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Russian Basic Pronunciation

PRONUNCIATION

In the Russian language, there are consonant and vowel letters. Russian has five vowel sounds and ten vowel letters. Five of the letters are “hard” and the rests are “soft”. The one vowel sound in each word that is stressed receives special emphasis. As you speak Russian, try in the beginning to exaggerate your pronunciation.

Consonant Letters
Russian

Letter

Russian Sound Example
б b as in bat банк
в v as in vote вот
г g as in go гол
д d as in dog да
ж zh as in azure жена
з z as in zoo за
й y as in boy мой
к k as in kayak касса
л l as in lot лампа
м m as in mall муж
н n as in note нос
п p as in papa парк
р r as in rabbit рот
с s as in sun суп
т t as in toe такси
ф f as in fund фунт
х ch as in bach, loch ах
ц ts as in tsar царь
ч ch as in cheap чнтает
ш sh as in show шапка
щ sh as in sheep щн
ъ hard sign
ь soft sign

 

VOWELS
Russian

Letter

Russian Sound Example
  HARD VOWELS  
а a as in father да
з e as in echo зхо
ы y as in hairy мы
о o as in hello но
у u as in rule ну
SOFT VOWELS
я ya as in yahoo я
е ye as in yes нет
и ee as in bee ива
ё yo as in yo-yo полёт
ю u as in union юмор

 

You know you’re in Russia when the simple sign for a restaurant looks like PECTOPAH. Actually, the Russian alphabet has only a few more letters than English. But to get started, look at the list below. Read aloud the pronunciation in the first column and then look at the Russian letters in the middle column. At the far right you’ll see the translation and you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn how many of them you already know. After the first three words we’ll add only one new letter per word.

Pronunciation Russian English Pronunciation Russian English
da да yes zal зал hall
nyet нет no fkhot вход entrance
bank банк bank vykhat выход exit
bar бар bar tsentr центр center
park парк park byuro бюро bureau
kasa касса cashier gardirop гардероб garderobe
taksi такси taxi pochta почта post office
kiosk киоск kiosk ryat ряд row
kafe кафе café stoytye стойте Stand!
bufyet буфет buffet nye kurit не курить No smoking
mitro метро metro bal’shoy болбшой the Bolshoi
maskva москва moscow zhenski женский ladies’ (room)
aeraport азропорт airport mushkoy мужской men’s (room)
aeraflot азрофлот aeroflot yischo ещё more, else
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