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Russian language: no more bullshit
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theArbiter Offline
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RE: Russian language: no more bullshit
(06-07-2013 11:01 AM)Roosh Wrote:  A growing problem I have is my pronunciation. I'm saying the Russian words and people don't understand about 33% of the time, or they ask me to repeat. It was time to get some instructors to help me, so I went to Italki and now have two teachers. One costs $10/hour and the other is $8/hour. They complement each other because one forces me to do a lot of speaking while the other is heavy on grammar. The lessons are done on skype, and are comparable to what you would get at a language school.=

Russian pronunciation is not difficult.

Now, disclaimer: I took a bit over a year of Russian about 4 years ago, but I've left it to pursue/perfect other languages. Thus, my vocabulary pretty much has vanished. Sometimes when I'm bored, however, I open my Russian textbook and mess around with exercises and vocabulary. Even though I've forgotten a lot, my sojourn in Russian still carries benefits today, mainly, in that Russian grammar does not scare me. In fact, it makes me think that Russian is a freaking fun and rich language, so I do regret that I can't revive it at this point in time. Anyhow, I put this here since I understand some people might not want to follow advice from someone who hasn't completely conquered the language (though I do have a lot of experience with other languages).

IMO, the two keys to Russian pronunciation:
1. STRESS. Take special care on this. Unfortunately, the stress is unpredictable and sometimes even mobile, but make sure you take care to learn the stress well and practice them inside sentences so you stress properly the words not only in isolation, but in real speech.

Also, a corollary to this is make sure you understand how to reduce the а/я/о sounds when they are not stressed. IMO, this is another key characteristic to the "Russian sound".

2. PALATALIZATION. This is key! Besides stress, it is this phonological phenomenon which makes Russian so distinctive. Ask yourself, can you pronounce мат and мать distinctly and correctly? Can you identify whether a consonant is soft or hard according to which vowel follows in the event there is no soft sign? If not, read up on it (I could explain if someone really wants to, but it's not a difficult concept, so there are a lot of resources out there that explain it sufficiently).

Now, here's the key with palatalization. It is really easy and FUN to pronounce once you know the key.

A hard consonant is typical in most languages, so you should know how to pronounce it.

For a soft consonant, the key is that you want the middle of your tongue to touch the roof of your mouth in the soft palette. A corollary to this is that you want the tip of your tongue to touch your bottom teeth. This should be really easy to do with all the consonants that can be soft (an exception is р, but I wouldn't lose sleep over this).

Try saying "nyet" like a typical English speaker (middle of the tongue not touching the roof of your mouth). Then, prep your tongue in the aforementioned position and pronounce нет. In fact, do it real slowly. Your tongue should noticeably glide. It's a very very distinct feeling. If you do it correctly, you should feel very Russian. After figuring this out (after having teachers not explaining this clearly), pronouncing Russian words suddenly became so freaking fun to me.

Practice saying the ть at the end of the Russian infinitives correctly. The difference should be clear between the infinitives and the third person singular conjugation.


I don't know if people here are familiar with Anki/SRS flashcards. If not, consider using them.

If you've been studying Russian for a reasonable amount of time now, then SRS flashcards are a great idea. In fact, you should be using frequency lists to learn vocabulary (I don't recommend starting off with these, but after a beginner stage, you'd be missing out on a lot if you don't use these.

Here's a good list:
http://www.amazon.com/Russian-Learners-D...415137926/ (no affiliate link)

Since it's so expensive, I would recommend you find such a source elsewhere, such as a library or whatever legal means Angel. They are there. If not, the Amazon preview has basically most of the list up online, so use that.

Also, http://www.masterrussian.com is a great reference with a frequency list of their own and plenty of example sentences to tickle your fancy, so bookmark that.
(This post was last modified: 06-10-2013 09:40 PM by theArbiter.)
06-10-2013 09:32 PM
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Messages In This Thread
Russian language: no more bullshit - Roosh - 04-14-2013, 06:51 PM
RE: Russian language: no more bullshit - theArbiter - 06-10-2013 09:32 PM

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