Russian Pronunciation Symbols

These letters have no sound on their own, but are  considered letters.

Ь (ь) – the ‘soft sign’ makes the previous letter ‘soft’.
This sign is represented as ”
Example:
соль [sol’] (salt), дочь [doch’] (daughter), семь [sем’] (seven).

Ъ (ъ) – the ‘hard sign’ indicates a slight pause between syllables.
This sign is represented as “
Example:
объект [ob”yekt] (object) , отъезд [ot”yezd] (departure), подъём [pod”yom] (climb).

New Russian letters and sounds

The sounds are familiar, but they don’t have their own letter in English.

Ю (ю) is pronounced like the word “you” or the “u” in the words: university, unit, universe.
Example:
юг [yug] (south), юбка [yubka] (skirt), люблю [lyublyu] (I love)

Я (я) is pronounced like the “ya” in the word: yard.
Example:
я [ya] (I), ягода [yàgаdà] (berry), яблоко [yàblaka] (apple).

Ё (ё) is pronounced like the word “your” or “yo” in the words: yogurt, yonder.
In modern Russian Ё (ё) you can be written as Е (е).
Example:
ёлка [yòlka] (Christmas tree), лёд [lyod] (ice), актёр [aktyor] (actor).

Ж (ж) is pronounced like “s in the words: usually, measure, pleasure or like “g” in the word beige. This sound is represented as “zh“.
Example:
жара [zharà] (heat), жена [zhenà] (wife), жир [zhir] fat), жук [zhuk] (beetle).

Ц (ц) is pronounced like to the “ts” sound  in the words: sits, its.
Example:
цвет [tsvet] (colour), цветок [tsvetok] (flower), цифра [tsifra] (numeral).

Ч (ч) is pronounced like the “ch” in the words: children, church, chips.
Example:
час [chas] (hour), часто [chàsta] (often), чек [chek] (check).

Ш (ш) is pronounced like the “sh” in the words: she, short, shut.
Example:
шарф [sharf] (scarf), шутка [shutka] (joke), шея [sheya] (neck), шёлк [sholk] (silk).

Щ (щ) is pronounced like “shch” but with a tongue on the roof of the mouth.
Example:
щека [shcheka] (cheek), щенок [shchenok] (puppy), щётка [shchyotka] (brush)

Ы (ы) is pronounced like the “i” in the words: ill, bit. This sound is represented as “y
Example:
сыр [syr] (cheese), дым [dym] (smoke), усы [oosy] (mustache).

Й (й) is pronounced like the “yin  in the words: yellow, yes.
Example:
чай [chay] (tea), мой [moy] (my), яйцо [yaytso] (egg).

The Russian letters that have familiar sounds but look different

Б (б) is pronounced like the “b” in the words: book, box, beauty.
It is an equivalent to the English letter “b“.
Example:
буква [‘bookva] (letter), брат [brat] (brother), банк [bank] (bank).

Г (г) is pronounced like the “g” in the words: game, go, good.
It is an equivalent to the English letter “g“).
Example:
гора [gorà] (mountain), нога [nogà] (leg), много [mnòga] (a lot of).

Д (д) is pronounced like the “d” in the words: door, dog, double.
It is an equivalent to the English letter “d“.
Example:
дом [dom] (house, home), где [gdye] (where), когда [kogda] (when).

З (з) is pronounced like the “z” in the words: zoo, size, fuzz.
It is an equivalent to the English letter “z“.
Example:
зонт [zont] (umbrella), зуб [zoob] (tooth), знак [znak](sign), звук [zvook] (sound)

И (и) is pronounced like the “i” in the words: big, taxi, pink.
It is an equivalent to the English letter “i“, the short ‘ee‘ sound.
(The hand-written form and cursive for “и” looks like the English “u“).
Example:
они [ani] (they), игра [igra] (game), из [iz] (from).

Л (л) is pronounced like the “l” in the words: like, love, life.
It is an equivalent to the English letter “l“.
Example:
стол [stol] (table), стул [stool] (chair), вилка [‘vilka] (fork)

П (п) is pronounced like the “p” in the words: pen, paper, please.
It is an equivalent to the English letter “p“.
Example:
лампа [làmpa] (lamp), полка [pòlka] (shelf), план [plan] (plan).

Ф (ф) is pronounced like the “f” in the words: free, fry, fat.
It is an equivalent to the English letter “f“.
Example:
фраза [fraza] (phrase), телефон (tyelyefòn] (telephone), фрукт [frookt] (fruit).

Э (э) is pronounced like the “e” in the word fed.
Example:
это [eto] (this), мэр [mer] mayor, эра  [era] (era), эхо [eho] (echo).

The Russian letters that look like the English ones but sound different.

В (в) is pronounced like the “v” in the words: very, vet, vase.
It is an equivalent to the English letter V(v).
Example:
вам [vam] (us), вот [vot] (here).

Е (е) is pronounced like the “ye” in the words: yes, yellow.
Example:
век [vyek] (century), ветка [vyètka] (branch).

Н (н) is pronounced like the “n” in the words: no, net, nut.
It is an equivalent to the English letter N(n).
Example:
нет [nyet] (No), он [on] (he), она [anà] (she), окно [aknò] (window)

Р (р) is pronounced like the “r” in the words: run, drive, free, but it is rolled.
It is an equivalent to the English letter R (r).
Example:
рама [ràma] (frame), рот [rot] (mouth), река [ryekà] (river).

С (с) is pronounced like the “s” in the words: sea, sport, say.
It is an equivalent to the English letter “s” or  to the “c” before the “e”,”i and “y”, that that it’s used like the “s” sound in the English words: city, centre and cinema.
Example:
cок [sok] (juice), сто [sto] (hundred), место [mèsta] (place), сестра [syestrà] (sister).

У (у) is pronounced like the “oo” in the words: good, food, soon.
Example:
урок [ooròk] (lesson), рука [rookà] (arm), сумка [‘soomka] (bag).

Х (х) is pronounced like the “h” in the words: hello, house, hand.
Example:
сахар [‘sahar] (sugar), верх [vyerh] (top), смех [smyeh] (laughter).

 

The Russian letters are the same as the English ones

The Russian letters  К, M, T, A, O look and sound like the English ones, so they are easy to remember.

А(а) is pronounced like the “a” in the words: car, father, far.

К(к) is  pronounced like the “k” in in the words: kind, kitten, keep or  the English “c” sound in words like “cook”.
Example:
как [kak] (how).

M(м) is pronounced like the “m in the words: map, man, menu but the hand-written м should always start from the bottom).

Example:
мама [màma] (mother), мак [mak] (poppy).

Т(т) is pronounced like the “t” in the words: tap, tool, two.
(The front part of the tongue is pressed against the upper teeth.)
The Russian Тт  for the cursive versions looks different from the printed form or English cursive styles:

О(о) is pronounced like the ”o in the words: more, orange, olive,
when it is in stressed positions and like “a” in unstressed ones.
Example:
кот [kot] (cat, tomcat), aтом [àtam] (atom)
кто [kto] (who)
Кто там? (Who’s there?)
(You can use this phrase when somebody knocks on your door.)