Lesson 1.3 – Basic – Alphabet – Consonants Part 2
Where we are at in the process:
- Previous lesson: 1.2 Basic – Alphabet – Consonants pt 1
- This lesson: 1.3 Basic – Alphabet – Consonants part 2
- Next lesson: 2.0 Intermediate – Alphabet – Written / Typed forms
First a quick review.
In the Russian alphabet –
The ten vowels are: а, е, ё, и, о, у, ы, э, ю, and я.
The first twenty consonants are: в, к, м, н, п, р, с, т, х, ш (similar looking English letters)
The next twenty consonants are: б, г, д, ж, з, л, ф, ц, ч, щ
And three sound modifiers are: й, ъ, ь
THE CONSONANTS – Part 2
For all consonants: Until you understand the rules for when to use hard, soft, voiced, or unvoiced pronunciations, I suggest you stick with basic voiced / hard pronunciations. Following this suggestion, will increase the probability of being understood enough that a native speaker will be able to understand your meaning and be able to help you with proper pronunciation. To native Russian speakers, there is considerable difference in the pronunciations between a hard л and a soft ль, while to the novice speaker the two pronunciations will initially be indistinguishable.
б – is called ‘be’. Similar to ‘в’ it has a voice and unvoiced pronunciation. For example when voiced, it sounds like the ‘b’ in bet or ‘booty’. Notice the vibration in your vocal cords? This is the voiced pronunciation. You will need to practice spoken Russian out loud, not just at a whisper to clearly see the differences. Hint: unvoiced sounds more like ‘be’ in beauty. A ‘b’ with a simultaneous ‘y’ sound.
г – is called ‘ge’. Voiced, it sounds like the ‘g’ in gate. Unvoiced, it sounds like the ‘k’ in kate. For now use ‘g’ as in gate. In the advance levels, I’ll detail when to use voiced, unvoiced, hard, soft, etc.
д – is called ‘de’. Voiced, it sounds like the ‘d’ in date. Unvoiced, it sounds like the ‘t’ in date. When voiced, it can either be hard (such as the ‘d’ in date or do) or soft (such as the ‘d’ in dew).
ж – is called ‘zhe’. Voiced, it sounds like the ‘zh’ in pleasure. Unvoiced it sounds like the ‘sh’ in shut. It is one of three letters always pronounced hard. (ж, ц, ш)
з – is called ‘ze’. Voiced, it sounds like the ‘z’ in zoo. Unvoiced, it sounds like the ‘s’ in see.
л – is called ‘el’. The remaining consonants only have hard and soft versions. When hard it sounds like the ‘l’ in people. When soft it sounds like the ‘l’ in leaf. Reminder: soft consonants have a simultaneous ‘y’ component.
ф – is called ‘ef’. When hard it sounds like the ‘f’ in fat or fool. When soft it sounds like the ‘f’ in fuel.
ц – is called ‘tse’. It is always voiced, and always hard. It sounds like the ‘ts’ as in its.
ч – is called ‘che’. It is always voiced and always soft. It sounds like the ‘ch’ in church.
щ – is called ‘shsha’. It should not be confused with the letter ‘ш’ (Notice the little tail in the bottom right corner of the letter). It is always voiced, and always soft. It sounds like the ‘sh ch’ in fresh cheese.
And that is the basic alphabet!
Catch you on the next lesson.