Watch this video:
If that video was too fast for you, then try this video:
Isn't it great to have both options? You can start practicing with the slow video and then continue with the fast video as you progress.
You may say, "But it's only one word!" We have good news for you – the course "Russian Pronunciation for University Students" has more than 3,000 carefully selected Russian words read by a native speaker.
As you can see, the speaker was filmed with two HD video cameras from two different angles (front and side view). This will help you understand and imitate the movements of the speech organs.
The course covers different aspects of Russian phonetics, including:
- Pronunciation of Russian sounds in different positions
- Consonant clusters
- Double consonants
Pay what you want!
Frequently Asked Questions about this course
Is the course compatible with mobile devices?
No. You can't install the course on your tablet or cell phone – although we do have plans to create an app.
Where can I download sample video clips?
Sample videos can be watched for free online on the page about the sounds of the Russian language.
How Were the Russian Words Selected?
The most common Russian words
It is quite reasonable for a beginning Russian language learner to focus at first on the most common Russian words. To decide which words to include in this course, we used a Russian word frequency list. Most Russian frequency dictionaries show only the combined frequency index of all the forms of a particular word. For example, all forms of the verb "быть" have the same frequency index in such dictionaries. Instead, we used the frequency list that gives a frequency index for each derived form of Russian words, and included the most frequently used forms of Russian words.
Let's use the Russian word "голова" ("head") as an example. The accusative case of the singular form ("Я увидел голову" = "I saw a head") is way more popular than the prepositional case of the plural form ("На головах у них были шапки" = "They were wearing caps on their heads"). Although eventually you will need to learn all the derived forms of this word, we recommend starting with the most popular form, "голову". This will prepare you for real-life communication in Russian, both as a passive listener and as an active speaker.
Examples of each Russian sound
This course gives you many examples for each Russian sound as they are pronounced in the beginning, middle, and end of words. Some sounds, such as [xʲ] ("тихий" [tʲˈixʲɪj] = "quiet"), are relatively rare in the Russian language - but again, only the most common Russian word forms are included for each sound in each position.
Russian consonant clusters
As you may know, Russian words often have three or four consonants that appear one after another (so-called consonant clusters). Take the famous "Здравствуйте!" [zdrˈastvʊjtʲɪ] ("Hello!"), for example. The words containing such consonant combinations can be real tongue-twisters. We analyzed the 59 most popular Russian three-consonant clusters, and included the words containing these clusters in the course for you to practice.
Special attention was paid to double consonant letters and double consonant sounds. In Russian, sometimes double letters are pronounced as double sounds, sometimes not. The course includes words for each double sound and letter to help you learn all these cases.
When we selected examples of words with double or triple consonants, sometimes we had to include some rare words. What if you are a beginner, and you do not want to learn these rare words right now? Pronunciation Player highlights words in different colors according to their frequency rating. You can also sort words by their frequency rating. This way you will be able to choose the words that suit your level.
Hopefully you now understand how all aspects of Russian phonetics are covered in this course. So, if you are really determined to improve your Russian pronunciation to perfection, with this course you will have enough material for you to practice, whether you are a beginner or an advanced student.
Note: some frequent words (prepositions, particles) are not included in the course, because their pronunciation is different in normal speech and it is very unlikely that you will ever hear them pronounced separately or need to do so yourself.
Do the course videos have subtitles?
All video clips have three types of subtitles, each of which can be turned on and off separately:
- Russian subtitles. These subtitles will show you the spelling of the word in Russian and help you learn Russian pronunciation rules (see next section).
- Phonetic transcription subtitles. These will help you make out unfamiliar sounds and improve your pronunciation.
- English and French translations. Although we do not recommend studying the meanings of isolated words, we do provide English and French translations for reference.
Does the course explain Russian pronunciation rules?
You will not find any text description of Russian pronunciation rules in this course. Why? Let me explain.
At the beginning of 2014, I created a Russian phonetic transcription translator that automatically converts Russian text to its phonetic transcription. I manually described all the Russian pronunciation rules for each and every Russian letter - and there are too many rules and too many exceptions for you to learn them consciously. For example, the letter "а" can be pronounced in five different ways, depending on surrounding consonants, vowels and stress position.
If you want to spend 10 seconds analyzing a word in order to figure out how to pronounce it, you can do that, but I recommend choosing an easier way to learn Russian pronunciation rules. Start repeating Russian words from the course, learn them by heart, make them part of yourself. After a certain amount of practice, you will be able to read ANY Russian word, if you know the stress position in it.
How fast is the speech rate?
All words from this course are pronounced slowly with good articulation, to help you easily imitate the native speaker. But sometimes even "slow" is not slow enough for beginners – you just can't make out all the sounds of a particular word (the word can be long, or it can contain a lot of unfamiliar sounds). In order to solve this problem, Pronunciation Player allows you to decrease the playback speed by 50% and see how the lips move in slow-motion. This feature is unique in that a special sound processing technology was used to keep the voice sounding natural and distortion-free during this slow playback.
For the most popular Russian words, there are two extra recordings:
- Recordings with normal speech rate. This is the speed of normal conversation. These recordings will help you get used to how the most popular Russian words sound when pronounced by native speakers while they speak naturally with each other.
- Recordings with questioning intonation. Just like in English, in Russian you can sometimes ask a question with a single word, like "Ты?" ("You?"). However, this questioning intonation is not exactly the same in Russian and English. In order to sound natural when you ask these questions, you can practice with these additional recordings and improve your Russian even more.
How is the video and sound quality?
Learn more about the video and sound quality of our courses.
What is the download size of the course?
The total size of all files of the course after download is 905 MB.