https://www.duolingo.com/Robbie.Clark

How can I pronounce the question mark?

I cannot seem to manage to get duolingo to believe that I'm pronouncing a spoken phrase as a question. When it's asking me to pronounce a phrase that is a question, the question mark is always red, which I assume means that the system is convinced that I didn't pronounce the phrase as a question. I always raise the pitch of my voice at the end of the sentence for questions; is there something else that I should be doing so that I am pronouncing it correctly?

May 30, 2015

5 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Apmahd

I find that question intonation in French is quite a bit "sharper" and more focused on the last syllable than in English (we tend to more gradually raise our tone through the end of the sentence). If there's a question word in the sentence (où, pourquoi, etc.), the intonation is much different, with the sharp rise falling on the question word at the beginning of the sentence then falling off.

Frankly though, I'm not entirely convinced that mastering natural pronunciation will necessarily earn you a green check mark on every microphone exercise. Voice recognition technology is notoriously flawed, as you might have noticed any time you've ever had to use an automated telephone system of any form. I'm pretty sure DL recognises this and that's why you don't lose points/hearts when you fail a speaking exercise. I'd recommend just viewing it as an excuse to get your tongue working and try not to worry much about the resulting "grade".

May 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Robbie.Clark

Thanks for the advice. I'm not terribly concerned about the "grade" so much as just mildly annoyed that I'm on level 7 and still have never managed to get the question mark to turn green in a spoken exercise. I've done sharper and looser tone shifts and even reversed the pitch change and can't seem to make the thing accept it. I actually just came across another spoken exercise that refused to let me pass at all -- << Quand boit-elle ? >> -- which makes me think that there may either be a problem with the way that my microphone works with the voice recognition system or they didn't quite manage to train the recognition system well enough to recognize certain phonemes and tones.

June 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Apmahd

It's definitely quite finicky. I've spent a fair amount of time in Quebec and tend to use something closer to a Canadian French accent than a European one. DL hates it. If i don't remember to put on my best Parisian accent, I have 0% chance of passing a speaking exercise.

June 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/longq

Hi Robbie, apparently this is a bug I thought I already fixed. It has noting to do with your pronunciation. I will resolve it very soon!

June 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Robbie.Clark

It worked wonderfully today while I was practicing the questions module. Thanks!

June 3, 2015
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