How English phonetics can help Russians to improve their pronunciation


Russian speakers' English sonority (prosody and stress) is fundamentally different from the phonetics of the Russian idiom. Pay attention to the so-called non-equivalent sounds, for example, [θ], [d], [n], [w]. These phonemes are not used in Russian at all.

However, the truth is that only the two English sounds are pronounced the same way as their Russian counterparts. This is the sound [m], which is entirely equivalent to the Russian [m], and the sound [ʃ] that sounds like [ns'] (i.e., soft [ sch ] instead of solid [ ns ] ) all other sounds - consonants. And even more so - the sound varies at least a little, but still. Therefore, mastering the correct English pronunciation is no easy task.

Consonant sounds

To pronounce the consonant sounds of the English language correctly, you first need to consider the phonetic phenomena that occur in English and are absent in Russian.

The first of these is aspiration on the sound [a], [g], [p], [b], [t] and [d]. Unlike their Russian counterparts, these English sounds are explosive. They are pronounced with much more effort, more energy than the corresponding sounds of the Russian language.

When they are pronounced, a solid stream of air comes out of the mouth. If you light a candle and hold it 5-6 cm away from your mouth, its flame should fluctuate when these sounds are uttered.


Aspiration on voiceless consonants ( [a] , [p] , [t] ) is more active than their paired voice ( [g] , [b] , [d] ). The strongest aspiration occurs when the sound is pronounced goes in [p]. The enraged American cartoon character Donald Duck spits saliva when he utters the sound [p].

The aspiration for sound is vital when it is at the beginning of a word and weak at the end. For example, the word duck [d] is pronounced with more active aspiration.

The lack of aspiration instantly betrays the alien speaker. Therefore, it is necessary to consider this phonetic feature and pronounce the above sounds when speaking in English.

On the other hand, some of these sounds are not always aspirated. For example, on aspiration [p] and [t] are lost before the sound [s] speaking like words stealing.

The sound [a] is pronounced without aspiration before the sound [t] chooses in a word like.

Furthermore, if the first word in the phrase ends in [t] or [d] and the second begins with [t] or [d]. The aspiration on the first of this pair disappears and remains on the second. Two sounds seem to be "glued together" into one. In this case, before pronouncing this "sticking" sound, there is a short pause. For exemplo>

What time [Wɔ'tɑim],

Only with long-term interactive practice will you use aspiration exactly where and where it is needed.

English [f] and [v]

English [f] and [v] also sound more permeable than Russian [f] and [v ]. When pronouncing words such as the ending, for example, between the lower teeth and upper lip of Russian words. Airflow has a greater volume and activity than how "fact" or "force" is pronounced.

Sounds [s] and [z]

The same goes for the sounds [s] and [z]: they are pronounced a little more actively than in Russian [with ] and [h], but in their case, only slightly more active.

Another significant phonetic difference between English and Russian is that when pronouncing the sounds [n], [l], [t], [d], [ʧ], and [ʤ], the tip of the tongue rests against the alveoli. And not against the back wall of the upper teeth, as is the case with the Russian equivalents of these sounds.

(If you run the tip of your tongue back from the upper teeth, deep into the larynx, along the palate, small tubercles will appear on the way. These are the alveoli.)

The tip of the tongue is on the back wall of the upper part of these sounds. Teeth when pronouncing is another element of Russian pronunciation, which a native speaker of English recognizes without effort. It would seem that there is nothing special in such a simple word.

But no, it is not pronounced at all [like] - both the first and last consonants are entirely different from Russian.

Mastering the correct pronunciation of sounds can be very difficult.

[j] and [h]:

They also bear little resemblance to their respective Russian sounds. For example, [J] sounds much softer than Russian [th].

When pronouncing the English sound, the back walls of the larynx only approach each other and do not close, as is the case with the Russian sound.

To practice the soft pronunciation of [J] sound, I recommended pronouncing such Russian words as "Yolka" or "Hedgehog" with English pronunciation: [Zholka], [Jzhik].

Sound [h]

As for the sound [h], it doesn't even look like Russian. It's not even a sound, and just an inhale a slight exhalation. Moreover, in some geographic areas, words such as home or happy do not even sound [hm] and [hop] and [um] and [æpɪ ]. In other words, the sound [h] of some native speakers cannot hear English at all.

Non-equivalent consonant

Pronouncing a non-equivalent consonant is probably the hardest thing to do. [θ] , [d] , [n] and [w]. However, hard training will allow you to master these sounds as well. The consonant should also be considered non-equivalent [r], as it only very distantly resembles the Russian sound [r].

Some English words ending in -r remain "silent" (that is, not pronounced) if the word after it begins with a consonant. However, the letter r takes a sound form if the following word starts with a vowel sound. For example:

Car park sound [Keɑ peak],

but car accident does not [kɑræksɪd (ə)]

What's more, the sound [R] can sometimes appear at the junction of words, even if the first does not end with -r begins with a second vowel.

For example, while opening a court hearing, the judge says law and order! This proverb sounds like this [Londide]. This is the so-called "infiltration" [r] or Intrusive R.

Vowel sounds

The situation with English vowels does not seem simple: they are not all similar to the sounds of the Russian language. For example, the vowels in English are:

1) long and short;

2) open and close;

3) Forward and backward.

Every sound has one or another of these three characteristics.

The sound [æ] (bad, cat, map, etc.)

In phonetic slang, this designation is called "frog." It is a long, open, back vowel. The easiest way for a native Russian speaker is to learn how to pronounce this sound in the following way: You need to open your mouth to pronounce Russian [ a ] while trying to pronounce Russian [ns].

Sound [e] (bed, fear, set, etc.)

It is a short, closed, front vowel. While pronouncing this sound, the mouth remains open only slightly. Unlike the previous sound that originated deep in the larynx, the sound [e] was created in the teeth area.

Sound [ə:] (bird, kindle, boil, etc.)

It is a long, closed, front vowel. It is like the vowel sound in the Russian word "honey," but it is longer and is formed closer to the teeth.

Sound [ɑ] (bar, arch, barn, etc.)

It is a long, open, back vowel. It looks like a Russian sound [a] in the word "boy," but to pronounce it correctly, you need to "push him down the throat" as deep as possible. It is the back vowel in the English language.

The sound [o:] (call, door, more, etc.)

It is also a long, open, back vowel. It is somewhat similar to the Russian [o] in the word "borsch," but it originates more deeply in the throat.

The sound [ʌ] (but, hum, plug, etc.)

This phonetic symbol is called "a cap." It is a short, closed, front vowel. It arises just behind the teeth, i.e., much closer to the lips than the Russian sound [ a ]. Therefore, the mouth does not open wide when pronouncing it.

Sound [ɔ] (pot, clock, code, etc.)

It is also a short, closed, front vowel. It is also produced much closer to the teeth than the Russian sound. [o]. It should be borne in mind that this sound is very similar to the previous sound.

In the speech of some native English speakers, it is impossible to distinguish "word." From the word "cup " to "cop "without context. They. To many people (especially Americans), these words sound entirely alike.

Sound [u:] (shoe, approve, doom, etc.)

It is a long, closed, front vowel. Russian sound [y] - behind, while this English sound is at the fore of all existing: it originates in the lips region.


As you can see, the differences between American English and the Russian language are indeed very accentuated, but the least can go on. If you weren't interested in knowing more, please go to the English phonetics Academy to find how to pronounce each of these sounds correctly.