Unlocking Russian Pronunciation: A Supplementary Multimedia Mini-Course in Phonetics Based on Famous Russian Songs

Author(s): American Council of Teachers of Russian

Edition: 1

Copyright: 2019

Pages: 92


Details: Print Product |

Unlocking Russian Pronunciation is a comprehensive multimedia experience designed to facilitate the development of speech that sounds authentically Russian. Over the course of ten lessons, Unlocking Russian Pronunciation helps students:

1. Reset their default mouth position
2. Move from basic knowledge of Cyrillic to mastery of the rules of phonetics
3. Learn seven well-known Russian songs (although singing them is completely optional!)

The book and the accompanying online videos together comprise a flipped classroom learning experience that can minimize the burden of phonetics instruction for Russian language teachers. The book and videos together can also function as a stand-alone phonetics course for students studying Russian independently.

Unlocking Russian Pronunciation consists of:

  • This book, which serves as a textbook/workbook/reference manual
  • A set of online video lessons corresponding to each of the topics presented in the book
  • A set of online videos providing detailed talk-throughs of the lyrics of each song
  • A set of online videos containing performances of the songs, featuring lyrics and guitar chords displayed in real time


Check out author Kira DiMattia's Resource Page for podcasts and additional help on Russian pronunciation:

FAQ for Students
FAQ for Teachers
A Word About Russian Phonetics and This Mini-Course
About the Author

Lesson 1. Sound and Identity
Resetting Your Default Mouth Position

Lesson 2. Кали́нка – Sound Inventory
Russian Letters and How to Transcribe Them

Lesson 3. Кали́нка – Hard & Soft Sounds
How Hard and Soft Sounds Work Together
Consonants That Are Always Hard or Always Soft

Lesson 4. Кали́нка – Vowel Reduction
The Effect of Emphasis (Stress) on Vowels
Type I Reduction: о/а
Type II Reduction: е/я
Special Rules for Grammatical Endings and Particles (Clitics)
How Singing Changes Pronunciation

Lesson 5. Цыга́нская пе́сня
Voiced and Voiceless Consonants
Devoicing at the Ends of Words
Regressive Assimilation in Consonant Clusters
Renegade Letters г and ч

Lesson 6. Катю́ша
Prepositions That Lose It!
Signs of Separation: ъ, ь

Lesson 7. Мой костёр в тума́не све́тит
Word-Initial и

Lesson 8. Подмоско́вные вечера́
How to Pronounce -ться and -тся
How to Pronounce -ее and -яя
Disappearing Softness
Special Russian Words

Lesson 9. То́нкая ряби́на
Unstressed же, ше, це

Lesson 10. Грузи́нская пе́сня
Exceptional Consonant Combinations
Secret Phoneme ж’ж’
Secret Phoneme Voiced х
Borrowed Words
A Final Word

Exercise Answer Key

Exercise 1. Sound and Identity
Exercise 2. Кали́нка – Sound Inventory
Exercise 3. Кали́нка – Hard & Soft Sounds
Exercise 4. Кали́нка – Vowel Reduction
Кали́нка – Supplemental Answer Key for Advanced Students
Exercise 5. Цыга́нская пе́сня
Exercise 6. Катю́ша
Exercise 7. Мой костёр в тума́не све́тит
Exercise 8. Подмоско́вные вечера́
Exercise 9. То́нкая ряби́на
Exercise 10. Грузи́нская пе́сня

Song Lyrics & Chords
Цыга́нская пе́сня
Мой костёр в тума́не све́тит
Подмоско́вные вечера́
То́нкая ряби́на
Грузи́нская пе́сня


American Council of Teachers of Russian

Best Russian pronunciation resource on the market

As a long-time student and lover of the Russian language, if I could give this course a six-star rating, I would. I wish it had existed when I first began learning the language 20+ years ago. In my view, this course should be a mandatory part of every first-year Russian course wherever it is taught. It does two things, in particular, that I have not seen done before and that, together, make it hands down the best Russian pronunciation resource on the market, essential for beginners and advanced learners alike.

First, it presents the rules of Russian pronunciation in a way that is clear and accessible to even beginners. One of the beauties of the Russian language is that the pronunciation of words is very regular and predictable once you know the rules. There are other books on the market that cover this, but they are impenetrable to all but advanced learners and the very determined. This course, which includes both a book with exercises and video explanations, presents the rules more clearly than any other book I've seen. And if you are new to the language, I could not recommend more strongly learning these rules right from the beginning. Once you know them, you should know how to correctly pronounce almost any word you encounter. And as you're learning new words, you might as well learn how to pronounce them correctly the first time, so you don't have to re-learn them later.

Second, the video course teaches the mechanics of correct pronunciation. Knowing where to make the right sounds (which is what the transcription system helps with) is only half the battle. Learning how to make the sounds is the other half -- and the more difficult half for most English speakers. Kira's Russian pronunciation is the best I've ever heard from a non-native speaker (if you don't believe me, check out her Russian Word of the Day podcast). And, unlike any native speaker I've ever met, she can "translate" her know-how to English speakers, explaining how to make the right sounds by comparing and contrasting proper Russian pronunciation with how we make analogous sounds in English (for example, the difference between the "y" in words like "yes" and the й sound at the beginning of Russian vowels like я and е). Video lesson 3 alone is worth the price of the entire course.  

In short, if you are serious about improving your Russian pronunciation and sounding more authentic, get this course. You won't regret it.

On behalf of Russian learners everywhere, спасибо большое, Kira, for putting this together and sharing your exceptional talent with the rest of us.
 - Eric McArthur

Related ISBN's: 9781524983635, 9781524984885




ISBN 9781524983635

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