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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 last lesson, we met the last of our False Friends, the Russian letters that look like letters of the English alphabet but sound different. I hope you remember how to read and write them all! If you've been practicing, I'm sure you're doing a great job.
In this lesson we'll learn a new category of Russian letters, “New Friends”. New Friends are letters that don't look like English letters, but have sounds that can be found in English. That means that they should all be very easy to pronounce. Ready to learn? Then let’s go!
Our first New Friend is “Б”
This is the first truly new looking letter for English speakers. Although it looks new, it should sound quite familiar. “Б” is pronounced just like the English Bee. As you can see though, the upper and lowercase look very different!
Here’s the uppercase.
Б (print, upper)
And the lowercase.
Б (print, lower)
The cursive uppercase “Б” looks like this. It has two strokes and continues to the next letter after the lower stroke.
The lowercase is quite different from the uppercase, and you have to lift your pen at the end. This makes lowercase “Б” the only letter which does not connect smoothly to the following letter.
Now we’ll write them.
Б (cursive, upper)
And the lowercase.
Б (cursive, lower)
Let's move on to another New Friend.
The second letter in this lesson looks like a rotated uppercase EL in English - Г. While it may look strange, “Г” has a pretty familiar sound. “Г” functions in the same way as the English Gee and almost always makes a hard “Г” sound. Sometimes it can sound like Vee, but only in rare cases.
Here’s how to write the printed versions.
Г (print, upper)
And the lowercase.
Г (print, lower)
Now let's take a look at how to write “Г” in cursive.
The uppercase version looks like this. As you can see, the cursive version of “Г” looks kind of like an uppercase Tee in English. It's written in two strokes and connects to the next letter by swinging back around.
Now let's take a look at the lowercase cursive “Г”. Lowercase “Г” is a lot trickier because it looks nothing like the printed version. On its own it is written like this, but when connected to the preceding letter it looks a lot more natural.
Handwriting time.
Р (cursive, upper)
And the lowercase.
Р (cursive, lower)
That's it for our New Friends today. We'll continue learning more letters next lesson, but for now let's practice using these letters in some new words.
First up is a word that uses both of our new letters – try reading it aloud.
[short pause] I hope you could successfully read this as “Бог”. It's a very important word for many Russian people. It means “God.”
Let’s write it.
Бог (cursive)
Next is a somewhat funny phrase with two grammatically correct sentences. We already know some of these words. Hopefully you remember that он, and ест mean “he” and “eats”. “бегемот” is similar to the English word “behemoth” but in Russian it also means “hippopotamus”. “траву” means grass. So these sentences can be translated as “It's a hippopotamus. It's eating grass.”
Now that we understand it, let's try writing it by hand.
Он бегемот. Он ест траву. (cursive)
Let’s start with an uppercase “О”. Also, remember that lowercase “б” does not connect directly to the next letter. Be careful not to confuse the lowercase “м” and “т”. Give it your best shot.
Now it's time for Svetlana’s insights.
Are you familiar with Greek letters? Maybe you remember them from high school or college. If so, you've probably recognize a great deal of these Russian letters. The Cyrillic alphabet was originally derived from Greek letters, so many of them bear a close resemblance even today.
That just about wraps it up for this lesson. Next time, I'll introduce some more New Friends. I hope you’re excited! See you in the next Алфавит Made Easy lesson!
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