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Thread: accent

  1. #1
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    accent

    Anybody have any ideas of how to improve your accent if spending significant time in Russia isn't possible? I just returned from Russia, and although my grammar and vocabulary are good, and I can understand everything, my accent is awful. I'd like to be able to say a few sentences without everybody immediately knowing I'm a foreigner!

  2. #2
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    Accent's are mainly affected byt vowels.

    For example, the main difference between an American accent and British accent is the pronunciation of vowels.

    Listen to how Russia vowels are pronounced and try and replicate them as close as possible. Try recording yourself saying Russian words and then playing it back.
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    Also the ИК patterns. If you don't use them, you will be immediately identified as a foreigner.

    I probably shouln't be giving suggestions as I believe my accent is terrible too.
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    Last edited by Darobat on Mon Mar 5, 1759 1:19 am; edited 243 times in total

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    what are the ИК patterns?

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    I think Dobry is cryptically referring to intonations. Like how your voice goes up when yoy ask questions.
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    ИК stands for "Интонационная конструкция". It's pretty much what kalinka_vinnie said.

    Dobry? That's a first.
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    Last edited by Darobat on Mon Mar 5, 1759 1:19 am; edited 243 times in total

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    Oops, I saw the D and the O and the B, and screwed up. Forgive me, DAROBAT!
    Hei, rett norsken min og du er død.
    I am a notourriouse misspeller. Be easy on me.
    Пожалуйста! Исправляйте мои глупые ошибки (но оставьте умные)!
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    Quote Originally Posted by kalinka_vinnie
    Oops, I saw the D and the O and the B, and screwed up. Forgive me, DAROBAT!
    Alright.
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    Last edited by Darobat on Mon Mar 5, 1759 1:19 am; edited 243 times in total

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    I don't agree with TATY that accent is mainly affected by vowels...I beleive there's a bunch of problems like palatalization..well vowels of course (mostly in a way that there's no opposition of long and short vowels in Russian...well yes sometimes the sounds really different ), sound clusters,sounds that don't exists in English language...but what I really put on the top of it is consonants..not vowels...I already mentioned that in audio lounge...I mean I can really imitate American(for instance) accent doing the vowels pretty ok but still making it awful...So to say it roughly I think it's all about consonants (the secong place takes consonant+vowel clusters...well that's palatalization I'm talking about)

    Just a quick example:
    Let's take a russian word "томик" and an english one "atomic". Drop the [a] sound in the word "atomic" and now we got two similarly sounding words. To make tomic sound like томик one shouldn't aspirate the [t] sound and make it dental instead of alveolar, make [м] sound palatalized and lose the aspiration (and maybe even the palatalization) articulating the[k] sound. The last two points are maybe not that clear in this exapmle (it just came from the top of my head right now...sorry) however I often notice big problems with that stuff...it can be more clear if we compare words like:1. пень-pen ([п] sound should be palatalized and shouldn't be aspirated...at least that strong as they do it in english)
    2. лик - lick or week...the [k] sound in the words like lick or weeks are aspirated and palatalized..it doesn't really work with atomic actually...in atomic it is really more russian than in lick or week...well anyway I hope you understand what I mean.

    Well... anyway... I personally think that it's really harder to master all this stuff with consonants for an English-speaking person than just to turn the short [o] sound in the word "(a)tomic" into the long one and thus make it sound pretty russian.
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    I'm having a similar problem. But first off, I need to know if there's a difference between a ukrainian and russian accent. They sound the same to me. There's a lady at my school who speaks russian, but ukrainian is her native tongue. Her accent is very strong, and when she speaks russian I can't understand every word she says because the accent makes the words sound different from how I say them. It's vice-versa for her too, she doesn't always understand what I say. Sometimes I choose wrong words to describe something, but she says it's my accent and pronounciation. I want to scope to her level though, so I hear and pronounce the words the same way she does. If anyone has any tips on how to clear this confusion, I'd love to have your input.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paxan
    I don't agree with TATY that accent is mainly affected by vowels...I beleive there's a bunch of problems like palatalization..well vowels of course (mostly in a way that there's no opposition of long and short vowels in Russian...well yes sometimes the sounds really different ), sound clusters,sounds that don't exists in English language...but what I really put on the top of it is consonants..not vowels...I already mentioned that in audio lounge...I mean I can really imitate American(for instance) accent doing the vowels pretty ok but still making it awful...So to say it roughly I think it's all about consonants (the secong place takes consonant+vowel clusters...well that's palatalization I'm talking about)

