Russian alphabet - Russian course

How to read Russian
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Lesson 6: Есть ещё мюсли? нет, я всё съел - Is there more muesli? No, i ate everything

In this lesson you will learn:

  • learn to pronounce a new phrase: "Is there more muesli? No, I ate everything" in Russian.
  • practise reading 3 new Russian consonants (щ, ь, ъ) and 1 vowel (ю) in different combinations.
Lesson 6. Part 1

Step 1

Now that you know the Cyrillic alphabet and all the rules from the previous Reading Lessons let's make the final step to read Russian like a Russian! We are going to make a question: "is there anything left of...?" And they will answer us "no, I ate everything"

This is how you say it in Russian: есть ещё мюсли? нет, я всё съел.

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:


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. So "ь" does not have any sound, but modifies the sound of other letters. For example the words "есть" (to eat) and "ест" (he/she eats) sound different thanks to "ь".

By the way, "ь" is called in Russian 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".

Lesson 6. Part 2

Step 2

You asked if there is anything left and you will find out that unfortunately there is nothing.

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
Lesson 6. Part 3

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!

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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Check how much you have learnt in this lesson:

1. Which Russian letter softens the sound of a letter? ь         ъ      

2. How do you say "still" in Russian?       етё    ешё   ещё 

3. How do you read the word "мюсли"?                      [myus-li]    [mus-li]   [tyus-li]

4. How do you read the word "объём"?                      [ ob-yom]  [ab-yom] [ab-om]

5. How do you read the word "ещё"?                         [ye-schyo] [ye-sho]

Remember: This course is designed ONLY to learn how to read Russian. If you want to learn Russian, first you need to know how to read. When you finish this course, you can start learning how to speak Russian with our Basic Russian course ¡Carry on, you are doing it very well!
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