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10 Pronunciation Mistakes Russian Speakers Make

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In this video, you’ll learn what the 10 most common pronunciation mistakes are for Russian speakers, how to pronounce the sounds correctly, and how to practice your American accent effectively.

Pronunciation mistakes happen when a sound in the target language, in this case, English, doesn’t exist in the speaker’s native tongue (Russian). When this happens, speakers tend to pronounce a different (but somewhat similar) sound that does exist in their language.
Or Slightly mispronounce the sound in English, not knowing what exactly they need to do to pronounce it accurately.

Scroll down to read about each mistake and to download the FREE English Pronunciation guide for Russian Speakers.

Get a head start and download the English Pronunciation guide for Russian speakers

A FREE guide with the 10 most common pronunciation mistakes explained, tips to improve, examples and additional practice resources!

 

Mistake #1: Mispronouncing the /æ/ as in ‘cat’

The /a/ as in ‘cat’ is a front open vowel sound and since it doesn’t exist in Russian, it’s usually substituted with the /eh/ as in ‘red’. This substitution happens when you don’t open your mouth enough and keep the tongue arch high in the mouth.

To learn how to improve and practice the a as in ‘cat’ download the FREE pronunciation guide for Russian speakers

Mistake #2: Misplacing the primary stress

The primary stress is probably the most important element in pronunciation and is essential for clarity. It is the most dominant syllable in the word, and it is longer, louder, and higher in pitch. Sometimes, speakers tend to misplace the primary stress, and stress a different syllable in the word instead, what makes the word unclear.

Mistake #3: oʊ as in ‘go’

The ow as in ‘go’ is pronounced as ‘aw’.
In English the ow as in ‘go’ is a long diphthong: a long, changing vowel from /o/ to /w/. Russian speakers may pronounce only ‘half’ of the sound, dropping the second part, the /w/.

To learn how to improve and practice the oʊ as in ‘go’ download the FREE pronunciation guide for Russian speakers

Mistake #4: w and v are confused

Since there’s no /w/ in Russian, whenever a /w/ appears in English it is sometimes replaced with a /v/ consonant sound – that does exist in Russian. OR, the speaker overapplies the v and replaces the /v/ with a /w/.

To learn how to improve and practice the /w/ and /v/ download the FREE pronunciation guide for Russian speakers

Mistake #5: The H

The letter H is pronounced as a velar fricative as the back of the tongue is high and close to the soft palate just like the x as in Хорошо. In English, however, the back of the tongue is low, and the H is soft and sounds like a whisper.

Mistake #6: The L

Sometimes the L in English is mispronounced by Russian speakers.
In English, there are two types of L’s: light L (before vowels) and a dark L (before consonants and at the end of the word)
In Russian, there are two types of L as well. The hard L (as in ‘лак’) is just like the dark L in English.
The problem is that Russian speakers tend to apply this L in all positions, not only before a consonant but also before vowels when it’s supposed to be a light L. Which makes the speaker sound a little ‘heavy’

To learn how to improve and practice the /L/ download the FREE pronunciation guide for Russian speakerss

Mistake #7: Sheep-ship

These two different vowels are often pronounced with the same neutral vowel sound causing different words to sound the same.

To learn how to improve and practice the sheep-ship vowel pair
click to download the FREE pronunciation guide for Russian speakers

Mistake #8: Pool-PULL

These two different vowels are often pronounced with the same neutral vowel sound causing different words to sound the same.

Mistake #9: The AMerican R

The American R is replaced with a Russian R
The Russian R and American R are pronounced differently.
In Russian, the tip of the tongue trills against the upper palate.
For the R in English, the tip of the tongue doesn’t touch the upper palate, but curls back a bit as the lips round (click to watch a video tutorial about the R).
Russian speakers often pronounce the American R as they would pronounce the Russian R, bringing the tip of the tongue to touch the upper palate.

To learn how to improve and practice the American R download the FREE pronunciation guide for Russian speakers

Mistake #10: The TH

The /th/ consonant sound is substituted with /t/ or /d/ or alternatively with /s/ or /z/.
For the TH, the tongue has to stick out from between the teeth.
Since Russian speakers don’t have the TH consonant sound in their language,
they tend to keep the tongue inside for words with TH.
It is a common mispronunciation and sometimes will result in pronouncing different words the same.

Get a head start and download the English Pronunciation guide for Russian speakers

A FREE guide with the 10 most common pronunciation mistakes explained, tips to improve, examples and additional practice resources!

 

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6 Comments on “10 Pronunciation Mistakes Russian Speakers Make”

  1. Great video! Although I’m not Russian, I make majority of these mistakes to the point that people ask me if I’m Russian! Very helpful. Awesome work as always!

  2. Dear Hadar , I’ve gone through this video A couple of times , & will do so in future too . l shall really be benefited out of this video as of your other . Thanks for sending me this in my e -mail but I got this video in you tube befor getting here as I always try to get my teacher Hadar in every teaching portal specially in you tube . God knows , how much I shall be able to change my rotten English to real one with your superb help . any way thank you very much .

  3. Hi dear Hadar, I thank you for sending me this class.
    But I from Brazil, however I have been learning a lot about your way to teaching English. Really my goal is to get fluency in English, so and you have been helping me with this videos. Thanks so much.

  4. Hi Hadar! I really like your videos, so whenever I get chance I watch the video. Helping others is a big reward in this world and judgment day too that my heart say for you. Ameen!

  5. Dear Hadar ! Thank you very much for the superb video ! I learned a lot from it.
    As far as the Russian language is concerned I’m a bit ambivalent. Although I know that it is a beautiful language (as all the other languages, too) I don’t speak a word in Russian. When I attended the primary school in the nineteen fifties I started to learn the German in the school. Soon I became quite good in this language. Than came the Stalinist dictator, Rakosi’s rise to power (the Russian army was still deployed in Hungary) and teaching of any foreign language became forbidden and occasionally punished. Exclusively the teaching of Russian language became permitted and forced. That was difficult because there weren’t enough language teachers in the country who spoke the Russian.
    I felt, as a 15 years old kid forced to change from learning a foreign language in which I started to be good to a new one, if I had been subjected to a linguistic rape. I was simply unable to memorize the new language. I became perfectly inhibited.
    Today, I would like to learn the Russian. It is the language of Tolstoy and Dostoievsky my favorite novelists. But I feel being at 84 it would be a bit difficult.

  6. Many thanks for your videos! Very interesting to listen to. I will work to eliminate the errors you indicated!

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