008 – Accent marks in Russian words
Russian accents (stress marks) is one of the most challenging things for every Russian student. Today we’ll talk about them and try to make the idea of unpredictable accents less stressful for you.
As we saw in the previous lessons, every word in Russian language carries an accent. These accents are fundamental in Russian – accentuated vowels are pronounced with more intensity and do not change their sound in pronunciation as we learned before.
Unfortunately, there is no rules in Russian that would help you guess where the accent goes. To make the things worse, the Russians do not have a habit of putting accents on words when writing. At the same time, changing the accents can not only complicate the communication, but change the meaning of the word completely. For example:
замо́к [zamók] – lock
за́мок [zámok] – castle
у́же [úzhe] – narrower
уже́ [uzhé] – already
This is why you should always memorize Russian words together with the accents. It’s seems like a lot of work, but we promise, further down the road it will become easier as you’ll start seeing some patterns and be able to guess the correct accentuation.
There are a few tools in the internet that can help you with the Russian accents. For example, morpher.ru will put all the accents in the text you enter into the field. The only problem is that when the word can have a few different accents (i.e. a few different meanings for every accent), this tool will offer you all of them.
In the example below, the word дома have two different meanings depending on where you put the accent:
– дóма – at home
– домá – houses
Remember also that the letter Ё is always accentuated. Unfortunately, very soon you’ll come accross the fact that Russains prefer to replace the written Ё by E. If you find yourself trying to read a text where Ё-s are not specified, it’s safer to assume that the words contain E, because the Ё is the least used letter in the Cyrillic alphabet.
To ease your mind we’ll disclose a little secret to you: sometimes even Russian themselves can’t remember where the accent goes in certain words, for example, the word звонит (calls/is calling) is prounounced by many as звóнит, although the correct variant is considered to be звони́т.
To finish, let’s learn some new Russian words and practice their pronunciation. Listen to the audio and repeat after it.
сло́во [sló-va] – word
компью́тер [kamp-yú-teer] – computer
ве́тер [vyé-teer] – wind
бума́га [bu-má-ga] – paper
экра́н [ek-rán] – screen
письмо́ [pees’-mó] – letter, mail
сообще́ние [sa-ap-sché-nee-ye] – message