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Lesson Transcript

Micheal: What is the Russian alphabet called?
Saodat: And where does it come from?
Micheal: At RussianPod101.com, we hear these questions often.
The following situation is typical. BEN LEE is at a restaurant with his friend (Valeria Ivanova), and she’s just picked up a piece of paper. He points to this and asks,
“Is that a menu?”
BEN LEE: Это меню?
BEN LEE: Это меню?
VALERIA IVANOVA: Да. Ты можешь это прочитать?
BEN LEE: Да. Первая буква м. Вторая буква е.
Micheal: Once more with the English.
BEN LEE: Это меню?
Micheal: “Is that a menu?”
VALERIA IVANOVA: Да. Ты можешь это прочитать?
Micheal: “Yes. Can you read it?”
BEN LEE: Да. Первая буква м. Вторая буква е.
Micheal: “Yes. The first letter is м (ɛm). The second letter is е (je).”
Micheal: The Russian letters м (ɛm) and е (je) may look very similar to the English “m” (em) and “e” (e), but they actually belong to an entirely different alphabet, or
Saodat: алфавит.
Micheal: This alphabet takes its letters from a script known as Cyrillic.
Saodat: Кириллица.
Micheal: Here, the first two letters of
Saodat: меню
Micheal: Look a lot like the letters found in the English alphabet. They also sound similar. However, looks can be deceiving! The third letter of the word for “menu,”
Saodat: Н (ɛn),
Micheal: Looks like a small “h” (aitch), but it’s pronounced with more of an “n” (en) sound. And the last letter of the word for ”menu.”
Saodat: ю (ju),
Micheal: doesn’t look like any of the letters in the English alphabet. It looks more like someone wrote the first two strokes of the letter h (aitch), and then replaced the last one with an “o” (o). This letter is pronounced like the letter “n” (en) in English.
In Russian, Cyrllic has been specially adapted to the sounds of the Russian alphabet, and consists of thirty-three letters, ten of which are vowels, and twenty-one of which are consonants. It also includes two other signs that don’t have any sound of their own, but rather modify the consonants that come before them. These are the soft and hard signs.
Russian is not the only language that uses Cyrillic. It’s also used in parts of Europe and Central Asia, although each country has its own alphabet that draws on Cyrillic in its own way.
Saodat: But where does Cyrillic come from?
Micheal: Cyrillic, or
Saodat: Кириллица,
Micheal: is named after the Byzantine missionary Saint Cyril.
Saodat: Кирилл.
Micheal: He created the older Glagolitic script with his brother Methodius.
Saodat: Мефодий.
Micheal: And this was originally used with the literary Old Church Slavonic language. Early writings in this language date back to the 9th century.
During the 18th century, Peter the Great, (or as Russians call him, “Peter the First”),
Saodat: Пётр Первый
Micheal: revised the alphabet, creating new standardized forms that were modeled closely on Latin letterforms. The Russian alphabet underwent a few other reforms after that, two of which happened as recently as the 20th century.
Micheal: Something worth mentioning is that the Russian you see in newspapers and on TV is not the Russian you'll see written with pen and paper. This is because Russian people often write in cursive. Just like English cursive letters sometimes look very different from print, so do Russian letters! Keep this in mind if you see something written down that looks unfamiliar to you.


Micheal: Do you have any more questions? We’re here to answer them!
Saodat: Пока-пока!
Micheal: "Bye, see you next time!"


Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

RussianPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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What Russian learning question do you have?

RussianPod101.com Verified
Friday at 07:33 AM
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Здравствуйте robert groulx,

Спасибо for posting. We are very happy to have you here. Let us know if you have any questions.

Всего наилучшего,

Левенте (Levente)

Team RussianPod101.com

robert groulx
Thursday at 12:31 AM
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thank you for the lesson transcript

favorite phrase is . Первая буква м. Вторая буква е.


RussianPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 09:16 PM
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Hello robert groulx,

Thank you 😄


Team RussianPod101.com

robert groulx
Monday at 12:51 AM
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thank you for your lesson , it was fascinating