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Let's suppose you are having a casual conversation with a friend and talking quickly and want to say, "Попал в бесперспективняк." Will you be able to pronounce this flawlessly and without changing the fast tempo of your speech?

I am asking because my teacher criticized me for slowing down the tempo when I pronounced that phrase. Calling my tongue clumsy, he then made me repeat this phrase many times. He made me "stress the consonants," as he puts it, and then to speed up the tempo. In the end, he got more or less pleased, but said that I still have to work in order to pronounce such phrases like a true Russian girl.

I am curious whether native speakers really have no difficulties pronouncing this phrase quickly and naturally.

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    i do and would never take trouble of having to articulate it, you can consider this one of those folk tongue twisters of which there're quite a few in Russian, maybe it's good for training but not really for actual speech – Баян Купи-ка Sep 1 at 22:22
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    Well, saying that word бесперспективняк is a good alcohol test, for a native speaker that is :) For a foreigner I would really expect anyone to have a hard time with it, unless you are training to be a super spy and absolutely must blend in at a Russian TV anchorman competition or a tongue-twister themed party. – DK. Sep 2 at 1:03
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    @DK then being able to pronounce this word effortlessly will be really suspicious ;) – PavelAndré Sep 2 at 9:08
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    Прыжок с подвыподвертом (russian.stackexchange.com/q/2498/487) – c.p. Sep 2 at 21:51
  • Your teacher wants to train you in tongue-twisters. Those can be trouble for native speakers in any language. – Alexander Sep 3 at 18:11
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I think it's a word which was specifically coined to be difficult to pronounce. There are many quasi-linguistic jokes about either complexity or uniqueness of the Russian language which feature silly or absurd or overcomplicated words or phrases, and "бесперспективняк" probably originates from a joke like that. Some of my friends use it, and they stumble upon its pronunciation every other time, but nobody makes a fuss over it.

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As for me, it's difficult to pronounce that phrase fast, but maybe it's because I've never even thought of saying such a silly word, and I can hardly imagine someone who'd use it. On the other hand, as a tongue-twister drill, it's pretty good. After some exercise and training, it's quite possible to learn to pronounce it quite fast. Training distinctive speech at high pace is very important at higher levels of language acquisition.

Every tongue-twister seems difficult or sometimes even impossible to pronounce quickly, but you know, Übung macht den Meister, practice makes champions.

Your teacher is absolutely right, repeating it many times, first slowly and then with more and more increased speed is the best way to get the most distinctive and crisp pronunciation.

Cheer up, you'll cope with it!

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    Thanks a lot. Could you elaborate on why you consider that word silly? – Mitsuko Sep 1 at 18:37
  • @Mitsuko - First, because it's hard to pronounce. Second, because the suffix -(н)як attached to adjectival roots usually produces vulgarized nouns used in low colloquial conversation (тупняк, глушняк, вторяк), but here the suffix is with the bookish root бесперспектив- which makes a strong contrast. It looks like a word from some low slang with a narrow professional sphere of usage. And overall, it just sounds silly, for me, subjectively. :P – Yellow Sky Sep 1 at 18:53
  • Could you give me a synonymous noun that you do not find silly? – Mitsuko Sep 1 at 18:54
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    It was about a job position that gave no career prospects. Someone got hired and later realized he попал в бесперспективняк. What is the Russian word for a situation in which there are no good prospects? – Mitsuko Sep 1 at 19:22
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    Personally, I would add that I've never heard it being used with such words as "попал в", "осознал", "увидел". Only in a descriptive manner: "Это бесперспективняк" или "Полный бесперспективняк". I wouldn't say that the other uses are unnatural, though... just unfamiliar. – PavelAndré Sep 2 at 9:10
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  1. If they use this word in a conversation then I assume they used it many times and won't have trouble with it.

  2. It's slang so not all native speakers will use it. I would use something more precise depending on context to say that I got into situation/profession/field with no good outcome no matter what I do here.

P.S.: To master this word I would divide it into prefixes, root, suffixes: "Бес" + "перспектив" + "няк"; and learn each part starting from hardest and adding "meat" to it until you get the whole word.

You can translate them to understand what is going on: "Lacking" + "Perspective" + "Russian suffixes to make quintilion words". Can't explain suffixes without research because they are natural for me and I don't need rules to apply them but there are rules for them too.

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