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 6

Learn Russian Hard and Soft onsonants. 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 6 - 6

 
6.1. Hard and Soft Consonants
For almost every consonant letter Russian has two sounds: a hard consonant and a soft consonant. The hard/soft distinction can make a difference in the meaning of some Russian words. Click the pair of words to listen. Compare:

     -

(corner - coal)

The letter has no sound of it's own. It indicates the softness of the preceding consonant when there is no vowel after the consonant. When a vowel appears after the consonant, it indicates whether that consonant is hard or soft.
Click the pair of words to listen. Compare:

       -

(onion - manhole)

 

The five Russian vowel sounds are spelled with one set of letters (, , , , ) after hard consonants and with an alternative set of letters (, , , , ) after soft consonants.

 

Memorize both sets of letters in order to read Russian correctly:

 

 !

  - indicate that the preceding consonant is hard. 

  and - indicate that the preceding consonant is soft.

 

 

  • The following consonants can be hard or soft: - ';  - ';  - '; - '; - '; - '; - '; - '; - '; - ', - '; - '. (We will agree to indicate the softness of a consonant by means of [ '] in the phonetic transcription).

  •  

  • After these consonants, the letter pairs /, /, /, /, /  represent the same vowel sound but the letters , , , , indicate that the preceding consonant is soft.

Listen how different syllables with the hard [] and soft ['] are pronounced. Click the syllable to listen, then say it. Two syllables in each pair should sound differently when you pronounce them.

   <->

   <->

   <->

   <->

   <->

Practice reading words with hard and soft consonants. Click each word to listen, then say it.

butter

meat

Ҹ

women's first name

men's first name

hands 

pants

mayor

measure

soap

women's first name

6.2. Vowel Reduction Rule 3
In the first syllable before the stress the letters , are pronounced like [ih]:
 
 

we spell

we say

[']

[']

[']

[']

translation

sister

dream

river

far away

 

6.3.

 

Vowel Reduction Rule 4

 Anywhere after the stress and more than one syllable before the stress , are pronounced like ' [yuh]
  
 

we spell

we say

[']

['']

[''']

['']

translation

number

teacher

ten

uncle

  
Exercises  
Listening and reading practice (hard [] and soft [']).
Listening and reading practice (hard [] and soft [']).
Listening and reading practice (hard [] and soft [']).
Listening and reading practice (hard [] and soft [']).
Listening and reading practice (hard [] and soft [']).
Listening and reading practice (hard [] and soft [']).
Listening and reading practice (hard [] and soft [']).
Listening and reading practice (hard [] and soft [']).
Listening and reading practice (hard [] and soft [']).
Listening and reading practice (hard [] and soft [']).
Listening and reading practice (hard [] and soft [']).
Listening and reading practice (hard [] and soft [']).
Listening and reading practice (unaccented and ).

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