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Welcome to episode 5 of Learn Russian Pronunciation. A lot of pronunciation courses, at some point, teach you tongue twisters. Although there’s some value in trying to pronounce them, they’re usually not very useful phrases. Right? I mean, how often do you find yourself saying, Rubber baby buggy bumpers. Or: She sells seashells by the seashore.
So, instead of a tongue twister, let’s try to master the longest word in conversational Russian. This is an actual word, used all the time…especially in the domain of Russian tourism. Listen:
For the record that word has twenty-one letters. Here are just the first two syllables:
We’re going to learn it in four small chunks like that. And to make it sink in, I’m going to mix in review from previous episodes. Because that’s how memory works. You need delays between re-testing of new material. Before getting to that review, though…What were those first two syllables?
Started with a ‘D’…..до-сто
Good. And here are the next two:
So putting the first two parts together we have: до-сто–при-ме
And to get it fast, we can use the Consonant-vowel separation technique from the previous episode.
Right? We flatten all the vowels: duh-stuh-pruh-muh
Hit pause. Try to get that fast. Now let’s alternate. Just the consonants, and then we’ll being in the vowels.
Excellent. Okay, now here’s our review. So…Imagine you’ve just woken up. How should you greet your roommate?
You’re just had lunch with a friend and are parting ways. What’s the Russian equivalent for “See you later?”
Literally…what? Until the meeting.
And getting back to today’s new word…What did we learn of it so far? It started with a “duh” sound.
More review. Quick, what’s the Russian word for toy?
And again, today’s new word? The first half of it, anyway.
Alright. Now here’s the next part: ча-тель (“chah-til”)
And the final two syllables are: но-сти
So the second half was: чатель–ности
Let’s again focus on the consonants by flattening the vowels: chuh-tuh-nust-uh
Hit pause and try that on your own.
Notice just for fluency purposes I’m dropping the “L” from чатель….
So anyway, let’s get that going….chuh-tuh-nust-uh…then let’s bring in the vowels…чательности
And what was the first half again?
And the second half:
So, altogether now: достопримечательности
Phew! Now, what in heck does that word mean? Well, in New York City, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Central Park…those are just some of that city’s достопримечательности.
Can you tell me what the достопримечательности are in London? You have Buckingham palace, the Tower of London, Big Ben, the parliament building.
So, how would you translate the word достопримечательности? It’s “the main tourist sites”
Quick sidetrack here. The word meaning “center” as in, the city center, the downtown area of a city…that word in Russian is a cognate. But it starts with a “ts” sound like at the end of the word “hits.” Listen?
And to say “in the center” it’s this: в центре
There’s a little “yeh” sound at the end.
So, with that in mind, imagine I’ve told the desk clerk in my hotel that I intend to see all the sights today. Сегодня я собираюсь увидеть все достопримечательности.
She might tell me…
Все достопримечательности находятся в центре.
Can you translate what she said? Listen again:
All the main tourist sites are located in the center.
Let’s do some more translating.
Where is the cashier located?
Где находится касса?
Меня зовут Полина.
Me they call Polina…in normal English: My name is Polina.
Tell her: Very pleasant…as in, It’s very pleasant to meet you.
You need to go but you’ll see her later. What do you say?
And finally, in Moscow: Lenin’s tomb, Red Square, St. Basil’s church….these are some of the…
what’s the word?
Alright, I’ll see you in the next episode. And in the meantime, if you want to focus on your conversational Russian skills, be sure to get my Russian Made Easy podcast.