Teaching Russian Phonetics With Help Of Mouth Harp Musical Instrument


Teaching Russian phonetics has always been a challenge for teachers of Russian as a foreign language. Articulatory differences between sounds of native and Russian languages, pronunciation training, internalization of sound patterns of the target language imply comprehensive efforts that can be aided by various musical instruments. The purpose of this study is to identify key phonetic issues for students from China and South Korea and to overcome such issues with help of a Yakut traditional musical instrument, a variety of mouth harp. Methodological background of the study includes a comparison of phonetic structure of languages, observation, examination, and generalization of personal experience of teaching in a non-native speaking audience. The study involved 250 international students of the Foundation Department of Ammosov North-Eastern Federal University. In the course of work, students performed various phonetic exercises using mouth harp. The results of the study indicate a positive trend in acquisition of Russian sounds by non-native speakers. It resulted in clear pronunciation of individual sounds and complex combinations with double vowels, as well as in distinguishing between voiceless/voiced consonants by ear, and in enhanced number and quality of pronounced words and phrases. The obtained results were structured to elaborate a range of mouth harp exercises for practicing sounds that represent a difficulty for non-native speakers. This allowed to consider the opportunities of using the musical instrument in techniques of teaching Russian as a foreign language more broadly. Such opportunities lie in cultivating imagination and ear for music in students, while removing intercultural barriers.

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