Learning Russian — lesson 1

Learning Russian — lesson 1

The Russian alphabet is easy!

Learning the alphabet is the first step to learning Russian language. Even if you don't plan to learn the language, knowing the alphabet is great for travelling. One of the greatest things in Russian is that almost all words are pronunced as the`ve written. 

The Russian alphabet is known as the Cyrillic alphabet. There are 33 letters which include 11 vowels, 20 consonants, and 2 pronunciation signs. Here is the Russian alphabet (in dictionary order). 

Learning Russian: letterse17bf95033820ac1cee3cdf041554b25

А, Б, В, Г, Д, Е, Ё, Ж, З, И, Й, К, Л, М, Н, О, П, Р, С, Т, У, Ф, Х, Ц, Ч, Ш, Щ, Ъ, Ы, Ь, Э, Ю, Я. 

Learning Russian: pronunciation

Russian letters that are (almost) the same as English analogies. 

А а Pronounced like the "a" in the word "father" or "car". It is not the 'flat' "a" sound you sometimes hear in words like "cat" or "flat". 

К к Pronounced like the "k" in "kitten" or "kangaroo". This letter replaces the english "c" sound in words like "cat". 

М м Pronounced like the "m" in man. (Note: Unlike english, the hand-written "м" should always start from the bottom) 

O o When stressed, it is pronounced like the "o" in "bore". When un-stressed it is pronounced more like the letter "a". (See later notes.) 

Т т Pronounced like the "t" in "tap". (Note: The hand-written (and italic) form is "т". It should always start from the top, as it looks quite similar to the letter "м") 

These are Russian letters that look like English letters but sound differently. 

(don't get them mixed up!) 

В в Pronounced like the "v" in "vet". (Equivalent to the english letter "v"). 

Е е Pronounced like the "ye" in "yes". 

Н н Pronounced like the "n" in "no". (Equivalent to the english letter "n"). 

Р р Pronounced like the "r" in "run", but it is rolled. (Equivalent to the english letter "r"). 

С с Pronounced like the "s" in "see". (Equivalent to the english letter "s"). (It might help to remember that it's used like the "s" sound in the english words "centre" and "cent".) 

У у Pronounced like the "oo" in "good" or "shoot". 

Х х Pronounced like the "h" in "hi". However, this is often pronounced more like the "ch" in the Scottish "Loch" or German "Bach", or the mexican pronunciation of "x" in "Mexico". 

Russian letters that look differently but have familiar sounds: 758028._SX540_

Б б Pronounced like the "b" in "bat". (Equivalent to the english letter "b"). 

Г г Pronounced like the "g" in "go". (Equivalent to the english letter "g"). 

Д д Pronounced like the "d" in "dog". (Equivalent to the english letter "d"). 

З з Pronounced like the "z" in "zoo". (Equivalent to the english letter "z"). 

И и Pronounced like the "i" in "taxi". (Sometimes equivalent to the english letter "i", the short 'ee' sound.). (Note: The hand-written form for "и" looks a little like the english "u"). 

Л л Pronounced like the "l" in "love". (Equivalent to the english letter "l"). 

П п Pronounced like the "p" in "pot". (Equivalent to the english letter "p"). 

Ф ф Pronounced like the "f" in "fat". (Equivalent to the english letter "f"). 

Э э Pronounced like the "e" in "fed". 

New Russian letters and sounds 

(The sounds will be familiar, but they don't have their own letter in English). 
Ю ю Pronounced like the "u" in "universe". (Pronounced much like the english word "you"). 

Я я Pronounced like the "ya" in "yard". 

Ё ё Pronounced like "yo" in "yonder". (Note: In modern Russian you may find this letter simply written as Е е.) 

Ж ж Like "s" in "measure", "pleasure" or "fusion" or like "g" in colour "beige". (As there is no english symbol for this sound, it is usually represented as "zh") 

Ц ц Similar to the "ts" sound in "sits" or "its". 

Ч ч Pronounced like the "ch" in "chips" or "church" Ш ш Pronounced like the "sh" in shut. 

Щ щ Pronounced like "sh" but with your tongue on the roof of your mouth. Try putting your tongue in the same position as you would to say "ch" but say "sh" instead. English speakers may find it hard to define the difference between "ш" and "щ". 

Ы ы Pronounced like the "i" in "bit" or "ill". (Said with your tongue slightly back in your mouth.) russian_vocab_by_lolicaust

Й й This letter is used to form diphthongs. So "oй" is like the "oy" sound in "boy" or "aй" is like the "igh" in "sigh". 

Pronunciation Symbols 
(These letters have no sound on their own, but are still considered letters.). 
Ъ ъ The 'Hard Sign' is rarely used. It indicates a slight pause between sylables. 

Ь ь The 'Soft Sign' makes the previous letter 'soft'. Think of the "p" sound in the word "pew". (Try inflecting a very slight "y" sound onto letter before it.) 

A note about vowels 
You may have noticed that there are often two forms of a vowel, hard and soft. It may help to note the corresponding vowels. 

А ("a") Я ("ya") 
Э ("e") Е ("ye") 
У ("oo") Ю ("yoo") 
О ("o") Ё ("yo") 
Ы and И are corresponding vowels but don't really follow this pattern. 
Й is also considered a vowel 
The "y" sound is always pronounced. It may take some time to get used to pronouncing it with consonants. 

Download the first lesson.

Additional information:

— Learning Russian in our centre!

— Learning Russian via Skype;

— Another foreign languages//Другие иностранные языки.

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