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Lesson Transcript

Welcome to Introduction to Russian.
My name is Alisha and I'm joined by...
Hi everyone! I'm Katya.
In this lesson you'll learn the basics of Russian writing.
Russian Alphabet
Russian is written using letters from the Cyrillic script – one of the most widely used writing systems in the world.
The Russian alphabet consists of 33 letters:
There are 10 vowels – of these, 5 are hard vowels, and 5 are soft vowels.
There are 21 consonants.
And 2 special letters which aid in designating hardness or softness. These letters do not produce sounds on their own. They merely augment the sound of a preceding letter.
Аa, Бб, Вв, Гг, Дд, Ее, Ёё, Жж, Зз, Ии, Йй, Кк, Лл, Мм, Нн, Оо, Пп, Рр, Сс, Тт, Уу, Фф, Хх, Цц, Чч, Шш, Щщ, Ъъ*, Ыы, Ьь*, Ээ, Юю, Яя
* special letters
Hard vowels: a, э, ы, o, у
Soft vowels: я, е, и, ё, ю
Like English, Russian has upper and lowercase letters. Most letters look identical to each other and the only difference is their size.
You can learn about each individual letter and get some insights into each letter and how to properly write it, in our “Learn Russian Writing” video series. In that series, Svetlana breaks the alphabet down in the easiest way for you to learn. We'll link to this series at the end of the video.
Writing Rules
Russian is written from left to right, just like English.
Also similar to English, Russian is written in cursive letters when handwritten. It's called “rapid” or “running” script in Russian because the links between cursive letters significantly increase the writing speed.
Unfortunately, this increase in speed and convenience often results in the omission of the stress marks on the letter ё. It is continuously being omitted in modern-day Russian, making it look like the letter e instead. This is convenient for those who are fluent in Russian, because words can still be understood based on context, but, this can be problematic for new learners of Russian.
ё ---> e
Capitalization Rules
Every sentence begins with a capital letter in Russian.
Сегодня хорошая погода. (Sevodnya kharoshaya pagoda.) “The weather is good today.”
Proper nouns also begin with a capital letter.
Ломоносов (Lamanosaf) “Lomonosov”
Москва (Maskva) ”Moscow”
Днестр (Dnestr) “Dniester”
Proper names are also capitalized but only on the first letter.
Индийское море (Indiyskaye more) “Indian sea”
Багамские острова (Bagamskiye astrava) “Bahamas islands”
If all words in a proper name are proper names themselves, then they'll all be capitalized.
Северная Америка (Severnaya Amerika) “North America”
Unlike English, the pronoun for "you" is capitalized in Russian. It's done so as a sign of respect.
Вы не подскажете... (Vy ne patskazhete... ) “Can You tell me…”
The days of the week are not capitalized in Russian.
среда (sreda) “wednesday”
Neither are months, nationalities, languages, and the pronoun for “I” in Russian.
"я" = "I"
август (avgust) “august”
эстонец (estonets) “estonian”
испанский язык (ispanskiy yazyk) “spanish”
я один (ya adin) “i am alone”
OK. Let's wrap up this lesson by recapping what we've learned.
In this lesson, you learned that Russian uses the Cyrillic alphabet, which consists of 33 letters.
You learned that Russian has upper and lower case letters and that it's written from left to right.
You also learned a few capitalization rules in this lesson.
We've covered only a few basic things about Russian writing.
Remember, you can check out our Learn Russian Writing video series as well. In that course, Svetlana breaks down the Russian alphabet, teaching you insightful things about each letter, and how to write it.
In the next lesson, you'll be entering Russian boot camp, where you'll learn useful beginner phrases to get you speaking Russian right away!
See you in the next lesson. Bye!