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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!
In the first two lessons, we covered the True Friends in the Russian alphabet. Now we're going to take a look at some slightly more difficult Russian letters - the “False Friends.” While True Friends look and sound like their English counterparts, False Friends look like English letters but sound completely different. Ready to go? Let’s get started!
In this lesson we'll learn how to read and write two False Friends in both printed and cursive forms.
Our first letter is “Е”!
You really want this letter to make an “E” sound don’t you? Even the upper and lower cases are the same as the English! This letter, however, sounds like “yeh”, and sometimes “ee”. In later lessons we'll tell you more about when and why the pronunciation changes. While “Е” is a “false friend”, at least it's not trying to deceive you too much!
Here’s the uppercase.
Е (print, upper)
And the lowercase.
Е (print, lower)
Now let's look at how to write it in cursive.
The cursive version of uppercase “Е” looks like this. It's nearly identical to the English cursive and easy to write. “Е” is a single stroke so you can continue with the next letter after the uppercase without lifting your pen or pencil.
Now let's take a look at the lowercase handwritten “Е”. Again, it’s similar to the English cursive, but in Russian, the starting point isn't from the bottom.
Now we’ll write them.
Е (cursive, upper)
And the lowercase.
Е (cursive, lower)
For both the upper and lowercase versions, it is easy to connect to the next letter!
The second False Friend we'll learn in this lesson is “Н”. As you can see, it looks exactly like an English H. But of course, it doesn’t sound like one. It’s actually pronounced like the English “N”. You could always rotate the middle line in your head to make them into N’s!
Here’s how to write the printed versions.
Н (print, upper)
And the lowercase.
Н (print, lower)
Now let's take a look at how to write “Н” in cursive.
The uppercase version looks like this. As you can see, the cursive version of “Н” is very different from the printed version and is written in a single stroke that ends at the bottom rather than the top. As for the lowercase, it’s a little bit different.
Handwriting time.
Н (cursive, upper)
And the lowercase.
Н (cursive, lower)
That’s all for new letters in this lesson, so let's practice writing these letters in some new words.
First up is something you'll need to use everyday and probably already know. Try sounding it out.
[short pause] Did you guess “nyet”? If so, great job! You may have known this word before you watched this lesson, but I’ll bet you haven’t written it before! Let’s do that now.
Let's make this an exclamation.
Нет! (cursive)
So we'll start with an uppercase “Н”, followed by a lowercase “е” and “т”. Then we'll polish it off with an exclamation point. “Нет!”
Are you ready to stop? “Нет?” I knew it! We'll learn two more words that are very important and that you will hear all the time. Try reading them out loud.
[short pause]
Did you say “on”? Great! What about “ahna”? Probably not, huh? Here you can see how “O“ can be pronounced as both “oh” and “ah”. Again, we'll talk later about *why* this happens. “он” is the male personal pronoun - the Russian equivalent of “he” - and “она” is the word for “she”. Pretty useful!
Now let's try writing them!
он (cursive)
Let's start “он” with a nice “о” and transition smoothly into the “н”. Great! Now let's write “она”.
она (cursive)
Start with the “o” again, then make a beautiful “н” and finish it out with an “а”. Nice work!
Now it's time for Svetlana’s insights.
You may notice that there are some pretty big differences between Russian and English cursive styles. Russian cursive is much more common, and more complicated! But it's fun, and you'll really be able to impress your Russian friends with your beautiful penmanship. One structural difference between Russian and English cursive styles is the starting and ending points of letters. In English, letters usually start from the bottom of the writing line. But in Russian, all lowercase letters start slightly above the line. This gives the Russian script a much different look and is part of the reason that some letters have “hooks”.
Well that's all for this lesson – we'll continue next time with a few more False Friends. We'll learn some very useful letters to write common words like “and” in Russian. We'll learn that and much more in the next Алфавит Made Easy lesson!
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