Russian For Everyone Learn Russian Language Online

Self study guide for elementary level learners of Russian
and for intermediate level students who wish to review basic grammar and vocabulary




Introductory Lesson 3

Learn Russian hushing and velar sounds. Stress and vowel reduction (, )




Introduction. Russian letters and sound system
Russian alphabet
Sounds, handwriting, keyboard
Introductory Lesson 1
Reading syllables. Translating This is..., Here is...
Introductory Lesson 2
Reading syllables. Conjunctions and
Introductory Lesson 3
Learn Russian hushing and velar sounds. Stress and vowel reduction (, )
Quiz 1
Check what you have learned from Lessons 1-3 with this 10 minute quiz.
Introductory Lesson 4
Letters ,,,
Introductory Lesson 5
Learn Russian 7-letter spelling rule
Introductory Lesson 6
Learn Russian Hard and Soft onsonants. Vowel reduction (, )
Quiz 2
Check what you have learned from Lessons 4-6 with this 15 minute quiz.
Introductory Lesson 7
Letters and . Pronunciation of , , , . Letters , ,
Introductory Lesson 8
Unpaired hard and soft consonants. The soft consonant
Quiz 3
Check what you have learned from Lessons 7-8 with this 15 minute quiz.
Introductory Lesson 9
Voiced and Voiceless Consonants. Devoicing of Final Consonants. Consonant Clusters
Introductory Lesson 10
Pronunciation of , , and
Phrasebook Topic 1
Learn how to greet people and say goodbye in Russian
Phrasebook Topic 2
Introducing Yourself in Russian
Quiz 4
Check what you have learned from Lessons 7-8 with this 10 minute quiz.

                                                            Lesson 3 - 3

 
3.1. Letters in syllables 
Practice reading combinations of consonants and vowels. 
Click each combination to listen, then click again and say it with me. 

Practice reading combinations of consonants and vowels. 

Click each combination to listen, then click again and say it with me. 

Practice reading combinations of consonants and vowels.

Click each combination to listen, then click again and say it with me. 

Practice reading some Russian sentences.

 Click each sentence to listen, then click again and say it with me. 

1. .

2. .

3. .

4. , .

 

3.2.

 

Stress and Vowel Reduction rules

In a word that has more than one syllable there will be one vowel which is pronounced more strongly than the others. This is a stressed vowel. Since the stress on a word determines how some of the vowels are pronounced, starting from this unit we mark (underline)* it for the words you need to pronounce.

 

* In textbooks and dictionaries the stress is marked with the stress symbol which is put above a vowel letter like this: . We have to avoid using this symbol because it is not always properly reflected on computers.

 

Note that stress will not be marked if:

  • a word has only one syllable (for example: , , , );
  • capitalized vowel is stressed (if you see the name , you know to place the stress on the first syllable);
  • a word has the vowel which is always stressed (for example: - he sings).

 

Click the following words to listen and note how the stressed vowel is pronounced:

You can hear that the stressed sounds like a in father, whereas the unstressed (unaccented) sounds like a in above. This change in the sound of an unaccented vowel is called reduction. Reduced vowels are pronounced more weakly. Listen to the words above again and note the difference in pronunciation of stressed and unstressed .

 

Reduction is even more noticeable with the vowel letter . In the word (outer space), for example, the first is pronounced clearly, whereas the second is reduced to the sound of a [uh] in above. The phonetic symbol [] stands for the this sound in the phonetic transcription.

These changes are only reflected in the pronunciation of the word. So we say [] but we spell , we say [] but we spell (ear).

Click the words below to listen and note the difference in pronunciation of stressed and unstressed .

So, the vowels and   reduce to short [] or even shorter [ ] ("uh") when not stressed. While reading, follow the basic vowel reduction rules.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vowel Reduction Rule 1 

In the first syllable before the stress the letter sounds like :

we spell

we say

[]

[]

  - window, - Moscow

 

Vowel Reduction Rule 2

Anywhere after the stress and more than one syllable before the stress:

we spell

we say

[]

[]

[]

[]

[]

  - well, good

The phonetic transcriptions, shown between square brackets, are intended to remind you about vowel reduction and other aspects of Russian pronunciation which are not obvious from the spelling.

Exercises  
Practice identifying consonants , , , , , , in syllables
Practice spelling Russian words from the pictures above

Back to main