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Microphone being too generous?

Has anyone else noticed this? Sometimes I can say completely different things than what Duolingo wants me to say, and it will count me correct. I'm just wondering if anyone else thinks the microphone is being too forgiving.

September 29, 2013



I do not use the microphone in duolingo anymore, since it counted correct Auf Wiederschnitzel instead of Auf Wiedersehen (I was testing out duoling, and it failed :D) I found the best way to practice pronunciation is to talk with other people in the language you´re learning.


duolingo is quite forward-thinking. people should say Auf Wiederschnitzel more often.


It passed once with my wife talking in the background and my cat meowing.

We call that Meowspanol.


I suggest repeating every phrase you are tested on, because it is good practice to do so.


To be honest, the microphone exercises aren't worth using due to the problem that you pointed out. I just keep them off. I hope they improve one day though.


Sometimes it does that too for me. But other times, I can't pass the question because it says I didn't say it correctly. Even though I sounded just like the recording, it marks it as wrong...


It asked me to say something in Spanish and I accidentally translated it and said it in English. It accepted it, and I thought maybe it would accept either. Now that I've read this,... maybe I'm giving duolingo too much credit.


I've done that with German. My guess it sort of counts the syllables. I think it is a good way to introduce idioms and other constructs where the beginner would have little chance of translating it. (Now that the translation is not given, that is less useful. However usually the translations can be found with the comments.


Yep. Once I was taking to my baby brother (in Polish!) and didn't notice I'm recording - and it counted as correct! That happens when the record button actually WORKS. Most of the time, it does not.


SHIFFL! (slams head into floor from laughter)


Wow. I'm totally shiffling right now.


:D I like making up stuff instead of just saying the same old "lol".


Maybe try lel every now and then? [Laughing extremely loud] haha


Yeah, I will. Until then, "everyday i'm shiffling" :D




Definitely agreed. When I started with DL and French (for he first time in my life) I was like - wooow...I must be really good and my french pronunciation must be really great (it was like 95% success) - but then i realised that mic is waaay to much benevolent when it comes to incorrect speaking. I found out when I tried Rosetta Stone and was thunderstruck when 60-70% of my speaking was unrecognised and marked as incorrect. Then I tried to use this "like Siri" dictation function on my Mac (changed language to French) and only confirmed that my "great" speaking isn't so great after all :)

DL do you plan on improving this? Speaking is definitely important to all of us when learning new language and without native speakers around us is really hard to realise that your speaking sucks.


Voice recognition is really tricky, even with good microphone, a native speaker and with a large sample of the user's voice.

I think the choice of going toward being more tolerant is reasonable as you do not want to alienate your beginner speakers(like me) and it still pushes you to try to speak a little if you do not practice with every sentences. It is also possible to replay your voice and see how it compares (thought the result can be frightening...).

That said, improvements in the voice recognition would be great, especially now, with the translate and speak feature, it is quite obvious when Duolingo is tolerant, which I am generally reporting.


I feel the opposite way to you. I do the microphone excerises via my the app on my phone. It annoys me beacuse 9 times out of 10 it will say that it is not correct. Even though i'm pretty certain it is correct. I will then get frustrated, say some gibberish with only minimal resemblance to the question and it will say that it is correct.

I love the idea but i find it way too frustrating and annoying. It was a cool update at the beginning, it now just irritates me, when ever one of those questions pop up.


Try imitating the rhythm of the speaker. I think that they are looking for this more than anything else. I've found that they're extremely forgiving if you hit the same beats.


Yeah I think you are right. Also, you are really good at languages! I've never seen anyone on here with skill levels that high!


That's nice of you to say, but I make a lot of mistakes. This site is helping me smooth out my skills. There are definitely some people with more points than I have!


Really? You have the most points I ever saw!


AS2539 and BCEagle are above me on my own leaderboard, but I think there's also Donfollow and a few more


You can turn it off.


