The process of learning the English language causes special difficulties to a Russian learner. Large categories of speech difficulties including pronunciation difficulties could be overcome in the course of a comparative study of the phonetic systems of English and Russian.
The differences in articulation bases of the English and Russian consonants are in the general tendencies their native speakers have. In the way they move and hold their lips and the tongue both in speech and in silence, in the way they coordinate the work of the obstructor and vibrator mechanism, in the way they affect CV, VC and CC transitions.
The most common mistakes that may result from the differences in the articulation bases of the English and Russian languages are the following:
· the use of the Russian rolled [p] instead of the English [r]
· mispronunciation of the English interdental sounds
· the use of the forelingual [n] instead of the back lingual velar [ɳ]
· absence of aspiration
· devoicing of voiced consonants
Articulation bases of English and Russian vowels are different. In the production of Russian vowels the lips are considerably protruded and rounded. In the articulation of the similar English vowels protrusion does not take place. In the articulation of the English vowels the bulk of the tongue occupies more positions than in the production of the Russian vowels. Long vowels in English are considered to be tense. There are no long vowels in Russian.
In articulating English vowels Russian students are apt to make the following mistakes:
· they do not observe the quantitative character of the long vowels
· they do not observe the qualitative difference in the articulation of vowels
· replace the English vowels by the Russian vowels
· they do not observe the positional length of vowels
While studying the peculiarities of the syllabic structure of English words the special attention should be paid to the following fact that Russian learners of English as well as would-be teachers of English should be well aware of the regularities governing the structure of monosyllabic and polysyllabic words as well as the syllabic structure of the utterance. What matters here is that wrong syllable division on the articulatory level leads to inadequate perception of phrases and consequently to misunderstanding.
The nature of word stress in Russian seems to differ from that in English. The quantitative component plays a greater role in Russian accentual structure than in English word accent. In the Russian language we never pronounce vowels in full formation and full length in stressed positions, they are always reduced. Therefore the vowels of full length are unmistakably perceived as stressed. In English the quantitative component of word stress is not of primary importance because of non-reduced vowels in the unstressed syllable which sometimes occur in English words.
The typical mistakes of Russian learners in the sphere of word stress are mispronunciation of:
· words with the primary and secondary stress
· words with two equal stresses in connected speech
· words with the full vowel in the unstressed syllable
The intonation constructions in the Russian language are associated with certain sentence types and attitudinal meaning expressed by them is termed by the purpose of communication. We might state that the difference between English and Russian intonation lies both in structure and use.
Finally, remember, that whatever you pronounce, you should be aware of the particular speech situation.