04 March 2005

What does Russian sound like?

I remember, several years ago before learning French, that this language sounded so intriguing, so fluid and so enticing. Today, I can no longer hear the "sound" of French and in some strange way, I wish that I could remember what it sounded like before I understood its meaning.
I was trying to explain this to some friends recently. That there is this one advantage of not understanding a language: to be able to hear its distinctive sounds and rhythms.
I do wonder what English sounds like. Does American English really sound like Charlie Brown's teacher? I have been told that it does, but it is difficult for me to imagine.
So I need to record a description of what Russian sounds like. Then, one day, several years from today, I can look back at the description and think back to the days when I couldn't understand it, but could appreciate its cadence.

Ok, so here is a description of what Russian sounds like to me:
vrya mnoi tye pritsa voi kya omanye bursh vastoi

What this tells to me is that Russian is very palatal and labial. I wonder if there is any research on what part of the vocal tract Russian takes the most advantage of.

Of course, I hear Russian with an English ear. So I notice the sounds that are very different from "my" sounds. Russian must sound different to a speaker of Vietnamese or Cherokee.

Evidently, I need to do some reading on Articulatory Phonetics.

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