An accent occurs when sound patterns from a native language(s) influences the pronunciation in the second or third language. Although every accent is different, there are popular mispronunciations for adults who learned Russian before they learned English (referred to as R1 speakers below). Here is a description of these frequently occurring Russian accent sound targets.
W & V Sounds
How To Pronounce W & V Sounds
Adults who spoke Russian before learning English regularily have difficulty using the English “v” and “w” sounds correctly. R1 (Russian as native language) speakers need to memorize which sounds goes with which letter in English and practice making the “w” sound with rounded lips and the “v” sound while gently biting on the lower lip.
The word “was” becomes “vus”
The word “whether” becomes “veder”
How To Pronounce The R Sound
R1 speakers tend to have a stronger “r” sounds than the typical Canadian or American English speaker. Part of our work is to reduce the rolling and robustness of the Russian "r" sound to make it sound more like the Canadian/American English pronunciation.
Short I Sound
How To Pronounce The Short I Sound
R1 speakers commonly to elongate their “i” sounds so that a word like “tin” sounds like the word “teen.” Part of our work is training the R1 speaker to learn a new vowel sound for “i” and apply that new vowel sound to words containing the short "i" sounds.
The word “bin” becomes “bean”
The word “fit” becomes “feet”
The word “pinnacle” become “peenacle”
Final Long E
How To Pronounce The Final Long E Sound
R1 speakers tend to pronounce the final long E (e.g., happy) as “eh” (e.g., “happeh”). Part of our word is training the R1 speaker to learn to associate that final Y with the long E sound.
The word “carefully” becomes “carefuleh”
The word “strongly” becomes “strongleh”
How To Pronounce TH Sounds
R1 speakers often pronounce the TH sound with their tongue farther back within the mouth than native Canadian and American English speakers. The latter pronounces these sounds with the tongue sandwiched between the top and the bottom teeth. As a result, R1 speakers often substitute the TH sound with something that resembles a D or T sound. Consider the word “the,” do you pronounce it the same way as “duh”?
The word “through” becomes “true”
The word “although” become “aldo”
Hooked U Sound
How To Pronounce The Hooked U Sound
English is a tricky language from a pronunciation perspective. There are more vowels than most other languages and often the intended vowel is not clearly indicated by the spelling. For this reason, R1 speakers often have a hard time with a sound called the "hooked u." The "hooked u" is a sound that often is symbolized by a double "o, " like in "look." Consider for a moment the difference between "look" and "Luke". Do you pronounce them the same, or differently? The majority of inexperienced R1 speakers pronounce the two words the same way. This "hooked u" is an easy skill to grasp and we are here to guide you through the minor pronunciation adjustment.