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How to read Russian

- Course in 7 lessons with audio -
Lesson 1: THE RUSSIAN ALPHABET






Is it important to know how to read? The answer to this question can only be yes. When you learn a new language (Spanish, German, French,...), you always learn new words, how to read them and how to pronounce them, with the alphabet used in that language. Then, if you want to learn Russian, you should learn its abc, right? Learning the Russian alphabet (русский алфавит) and knowing how to read its letters, is the first step in the path to speak this language. Besides, this is much easier than you might think. This short course is divided in 7 lesson and you can complete all of them in just one or two days. So, don't rush and finish this course before visiting other resources from our website. The time you spend learning how to read is well invested time.

Russian uses a special set of letters: the Cyrillic alphabet. They are 33 letters which are very easy to learn.

Below you will find every letter of the Russian alphabet:
  1. Click the play button and listen to the name of the letter and its sound.
  2. Click any letter and you will go to the lesson that shows how to pronounce it properly.
  3. Under each letter you'll find examples of words in English that have the same or a very similar sound.
Relax: This course has 7 lessons.
Don't memorize the whole alphabet now!
In the following lessons we will learn each letter little by little.

 
А а  
Alligator, car, after
 
Б б  
bit, bat, blue
 
В в  
vine, vet, voice
 
Г г  
go, guard, good
 
Д д  
do, dog, double
 
Е е  
yet, yes

 
Ё ё  
York, yolk, yonder
 
Ж ж  
measure, pleasure
 
З з  
zoo, zodiac
 
И и  
me, see, meet
 
Й й  
boy, oyster, yes
 
К к  
kitten, kite

 
Л л  
lamp, lock (only similar)
 
М м  
map, my, moon
 
Н н  
not, nose, nine
 
О о  
more, audio
 
П п  
pet, pot, point
 
Р р  
thriller (rolling the "r")

 
С с  
see, sun, soft
 
Т т  
tip, task, time
 
У у  
book, booth
 
Ф ф  
face, fact, force
 
Х х  
loch (as pronunced in Scotlad)
 
Ц ц  
sits, that's

 
Ч ч  
chip, chair
 
Ш ш  
ship, shut, she
 
Щ щ  
sh+ch: fresh chicken (similar)
 
Ы ы  
Explained in lesson 4
 
Э э  
met, bet
 
Ю ю  
you, use

 
Я я  
yard, yummy
These two letters on the right are not sounded. Their role is to modify the sound of other letters.

They are called "soft sign" (Ь)
 and "hard sign" (Ъ).

 
Ь ь  
Modifies the sound of the previous consonant. Explained in lesson 6.
 
Ъ ъ  
Modifies the sound of the previous consonant. Explained in lesson 6.
You have seen and listened to the whole alphabet letter by letter. Now we start reading words!
Click "next lesson" and get ready! You are a few steps away from learning how to read Russian:


 
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What should you call this alphabet: Cyrillic or Russian? These are two different concepts. The Cyrillic alphabet is a writing system developed in the 10th Century in Bulgaria. This writing system is the source used to create the alphabets of different languages such as Ukrainian, Belarusian, Bulgarian or Russian. The Russian alphabet (that's the one you learn in these lessons) is a form of the Cyrillic alphabet and is the script used to write the Russian language. 




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