Friendly Russian: Learning How to Read & Write in Russian

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Lesson 1 | Lesson 2 | Lesson 3 | Lesson 4 | Lesson 5 | Lesson 6 | Lesson 7 | Lesson 8
Lesson 1 | Lesson 2 | Lesson 3 | Lesson 4 | Lesson 5 | Lesson 6 | Lesson 7 | Lesson 8| Lesson 9 | Lesson 10
Lesson 1 | Lesson 2 | Lesson 3 | Lesson 4
Lesson 1 | Lesson 2 | Lesson 3

Chapter 1: Lesson 6

 

The Alphabet:

Russian letters whose sounding is hard to convey by a casual combination of letters:

 

Жж

Щщ

ы

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zh
shch
i

ListenListen to all words

         
Click on the word for the sound:

Жж- zh

  журна́л осторо́жно жа́рко
/measure/ wife magazine carefully hot
     
  у́жин уже́
  supper already
       
  муж инжене́р  
  husband engineer   also
         

Щщ - shch

щи борщ това́рищ же́нщина
/fresh cheese/ cabbage soup beet soup comrade woman
         
  плащ ещё  
  raincoat more, yet  
       

ы - i

вы́ход мы́ло ры́ба
/hill/ exit soap watch, clock fish
       
  му́зыка язы́к сын
  music tongue son
  сыр    
  cheese    

 

Pronunciation tips (looking back at the alphabet)

Voiced and voiceless consonants

You already know that Russian like English has voiced and voiceless consonants. Twelve of them form pairs:

VOICED CONSONANTS

Б

В

Г

Д

Ж

З

 
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VOICELESS CONSONANTS

П

Ф

К

Т

Ш

С

 
Listen to the pairs!

The two consonants within each pair are formed in the same way (for example, Б and П are formed by lips, B and Ф - by upper teeth and lower lips, etc); the difference between them is that all the upper row sounds are accompanied by voice, whereas the lower ones are not.

In certain positions, however, Russian voiced consonants (unlike their English counterparts) get easily ‘devoiced.’ You may remember that it happens when they are:

ListenListen

  • at the end of words: хлеб (bread), Бог (God), год (year), нож (knife), глаз (eye)
  • or, before a voiceless consonant: авто́бус (bus), во́дка (vodka), ло́жка (spoon)

ListenListen and repeat

  • обе́д (dinner)
  • муж (husband)
  • вход (entrance)
  • вы́ход (exit)
  • юг (south)
  • подъе́зд (main door)
  • го́род (city)
  • друг (friend)
  • бе́рег (shore)
  • вку́сно (tasty)
  • за́втра (tomorrow)
  • за́втрак (breakfast)
  • ю́бка (skirt)
  • зуб (tooth)

NOTE: If you do not aim at perfection or find it hard to observe this ‘voicelessness’, do not worry: you will be understood correctly anyway.

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