Improve your Pronunciation Skills

Improve your Pronunciation Skills
14 July 2015

Russian language is a true challenge to all non Slavic native speakers, as you probably already know. Its grammar is one of the most tough and “frightening” parts, so that’s why everybody deeply focuses into it from the beginning. Actually, to learn a language one have to achieve many skills, and a good grammar knowledge is just one of them.

I noticed myself that during the years I studied Russian, I mainly focused on the grammar, the lexicon and the speaking, but not on how I speak or read and how I am still influenced by my native language.

That’s the reason why I decided to dedicate more time to develop my pronunciation skills and sound more “Russian”. Therefore I looked for helpful videos on the internet, since for this task listening and watching is much more useful and less boring than reading tables and charts in a book. I went through a lot of videos that explain the basic rules and focus on the most difficult sounds of Russian and I would like to recommend you the one of Ruspod and the phonetic exercises on the same webpage.

I also found quite useful this video in which the young man speaks about pronunciation as a skill and the importance of the “speech position” and facial expressions when you speak a language. To be honest I found that man and the way he explained things a bit funny, but some of his advice really help me to work on my pronunciation. How to master Russian pronunciation?

Eventually to make the job more enjoyable and challenging I found out some Russian скороговорки (skorogoborki), tongue twisters, and practiced with the help of videos and native speakers. Russian Tongue Twisters.

Now try yourself! Watch videos, try to reproduce the sounds, the movements of the mouth and the facial expressions and why not, mock the Russian way of speaking, everything helps! And don’t forget that learning has to be also fun, so challenge yourself with tongues twisters and maybe at the end you will able to do like she does!

Here you can find the Russian скороговорки used in the video Russian Tongue Twisters:

  • Два щенка, щека к щеке, щиплют щётку в уголке. (Dva shchenka, shcheka k shcheke, Shchiplyut shchotku v ugolke. Two puppies check to check nibbling at the corner of the brush.)
  • Мама мыла Милу мылом, Мила мыло не любила. (Mama myla Milu mylom, Mila mylo ne lyubila. Mom washed Mila with the soap, Mila didn’t like the soap)
  • Четыре черненьких, чумазеньких чертенка Чертили черными чернилами чертеж. (Chetyre chernen’kikh, chumazen’kikh chertenka Chertili chernymi chernilami chertezh. Four little black imp drew a black ink drawing)
  • Кукушка кукушонку купила капюшон. В капюшоне кукушонок смешон. (Kukushka kukushonku kupila kapyushon. V kapyushone kukushonok smeshon. The cuckoo bought to cuckoo a hood. The hooded Cuckoo is ridiculous.)
  • От топота копыт пыль по полю летит. (Ot topota kopyt pyl’ po polyu letit, From the stamping of the hooves on the fields, the dust is flying)
  • Шла Саша по шоссе и сосала сушку. (Shla Sasha po shosse i sosala sushku. While Sasha was on the highway, she ate a pie)
  • На дворе трава, на траве дрова. (Na dvore trava, na trave drova. In the yard grass, on the grass firewood)
  • Три́ста три́дцать три корабля́ лави́ровали, лавировали, да и не вы́лавировали. (Trísta trídtsat’ tri korablyá lavírovali, lavirovali, da i ne výлавировали. Three-hundred thirty three ships maneuvered, maneuvered but didn’t manage)
  • Ехал Грека через реку, видит Грека – в реке рак. Сунул Грека руку в реку, рак за руку Грека – цап! (Yekhal Greka cherez reku, vidit Greka – v reke rak. Sunul Greka ruku v reku, rak za ruku Greka — tsap! A Greek was going across the river, he saw a crab in the river. The Greek put the hand in the river, the crab bit the Greek’s hand- tsap!)
  • Сшит колпак, да не по-колпаковски; Вылит колокол, да не по-колоколовски. Надо колпак переколпаковать, перевыколпаковать; Надо колокол переколоколовать, перевыколоколовать. (Sshit kolpak, da ne po-kolpakovski; Vylit kolokol, da ne po-kolokolovski. Nado kolpak perekolpakovat’, perevykolpakovat’; Nado kolokol perekolokolovat’, perevykolokolovat’. Stitched a hood but not in a hood shape. It looks like a bell but but it’s not bell-shaped. The hood needs to be remade. The bell needs to be remade.)


Photo by Любослов Езыкин /CC BY

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