Can a native speaker help us with our pronunciation?
We had a little discussion here:
Q: What do you generally do at such discussions?
Ilya: Last time we shared tips and did exercises. We still have to discuss some of tips, then talk about IPA and phonemes, about dialects, ultimate reduction and clarity, about instruments, phonetics and phonology, share our experience and talk about whatever you want.
Q: Is there anyone with perfect pronunciation to guide all the others?
QQ: sorry to interfere with your conversation, and by no means want to sound rude, but how do you know that you are doing well, unless there is some professional to judge your performance?
Q: That's exactly my point. This area of the language seems to be the most difficult to master (without a teacher).
Ilya: You can ask the same question about everything what is done in the club
Q: No) We can check our grammar and vocabulary with the help of books or forums (At least I ask loads of questions).
Ilya: You can work on your pronunciation if you hear better than you speak. And I guess you hear better than you speak. Don't you? And making mistakes is not that terrible.
Q: It's just phonetics and phonology are so difficult that I wonder how you manage to discuss that.
Ilya: You could listen to it, if you wish. How can you understand phonetics and phonology if you don't discuss it?
QQQ: We have one native ! We have one native! It's wonderful!
Q: I'm awfully sorry to be such a wet blanket, but it seems to me the only thing we could with our pronunciation is to listen and repeat...and ask natives what aspects to improve. It would be most useful to listen to Anthony's advice, though
Ilya: I don't think that it would be easy for Anthony. He will hear that something is wrong, but it does not mean that he will be able to explain why it is wrong and what to do. : He can say "do like me", but will it help you? And he can say "better", "worse"
Q: My friend gives me some advice on particular sounds, though not being a teacher. But I'm in no way trying to oblige Anthony to help us)) He has a lot on his hands, probably. Yes - better or worse
Ilya: I think that native speakers can’t help us that much. Of course, I don’t mind communicating with native speakers about phonology and pronunciation. Do it if you have this opportunity. But I don’t expect that that kind of conversation will solve all your problems.
We are Russian speakers, and so we have pretty many restrictions that are imposed on us by our native language. And we usually cannot understand what those restrictions are. And natives know nothing about our Russian restrictions. They just don’t understand why we cannot do those extremely simple and easy things they do so easily.
So, we have to understand the system of our restrictions and get out from under its control.
And at our last session we did just that. We worked on our speech in whole and shifted it to the directions where it never wants to be shifted when Russian speak their Russian. So, we spoke Russian with English pronunciation working on every peculiarity of English speech one by one.
Now we can talk about the system of Russian vowels and compare it with the system of English vowels. And we can see our restrictions and American sounds just in areas which are prohibited for Russians. And, BTW, there exist special English oppositions that are usually not understood by Russians.
So we can work on our restrictions.
To cut the long story short, it will be about IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) chart and possible interpretations of that chart. And it will be about comparing Russian and American sounds.
And all general questions about phonetics and phonology are also welcomed.