Hi! My name is Kimberly DiMattia – Kira, when I'm teaching Russian. I have a Ph.D. in Russian and Second Language Acquisition and I specialize in pronunciation. I am also a second language learner like many of you! Can a second language learner teach pronunciation? This review provides some perspective.
"I want to learn Russian pronunciation – where do I start?"
You could subscribe to my free video series and podcast called Russian Word of the Day with Kira. Definitely check out my Russian Sounds Video Library and sign up for my Patreon Podcast on how to pronounce individual Russian sounds (phonemes) with detailed instructions and audio exercises. If you're ready to go all-in, check out my Master Class on Zoom and my Video Course & Workbook for self-study. And if you would like individualized feedback from me on your Russian pronunciation, you can request an Individual Evaluation. Hope to see you soon!
Russian Word of the Day with Kira is all about demystifying the pronunciation of individual words. Other pronunciation videos and podcasts demonstrate pronunciation without really explaining it, but in these videos I describe the movement of the jaw, tongue, and lips in detail, show you the breakdown of sounds in the word using the International Phonetic Alphabet, and pronounce the word for you to repeat. I've included some examples of these videos at the bottom of this page. Get my podcast on Apple, Google and other podcast platforms and go to YouTube to explore the whole library at once.
3) Get the Video Library
In this set of 52 videos I focus on demystifying the pronunciation of individual Russian sounds. Drawing on 30+ years of expertise as a teacher, author, and as a second-language learner myself, I help students master one sound at a time with detailed explanations and focused coaching.
Both the video library as a whole and individual videos can be used as stand-alone resources by teachers and students at any level. If students wish, they can also get supplemental audio exercises that go with the video series by becoming a Patron at Patreon.com/learnrussianwithkira – see below!
4) Join me on Patreon for 52 Weeks of Russian Sounds
My Patreon channel offers an exclusive podcast that demystifies the pronunciation of individual Russian sounds, or phonemes. In this extensive series of videos and podcast episodes I help you master one phoneme each week, with comprehensive instruction, focused coaching, and a different kind of activity each day, Mon-Fri. Join at any level and you can access the podcast via the Patreon website or app or add the private RSS feed to your podcast player (private podcasts are not currently supported at Spotify but most other players will host them). I’m sooo excited about this initiative – I think it will absolutely help you transform your pronunciation one day at a time. : )
Master class focuses solely on pronunciation, teaching you to sound authentically Russian when you speak. I will explain the rules of Russian phonetics in English and work with students individually and as a group to help you reset your default mouth position. Master class is also a sort of virtual learning and teaching lab where other Russian teachers can observe in the background. Often after class I invite students and teachers to join me online to talk about how the class is going and to see what other ideas we can come up with to help learners reach mastery. Join us and feel new confidence when you speak! See the class webpage for details.
Unlocking Russian Pronunciation is designed to help students sound Russian when they speak it. The course includes:
Textbook and Extensive Video Library
Full Answer Keys
Detailed Instruction on Every Topic
Expert Coaching on Phonetic Nuances
An evaluation from me is like a pronunciation “diagnosis”: I give you a specific set of tasks to record, ask you to listen back to your recording and complete a self-evaluation, provide you with written feedback, and meet with you for a 20-min consult on Zoom to follow up.
During the Zoom session we discuss the feedback I’ve provided, we work on some of the issues together, and I recommend study techniques tailored to your personal needs. I charge $100.00 USD total for the written feedback and the Zoom session together.
I do evaluations on an occasional basis (I don’t always have time!) so be sure to email me first to see whether I can take on the job. Click the button for full instructions.
Review of Unlocking Russian Pronunciation 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
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