006 – Russian pronunciation rules – vowels
In the Russian language, as in many other language, some letters change their pronunciation depending on their position in the words and the letters that surround them. Today we start learning the Russian pronunciation rules.
This lesson we dedicate to the pronunciation of Russian vowels. You might have noticed that we add an accent mark (stress) to every Russian word that includes more that one vowel (syllable). It’s because the position of the accent affects the pronunciation of the words in Russian, so knowing where put an accent (make the stress) tells you how to pronounce the word. If there is only one vowel in a word, it’s the one that’s stressed. You can read more about the stress in the Russian words here.
- Overall Russians tend be lazy with their pronunciation, so the Russiah letter O, when it’s unstressed, usually sounds close to A.
– по́мощь [pó-masch] – help
– молоко́ [ma-la-kó] – milk
- The same “lazy pronunciation” happens to the letters Я, Е and Э. When unstressed and not in the beginning or end of the word, the Russian letters Я, Е and Э tend to be pronounced close to the Russian sound И.
– е́хать [yé-hat’] – to go (by vehicle) [E stressed]
– мечта́ [meech-tá] – dream [E unstressed]
– я́щик [yá-scheek] – box [Я stressed]
– тяжёлый [tee-zhó-lyî] – heavy [Я stressed]
– э́хо [é-ha] – echo [Э stressed]
– аэродро́м [a-ee-ra-dróm] – airfield [Э unstressed]
- The letter Ё (don’t confuse it with E) is always stressed (accentuated) in the Russian words (but you’ll never see an accent mark above it as it’s assumed):
– зелёный [zee-lyó-nyî] – green
– жёлтый [zhól-tyî] – yellow
That’s all you need to remember about the pronunciation of Russian vowels. Listen to the audio examples and repeat after it.
In the next lesson we’ll learn about the pronunciation of Russian consonants.