Russian For Everyone
Learn Russian Online
Self study guide   About us



Russian Alphabet


There are 33 letters in the Russian Alphabet: 10 vowels, 21 consonants, and 2 signs (ь, ъ).

Click each letter to listen, then click again and repeat after speaker imitating the pronunciation as closely as you can.

Click "Play" to watch how to handwrite letters and words.

Letter Handwriting Name of Letter Similar English Sound Sample Handwriting
Download sound А а

Play
a like ar in far
Download sound   а́том

Play
Download sound Б б

Play
be like b in box
Download sound   бато́н

Play
Download sound В в

Play
ve like v in voice
Download sound   ва́режки

Play
Download sound Г г

Play
ge like g in go
Download sound   гру́ша

Play
Download sound Д д

Play
de like d in day
Download sound   ды́ня

Play
Download sound Е е

Play
ye like ye in yet or e in exit
Download sound   ежеви́ка

Play
Download sound Ё ё

Play
yo like yo in your
Download sound   ёж

Play
Download sound Ж ж

Play
zhe like s in pleasure
Download sound   жук

Play
Download sound З з

Play
ze like z in zoo
Download sound   замо́к

Play
Download sound И и

Play
ee like ee in meet
Download sound   икра́

Play
Download sound Й й

Play
ee kratkoye (short i) like y in boy
Download sound   йо́гурт

Play
Download sound К к

Play
ka like k in key or c in cat
Download sound   клубни́ка

Play
Download sound Л л

Play
el like l in lamp
Download sound   лимо́н

Play
Download sound М м

Play
em like m in man
Download sound   мали́на

Play
Download sound Н н

Play
en like n in note
Download sound   носки́

Play
Download sound О о

Play
o like o in not
Download sound   о́вощи

Play
Download sound П п

Play
pe like p in pet
Download sound   пе́рец

Play
Download sound Р р

Play
er like r in rock (but rolled)
Download sound   ры́ба

Play
Download sound С с

Play
es like s in sun
Download sound   стул

Play
Download sound Т т

Play
te like t in table
Download sound   торт

Play
Download sound У у

Play
oo like oo in moon
Download sound   у́дочка

Play
Download sound Ф ф

Play
ef like f in food
Download sound   фру́кты

Play
Download sound Х х

Play
kha like ch in Scottish loch
Download sound   хво́я

Play
Download sound Ц ц

Play
tse like ts in boots
Download sound   ци́фры

Play
Download sound Ч ч

Play
che like ch in chat
Download sound   ча́шка

Play
Download sound Ш ш

Play
sha like sh in short
Download sound   ша́пка

Play
Download sound Щ щ

Play
shcha like sh_ch in fresh_cheese
Download sound   щётка

Play
Download sound ъ

Play
tviordiy znak (hard sign) has no sound
Download sound ы

Play
ih* like i in ill
Download sound ь

Play
myagkiy znak (soft sign) has no sound
Download sound Э э

Play
e like e in end
Download sound   экра́н

Play
Download sound Ю ю

Play
yoo like u in use
Download sound   ю́бка

Play
Download sound Я я

Play
ya like ya in yard
Download sound   я́блоко

Play
* ih - "h" had been added to produce a more open sound, but is not pronounced as an English "h".



About Russian Alphabet

Russian is an Eastern Slavonic language closely related to Ukrainian and Belorussian with about 277 million speakers in Russia and 30 other countries.

The Cyrillic alphabet was introduced into Russia (Kievan Rus' ) at the time of its conversion to Christianity (988 AD). The alphabet, the Cyrillic script is named in honor of the Byzantine scholar and monk, Cyril (827-869 AD), who, together with his brother Methodius (826-885 AD), created the first Slavic writing system in the second half of the ninth century in order to translate the Bible and other Christian texts into the Slavic languages.

Cyril and Methodius called their alphabet Glagolitsa, or the Glagolitic alphabet. The name comes from the Old Slavic word glagolŭ, which means ‘sound’. The Glagolitic alphabet was used for Slavonic manuscripts for a relatively short period of time (no more than a century) before the development of the Cyrillic. The Cyrillic alphabet was derived from Glagolitic by Cyril’s pupils and named after him. Cyrillic letters are different from the Glagolitic ones and have lots in common with the Greek letters.

Until the 17th century, the only written language in Russia was Church Slavonic. Civil Russian language started appearing in writing during the reign of Peter the Great (1672-1725). The dialect of Moscow was used as the basis for written Russian. The new civil alphabet was introduced by Peter the Great himself in order to write civil books, books on science and other texts not related to the church.

Four letters were eliminated from the alphabet in a 1918 language reform. Since 1918 the alphabet remains unchanged.


Russian keyboard layout


from here



Back to self study guide


Back to main