Introduction to Russian Alphabet: 76

This last sentence meant: I already know the Russian letters.

We are done! Congratulations, now you have learnt all the letters of the Russian alphabet! You probably won’t remember them all at once, but it’s just going to be a matter of practice.

But… we are not done with the alphabet yet. Stick with me for one more lesson, because I will explain a few important rules so that you can read Russian as well.

You see, you can read most of Russian if you know the letters. But… the letters are not always pronounced the way they are written.

Why? Well, there are three major exceptions to know when letters are pronounced differently. Don’t worry, they are pretty easy and we are going to learn them all now.

Let’s begin with the major thing. This is a bit tricky but it is really the most difficult of them all.

You see, Russian words have stress.

This is nothing new, though. English words have stress as well. You hear stress by listening to speech.

For example, the word understandable is stressed on stand. You don’t stay UNderstandable (that would sound weird) or unDERstandable or any other way but you say underSTANDable. That’s the stress.

Even short words such as EAsy have stress (you don’t say eaSY – unless you speak with a thick French accent).

In Russian, you can sometimes find how the words are stressed in dictionaries, or sometimes the word is even stressed for you in a text (it is usually done by putting a stress sign such as ´ on the letter the word is stressed on).

So that’s the first thing to know. Russian words have stress and you learn it by listening to the words.

This is needed in order not to sound weird and to distinguish better between the words. This also helps about the second of the three rules we are going to be learning.

The second one is…

The letter o in Russian is pronounced like a short a (as in similar), unless it is stressed.

This is evident from words like milk, which in Russian is:


What happens with it? Well, the word is stressed in the ending so it would be written with stress:


Thus the word is pronounced malako.

Another example is the word for early in Russian which is:


It is stressed in the beginning of the word (and not on the o) so the word is pronounced rana (with the first a being way stronger than the second because it is stressed).

Not so hard, is it?

The last thing you need to learn to be able to read Russian is even easier. Do you remember the letter g - г?

It is pronounced like g (as in good), right? Well, yes. Except... except when it is in the ending ого.

It is not pronounced like a g in this case, because… in the ending ого, г is pronounced like a v.

So, for example, we have a word of interesting which in Russian is:


The word is stressed on рес (so we can apply the second rule we learnt here, and thus both оs will be pronounced as as).

So, the way this word would be pronounced is interjesnava.

Now you know the rules. Russian words have stress, stress affects the way о is pronounced, and г between two o’s is pronounced like a v. That’s it.

We’re done with this alphabet course. Go on and read some Russian now.

And, to end this, let's type in the Russian word for good, which is khorosho.

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