Duolingo Arabic is now in beta

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Deinonysus
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Duolingo Arabic is now in beta

Postby Deinonysus » Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:57 pm

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Re: Duolingo Arabic is now in beta

Postby badger » Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:55 pm

thanks - I've just done the first few lessons. :)

I registered my interest in this course a while back - I wonder why I didn't get a notification. :roll:
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Re: Duolingo Arabic is now in beta

Postby Saim » Wed Jun 26, 2019 5:32 pm

Based on this Reddit post it seems the TTS is completely off as it doesn't differentiate word forms that are spelled the same but pronounced differently. That's quite a big oversight as you'll be internalising completely incorrect grammar at the level of "she eat" instead of "she eats" or "I are" instead of "I am".

I'm not sure if there's any Arabic TTS that doesn't make these mistakes, in my experience they all have trouble getting the correct word forms. If not I doubt they'll fix it.
Last edited by Saim on Wed Jun 26, 2019 9:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Duolingo Arabic is now in beta

Postby Deinonysus » Wed Jun 26, 2019 6:04 pm

Saim wrote:Based on this Reddit post it seems the TTS is completely off as it doesn't differentiate word forms that are spelled the same but pronounced differently. That's quite a big oversight as you'll be internalising completely incorrect grammar at the level of "she eat" instead of "she eats" or "I are" instead of "I am".

I'm not sure if there's any Arabic TTS that doesn't make these mistakes, in my experience they all have trouble getting the correct word forms. If not I doubt they'll fix it.

That's a shame. Hebrew deals with this by having voice recordings instead of Text-To-Speech. The downside is that there is a lot of Hebrew text with no voice recordings and they don't provide any transliterations so you need to use a separate dictionary to find out what the vowels are.
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Re: Duolingo Arabic is now in beta

Postby lavengro » Wed Jun 26, 2019 9:05 pm

Saim wrote:Based on this Reddit post it seems the TTS is completely off as it doesn't differentiate word forms that are spelled the same but pronounced differently. That's quite a big oversight as you'll be internalising completely incorrect grammar at the level of "she eat" instead of "she eats" or "I are" instead of "I am".

I'm not sure if there's any Arabic TTS that doesn't make these mistakes, in my experience they all have trouble getting the correct word forms. If not I doubt they'll fix it.


Hi Saim,

I wonder whether you may have intended to link to a different reddit post? This one, at least to this point, does not seem to support what you say above and unless I have missed it which I may have, does not address differentiation failures or TTS issues. I see two posters complaining that one particular sound is off ("Is the "wa" audio correct? It doesn't sound like speech, is this just an issue with my device/app? All the other audios sounded normal") but otherwise, the majority of the comments seem to deal with the MSA v. dialects issue or otherwise spin off into an odd discussion about Shakespearean English or other odd comments.

There are comments in the thread relating to this not being an effective approach to teaching written Arabic. I am a big fan of Duolingo, but based on my tinkering at Duolingo Korean and Japanese in the past, I don't think Duolingo is one's best introduction to different alphabets or syllabaries.

Having said that, this is only the beta version and I expect it would benefit from feedback like yours.
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Re: Duolingo Arabic is now in beta

Postby Saim » Wed Jun 26, 2019 9:45 pm

lavengro wrote:
Saim wrote:Based on this Reddit post it seems the TTS is completely off as it doesn't differentiate word forms that are spelled the same but pronounced differently. That's quite a big oversight as you'll be internalising completely incorrect grammar at the level of "she eat" instead of "she eats" or "I are" instead of "I am".

I'm not sure if there's any Arabic TTS that doesn't make these mistakes, in my experience they all have trouble getting the correct word forms. If not I doubt they'll fix it.


Hi Saim,

I wonder whether you may have intended to link to a different reddit post? This one, at least to this point, does not seem to support what you say above and unless I have missed it which I may have, does not address differentiation failures or TTS issues. I see two posters complaining that one particular sound is off ("Is the "wa" audio correct? It doesn't sound like speech, is this just an issue with my device/app? All the other audios sounded normal") but otherwise, the majority of the comments seem to deal with the MSA v. dialects issue or otherwise spin off into an odd discussion about Shakespearean English or other odd comments.


Oops, you're right, wrong thread! Thanks for catching that!

This was what I meant to link to:

https://www.reddit.com/r/duolingo/comme ... r_english/

I've fixed the link in my original post too.

There are comments in the thread relating to this not being an effective approach to teaching written Arabic. I am a big fan of Duolingo, but based on my tinkering at Duolingo Korean and Japanese in the past, I don't think Duolingo is one's best introduction to different alphabets or syllabaries.

Having said that, this is only the beta version and I expect it would benefit from feedback like yours.


Based on Duolingo's past behaviour I think they might correct it if they can find better TTS or somehow feed the TTS the correct vowels (maybe there is one that can read harikat?), but if the solution means actually paying someone to say the lines it's not happening. As far as I can tell most of the recent courses have been rushed afterthoughts designed more for keeping people talking about Duolingo and keeping a wider userbase than providing any serious content.

Call me pessimistic, I guess.
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