Phonetic Perception and Pronunciation Difficulties of Russian Language (From a Canadian Perspective)
This study looked at the most important problems from previously discovered issues of learning Russian, focusing on the students at the University of Victoria. Conclusions made would help professors know the future steps to be taken in assisting students in becoming proficient in Russian. Two groups of students were studied: a group only recently introduced to proper pronunciation and another group who worked extensively for three months on techniques for proper pronunciation. From the two groups of participants, recordings were used to compare the groups to see which problems were apparent at the beginning and which problems continued into higher levels of learning. For both groups, the most important problem was word stress, which, in Russian, differs greatly from English. Other issues found included vowel reduction, palatalization of vowels, assimilation of prepositions to the following word, and intonation. However, the group who worked extensively on these pronunciation issues showed far more improvement than those only introduced to the concepts. It was also discovered that these issues are not resolved subconsciously, and a great deal of time must be spent focusing on them to ensure pronunciation problems do not continue into the more advanced levels of Russian learning. Future steps to be taken in research pertaining to Russian language learning would include how much emphasis instructors of Russian should put on these issues and when the problems disappear.
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University of Victoria