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Lesson Transcript

Zdrastvuite, Ya Svetlana! Welcome to Russianpod101.com’s Алфавит Made Easy!
The fastest, easiest, and most fun way to learn the Russian Cyrillic alphabet: the Алфавит!
You’re officially on the second half! Last time we quickly reviewed all of our True Friends, False Friends, and New Friends. Then we learned a few new words and phrases. Now is where it gets really fun!
In this lesson we'll introduce our last category of Russian letters - “Strangers.” Strangers are letters which don’t look familiar and don’t have an equivalent letter in English. After that, we’ll learn some more phrases for your notebook. Ready to go?
Our first Stranger is “Я”. It looks like a backwards Arr but unfortunately, it doesn't sound similar at all. It's almost always pronounced “Ya”, like “Why”-”A” in English. In addition to being a letter, on its own it is one of the most important words in Russian: the first personal pronoun, “I”. In printed form, size is the only difference between the upper and lowercase versions.
Here’s the uppercase.
Я (print, upper)
And the lowercase.
Я (print, lower)
The cursive version of uppercase “Я” looks like this. With the loop, it may seem a bit confusing at first. But once you get used to it, you will realize that it is quite an efficient stroke. Lowercase “Я” is written the same way as the uppercase, except for the smaller size. It also has the hook on the left. This is the third letter we have learned that uses a hook when following another letter.
Now let’s write them.
Я (cursive, upper)
And the lowercase.
Я (cursive, lower)
The second letter we'll learn in this lesson looks like the number 4: Ч. While it may look strange, “Ч” has a pretty familiar sound. “Ч” usually makes a “ch” sound, but sometimes it can sound like “sh” when used before a hard sound or at the beginning of the word. We'll go over this in more detail later.
Size is the only difference between the upper and lowercase versions.
Here’s how to write the printed versions.
Ч (print, upper)
And the lowercase.
Ч (print, lower)
Now let's see how to write “Ч” by hand. Uppercase “Ч” is easy to write, and because it looks quite similar to the printed version, it's easy to read too. It's written with a single stroke and connects smoothly to the next letter.
The lowercase is a bit more interesting. When it stands alone, it's pretty easy to recognize, but when it's connected to a preceding letter, it looks similar to a lowercase cursive Arr in English. When transitioning into “Ч”, you have to stretch the connection point from the previous letter so it connects more smoothly.
Handwriting time.
Ч (cursive, upper)
And the lowercase.
Ч (cursive, lower)
Great! We’ve learned two new letters. Now let's see some new sentences that you can write!
First up is a question and answer that introduces a very important and useful phrase. Try reading it aloud.
[short pause] Did you try to say “Chto”? It's nearly impossible, isn't it! That's why the first word in this sentence is pronounced “Shto” with an “Ess”-”Aytch” sound. This is an incredibly useful word because it means “what.” We know “eto” means “this,” so basically you’re asking “What is this?” “Shto eto”.
In the answer, we see “Eto” again, and “Fabrika” which we already know means “factory.” “Moya” means “My.” So the question and answer fully translated is: “What is this?” “This is my factory.”
Что это? Это моя фабрика. (cursive)
Don’t forget the hook on the lowercase “я”!
Now you are ready to move on to another useful phrase. [short pause]
We read this phrase as “Я еду через Москву.” Let's go over the words in the phrase. As we just mentioned, “Я” means “I”. “еду” means “to go (by transport),” “через” means “through,” and “Москву” is a form of Moscow. So fully translated it reads “I am going through Moscow” with the implication that you are using transport, and not going by foot.
Я еду через Москву. (cursive)
In the next lesson, we'll meet a few more Strangers. I hope you’re excited!
See you in the next Алфавит Made Easy! lesson.
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