How to Speak English - Pronunciation for Russian Speakers


Hi, there. Welcome back to EngVid. Today, we're doing a pronunciation lesson. It's particularly

designed for Russian speakers who -- I had some experience of working in a language school

this summer, and there were mistakes that I noticed from some of the Russian-speaking

folks. But it's also a lesson to really drill pronunciation for speakers of first languages

-- if it's Spanish, French, German -- whatever your first language is, it will be a useful

lesson for you. So do stay tuned, and let's work on crystal clear, crisp pronunciation

for all of you.

Okay. We're just going to be looking mainly at consonant noises, sounds, today. And then,

a little bit on how we use our pitch to suggest that what we are saying is a question. Is

that right? Yes, it is.

So first of all, the difference between T and D. T, T, T, T. Okay? I'm flicking my tongue

along the roof of my mouth. T, T -- okay? But when I do D, D, D, I'm making more of

a sound. D, D, D. Okay. T, T, T -- it's kind of without the force of my breath. But when

I do D, D, D, I put more weight behind it -- D. Okay?

So we're going to do this side, and then this side. Please repeat after me. Ten, den. Ten,

den. Try, dry. Latter, ladder. Whiter, wider. Bent, bend. Mate, made.

Good. So you all know the meanings of this. Obviously, the number ten. "Den" is like an

outdoor little house. "Try" -- put in effort. "Dry" -- the opposite of "wet". "Latter",

as in "the last". "Ladder" to climb up. "Whiter" teeth than you. "Wider" than him. "Bent" -- "bend",

the process, the verb of bending. "Mate" -- my friend. "Made" in Chelsea." Okay? Where something

is produced.

Now, we're looking particularly at the dark L, the stronger L, L, L. So it's a sound that

I make quite back in my mouth. L, L. Again, the tongue is kind of doing that, but it's

back in my mouth -- L. Whereas R, R, R, it's further forward, further forward. L, L, R,

R. See what my mouth is doing? R, okay? R, R. It's kind of opening and coming down -- R.

Let's practice here. Load, road. Load, road. Lice, rice. Liver, river. Fly, fry, fry. This

is a difficult one because you've got the F followed by the R -- F, R, F, F, F, F, F.

So I'm using my bottom lip down here -- F -- flicking it up to the stop lip. F -- rye.

Fry, fry. Belly, berry. Belly, berry. Okay. So that dark L and the R.

I also noticed some difficulty with the nasal -- the nose sound NG. Okay? When I do that

NG sound, I should feel vibration here in my nose. NG. Have a go at home. NG. Okay,

focus that noise out here through your nose. And let's go for "sing". Okay? Feel the vibration

in your nose. Ring, bring, fling, thing. Again, let's check the meaning. "Sing", obviously

"sing" a song. "Ring" on my finger. "Bring" me a cake. "Fling" a pen; throw -- also means

"romance", a fling. And "thing" is an object. Okay?

Now, we're on to TH. Oh, just having a bit of a malfunction of the old wardrobe. Don't

worry; my trousers aren't falling down. We're okay. We're okay. Now, obviously, there's

no TH sound in the Russian alphabet, so it's going to be particularly difficult for Russians.

TH, TH. So my lip is going to my upper jaw and to the front teeth. They, they. Okay.

Make sure your tongue comes right forward to the tip of your teeth. They, they. And

it just nestles under there under your teeth. They. They, dey. They, dey. There, dare. Thy,

die. Then, den. Southern, sudden. Okay. Let's do it one more time. They, dey -- misspelling.

Dey -- that sounds like a kind of Jamaican phrase. "Dey people over there, man. Dey [inaudible]."

Okay. But I actually mean "day" with an A. Okay? There, dare. Thy, die. Then, den. Southern,

sudden. "Sudden" meaning "quick"; it happens fast.

This, I think, is probably the biggest mistake that Russian speakers would make, the confusion

between W and V. W, V -- vibration here in the lips -- V -- and release -- V -- release.

West, vest. Went, vent. Wire, via. This is a really confusing one, wire and via. Also,

for German speakers, this is relevant. Wary, vary. Wiper, viper. Okay? W and V -- feel

the vibration here. W -- okay, watch what I'm doing -- W.

Now, with my questions, the tendency if you are perhaps a Russian speaker, is to ask in

a question, "Do you like me? Did you like me?" Okay. So it's going down. Whereas we

need to go up when we ask a question. "Would you like to be my friend?" Okay? So it leaves

you a bit vulnerable. It's like, [sigh] "See me". You have to put the emphasis up at the

end. So, "Would you like to do my quiz at the end of the lesson? Yeah?" I have to go

up. Not all the time, but it -- just don't go down. Don't drop it down. Lift it. Make

it a question. And with our tone, particularly for sort of hard people for eastern Europe

and Russia, remember that we're a polite nation here in Britain. And we like to say things

politely. So imagine -- another little phrasal verb -- that you are "stepping on eggshells".

You know, eggshells, they're quite fragile. Us British people, we're a little bit fragile.

So just pretend that, you know, that we might easily collapse. Okay.

So that is my little lesson on pronunciation particularly for Russian speakers. The difference

between T and D, L and R, NG -- through the nose, TH -- my tongue is touching the bottom

of those teeth, D, W, V. I mean, these are all things that you have to practice. You're

not just going to go, "Oh, yeah. That's how I do it." And then you walk out, and you can

do it for the next eight years. You do have to practice, become conscious of the sound

you need to make and the sound you are making. And keep thinking, "Am I making the right

sound?" Okay? You need to keep on paying attention, being conscious of it. Yeah? Conscious. Okay.

Questions can go up. Tone, nice and gentle.

Thank you very much for watching. Do check out the quiz on And would

you like to be my subscriber? If so, you're very welcome. See you next time. Bye.