How to read Russian
Course for beginners: learn how to read Russian letters and words
Lesson 6: Есть ещё мюсли? нет, я всё съел
Is there any muesli left? No, I ate it all.
In this lesson you will:
- learn to pronounce a new phrase: "Is there any muesli left? No, I ate it all" in Russian.
- practice reading 3 new Russian consonants (щ, ь, ъ) and 1 vowel (ю) in different combinations.
Now that you know the Cyrillic alphabet and all the rules from the previous Reading Lessons. Let's take the final step to read Russian like a Russian! We will ask the question: "Is there any ...left?" And they will reply "no, I ate everything."
This is how you say it in Russian: есть ещё мюсли? нет, я всё съел.
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:
Е с т ь е щ ё м ю с л и?
[ye] [s] [t'] [ye] [sch] [yo] [m] [yu] [s] [l] [i]
how to pronounce "ь"
The letter "ь" does not have any sound itself. It softens the letter before it. For example the words "есть" (to eat) and "ест" (he/she eats) sound different thanks to "ь".
By the way, in Russian "ь" is called мягкий знак (myah-kij znak), which means "soft sign".
Listen to the following examples and try to feel the difference between the words with and without "ь":
- ест - есть
- стал - сталь
- вер - верь
- бёт - бьёт
- пян - пьян
How to pronounce "щ" and "ю"
"щ" is pronounced like [sh] + [ch] (fresh chicken) or like [s] + [sh].
"ю" is pronounced like the English word "you".
You asked if there is anything left and find out that unfortunately there isn't.
Listen to the second phrase of the lesson, paying special attention to the pronunciation of the word "съел":
Н е т, я в с ё с ъ е л
[n] [ye] [t] [ya] [v] [s] [yo] [s] [ye] [l]
How to pronounce "ъ"
Do not mix "ь" and "ъ". The letter "ъ" does not have any sound (like as "ь"). But its function is to harden the letter that comes before it (remember that "ь" softens). This letter can only be followed by е, ё, я, ю, and thanks to "ъ", they are pronounced very clearly.
The letter "ъ" is called in Russian твёрдый знак (tvyor-dyj znak), which means "hard sign".
Listen to the following examples and try to feel the difference between the words with and without "ъ"
- сел - съел
- изян - изъян
- подём - подъём
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!
ща щи щу ще сю рю мю
юр юс ющ юк юх юн
мель дверь тень грязь
съем объём изъян съезд
Remember a useful word
ещё (more, still)
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