How to read Russian.
Course for beginners: learn how to read Russian letters and words

Lesson 2:

In this lesson you will learn:
- to read a basic expression in Russian: "hi, how are you?"
- to pronounce your first 10 Russian letters and use them in different combinations

Step 1: Now that you are familiar with the Russian alphabet (also known as Cyrillic alphabet), it is time to start reading. We will start with a greeting: Hello! In Russian it is written like this: ПРИВЕТ!
But,... how do we read it?

Listen to the following the audio in Russian and repeat. You will hear first the whole Russian word and then the sound of each letter separately:

Letters:   П    Р    И    В    Е    Т

Sounds:  [p]  [r]  [i]  [v] [ye] [t]

There are letters in Russian that look like ours, but they are pronounced differently!!

For example,
- the Russian letter "P" is pronounced like the"r" in the word "rock".
- the Russian letter "Y" is pronounced like the "u" in the word "put".
- the Russian letter "H" is pronounced like the "n" in the word "new".

It can be a bit confusing at the beginning but, don't worry! You will get used to these differences very soon.

Step 2: We have said hello to our friend and now we want to know how he or she is.
The question to ask is
КАК ДЕЛА? Below, we are going to study how to pronounce it:

Letters:   К    А    К      Д    Е    Л    А

Sounds:  [k]  [a]  [k]   [d] [ye] [l] [a]

Tip - how to pronounce "е"

The Russian letter "е" has a sound [ye], like in the word "yellow".

How to pronounce it:
- When "е" is stressed, it is pronounced fully, so it sounds
- When "е" is not stressed, it loses part of its sound. It may sound only like

Pay attention to the audio below. Listen and repeat the examples:

метр ----> [myetr] here "e" is stressed

метро ---> [m(ye=i)tro] here "e" is NOT stressed

меня ----> [m(ye=i)nya] here "e" is NOT stressed

тебя ----> [t(ye=i)bya] here "e" is NOT stressed

Remember: This is not a course to learn Russian but a course to learn how to read in Russian. Pay attention and concentrate in how to read each letter. When you know how to read, you can start learning the Russian language (for example, with our Russian lessons). Keep on the good work, you are doing very well!
Step 3: Time to practise!
Below you can find a list of syllables that contain the letters you have learnt in this lesson. First, read them aloud. Then, listen to the recording in Russian and check how you did. Good luck!




Remember some useful words:

Tip: The stress in Russian words is not fixed.

What does it mean? It means that there are no rules to know which is the stressed syllable in a Russian word. You have to memorize it!

Do you have any questions about this lesson, about grammar rules or vocabulary? Ask in our free forum. If you want to learn Russian, it's very important that you ask everything you don't understand:


1. There are clear rules regarding the stress in Russian words     true        false 

2. How do you say "yes" in Russian?       два             да

3. How do you read the word "привет" [tri-byet]    [pri-vyet]    [pra-bet]

4. How do you read "пара"? [ra-pa]  [pa-pa]       [pa-ra]

5. Which syllable is stressed in the word "привет"?      the first      the second

ONE SECOND! Before going to the next lesson, why don't you share this lesson with a friend?
Sharing is for free, this course is for free... and you'll make us really happy. Thank you!



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