prefer to say "y'all" , "youse guys" , "you all" . etc...
If you are a very new beginner, I would first focus on building vocabulary and learning sentence structure. Then, once you get to learning 60% of texts, I would start investigating different pronunciations.
If you are interested in hearing other pronunciations of Spanish, I recommend Castellano (Castilian, in English). It really threw me off when I got to college and my teacher spoke Castellano Spanish. It took me a week or two to adjust, but on the first day I swore she wasn't speaking Spanish. :)
I am not sure about the exact reasons (may depend on the sounds immediately proceeding or following it) but I have heard real life speakers even fluctuate in their pronounciation across the spectrum of what would sound like 'y' to english speakers to 'j' for english speakers.
I don't hear the 'ch' exactly but more of a 'zh' (or the 's' in pleasure) in some speaker's pronounciation. I think it is accurate that some countries will have more of a tendency towards this pronounciation, but you will hear fluctuations between y-j in most countries.
That "zsh" sound is particularly strong in Argentina. One of my favorite Spanish songs, by Fito Paez, is a great example of the Argentinian accent. Eso Que Llevas Ahí
You can hear the "zsh" sound when he says llegar, yo, llevas, caballo, lloré, mayo, and allí.
He also says "vos y yo" instead of tú y yo, which is also typical of an Argentinian accent.
If you want to follow along with the music video, the lyrics are here
I've heard the letter "Y" pronounced many different ways. My high school Spanish teacher from Columbia pronounces it like a French "J" and my current teacher, who is from Mexico, at my university pronounces it like a typical American "J." It all really just depends on the region I guess.