https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jim606185

First Impressions on Russian

Maybe I'm trying too hard, but getting the pronunciation down pat seems difficult. There seems to be more subtlety in Russian sounds, and even with words like здравствуйте, I try to imitate what I hear, but there seem to be too many letters that I'm not pronouncing. Getting that initial z sound for an English speaker takes some practice. It reminds me of the problems I had with the initial mb in Kiswahili. There is a temptation to add an vowel first and say izdyes' (or embwa instead of mbwa in Kiswahili.)

I have a feeling that a native Russian speaker would notice the subtle difference in pronunciation that an English speaker would not.

Getting the stresses right and the different vowel sound is a challenge too. Words like в всё ты and вы are tough and I really had to slow them down to work out what oral gymnastics exercises I needed to perform in order to achieve the right sounds.

The Russian В seems to come out somewhere between a V and a W in some cases.

Based on my experience with Kiswahili, I think the light at the end of the tunnel will come, but then I'll have to get used to the cases etc. At least in Russian the grammatical extensions occur at the end of a word which helps a lot with comprehension. (With Kiswahili, all the grammatical action is at the beginning of a word.)

December 16, 2018

16 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/diecidieci

I feel you. I'm still horrible at pronouncing Russian myself and I have given up on perfecting it; I don't care as long as I can get my point across. My Russian friend told me that I sounded "like an old grandpa" when I was practicing a conversation about recharging my metro card with her --- but I still managed to get my metro card recharged when I put that practice to use, and that’s all that really matters to me.

But practice makes perfect! I recommend using different audio resources, like Memrise's Duolingo Russian course to help you notice the subtle sounds since Duolingo's audio isn't always of the best possible quality...

December 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Aidan424456

Which raises a perfectly valid point : hearing. I got issued with hearing aids when I was 50, but from my experience with my ears, I probably needed them from the age of about 3 (when I had an illness with a fair incidence of hearing complications). But I learned a lot of French (currently revising, via Duo), Spanish (later) and Russian before ever being given the results of a hearing test. People designing courses have to accommodate less-than-perfect hearing, because many people do not ever know how good (or poor) their hearing is.

December 17, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/saulk789

i am the worst at russin :(

December 17, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Aidan424456

Russian pronunciation is perplexing, I agree. And I've got a Russian wife to help me! But there is enough variation in pronunciation between people, to my ears, that you can get close enough to "ideal" (whatever that is) to achieve communication.

Kiswahii and Russian - a rare combination. Which I share since I was working in Tanzania when I was courting the wife.

December 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/laaana11

If you think about it, nearly everyone who learns a new language has an accent when not speaking their native tongue, so it is not a huge issue too worry about. As you practice more and grow more accustomed to the new language you will become better with pronunciation and have less of an accent.

December 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WendelineM

I disagree to an extent. An accent is inevitable, but if you don't learn the basic pronunciation of a language from the start, your mistakes will persist.

December 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/laaana11

Yeah, I know what you mean. I just meant that the pronunciation of someone speaking any foreign or new language will be different from that of a native speaker, but like with new English speakers with thick accents, they will get better as they learn and practice.

December 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WendelineM

Your first link helped me improve my pronunciation again a little bit by telling me where to put the tip of my tongue when saying an л :) It really makes a difference also to other words. They get contaminated with the tongue position :)

December 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/_Kirari_

здравствуйте and пожалуйста (please) are two exceptions, you don't pronounce certain letters. I wish you the best of luck and motivation with this

December 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SagePtr

Also, in speech they can be shortened, for example, "драсте". Or "пасиб" instead of "спасибо". (Not in writing, only in pronunciation)

December 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WendelineM

"The Russian в seems to come out somewhere between a V and a W in some cases.": I'm not a Russian native speaker nor am I a teacher, but maybe I can help you out a little bit with the pronunciation of the russian в. First of all the в is never pronounced as the English bilabial W. It is always labiodental. The teeth of your top jaw should touch your lower lip. Wether it's pronounced as a voiced labiodental fricative (the English V) or a voiceless labiodental fricative (the English F) depends on the place of the в in the word or even the sentence (в as the preposition in). When the following consonant is voiceless the в is voiceless (в саду, всяко), when the following consonant is voiced the в is voiced as well (влюбить) when the в stands alone (followed by a vowel) it is free like the English W, though not formed by using both lips, but by using the top jaw teeth and the lower lip. This is called a Labiodental approximant.

December 17, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jim606185

Thank you. That was very helpful. The person who told me that В was sometimes sounded as W came from the Crimea, and spoke Russian as a first language. It must be a local variant.

December 17, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/A.Igor

Actually we don't have w sound but some people speak this way if russian is not their mother tongue. For example chechens pronounce в like w but russians pronounce it more like v but a little bit softer and in endings it can be changed to the sound more like f. Check these articles http://saundz.com/challenging-english-sounds-for-russians/ aтв https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_phonology

December 18, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WendelineM

I enjoyed your first link :)

December 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/A.Igor

Haha, yes! I haven’t detektere thai it’s vice versa ))) well, when I pronounce в My underlip touches upper teeth and the tongue is just flat. It sounds a little softer than English v but they are almost he same

December 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dmitry_Gid

You may just relax, there are the whole regions of Russia talking with horrible accents, don't try to be perfect.

December 18, 2018
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