Unlocking Russian Pronunciation
Become a Master Class Apprentice
You can read reviews of my products and services below in the form of comments taken from course evaluations and emails...and YouTube. : )
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Individual Evaluations (Written Feedback & 20-Minute Zoom Session)
Outstanding instruction! I was initially overwhelmed that it would take 4 mins to learn to say this. For a beginner, it was spot on! Looking forward to other instruction! Spasiba!
FINALLY I THINK I GOT IT, I'M MAKING THE RIGHT SOUND!! Just have to keep practicing!
Thank you, thank you! I’ve been having such a hard time with this word! This video definitely helps you hear each sound correctly. Thanks again
Wow, that was very thorough!
Great explanation, easy to follow, thank you Kira!
Thanks! Been trying to pronounce this word correctly for a shameful amount of time. Several native speakers have tried to help me and I have watched many videos how to videos, to no avail. I watched your short video and now I’ve got it. Seems easy now. Thank you!
I have no words to describe how much this video has helped me... thank you so much and keep up the good work!!!
Maravillosamente bien explicado!!!!!!
These tips on the articulatory aspects of Russian phonetics are ever so insightful. You're a treasure Kira!
Your attention to detail is quite amazing. Thanks for making these.
Your explanations are gold! Thank you a lot. I wouldn't mind a video about "в квартире" :)
damn more people need to watch your vids!! спасибо большое!
I learned that I can actually make all of the sounds I need to in order to speak Russian properly, which was a huge realization. I always thought that some sounds would just be impossible for me as a non-native speaker.
Sometimes I had an idea of how a phoneme sounded, but it felt almost impossible to replicate the sound. Furthermore, something inside my mouth just didn't feel right. Now that I have started incorporating the Russian default mouth position, I understand why those movements just couldn't connect. Although I still have some adjustments to make, this has created a significant difference in the way I sound and in my confidence when reading and producing the sounds.
There are some videos from Kira's video library that I watched 5 times, but it wasn't until the 6th time that I grasped a different concept. There are so many things to think of in this journey, that we naturally overlook some details. For this reason, even if you're watching the same video all over again, as long as you are paying attention, you'll benefit from it each time.
Video Course & Book: "Best Russian Pronunciation Resource on the Market"
As a long-time student and lover of the Russian language, if I could give this course a six-star rating, I would. I wish it had existed when I first began learning the language 20+ years ago. In my view, this course should be a mandatory part of every first-year Russian course wherever it is taught. It does two things, in particular, that I have not seen done before and that, together, make it hands down the best Russian pronunciation resource on the market, essential for beginners and advanced learners alike.
First, it presents the rules of Russian pronunciation in a way that is clear and accessible to even beginners. One of the beauties of the Russian language is that the pronunciation of words is very regular and predictable once you know the rules. There are other books on the market that cover this, but they are impenetrable to all but advanced learners and the very determined. This course, which includes both a book with exercises and video explanations, presents the rules more clearly than any other book I've seen. And if you are new to the language, I could not recommend more strongly learning these rules right from the beginning. Once you know them, you should know how to correctly pronounce almost any word you encounter. And as you're learning new words, you might as well learn how to pronounce them correctly the first time, so you don't have to re-learn them later.
Second, the video course teaches the mechanics of correct pronunciation. Knowing where to make the right sounds (which is what the transcription system helps with) is only half the battle. Learning how to make the sounds is the other half -- and the more difficult half for most English speakers. Kira's Russian pronunciation is the best I've ever heard from a non-native speaker (if you don't believe me, check out her Russian Word of the Day podcast). And, unlike any native speaker I've ever met, she can "translate" her know-how to English speakers, explaining how to make the right sounds by comparing and contrasting proper Russian pronunciation with how we make analogous sounds in English (for example, the difference between the "y" in words like "yes" and the й sound at the beginning of Russian vowels like я and е). Video lesson 3 alone is worth the price of the entire course.
In short, if you are serious about improving your Russian pronunciation and sounding more authentic, get this course. You won't regret it.
On behalf of Russian learners everywhere, спасибо большое, Kira, for putting this together and sharing your exceptional talent with the rest of us.
(This review was sent to me after I asked a customer if I could use a few words of thanks from an email. I'm very grateful! – Kira)
TL;DR if you're having issues with Russian pronunciation, at any level, I wholeheartedly recommend you check out the many resources made available by Kimberly (Kira) DiMattia on her website. In my opinion, it is far and away the best resource out there for pronunciation.
The longer version is that I've been learning Russian for nearly six years now, five of which I would consider years of "dedicated learning." I've worked very diligently on my accent in that time, and though I have my issues, I do manage to be mistaken for a native speaker fairly often. Most of the time, however, people assume that I am either an advanced heritage speaker, someone who emigrated and has acquired some foreign characteristics in their speech, or that I just talk kinda funny lol.
Now, while I'm proud of where I've ended up, I'm also painfully aware of my shortcomings, and have tried many different things to help close the gap between pretty good and perfect. This includes one-on-one work with a Russian логопед (essentially a speech therapist), online classes in diction for native speakers of Russian, memorizing and repeating long tongue twisters daily, learning IPA and investigating phoneme differences between Russian and my native languages (English and Greek), shadowing, mimicking, posting on rate my accent, working in person with various native speakers, and more. To me it seemed that I had pretty much hit a wall that I could only overcome with a long-term full-immersion experience, which is something that just wasn't (and isn't) in the cards for me at the moment.
Every once in a while I check out what's going on on this Reddit sub, and found Kira on a tutor Tuesday post. I threw a sort of hail Mary, asking her if she had anything to offer someone who is close, but not quite there with regards to pronunciation. While she said most of her students are those who are in the beginner and intermediate stages of learning Russian, she mentioned that there were a few advanced students who worked with her to get a sort of "diagnosis" of the sounds that cause them trouble, and come up with ways to address those shortcomings.
