August 20, 2006 at 10:23 am | Posted in Scotland | Leave a comment

This is utfolt: a useful thing for language teachers. Cabin fever is beginning to take its toll amongst us. After having debated with Natasha from Russia, she speaks German as well, whether the s in “Scheiße” voived or unvoiced,

(ASIDE: we found out that non-natives, in particular British folks, tend to use a voiced s while they should be using an unvoiced s – and that, in general, it can be conisdered fairly surprising that German managed to squeeze an unvoiced s between two vowels; we have decided that this can only achieved because the ß, sz, respectively, is articulated unusually sharp – a sound that many Brits are unable to articulate anyway)

we continued to examine the L1 interference that can be observed when natives of Russian learn English, using Pavel, my casestudy, as an example. We thought that maybe he uses the same sound as in the German “Loch”, but meanwhile I have found out that we were wrong. The actual effect is palatalization, which is common in Russian and used to distinguish two sounds. Palatalization occurs when the body of the tongue is raised toward the hard palate during the articulation of the consonant.

Think of anyone from Russia who you know and imagine him her saying: “We have to have”. I cannnot include a piece of phonemic script here, but it would sound something like (transcription for Germans only): Uii chaev tu chaev (ch almost as harsh as in “Loch).

Now, why is this a useful thing to know you might wonder? It isn’t. I was have been digressing from what I meant to say for a moment, that’s all. I had wanted to show you the Kinesthetic vowel wheel, but then realized that I cannot make the soundfile that comes with it work…..

But I’m sure another utfolt will come up sooner or later…

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