Cannot understand the audio half the time
even when I have it on the slower setting, I still can't seem to get it sometimes. For example, I kept mixing up "pomme" and "pain" because the audio makes them sound extremely similar. Is this only me, or are other people having a bit of issue with this as well?
Just a comment rather than answer: I wear hearing aids and often just have to use the grammar context to "get" what is being said in DuoLingo, but even with my artificial ears in place I often have the same problem in the real world. Makes it extremely difficult to complete the exercises in under two minutes, but that's my problem rather than a problem with DuoLingo.
The audio can definitely slur words together at times, often actually overlapping the sounds, making it very hard to know when one word ends. However, I actually treat this as a (kind-of) bonus: it forces me to replay the sentence in my head, and try and work out what they must have been saying. First of all, this forces me to use my knowledge of grammer -- it sounded like "los niño comen", but I know that can't be right because it's not correct, so it must have been "los niñoS comen." Second, it is close to real-world, because native speakers speak much faster than you or I.
However, there is always the slowed-down version which pronounces each word individually. (This is how you can tell that the sped-up version is doing some overlapping-trickery to get "natural" speeds, because you can suddenly hear syllables that simply weren't there before.)
French is definitely difficult in the way people say here, but I'm finding this audio a bit buggy in places. There are times I really can't make out whether the lady with the pretty voice is making an "f" or an "s" sound, for one example. The other languages (besides Portuguese, which I haven't tried yet) are much clearer, both by the very nature of the languages and by the audio quality. I think they should redo some of the audio on the French for sure.
Learning French is really frustrating. I've been learning Italian and there, when a new word is introduced in the listening tests one can listen carefully and often deduce what the word is. In French I find it virtually impossible most of the time, and even when one knows a word, it can be very hard to recognise what it is. It's very discouraging and I'm close to giving up. The phrases used in the French section and the verbs chosen to be taught first, are also very strange.