I can see that several questions (1, 2) have already been asked about this, but I would like to ask specifically in the context of Russian phonetics. Russian is my native language, but I'm fluent in English. I've lived in the US for the last 12 years and I'm 26. I don't seem to have problems with any other sounds that don't exist in Russian (e.g. th, w, or the difference between oo in food and foot). But these e and a (as in ten and tan) are the bane of my existence. They are virtually impossible for me to distinguish (I usually just guess from the context) and are even harder to pronounce distinctly. To make matters worse, every time I ask native speakers about how to pronounce them, I seem to get conflicting information.
Here's an English phonetic chart for reference. Unfortunately, I can't find one for Russian (has nobody made one? I'd like to see it).
On separate occasions people have told me that either /æ/ or /ɛ/ sounds like the Russian э. But if I make anyone say the two English vowels over and over they sound closer to each other than to э.
Does anyone have personal experience or opinions regarding this?
I just looked this up on YouTube, and it's only made me more confused.
The way this guy pronounces the two sounds makes it seem like
a is just a longer version of