How to read Russian
Course for beginners: learn how to read Russian letters and words
Lesson 4: Это мой дом. А где ты живёшь?
This is my house. And where do you live?
In this lesson you will learn:
- to read the phrase: "This is my house. And where do you live?"
- to pronounce 9 new consonants (т, м, й, д, г, т, ж, ш, ь) and 6 vowels (э, о, е, и, ы, ё)
You already know the Russian alphabet and basic rules to read the Cyrillic alphabet from Lesson 2 and Lesson 3. Do you want to learn more? In this lesson, we will see how to say "this is..." in Russian and ask someone where they live.
This is how we say it in Russian: Это мой дом. а где ты живёшь? Let's learn how to read it.
Э т о м о й д о м
[e] [t] [a] [m] [o] [j] [d] [o] [m]
Tip - How to pronounce "э"
The Russian letter "э" is pronounced [e] like in the word "edit".
But be careful, remember that the Russian letter "e" is pronounced [ye] like in "yellow".
How to pronounce "й"
You have already learnt that "и" has a sound [i], similar to "three" or "free".
The Russian letter "й" is called "и краткое" (it is pronounced [i kratkaye]).
We represent its sound as [j], that is, a shorter sound than "и" similar to the sound of "y" in "oyster" or "boy". In step 3 of this lesson you will listen to some examples with "й".
We have shown our own house. Now let's ask your Russian friend where he or she lives.
А г д е т ы ж и в ё ш ь?
[a] [g] [d] [ye] [t] [y] [zh] [y] [v] [yo] [sh] [']
How to pronounce "ы"
The sound of the letter "ы" is one of the few difficult sounds in the Russian language. In this course we represent its sound like this: [y].
The sound of "ы" has no English equivalent but it resembles the sound [i:] as in "be", "mean" or "three".
We will show you a little trick that will help you to imitate this sound. Take a pencil and bite it with your teeth spreading the corners of your mouth as wide as possible. In this position pronounce the sound [i:] while listening to following audio:
Examples: ты - мы - вы - сыр - живёшь
ATENTION! After "ж" and "ш" the letter "и" is pronounced like "ы" (for example in the word живёшь).
This means that the word "живёшь" is pronounced as if it was written "жывёшь".
Interesting facts about the letter "ё"
It is always stressed. This helps us to know how to pronounce any letter with "ё".
In books and newspapers, you can find it as "e". Why? Well, that's just the way it is, there is no explanation.
How to pronounce "ь"
The Russian letter "ь" is called "soft sign" ("мягкий знак" in Russian). It has no sound: it modifies the sound of the letter before it.
In lesson 6 you will find a tip about how to pronounce it.
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!
го до мы вы га ви тэ гэ
ши жи би ми ша жа дё лё
йод бой пай бей рай мой
Remember some useful words:
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Check how much you have learnt in this lesson: