How to read Russian
Course for beginners: learn how to read Russian letters and words
Lesson 2: Привет! как дела? - Hi! how are you?
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
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:
П р и в е т
[p] [r] [i] [v] [ye] [t]
There are letters in Russian that look like ours, but they are pronounced differently!
- 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.
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:
К а к д е л а
[k] [a] [k] [d] [ye] [l] [a]
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 [ye].
- When "е" is not stressed, it loses part of its sound. It may sound only like [i].
Pay attention to the audio below. Listen and repeat the examples:
метр [mye] 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
This is not a course to learn Russian but to learn how to read Russian.
Pay attention and concentrate on 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 up the good work, you are doing very well!
Time to practice!
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!
пи пе ри ре ви ве ти те
при пре три тре тир пир
ка ке да де ла ле та па ва
лак дар пар кап лир два
Remember some useful words:
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 want to learn Russian with the best courses and books?
We recommend you the best Russian course, with 160 videos and personal tutor.
If you love reading, have a look at these books with stories in easy Russian with audio.
If you want to practice your Russian, here you can find exercise books, with key and grammar tables.
Check how much you have learnt in this lesson:
Do you think this is a useful course to learn russian?
Please, share us!