    Just a quick example:
    Let's take a russian word "томик" and an english one "atomic". Drop the [a] sound in the word "atomic" and now we got two similarly sounding words. To make tomic sound like томик one shouldn't aspirate the [t] sound and make it dental instead of alveolar, make [м] sound palatalized and lose the aspiration (and maybe even the palatalization) articulating the[k] sound. The last two points are maybe not that clear in this exapmle (it just came from the top of my head right now...sorry) however I often notice big problems with that stuff...it can be more clear if we compare words like:1. пень-pen ([п] sound should be palatalized and shouldn't be aspirated...at least that strong as they do it in english)
    What is your native language?
    What you are saying is true, but for many Russians those are really fine points, bordering on indistinguishable. For one, I used to be unable to hear the difference between aspirated and non-aspirated consonants until I had this specifically demonstrated to me several times.
    And in tomik vs. atomic the main difference comes from the pronunciation of the 'o' sound, imo. And if the speaker gets the russian 'i' right, he'll probably have 'm' properly palatilized as well as a bonus.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Orpheus
    I'm having a similar problem. But first off, I need to know if there's a difference between a ukrainian and russian accent. They sound the same to me. There's a lady at my school who speaks russian, but ukrainian is her native tongue. Her accent is very strong, and when she speaks russian I can't understand every word she says because the accent makes the words sound different from how I say them. It's vice-versa for her too, she doesn't always understand what I say. Sometimes I choose wrong words to describe something, but she says it's my accent and pronounciation. I want to scope to her level though, so I hear and pronounce the words the same way she does. If anyone has any tips on how to clear this confusion, I'd love to have your input.
    It's sorta like music: if you have a good ear for it, you'll do just fine by yourself. I've seen some professional singers, so even if they don't understand a word, they can repeat a line without an accent. Otherwise, if you are not exposed to many russians blabbing non-stop, a professional instructor is probably needed.
    I've got a TV, and I'm not afraid to use it

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    Quote Originally Posted by adoc
    Quote Originally Posted by Orpheus
    I'm having a similar problem. But first off, I need to know if there's a difference between a ukrainian and russian accent. They sound the same to me. There's a lady at my school who speaks russian, but ukrainian is her native tongue. Her accent is very strong, and when she speaks russian I can't understand every word she says because the accent makes the words sound different from how I say them. It's vice-versa for her too, she doesn't always understand what I say. Sometimes I choose wrong words to describe something, but she says it's my accent and pronounciation. I want to scope to her level though, so I hear and pronounce the words the same way she does. If anyone has any tips on how to clear this confusion, I'd love to have your input.
    It's sorta like music: if you have a good ear for it, you'll do just fine by yourself. I've seen some professional singers, so even if they don't understand a word, they can repeat a line without an accent. Otherwise, if you are not exposed to many russians blabbing non-stop, a professional instructor is probably needed.
    Ahh, well it's good I'm a musician then. I'm not exposed to much russian blabbing at all, I listen to the radio a lot. Could that work?

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    I dunno. Eventually you'll have to crosscheck it anyways.
    I've got a TV, and I'm not afraid to use it