Yeah, I'm just trying to get past my German lessens right now to get to where I actually learn (I took German 1 in high school) and I might completely screw up and forget half the sentence, and it will still be correct.


I haven't been asked to do the microphone - is there a setting for that? I am doing Spanish. I would like to try it


I noticed that when I was for the first time learning French the microphone system was faulty. But with time the tolerance decreases.


Does anyone knows if the people running Duolingo are planning on improving the microphone?


I sometimes test my pronunciation on my phone translation apps, google translate, and iTranslate Voice. If the app can get what I am trying to say, even word by word, then I am happy.

Each of these apps seems to have it's own strengths, but I do not know which of their Spanish options best fits the version we learn here. (Google translate has: Argentina, Latin America, Mexico and Spain options, while iTranslate has Spain, Mexico, and United States.) Any thoughts?


agreed. this is the only thing keeping duo lingo from being nigh perfect.


I, too, have turned off the microphone. It was making it too easy to pass a lesson and move on when I probably shouldn't have.


yeah..i agree..happened to me...even though im saying a totally wrong sentence it still considered me correct! its like WTF MAN?! hahahaha..that's why i dont usually use it anymore, just when im lazy to type:)


I wish I had your microphone! Sometimes no matter how carefully I pronounce, it tells me it can't understand me.


I noticed that, and thought it was by design - better to just make the person practice than look for the perfect pronunciation, I guess? I just use to practice, because otherwise I would never speak french...


I find it inconsistent. Sometimes I know I mis-said something slightly and/or there are background noises, and it still gives me an OK, On a few phrases I'm sure I've said it syllable-perfect but it repeatedly tells me it's no good. Mostly it's good, but sometimes it's frustrating.


I agree that it's a bit too generous - but i still use it as it's still worth the practice parroting what duo says. That's how children learn, after all.


happend to me too


I don't even use it, partly because it hasn't existed for Italian the majority of the time I've been here, but also because I just don't think I'd find it useful.


I don't use the microphone.... everyone can hear me :P I do agree it's a little too easy to get away with wrong pronunciations though. You should inform the staff about this.


That's what I'm trying to do.


Yes, I know. But, it is still good for me to attempt the pronunciation. It is difficult for me to get the accent correct when I am reading words, so even if I pass, when I really shouldn't, I find it beneficial.


i copy everything the woman says or asks aloud (not doing the microphone questions)..... and I am attempting to chat to other speakers of, in my case, french

Duolingo rocks though!


I said enderman and it said i was correct the word was no where near enderman


The microphone marks everything I say as correct, even if I say things that are completely wrong. It doesn't ever let me listen back to what I've said, which is what I assume the play button is supposed to do. What's up with that? I know I can turn it off, but I do find that when I'm not making fun of the feature it does motivate me to say the sentences out loud with my best accent, regardless. It's like an 'A For Effort' system.


My guess is that Duolingo has developed a sense of humor.


I just got points for microphone even with the microphone not plugged in lol I wanna practice for real, could you please fix this? you can say complete nonsense and still get the point.


There are still problems four years later. Sometimes I get an OK after having said only half the sentence. Sometimes I get wrong without really understanding why.


This happens to me in Chrome (on a PC), but not in my app on an Android tablet. In Chrome, it'll count me as "correct!" even before I've finished speaking. On the tablet, some words it never recognizes me speaking. (On my phone, it always think the mic is turned off -- it's not.)


I have stopped using Duolingo as a new user as it is pointless as the performance of the recording is terrible sometimes it is correct more often than not it shows errors and my wife who is pitch perfect in French gets the same results and it is not my sound or mic system as it works ok in other apps so Duolingo is like using a broken app that is so disappointing. They should do a sound test or some basic stuff or own up to a lousy app BUT if I use my iPad instead of MacBook it is ok?


Sometimes it's the opposite of forgiving. I say it perfectly, but because I have background noise, It says that I got it wrong. It is also picky about rolling your 'r's which I know not everyone can do.

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