But some of what you said turned out to be unclear to me and I'm afraid I might have misunderstood some things so I want to clarify them:
linguoboy wrote:But speaking of /ʌ/, it's a dead giveaway. Just like most Germans, most Slavic speakers use a quality that is too low, either [ɐ] or [a]. We used to tease one of our German friends by saying "Facking shit!" It's really noticeable in how you say "honey" in the clip (so much so I didn't recognise the word at first). You need to aim for something just a bit closer to <ы> (though of course not quite that high). Interestingly, you're much better at getting it right before /r/.
Oh my God, that is indeed the problem for me! With no other English vowel have I had so much problems and struggling as with this one. I've heard /ae/ is hard for non natives but I think I've nailed it pretty fine. Maybe I occasionally pronounce it incorrectly but at least I know the way to articulate it so everything else if left for merely practice.
The one that is still challenging for me is /ɑ/ vs /ʌ/. The way I have learned to pronounce them, which is I'm sure incorrect but at least people can understand it; is to open my mouth widely at /ɑ/ letting the air to resonate so that the vowel gets a bit longer than others English vowels. Talking in terms of Russian sounds, I'm aiming somewhere in between A and O. But to pronounce the /ʌ/ sound, I do the same with two main differences: I do not open my mouth wide (only leaving a small gap between teeth) and I make the whole sound shorter as if exhaling forcibly (which I actually do).
One little thing I noticed now trying to spell both of them is that my lips remain rather neutral for /ɑ/ but I tend to stretch them forward at /ʌ/ as if trying to kiss the air (not so much as during a real kiss movement).
Here I read /ɑ/ vs /ʌ/ minimal pairs so that you could listen to what it actually sounds like.
"Doll — dull / fond — fund / gosh — gush / got — gut / hobby — hubby / hot — hut / lock — luck / not — nut / pock — puck / pomp — pump / pop — pup / poppy — puppy / rob — rub / rot — rut / shot — shut / slosh— slush / sock — suck / stock —stuck / stomp — stump" and then I also added "custom" and "honey" at the end read with both vowels.
Now as I listen to it, I think only the hot-hut pair sounds more or less correctly.
linguoboy wrote:Another very noticeable feature is how you pronounce /r/. It sounds fully retroflexed instead of just postalveolar, as it is in most varieties of English. There are native varieties of English with [ɻ], but these are chiefly found in Ireland. If you had other features of Irish English in your speech, it wouldn't stand out as much.
Since the R sound in English is probably the key sound to the language I really want to get this correctly. When I pronounce the R I just lift my tongue up to the ridge without touching it and make a kind of roaring sound from the throat. It's a pretty similar sound to one people make when they lazily stretch their bodies in the morning lying in bed after waking up, but more forcible.
Here I found the description of the one you were taking about and I think mine corresponds to almost all features listed in the entry. (I only am not sure about the first one, and the penultimate, or at least it feels now as I try that the air goes around my tongue on the R rather than through the center). Maybe you could explain the principal difference? Or send a link where it's explained.
linguoboy wrote:Actually, shortened vowels are a problem throughout. Rhotic varieties of English have at least five different degrees of phonemic vowel length. From longest to shortest:
* stressed diphthongs/"long" vowels: he, mown, came, whose, roar, smoking
* unstressed diphthongs: studio, window, woodbine
* stressed open vowels before voiced segments: divan, shadows, sullen
* stressed open vowels before unvoiced segments: catch, fantastic, dusty, distant
* reduced vowels: tremulous, immobile, pallid
That is so much information! Do you know any ways to learn it, maybe you've done it yourself with another language or maybe some of who you know have mastered their English pronunciation using some specific technique? Or is constant practice and getting experience the only way to do it?
linguoboy wrote:I hope this isn't too much to absorb! Overall I think you did a very respectable job. There are some words in that passage even I had to look up!
Thanks again. I we put the Russian accent aside, do you think I sound closer to British or American English?