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 video series and podcast called Russian Word of the Day with Kira. Definitely sign up for my Patreon Podcast – you can access a library of videos and podcast episodes and you can receive texts or emails with audio exercises and pronunciation tips delivered directly to you multiple times a month. And if you're ready to go all-in, check out my Master Class on Zoom, my Video Course & Workbook for self-study, and private lessons. Hope to see you soon!
My YouTube channel is all about demystifying Russian pronunciation. Other pronunciation videos 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.
2) "Russian Word of the Day" Podcast
The podcast streams the audio for Russian Word of the Day with Kira for those who prefer the podcast format. Each episode is a few minutes long and students can benefit from reviewing them several times a day or several days in a row. You could watch the videos in the morning and then listen to the podcast later on in the day, which is a great way to practice new habits. The podcast is available on other platforms as well – check your favorite podcast host to see if yours carries it, too.
3) Patreon Podcast & Library
Join my Russian Pronunciation Club and sign up to receive audio exercises and pronunciation tips delivered directly to you multiple times a week via text and/or email through the Remind app (or simply log into Patreon to access the same resources.) I’m sooo excited about this initiative!!! A few minutes a day of focused practice can make a huge difference in long-term mastery, and I thought that regular texts (or emails) from me would be the best way to make it easy and fun for you. I will tell you how to sign up for texts and/or emails on the Remind app in my welcome email when you become a Patron at the $5/month level. I hope a bunch of you try this option out!!!
Click below to hear an example of the audio exercises you can access via links in texts or emails.
What is Master Class?
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
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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