I ended up signing up for that sort of diagnosis, recorded myself performing a variety of tasks, completed a self evaluation, and then met with Kira one-on-one to discuss ways to improve. Kira was able to pinpoint basically every issue I had, explain where the difference is, and help me hear my own problem areas (usually the first step to fixing them). We then outlined a concrete path forward for each problem area and I now have something tangible to work with.
It's not often that after five or six years of working on something diligently, you get blown away by some new piece of advice or knowledge, but for me that's what this was like. I was very pleasantly surprised and genuinely recommend that anyone interested in native-like pronunciation check out her resources (not necessarily the diagnosis, huge strides can be made with many of her more basic materials, I think the diagnosis would be more applicable to those who feel like they are stuck and aren't sure what to do to make progress).
Lastly, and for the sake of transparency, I just want to state clearly that I've received no financial incentive or other reward for making this post. I simply spent so much time looking for exactly this type of thing, and finally found it, and I hope that I can save some of you time by pointing you in Kira's direction. Good luck everyone!
- Review posted on Reddit's Tutor Tuesday
The interactive lessons were amazing because you get immediate feedback on how you're pronouncing something when covering new or existing topics. The supplementary materials for homework helped reinforce the concepts covered during the live classes.
This class is TRULY precious. I'm an experienced language learner and language instructor very passionate about second language acquisition, and I can tell you that Kira has carefully planned the way to incorporate different learning techniques throughout the course. Please try your best to get the most out of it. The tools are there, it's up to you to take advantage of them.
Hands down the best tool for Russian pronunciation. I was planning on being an observer, but signing up as a student was the BEST decision!
I can't thank you enough for literally unlocking pronunciation for me as a thing that is within reach with practice. I have rushed through it in the past out of fear, and now truly feel empowered to slow down and learn, and be happy about it.
You are without a doubt one of the best teachers I've had the privilege to learn from, Kira! I really appreciate how you combine practice and theory in the classroom and seek to include all of the students by helping them to claim agency over the learning process. I want you to know how grateful I am for this transformational opportunity and for your remarkably positive energy in the classroom.
Do you think you made progress with pronunciation as a result of taking Kira's Master Class?
Definitely. It is not just that I think that I make Russian sounds better, but I actually understand the phonetic structure better thanks to the secret code. I feel confident moving forward that I can figure out how something is pronounced using the code.
Yes! I just compared my final oral with my baseline and I can definitely hear an improvement.
I saw a complete difference in my sound. This class helped explain what I didn't understand from my immersive program last summer.
I finally feel like I'm starting to get to know my Russian voice. Before this course, I knew I just sounded like a Mexican speaking Russian, but at this point, I'm starting to hear the differences (and so have my classmates and my loved ones). Just like I have a different voice in Spanish, Italian, and the other languages I speak, I think I'm starting to develop my Russian sound identity.
Before there were some sounds that I just couldn't conceptualize but after doing the daily homework and watching the videos from Kira's library, I now have someone to compare my sounds to, and know what I should be imitating. I even feel a leetle comfortable with the "щ" which I used to think I just wouldn't ever get.
The Secret Code really did shed light on some words I've always struggled to pronounce (I think because I was torn between how I thought I'd heard the words pronounced and how I thought they should be pronounced based on their spellings.)
There are some videos from Kira's video library that I watched 5 times, but it wasn't until the 6th time that I watched them that I grasped a different concept. There are so many things to think of in this journey, that we naturally overlook some details. For this reason, even if you're watching the same video all over again, as long as you are paying attention, you'll benefit from it each time.
I sat in as an observer in your fall course. It was absolutely amazing. I found so many practical ways to help my students with pronunciation. Your resources are amazing and your pedagogical approach is spectacular. I plan to pass your SEELANGS message on to all my students and encourage them to participate. You offer an opportunity that exists nowhere else. Many thanks to you for your service to the community!
A very interesting and enthusiastic approach to pronunciation that I have never seen used in my own 30+ years as an educator.
I appreciated the playful and inviting atmosphere you cultivated, which I think can be especially difficult to establish in a virtual environment.
I find it very informative and am quite surprised at the quick progress the students are making.
Sitting in on this class has been a gift. You've done a great job at modeling how to conduct effective and intimate-feeling synchronous Zoom classes, and the whole course is a terrific example of how to design a good module during this time of distance learning.
I think it's wonderful that you provide your students with the information about Артикуляционный уклад. I believe that this is important to know. I also liked a lot (and already adopted to my current course) the idea of having students provide a self-evaluation/reflection based on their recordings. I think this is an excellent way for students to notice their own errors and work on improving them. I just received the first round of self-evaluation from my students. They were very thoughtful. Thank you for this idea.
I've learned so much yesterday. I really loved the idea of 'predicting' how words will sound before listening to the recording. I'll adopt this technique to my course.
It was wonderful that you talked about Interlanguage. It's important to remind students that we build language skills just like a building (we crawl before running) therefore, it takes time, effort, energy, etc., and that making mistakes is a way of learning and we shouldn't be ashamed of making them. I loved the visual. Totally 'stilling' this for ALL of my courses! In fact, from now on, I'll start all my courses with a little speech about building the Interlanguage and not feeling ashamed for making mistakes.
Visualizing the sound И and a little awkward tongue demonstration was very helpful. Sometimes you rather show something one time instead of explaining it with words 100 times. I also absolutely loved the use of hand and was amazed at how much it helps. I use a gesture to work on stress but not like you did yesterday.
"Уши, не глаза" technique worked very well. I think it was Alexander who sounded completely different as soon as he closed his eyes. It was amazing!