Valeria May
Professional Teacher
Which sounds in your language pair you struggle most with?

I know that many English native speakers have problems with the strong "z" in German and tend to pronounce it like "s". The Chinese learners are very good with the pronunciation of the strong “z” in German, as long as you give them the right equivalent in the Chinese language. So I often tell them that German “zu” is pronounced like “Chinese vinegar”: “cu”!

What are the sounds in the language you learn you are struggling most with? What are your methods to solve it and produce the right sound instead?

Apr 29, 2018 6:24 AM
Comments · 11
I find "the" in English quite hard to pronounce, since letters in my native language are quite clear and loud( therefore Italian is perfect for me). 
I know basics of Turkish, and I always find it hard to pronounce "ç" and "ş" because they're something in between "č" and "ć" and "š" and "ś" in my language. It's hard to decide whether it will be more like the first or second one, it depends on a word.
My solution: I say it quickly. Nobody will ever notice the mistake, but I keep practicing. 
April 29, 2018

Well, I'm learning English, so vowels, of course. Especially [i] / [ee]: it's a very common mistake to confuse them I believe. But! Some time ago, one person told me that [ee] stands for Russian [и] (more or less) and [i] is actually something between [и] and [э]. That's a very rough approximation but it helped me a lot I think. If you're by chance reading this - thank you so much!

Plus, a few months ago another person here on Italki told me that I mispronounce consonants as well - and yes, since then I've been able to hear it too. In Russian pronunciation, all voiced consonants at the end of the word are pronounced like their voiceless counterparts most of the time, so [d] becomes [t], [v] becomes [f] etc. (ave consonant assimilation!). And... It doesn't work this way in English, as you probably know. However, it's really, really hard to pronounce voiced consonants at the end of some words for me, and I constantly forget that I make this mistake. The moral of the story: learn pronunciation first or you'll have to relearn everything all over again.

April 29, 2018
I struggle with the R in basically every language, as it changes so much. In English , I basically don't pronounce it, in Portuguese I pronounce in the mouth, in German and French in the throat, in Spanish... who knows?
April 29, 2018
I'm an English speaker learning Spanish and I still have great trouble with the "strong R" or "rolled R," the erre.
May 3, 2018
@ that's true Kseniia, pronunciation is very important. That's why In the beginning I always try to have audios with my language courses. I like Assimil for instance and even better the Pimsleur method. Quite exprensive. it is a method for learning languages only with audio, no script but efficient concernng pronunciation.
April 29, 2018
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Valeria May
Language Skills
Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), English, French, German, Mongolian, Persian (Farsi), Russian, Uyghur
Learning Language
French, Mongolian, Persian (Farsi), Russian, Uyghur