Traditionally, there are three core areas of learning a language: vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation. While you need words for content, by themselves, without grammar, they can only convey the simplest things. And grammar without words is empty. But even with perfect vocabulary and impeccable grammar, if, when you speak, your pronunciation is bad, you will not be communicating. Here are some tips on improving your pronunciation of English.
Pronunciation is a physical act. As you grew up, the muscles you used to speak got trained in specific ways, depending on what language or languages you spoke. This makes it hard to produce sounds that are different from the ones you learned as a child, since your muscles are not appropriately trained. In addition, your ear is used to hearing certain sounds and filtering out “errors” and extraneous sounds. Unfortunately, what might be an error or extraneous sound in Russian or Kazakh can be a key sound in English. To make English phonemes, you need to practice saying them. And a ground rule in general is that your mouth should move a lot, opening wide, closing, pulling the lips back etc.
Depending on the version, English has about 44 phonemes (short sounds that native speakers hear as distinct, e.g., the sounds represented by the three letters f, u, and n in fun). Some of these, like /s/and /n/, are essentially the same as their Russian counterparts. So don’t worry about them.
Today we will look at the English consonants that Russian speakers typically have the most trouble with. In Part 2, we will look at other consonants that can be a problem of lesser seriousness. Then we will move on to vowels and other important features of pronunciation, such as linking and intonation.
Here are useful Youtube sites for these phonemes:
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPPBQcz-ZPk) starting at 6:38; English Sounds — H [h] Consonant — How to make the H [h] Consonant (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOG-4ZjR7ic0