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Thread: Check my pronunciation, please

  1. #1
    Властелин Medved's Avatar
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    Check my pronunciation, please

    This is a fragment of a well-known book, and that was me trying to narrate this first paragrah.



    Tell me:
    If I speak understandeable.
    If there's some system mistakes (like I have the R wrong all the way)
    If there's any suggestions how to improve it or what to work on mostly.

    Ohh, and btw, I wanna sound american.,

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by Medved; September 19th, 2010 at 01:42 AM.
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  2. #2
    Старший оракул Seraph's Avatar
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    Understandable, except one word. Very near, or just before 10 second mark, word sounds like "liddle" or Liddel or something.

    Is it supposed to be 'little'? Or? In sentence "Most of them were the {?liddle?}."

    The R sound is getting very close.

  3. #3
    Hanna
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    I think it's good. Your intonation is very good. One of the problem that some Russian speakers have is that they put the intonation on the wrong word when they speak English. You are not doing that, which is good.
    Don't try to sound any more American than that or it will sound over-the-top.
    Basically from now on it is just exposure and training.

    Some of your "th" sound like they are hard work. But it's like that for everyone who learn English, because it's an unusual sound. Just practice and make sure it doesn't come out as "t".

    Your accent doesn't sound particularly Russian/Slavic. You could be from Southern Europe based on how you speak.

    I have to listen carefully to hear any Russian/Slavic influence on your accent. If I didn't know your nationality I don't think I would be able to guess it correctly based on your accent.



  4. #4
    Властелин Medved's Avatar
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    Thank you both very much!

    Seraph:
    Thank you! That phrase was supposed to be "deadly dull".

    Hanna:
    Thank you for such an awesome answer. And particularly for notices about TH's, accent and your kind words.
    Though I hear that I mispronounce some sounds/words and I guess it means nothing yet but there's a lot of work ahead.
    I just finished (I hope so) learning sounds themselves and I don't practice fluency yet. That was my challenge, actually. And that said, Seraph's remark makes me thinking I didn't get all of them right (because a native speaker can't understand my speech properly), so I have to brush them up, certainly.

    I'm interested mostly now in clear enunciation of the sounds rather than in fluency, so I expect advices like "You failed with the [or] in the [short] and with the [a] in [about]. Make it more softer.... etc ". Like that. I will keep the topic up, and will be very grateful to anyone native speaker who would help me to improve my pronunciation with any advice or by any other means.

    Thanks again
    Last edited by Medved; September 21st, 2010 at 03:45 PM.
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  5. #5
    Завсегдатай sperk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eugene-p View Post
    help me to improve my pronunciation any little bit over advices like above or by any other means.
    help me to improve my pronunciation with any advice or by any other means.
    Advice is always singular.
    Кому - нары, кому - Канары.

  6. #6
    Властелин Medved's Avatar
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    Thanks, sperk
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  7. #7
    Завсегдатай rockzmom's Avatar
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    Hey Eugene-p...

    I've listened to your piece about a dozen times now. I'm not certain what it is about the way that you are speaking that is troubling me. I think Hanna is right, you have gone out of the thick Russian accent and into something else but .. what that is.. I don't know.

    The one word I could not make out was at the :30 mark "Why then did I have the .... to write another book"

    On the words Money, Every and Both.. I heard your accent for certain.

    Would you be willing to record it again but go slower and include a copy of the text?

    BTW.. I am American.
    I only speak two languages, English and bad English.
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  8. #8
    Старший оракул Seraph's Avatar
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    Eugene, you've done a very good job here it seems to me. English is not phonetic, it's difficult. The way a word is written is not necessarily close to how it is pronounced. One possible exercise to help with this, is to try grouping some words that rhyme.

    Money honey bunny sunny funny. (Emphasis on first syllable.)

    Another exercise might be to group words, such as the 'th' words by voiced and voiceless. And then repeat them so it becomes a mnemonic.

    Voiced th: 'This that the other, then there these though...' and
    Unvoiced th: 'thin thing thought think throw through therapy...' etc.

    The 'ough' words are something of a problem too. rough cough trough though through lough tough slough bough sough grough drought bought brought fought &c... Yikes, I had forgotten how many there were of them! I don't know how many there are.
    Last edited by Seraph; September 21st, 2010 at 05:05 PM.

  9. #9
    Властелин Medved's Avatar
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    OOOkay thanks:
    Here's my another challenge:


    And yeah, to my deepest regret I have to show you the text.
    During the first thirty-five years of the twentieth century, the
    publishing houses of America printed more than a fifth of a million
    different books. Most of them were deadly dull, and many were
    financial failures. "Many," did I say? The president of one of the
    largest publishing houses in the world confessed to me that his
    company, after seventy-five years of publishing experience, still lost
    money on seven out of every eight books it published.
    Why, then, did I have the temerity to write another book? And, after
    I had written it, why should you bother to read it?
    Fair questions, both; and I'll try to answer them.
    Yep, Rokzmom. I failed with those words, hope this time I'm correct (at least with "both").
    Last edited by Medved; September 21st, 2010 at 07:49 PM.
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  10. #10
    Завсегдатай rockzmom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eugene-p View Post
    OOOkay thanks:
    Here's my another challenge:
    And yeah, to my deepest regret I have to show you the text.
    No, don't feel that way at all! It helps me a great deal to actually see what you are reading. Like the word that I did not understand... "temerity" I have never heard of that word before (once again a new word for me!) so no matter how slow or clear you were, I would never have gotten that one!

