Consistently bad voice/pronunciation for the Portuguese bot voice.

To whom it may concern,

I have had to spend a reasonable amount of time having to talk to my Brazilian fans to ask them how to pronounce things because the Brazilian Portuguese course has a really bad voice/bot implementation.

It reliables messes up on things like "tenho." The nh is supposed to be pronounced like ñ in Spanish. Also, it often has troubles with lh. It often gets it right for "mulher" but it seems to mess it up for just about everything else. When I listen to it say "vermelho" in exercises, it always gets it wrong. Also, there is a huge discrepancy in how many of the words are pronounced in the exercises and how they are pronounced when you go to the "words" section. This has proven to be frustrating, and I hope someone is looking into it, or if not already, will begin to.

I love the course and I am still learning a lot. However, I feel this is a very important issue that needs to be addressed because we definitely shouldn't have to go to outside sources to learn how to properly pronounce words that are in the app.

Also, in advance, I apologize if this is a duplicate of another person's post. I tried searching for this issue and didn't have any luck. Thanks for the hard work of whoever is involved with working on Portuguese, and cheers.

March 4, 2015


This is a great website for hearing specific words spoken by real people: Hope that helps you guys.

March 5, 2015

forvo is awesome!

to hear pronunciations in Portuguese, this is the link:

or, if you want the interface itself to be also in Portuguese:

March 6, 2015

Hello! We are aware that there are issues with this particular voice. No automatically generated voice is perfect, and we are looking into it. Hopefully we will find a way to improve the experience for you as we keep trying to make Duolingo better for our millions of users of all courses. Thanks for your feedback! =]

March 7, 2015

I have been wondering if it was simply a matter of reconfiguring the recordings. It sounds like they were recorded a little bit off, speed wise. I think the reason it sounds strange is that it needs to be slowed down, but this is just a theory.

April 4, 2015

four years later and this problem is still a problem

April 20, 2019

Because the accents and enunciatory habits of Brazilians vary so widely, I actually find the bot easier to understand than some humans.

March 5, 2015

I'm not attacking the bot as a whole. It messes up specific sounds, and pronounces them inconsistently between sections of the language. Look at the sections I described up above in the post, and you will see what I meant.

March 5, 2015

actually, the nh in tenho is not supposed to sound like ñ. I do agree though as a speaker that the Portuguese voice is not to be trusted.

March 5, 2015

So, it's not just me.

March 5, 2015

If you're a Mac user, you can download one of the Portuguese voices (System Preferences -> Dictation & Speech). I use Luciana, but they all sound decent. You can choose a male/female and/or portuguese/brazilian voice. It's a heavy download, so I would keep the number of voices to a minimum unless you have a ton of space.

If you aren't currently using the system voice, you can change it to the Portuguese voice. Whenever you highlight Portuguese text, hit hotkey (Option + Esc) and it reads it back to you. You can also adjust the speed of the voice Even at normal speed, Soledad (Spanish voice) is too fast for me ;-) I use this for Duo and BBC Brasil and other foreign language sites and find it useful.

If you are using the system voice, it's a little more setup work but not hard. I'll watch this discussion and post instructions if anyone's interested.

March 7, 2015

Yup. I just started Portuguese, and... I have no idea how things are actually supposed to sound. That's a pretty sad voice. I'm definitely going to have to youtube or get some cds from the library for basic pronunciation.

March 5, 2015

Just check out some of the other comments; they have links to, where the pronunciation is from real people. And don't be surprised if it varies--even within Brazil there are many local pronunciations. (As is the case with French, English, Spanish, etc....)

March 7, 2015

I Have had the same issue with some words. Especially when the bot has to say a full sentence.

March 7, 2015

Thanks for your comments. Unfortunately there are no speech exercises with the use of microphone in Portuguese so far in my lessons. In other languages they are introduced quite early. I hope Duolingo corrects this soon.

March 7, 2015
Learn Portuguese in just 5 minutes a day. For free.