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The first two skills of each tree on Duolingo (Basics1 and Basics2) have a "slow" TTS (text to speech), in order to help beginners to have a better understanding of what is said.
This is true for all users.
In the next skills, the TTS is "normal" by default, but you can click on the "slower" button if you want.
The liaison should be there, though, in particular with a verbal group and a pronoun:
take a look at this page about required liaisons (+ related pages on optional/forbidden liaisons) http://french.about.com/library/pronunciation/bl-liaisons-r.htm
You mean the "s" from "hommes"? you don't need to hear it, you know "hommes" is plural because it's pronounced "layZom", you hear a "Z", you know it's "les" and not "l' " as in "LOMM" (=l'homme). When there is no liaison, you still know it's plural, because you hear the plural article; " " Le chat (the cat) is different from Les chats (the cats), even if the "s" from "chats" is mute and you hear "chat" and "chats" the same, I hear "les" different from "le"! In English you use the hearing of the "s" of "catS" to make the distinction between "the CAT" and "the CATS" and in French you use the article to make the distinction between "LE chat" and "LES chats". It's exactly the same in French and in English, except in French you make the distinction by hearing the article, and in English, you make the distinction by hearing the noun.