It's an important distinction because the conjugation for conditionals (eg. would you like) is different than conjugation for simple present-tense questions (ie. do you want). In English the only difference is the word you put before it. In Spanish it's a different tense entirely... you could use them both, neither is more polite or correct than the other, but they simply don't translate the same.
Can I use 'zumo' in place of 'jugo' and be understood everywhere? Or are they very distinctly castilian vs latin american?
We do not know the context of the question. The person could be gathering requests for a shopping list. Lemon juice is sold for use in recipes and to make lemonade. The person could be in a kitchen assisting another cook. Maybe they see lemons on the counter and assume they need to be juiced.
I translated this as a declarative sentence, "You want lemon juice" and that too is accepted by the program. I didn't quite hear the normal intonation in the voice for it to clearly be a question. (My hearing is not so good, and of course, I'm not yet tuned to the Spanish voice.) Is there anything I'm missing on this?
@gjmontll - re: declarative or question
I think you've raised a number of good points on several different fronts.
The first point is the fact that you entered your answer with the intent of it being a statement as opposed to a question.
My understanding is that word order does not play as significant a role in Spanish as it does in English. This creates a situation where the words and their order can be the same for a question and a statement. The punctuation would establish the difference. BUT you don't have to include any punctuation in Dou (I never do as it would take me even longer to input my answer.) So in that case you got away with a freebie. :)
The other issue that I think you bring to light here is the one involving the quality of Duo's audio playback voice.
There seems to be a schism in the Duo community regarding this issue. My gut feeling based on my limited knowledge of psychology and linguistics coupled with my highly empirical and non-scientific observations is that the people who are more familiar with Spanish don't seem to mind the playback voice and find it accurate enough as to not be over critical about it.
A significant plurality of the folks who are just learning Spanish describe the playback voice with terms such as "crappy", "robot" and "synthesized".
I believe that the first group doesn't complain about the audio playback voice because they can anticipate what they are about to hear. They know what they should hear and their brains make what they expect to hear into what they hear.
This phenomenon is also at work for the Spanish learner with a different native language. But in this case the brain makes a real mess of things. Because in this case, the person's brain tries to force what the person's ears are actually hearing into the native sound system that the person's brain is accustomed to hearing.
In my family, the native sound systems are Japanese, Chinese, German and Spanish. So I get to witness this phenomenon first hand quite a bit.
In the specific case of this exercise sentence we have a question which ends on a word where the stress has been shifted from its typical position. Spanish favors placing the stress on the penultimate (next to last) syllable. (Which I personally feel is what in large part gives the language its character.)
But as we can see from the accent mark over the letter "o", the accent has shifted to the last syllable not only of the word, but the last syllable of the sentence as well.
I believe that I read this on Wikipedia. Stress in Spanish is achieved by an increase in loudness of a syllable. Now this is where I get a bit fuzzy. Inflection. I haven't looked into Spanish inflection. I "think" I hear one. I hear a stress and inflection on the last syllable of this question. But it could be an artifact of a crappy synthetic robot voice.
It would be really nice to know;
How is Duo's playback voice actually generated?
How accurate is it considered to be by native speakers who are actually listening critically?
How is inflection treated in Spanish?
I hope we can get some replies to these question as well from our Duo friends. :)
Thanks for your input on this. Certainly, synthesized speech is a less than ideal learning tool as far as its "correctness". I am a retired computer science engineer (but not in this speech area), and I recognize that it is a very challenging task to implement computerized speech. Here, at least we have one more-or-less consistent voice, and over the past five months I have become much better at understanding "her." Additionally, I can use good headphones, slow her down, and get replays. All these help overcome her imperfect speech and my somewhat impaired hearing. Here in San Diego County, California, we have plenty of Spanish speaking TV and radio stations, and my city is about half Hispanic. So there is no shortage of real-world practice material. It's just that 1) I don't have to answer questions about their content, 2) I can't slow it down(!!), and 3) I can't get them to endless try again.
Why can't I just say "Quieres jugo limon?" or "Quieres limon jugo?" both of which would also mean "Do you want lemon juice?"
"Jugo de limon" actually means "juice of the lemon" which could mean that lemon owns the juice. Just like "perro del nino" means "the boy's dog" which means that the boy owns the dog.