How to read Russian
Course for beginners: learn how to read Russian letters and words
Я хочу пиццу и кофе, спасибо!
I want pizza and a coffee, thank you!
In this lesson you will learn:
- to read the phrase: "I want pizza and coffee" in Russian.
- to pronounce 5 new Russian consonants (х, ч, ф, ц, с) and 1 vowel (я)
Now that you know the Cyrillic alphabet and all the rules from the previous Reading Lessons, you are close to being a real expert in reading Russian. Time to relax and have a snack! Let's ask for a pizza and a coffee in Russian (and don't forget to say "thank you"!).
This is how we write it in Russian: Я хочу пиццу и кофе, спасибо. And now we'll see how to read it.
Listen to the following audio in Russian and repeat. You will hear first the whole Russian word and then the sound of each letter separately:
Я х о ч у п и ц ц у и к о ф е
ya h a ch u p i ts u i k o f ye
How to pronounce "я"
The Russian letter "я" has the sound [ya]. It is similar to the sound of "yu" in "yummy".
How to pronounce "я":
- When "я" is stressed, it is pronounced fully, so it sounds [ya].
- When"я" is not stressed, it loses part of its sound. It may sound only like [i] or similar to [ye] but softer.
Pay attention to the audio below. Listen and repeat the examples
як [yak] here "я" is stressed
пять [pyat] here "я" is stressed
язык [ye-zyk] here "я" is not stressed
пятно [pyet-no] here "я" is not stressed
Politeness goes far and doesn't cost anyhing! Let's learn to pronounce "Thank you"
С п а с и б о
[s] [p] [a] [s] [i] [b] [a]
Remember the rules about "o"
Remember the tip you learnt in lesson 2.
The Russian letter "o" is pronounced "a" when it is not stressed (like for example in "спасибо").
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!
хо хи ху ха хе па пи пя
ча чу чи че ца цу
са со су се си ся
фи фо фе чай мох чих цок
Remember some useful words:
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Check how much you have learnt in this lesson: