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Oral posture refers to a dialect or accent's "home base" in terms of articulatory settings - specifically the jaw, the lips, the tongue, the cheeks, and the velum (soft palate). 

JAW​: limited range of motion and fairly raised
TONGUE: The back body of the tongue often retracts
CHEEKS: There is little buccinator engagement, meaning the cheeks tend to be relaxed.
LIPS: Slight lip corner tension with a tendency to slightly protrude the lips.


This clip provides a great demonstration of the relaxed cheeks and lip protrusion in this accent.

Oral posture in action in both Russian and English.

Oral Posture Quick Tip: The Hesitation Sound

A clue to a speaker's oral posture can be their thinking or hesitation sounds, something every speaker has. 

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[ a̠ ]

The audio and video clips demonstrate a hesitation sound from a couple of different Russian speakers, which can be described as a retracted, unrounded, front open vowel. To achieve this sound, think about cupping the tongue and retracting the root of the tongue.

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