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View Diary: Rice BUSTED. Dr. Fraud can't speak Russian after all. (280 comments)

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  •  A nitpick on the nitpick (none)
    Sorry, excuse the language nerdiness...

    There are several non-phonetic spellings/pronunciations in Russain, but nowhere near the number of those in English.

    And there are rare usages of apostrophes, as well--but only when spelling a word in latin characters (many russians write "email" in latin characters) and adding a case ending in slavic characters.

    Plus, re: pronunciation, it is true that Russian is nearly all phonetic.  But since almost every consonant has two different pronunciations (hard and soft), and these differences can signal different words (ugol=coal, ugol'=corner), learning Russian pronunciation can be a nightmare.

    "Compassion is an unstable emotion. It needs to be translated into action, or it withers." --Susan Sontag

    by spoooky on Wed Apr 20, 2005 at 12:08:50 PM PDT

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    •  Having a good ear (none)
      My Russian language professor would always get on me for pronouncing words like "Oleg" with a hard g, saying at the end of words it sounds more like a k.

      A couple of years prior to the fall of the Soviet Union I was on a bicycle trip down the Mississippi River with some Russian students, and one day we were taking a break in a park. One of the girls asked me to explain to her the difference in the English words "duck", "dog" and "dock". She kept pointing to the objects and I'd say the word and she'd wonder why I kept saying the same thing. To her Russian ears those words all sounded the same. I was able to explain it to her, emphasizing the variations of the vowel sounds.

      GOP: Party before Country

      by puppethead on Wed Apr 20, 2005 at 01:58:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  An ESL teacher I know (none)
        said her Italian students could not distinguish between the words "hungry" and "angry". They pronounced both words the same, kind of in-between the two.

        Whatever sounds you learn in your language- formative years, I suppose, are hard-wired into your brain, making it difficult to recognize new sounds.

        I uess that's why it's hard for Japanese to hear the difference between R and L; their pronunciation is halfway betweeen the two. The Japanese employees at my local post office have a hard time getting their tongues around, "Delivery confirmation?" And I had to ask my Japanese costume customer to repeat a word several times before I figured out she meant "Velcro".

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