In the Los Angeles area, there is a large community of individuals from Russia. I have had the pleasure of working with many people from this country, including lawyers, actors, pharmacists, insurance brokers, and IT managers, helping them to reduce their accent.
Naturally, the severity of accents differs from person to person (See my blog post “Everyone is Unique”); however, there are some common pronunciation traits that I often observe.
Firstly, because the Russian language does not normally use articles such as “the,” “a,” and “an,” many of my clients speak English without including these words. So, for example, they might say, “I have white shirt,” instead of saying “I have a white shirt,” and “Witch is ugly,” instead of “The witch is ugly.”
Secondly, the most common sound production differences I have observed are trilled /r/ sounds; the addition of a hard /g/ at the end of words ending in ‘ing,’ ‘ong,’ ‘ang,’ and ‘ung;’ /v/ substituted for /w/ (for example ‘vite’ for the word ‘white’), and the use of unvoiced consonants for voiced consonants at the end of words, (for example ‘jop’ for ‘job’, ‘flak’ for ‘flag’, ‘luff’ for ‘love’, ‘bus’ for ‘buzz’, and bret’ for ‘bread’).
There are also several vowel sounds that I often work on such as the short ‘i’ as in the word “hit” that gets pronounced as a long ‘e’ and sounds like “heat”.
Through the accent reduction course that I teach, all of these areas are addressed, and considerable improvement rates are achieved.