Slavic Languages and Literatures | Russian Phonetics
R403 | ALL | Richter

The course R403, Russian Phonetics, has a triple aim. First, it familiarizes
the student with the phonological structure of modern Russian. Second, it
prepares the student to teach Russian pronunciation to others. And third, it
enables the student scientifically to improve his own pronunciation--if such
improvement is needed.

The course begins with a rapid reading of C. Buchanan, A Programed
Introduction to Linguistics, Heath, 1963, to present to the student basic
linguistic concepts and terminology used in the course. Then begin regular
reading assignments in P.I. Avanesov, Russkoe literaturnoe proiznoshenie,
(Moscow: 1984), which is read in its entirety. E.A. Bryzgunova, Zvuki i
intonacii russkoj rechi (Moscow: 1977), and Wm. S. Hamilton, Introduction to
Russian Phonology and Word Structure, Slavica Publishers, 1980, are also
used in the course.

Class time is first devoted to a series of lectures by the instructor on the
Russian phonological system, including intonation. When these are completed,
extensive perception exercises are done in class to increase students'
acuity in discerning and identifying pronunciation errors, both phonetic and

All students (except native speakers of Russian) are required to record a
text in Russian at the beginning of the course, which is analyzed in detail
by the instructor. Students re-record the same text at the end of the
course, enabling the instructor to evaluate improvement in their
pronunciation. Students are also required to do two detailed analyses of
American students reading a text in Russian, identifying and categorizing
their errors.

Students are further expected to attain proficiency in the use of phonetic
transcription. Classroom exercises are employed toward that end.

A midterm examination and a final examination are given, each consisting of
both written and oral parts. The midterm is more practical in emphasis
(discernment of errors, identification of intonational types, use of
transcription), while the final adds theoretical questions. There are no
pop" quizzes. Test scores will count for 75% of the final grade. Class
participation and attendance will count for the remaining 25%.