    Okay, I think I now know what it is that is troubling my ears. You are sing-songing your actual words when they should not be. Or I guess putting stress on the wrong part of the word? Like Century, Company, Money. I'm not certain if I am explaining that clearly.

    I made a recording for you to hear how I "might" read this. I did notice that I clipped the word "printed" though and I didn't feel like going back and redoing it just to fix that one word. for eugene.mp3
    I only speak two languages, English and bad English.
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  11. #11
    Старший оракул Seraph's Avatar
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    Eugene, this is great. I think you're doing very well. The 'money' pronunciation is shifted to more of a 'u' sound like in 'under', for typical native English speakers. 'Monday' has the same initial 'mun' sound as the initial part of 'money'.

  12. #12
    Властелин Medved's Avatar
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    Thank all of you, this is exactly the kind of help that works for me best!

    I'm not certain if I am explaining that clearly.
    Be sure! Your recording speaks for you. Thanks for the rec. It works for me perfect.
    The problem was in wrong stressing, I guess. Ways of stressing words are different among our languages. I've never paid attention to this feature before, because I got used to Russian pronunciation and stressing and my ears are not "tuned" for another way of pronunciation. Hope the performance will improve next time, but think I need some more time to get them for sure.

    The 'money' pronunciation is shifted to more of a 'u' sound like in 'under', for typical native English speakers. 'Monday' has the same initial 'mun' sound as the initial part of 'money'.
    Yep, Seraph, gotcha! Glad you've noticed that. Just have to keep on practising.
    Last edited by Medved; September 22nd, 2010 at 07:29 AM.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockzmom View Post
    I made a recording for you to hear how I "might" read this. I did notice that I clipped the word "printed" though and I didn't feel like going back and redoing it just to fix that one word. for eugene.mp3
    Rockzmom, I've listened to your recording out of curiosity. Pronunciation of individual sounds or words aside, your speech has struck me as an excellent illustration of the stress-timed nature of English. If there are two stressed syllables side by side, many English-speakers tend to pronounce them slower. If there are several unstressed syllables between two stressed ones, most native English-speakers tend to pronounce them considerably faster. This makes the cadence of spoken English so different from many other languages. Some of us Russian speakers tend to do a similar thing in our own language too, but it is not nearly as pronounced as in English.

  14. #14
    Завсегдатай rockzmom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by translationsnmru View Post
    Rockzmom, I've listened to your recording out of curiosity.
    Curiosity killed the cat. Satisfaction brought it back!

    Quote Originally Posted by translationsnmru View Post
    Pronunciation of individual sounds or words aside, your speech has struck me as an excellent illustration of the stress-timed nature of English.
    Wow, excellent? One day I'll make a better one for you, I did this one in a hurry!

    Quote Originally Posted by translationsnmru View Post
    If there are two stressed syllables side by side, many English-speakers tend to pronounce them slower. If there are several unstressed syllables between two stressed ones, most native English-speakers tend to pronounce them considerably faster. This makes the cadence of spoken English so different from many other languages. Some of us Russian speakers tend to do a similar thing in our own language too, but it is not nearly as pronounced as in English.
    translationsnmru, to see in writing your description of the "way" I speak is rather interesting.

    I do think about the cadence when I speak for "public consumption" but as to it based upon syllables, I never thought about it that way.

    I read "visually" for lack of a better word. I see the story or text in my head as a movie. When I read aloud or lecture, I then try to make the text the same way as I see it in my head so it will come alive in my voice and hopefully not be boring to the listener. I also try to speak as if we are having a conversation. So, if you can't see my facial expressions or hand gestures, I try to add them into my voice.

    Does any of that make sense?
    I only speak two languages, English and bad English.
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  15. #15
    Властелин Medved's Avatar
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    This is my 3rd try of the book fragment narrating. Check it, please.
    <<<Video deleted>>>

    General questions:
    Which words sound good (maybe excellent?)
    Which words sound acceptable
    Which words sound bad (which sound)

    I tried to improve my intonation a bit (thanks Rokzmom), but I don't consider it that important at this my stage of learning only sounds themselves.
    I'd be very glad if some of you could post it like:

    During the first thirty-five years of the twentieth century, the
    publishing houses of America printed more than a fifth of a million
    different books. Most of them were deadly dull, and many were
    financial failures. "Many," did I say? The president of one of the
    largest publishing houses in the world confessed to me that his
    company, after seventy-five years of publishing experience, still lost
    money on seven out of every eight books it published.
    Why, then, did I have the temerity to write another book? And, after
    I had written it, why should you bother to read it?
    Fair questions, both; and I'll try to answer them.
    Red - fail
    Yellow - not bad
    Green - good

    Just comment as many words as you can. Or maybe just some overall notices about what to correct, except intonation?
    Any help will be great for me.
    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by Medved; October 1st, 2010 at 02:34 PM.
    Another month ends. All targets met. All systems working. All customers satisfied. All staff eagerly enthusiastic. All pigs fed and ready to fly.

  16. #16
    Завсегдатай sperk's Avatar
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    thirty-five - put the stress on the i in thirty and say it slower
    failures - needs practice, similar to thirty, you kind of stress the end of the word
    company - work on the o sound, you make it kind of like an "a"
    seventy - you didn't really make much of a v sound
    lost - sounded kind of like lust
    I had - try and say them more seperately and distinctly
    Кому - нары, кому - Канары.

  17. #17
    Властелин Medved's Avatar
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    Thanks, sperk, will do!
    Another month ends. All targets met. All systems working. All customers satisfied. All staff eagerly enthusiastic. All pigs fed and ready to fly.

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