Review the letters that you have seen so far, clicking on the sound file and repeating the sound as you read through the tables. Then work on learning the new letters below.
|Б б||[b]||as in boy, bat|
|З з||[z]||as in zero, zebra|
|Ч ч||[ch]||as in cheek, cheat|
|бу́ква||звук||коммента́рий||ы||[i]||as in hill (short [i], but pronounced at the back of the mouth)|
|ь||[ø]||soft sign = мя́гкий знак (this letter makes no sound of its own, but indicates that the preceding consonant should be pronounced «soft.» More about this in Section 1.2|
It’s important to notice and attend to the small differences that distinguish certain letters in the Russian alphabet. It may take some time to get used to them. Inspect these six pairs of letters of the Russian alphabet and note the visual differences. Click on each one to hear the sounds they make. Be sure you distinguish these letters when you read, since each letter represents a different sound.
|э||з||The consonant з has a small indentation between its top and bottom halves; the vowel э has a smooth curve.|
|п||л||The letter л has a small initial hook to the lower left side; the letter п has straight sides.|
|и||й||The consonant й, prounounced like an English [y], has a hook over it; the vowel и does not have a hook.|
|и||н||The print letter н has a level crossbar in the middle, while the vowel и has a slanted crossbar running from the lower left to the upper right.|
|н||п||The letter н has a level crossbar in the middle, while the letter п has a level bar only across the top.|
|ы||ь||The letters ы and ь (soft sign) are the same size, but the vowel ы has an additional vertical bar on the right.|
When Russian shares a cognate with English, sounding out will help you get a sense of how the word is pronounced, and also give you a clue to meaning. But whether the Russian word has a cognate or not, sounding out will often be a first step for you to learn the word, recognizing its letters and syllables.
When you face a very long word, break the work into syllables building up from one, to two to three syllables. If you can’t wrap your tongue around the opening consonant cluster in a long word, move to the last syllable and start building the word from the ending.
You will hear one of three syllables read. Click on the one that you hear.