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    Quote Originally Posted by adoc
    Quote Originally Posted by Orpheus
    I'm having a similar problem. But first off, I need to know if there's a difference between a ukrainian and russian accent. They sound the same to me. There's a lady at my school who speaks russian, but ukrainian is her native tongue. Her accent is very strong, and when she speaks russian I can't understand every word she says because the accent makes the words sound different from how I say them. It's vice-versa for her too, she doesn't always understand what I say. Sometimes I choose wrong words to describe something, but she says it's my accent and pronounciation. I want to scope to her level though, so I hear and pronounce the words the same way she does. If anyone has any tips on how to clear this confusion, I'd love to have your input.
    It's sorta like music: if you have a good ear for it, you'll do just fine by yourself. I've seen some professional singers, so even if they don't understand a word, they can repeat a line without an accent. Otherwise, if you are not exposed to many russians blabbing non-stop, a professional instructor is probably needed.
    I think your ear needs to be _really_ good for this to work, and even then you might probably learn to repeat a particular line perfectly but slip back in regular conversation.
    And exposure to blabbing, while helpful, will only get you this far. Unless you are a child of course. Go to any Russian store in America and you'll see a few people who have lived in the country for like 20-30 years but still have absolutely atrocious accents.

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    Quote Originally Posted by laxxy
    Quote Originally Posted by adoc
    Quote Originally Posted by Orpheus
    I'm having a similar problem. But first off, I need to know if there's a difference between a ukrainian and russian accent. They sound the same to me. There's a lady at my school who speaks russian, but ukrainian is her native tongue. Her accent is very strong, and when she speaks russian I can't understand every word she says because the accent makes the words sound different from how I say them. It's vice-versa for her too, she doesn't always understand what I say. Sometimes I choose wrong words to describe something, but she says it's my accent and pronounciation. I want to scope to her level though, so I hear and pronounce the words the same way she does. If anyone has any tips on how to clear this confusion, I'd love to have your input.
    It's sorta like music: if you have a good ear for it, you'll do just fine by yourself. I've seen some professional singers, so even if they don't understand a word, they can repeat a line without an accent. Otherwise, if you are not exposed to many russians blabbing non-stop, a professional instructor is probably needed.
    I think your ear needs to be _really_ good for this to work, and even then you might probably learn to repeat a particular line perfectly but slip back in regular conversation.
    And exposure to blabbing, while helpful, will only get you this far. Unless you are a child of course. Go to any Russian store in America and you'll see a few people who have lived in the country for like 20-30 years but still have absolutely atrocious accents.

    Makes perfect sense, but I find russian accents very sexy for some reason and I want to have that sexy accent not only for my own, but for my speaking ability. I wonder what actually makes up an accent. Could it be where you put your tongue at while pronouncing a certain letter or what?

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    You'd like to have a Russian accent while speaking English? Why?
    Focus on your Russian pronunciation, and this will take at least several years to improve.
    I've got a TV, and I'm not afraid to use it

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    Quote Originally Posted by laxxy
    What is your native language?
    What you are saying is true, but for many Russians those are really fine points, bordering on indistinguishable. For one, I used to be unable to hear the difference between aspirated and non-aspirated consonants until I had this specifically demonstrated to me several times.
    And in tomik vs. atomic the main difference comes from the pronunciation of the 'o' sound, imo. And if the speaker gets the russian 'i' right, he'll probably have 'm' properly palatilized as well as a bonus.
    I'm russian.
    The pronounciation of the 'O' sound can't be the MAIN difference...other sounds are AS WELL important
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paxan
    Quote Originally Posted by laxxy
    What is your native language?
    What you are saying is true, but for many Russians those are really fine points, bordering on indistinguishable. For one, I used to be unable to hear the difference between aspirated and non-aspirated consonants until I had this specifically demonstrated to me several times.
    And in tomik vs. atomic the main difference comes from the pronunciation of the 'o' sound, imo. And if the speaker gets the russian 'i' right, he'll probably have 'm' properly palatilized as well as a bonus.
    I'm russian.
    The pronounciation of the 'O' sound can't be the MAIN difference...other sounds are AS WELL important
    all are important but some are more important than the others. I bet 9 out of 10 russians won't tell an aspirated 'k' from a non-aspirated one. OK, the 'i' is also pretty important. People would probably notice the 't' but if the vowels are right they would consider such an accent very, very slight. I think whoever said that vowels define most of the accent (at least in English<->Russian) was right.

    As for the English native speakers, the two most important things to learn are, imo, firstly vowel reduction, and secondly making sure that the 'y' in 'ya', 'yo', etc is not pronounced after soft consonants. Those are really noticeable.

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    "Легче, чем пух, камень плиты.
    Брось на нее цветы."

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