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Lesson Transcript

Hi everyone.
Welcome to The Ultimate Russian Pronunciation Guide.
In this lesson, you'll learn 14 Russian consonant sounds.
l lʲ, m mʲ, n nʲ, p pʲ, r rʲ, s sʲ, ʂ, ɕː
Nearly half of these consonant sounds are identical to the ones in English.
So if you know English, some of them will already be familiar to you.
Are you ready?
Then let's get started!
The first consonant is...
луна (moon)
лук (onion)"
It's like the L in the word 'look', except in Russian, the L sounds a little heavier. Stress this consonant more than you would in English by flattening the tip and the blade of your tongue behind the back of your teeth.
л, л (slowly)
л, л (slowly)
And here's the soft version.
"ль
лес (forest)
колено (knee)"
This is almost like saying an L and a Y sound at the same time. Attempt to pronounce an L sound with the tip of your tongue touching the bottom teeth. The front part of your tongue should cause an obstruction with your upper teeth, while the center of your tongue should be raised to the roof of your mouth. Listen to (host name).
ль, ль (slowly)
ль, ль (slowly)
The next consonant is...
мыло (soap)
там (there)"
Like the M in the word 'mouse'.
м, м (slowly)
м, м (slowly)
And here's the soft version.
"мь
мясо (meat)
мел (chalk)"
Some English speakers can produce this sound by saying the word 'mute'.
мь, мь (slowly)
мь, мь (slowly)
The next consonant is...
нос (nose)
он (he)"
Like the N in the word 'nice', except in Russian, the N sounds a little heavier. Stress this consonant more than you would in English by flattening the tip and the blade of your tongue against the back of your teeth. The tip of your tongue should touch your bottom teeth, while the front of your tongue should touch your upper teeth.
н, н (slowly)
н, н (slowly)
And here's the soft version.
"нь
няня (nanny)
они (they)"
This is identical to the previous N sound but with the middle part of your tongue raised to the roof of your mouth. It's a little bit like the N in the word 'newt'.
нь, нь (slowly)
нь, нь (slowly)
The next consonant is...
"п
пыль (dust)
скрип (creak)"
Like the P in the word 'pipe'.
п, п (slowly)
п, п (slowly)
And here's the soft version.
"пь
пепел (ash)
пить (to drink)"
This is almost like saying a P and a Y sound at the same time. As you bring your lips together to pronounce the P sound, raise the middle part of your tongue to the roof of your mouth and release. Listen to (host name).
пь, пь (slowly)
пь, пь (slowly)
The next consonant is...
рыба (fish)
горло (throat)"
This is also known as a rolled R, or a Spanish R. Contact the gums directly behind your top teeth with the tip of your tongue, build pressure behind the gums and release. The small passage created by the gums and the tongue should open and close rapidly -- as if your tongue is fluttering or vibrating against the gums. It almost sounds like a rapid "D" sound.
When you build up pressure behind the tip of the tongue, rapidly brush the tip up and back, against the gum ridge. As you do so, you should feel a vibrating sensation behind your gum ridge.
It's like striking your gum ridge, and then again *behind* the gum ridge with the tip of your tongue, in one quick up and back motion. Listen to (host name).
р, р (slowly)
р, р (slowly)
And here's the soft version.
"рь
река (river)
три (three)"
This is exactly like the previous sound, but with the blade of your tongue raised to the roof of your mouth.
рь, рь (slowly)
рь, рь (slowly)
The next consonant is...
собака (dog)
нос (nose)"
Like the S in the word 'sand'.
c, c (slowly)
c, c (slowly)
And here's the soft version.
"сь
синий (blue)
осьминог (octopus)"
Some English speakers can produce this sound when saying the word 'assume'.
сь, сь (slowly)
сь, сь (slowly)
The next consonant is...
шарф (scarf)
шутка (joke)"
This is similar to the 'sh' sound in the word 'sure'. Compared to English however, the 'sh' sound is much harsher in Russian. The easiest way to pronounce this sound properly, is to first try and pronounce an R sound. Your tongue should be curled up *behind* your gum ridge as opposed to being in front of it. Now, with your tongue in that position, try to make a 'sh' sound at the same time. Practice with the word 'sure' repeatedly in this manner.
ш, ш (slowly)
ш, ш (slowly)
And the final consonant for this lesson is...
щётка (brush)
щель (chink; crack)"
This is another 'sh' sound that's comparable to the SH sound in the English word 'ship'. Unlike English however, which uses the tip of the tongue, Russian requires you to use the middle part your tongue to approximate the region *behind* the gum ridge. The center of the tongue should be raised to the roof of the mouth to cause a narrow channel from the throat, all the way to the teeth. Round and protrude your lips. Also, you'll need to emphasize this sound by holding it longer than you would normally with other sounds.
щ, щ (slowly)
щ, щ (slowly)
Well done! You just learned another 14 Russian consonants.
l lʲ, m mʲ, n nʲ, p pʲ, r rʲ, s sʲ, ʂ, ɕː
Are there more familiar sounds than you expected? Let us know if you have questions in the comments.
In the next lesson, you'll learn 12 more consonant sounds.
See you in the next Ultimate Russian Pronunciation Guide lesson!

9 Comments

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RussianPod101.com
Friday at 6:30 pm
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Are there more familiar sounds than you expected?

RussianPod101.com
Sunday at 7:57 pm
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Hi Winifred,


Glad to hear that you enjoyed our lesson!


Keep up studying well and soon you’ll get great results!


Sincerely,

Cristiane

Team RussianPod101.com

Winifred
Sunday at 8:47 am
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Wow it's quite amazing but I think I need to practice more because I sometimes get confused with щ and ш

RussianPod101.comVerified
Wednesday at 9:31 am
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Hello Maria Camila,

Yes, you are right:smile:

I know that ы is hard for foreigner, but you will manage it sooner or later :smile:


Elena

Team RussianPod101.com

Maria Camila
Saturday at 9:54 am
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I don't know if it is just an impression, but do the soft sounds always occur when the consonants are before "e" and "и"? That's what it looked to me. Again the most difficult sound is ы!


Me encanta este curso!!! ❤️️

RussianPod101.comVerified
Thursday at 5:58 pm
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Hi Jason,


I guess it`s just a matter of time!


Wish you good luck! Really!


Elena


Team RussianPod101.com

Jason
Saturday at 4:34 pm
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I need a whole lesson on how to trill the R! lol :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

RussianPod101.comVerified
Tuesday at 5:30 pm
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Hello YKL,


Thank you for your positive comment.

Let us know if you have any questions.


Elena


Team RussianPod101.com

YKL
Tuesday at 1:22 am
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It is good to see that IPA symbols are used. Before, I took it for granted that the 'l' and the 'n' sounds are exactly like the English one.


Love POD101! Hope more and more language lovers know POD101 is there for them to learn and discover.