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This lesson introduces five "soft" (palatalized) vowels of the Russian language я, е, ё, и, ю. You will also learn a rule of the Russian pronunciation called ikanie.
The basic rule to make a "soft" Russian vowel is to combine a sound of English y with corresponding "hard-indicating" vowel. For example, to get Russian я you should say y + a as if they are one whole (ya).
Note that when a soft-indicating vowel (such as "я") follows a consonant (as in "мясо"), it in fact has the sound of the corresponding hard vowel (the [a]-sound of "a" for "я"). The effect of the "softness" is achieved because of the way you pronounce the consonant letter (soft [m']+[a] instead of the hard [m]+[ya]).
This vowel is pronounced like English ya in yahoo. Practice these words:
The Russian sound of e is easy, because it is close to ye in English yes. Do not confuse it with English letter e, which sounds like Russian э. Practice these words:
In the word весело, an unstressed e sounds like an abbreviated Russian и. This rule is called ikanie and it is also applied to unstressed я and э.
unstressed positions, Russian letters Я, Е, Э are pronounced
like an abbreviated Russian И.
This letter is pronounced like yo in yolk. As you can see, ё is formed from y sound and vowel o: y + o = ё. Now practice these words:
letter Ё is always stressed in Russian words.
This letter is simply pronounced like ee in meet. There is no 'y' sound in front as with the above vowels. Practice these exercises:
The letter ю denotes the same sound as the English word you. Practice these words:
|Я (stressed)||ya||as ya in yahoo|
|Я (unstressed)||ee||as ee in meet, but very short|
|Е (stressed)||ye||as ye in yes|
|Е (unstressed)||ee||as ee in meet, but very short|
|Ё (always stressed)||yo||as yo in yolk|
|Ю||yoo||as the word you|
|И (stressed)||ee||as ee in meet|
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