Aug 9, 2009, 2:20:59 PM8/9/09
to Huliganov and friends
Hello, this is my first post so I hope it is helpful.
Inspired by Viktor's vid on rrrrrolled arrrrrrr's I started wondering
about how english letters and letter groups are pronounced. Noticing
that Viktor himself has an extremely good grasp of english, even he
mispronounced a couple of sounds, presumably because there is no
russian counterpart for certain sounds. So I continued to think about
how I would teach my own language should I ever build up enough
proficiancy in other language to do what Viktor is doing. And I think
I did it! So, to you Viktor, I thank you for the skills and
understanding you are giving me in Russian and I return the favour in
the small way that I can. This would be helpful, I hope, to any
Russian learning english and could be useful to anyone hoping to teach
english in Russia.
The three main sounds that I always hear mispronouced by Russians are:
W and because of this also Qu
Without the aide of a vid I will try and explain how they are formed.
R - As explained in Viktor's vid, as above, R's are rolled in many
languages. However not in english, with one exception. When R follows
Th, but even in this case the roll is minor.
Th - A sound common in Spain and english speaking countries. The
easiest way to explain how the sound is formed is with the sound Sss
and Zzz. When making these sounds (which are common in Russian) you
will notice a vibration in the teeth. If you put your tongue between
your teeth and VERY GENTLY touch your tongue with your teeth (If you
touch too hard and you lose the vibration and that's not good) then
make a Sss sound and then a Zzz sound. These are both forms (soft and
hard, respectively) of the Th sound.
Examples (instead of using Th I will put Sss and Zzz in square
brackets to show which are hard and which are soft, just remember to
put your tongue in way of the vibration)
[Zzz]e ----- The
[Zzz]is ---- This
[Zzz]at ---- That
[Sss]ee --- Thee
[Sss]Rrow --Throw (rolled R)
W (helpful for Qu) - probably the hardest to explain but I will try
anyway. W is always being pronounced V but it isn't the right sound at
all and very noticable to an english speaker. The one sound that is
immediately recognisable as eastern european and Russian. W is more
like Ooo and O than V... yes, it's that noticable! It is called double
U and is pronounced as such. However, this is where is gets
The sound it makes is more of a bridge between vowels. For example
this sound exercise produces the Y sound...
(In Russian the Eeeee sound is a long и sound)
The dashes -- is where you find the "Y" or "й"
So to find the W sound you just do the same exercise but with
(In Russian the Oooooo sound is a long у sound)
Here the dashes -- make a W sound.
If you practice the exercise enough you can begin to remove the
surrounding vowels from the exercise and just say W!
However, if the W is in not at the beginning of the word it can
sometimes just be pronounced Ooo or O and is sometimes not even
pronounced at all, which makes it easier : )
Two is pronounced --- TOoo
Throw is pronounced --- [Sss]RrO (A good word to practice with!)
Wriggle is pronounced -- RIGgul (No rolling) Here "gul" is pronounced
exactly the same way as the first part of the Russian for light blue!
Qu letter combination is simply KW, so if you can pronounce W it makes
Some practice words: (I will describe the W sound as [--] like the
exercise was written.
Work [--]er K
Waste [--]ay st
Wipe [--] iy P
Twine T [--] iy N
Hollow H O LO (No gluteral sound on H, H sounds like someone
Asthma ASS ma
So, what do you think? Does it help? Will it help? Is there anything
As before, thanks so much for you help and support Viktor!! You'll
make a good Russian of me yet : D