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Learn the Russian Alphabet from A to Z!

Learning to speak a new language is exciting; learning to write a new language is even more exciting! It will open new worlds for you. So, dig into these tips and advice for learning how to master the Russian alphabet easily - at RussianPod101 we make it easy, fun and relevant for you!

Starting anything from scratch can be challenging, especially if you learn how to write in a language completely different from your own. It is really like navigating through a territory that is completely unknown to you.

However, this need not be a big hurdle or a problem! At RussianPod101, we introduce you to Russian writing in simple, easy-to-follow steps, and you can ask for advice or help anywhere along the way. It is important to master the Russian alphabet completely from the start.

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Introduction


Russian Alphabet

Russian is written using letters from the Cyrillic script – one of the most widely used writing systems in the world.

The Russian alphabet consists of 33 letters:

There are 10 vowels – of these, 5 are hard vowels, and 5 are soft vowels.

There are 21 consonants.

And 2 special letters which aid in designating hardness or softness. These letters do not produce sounds on their own. They merely augment the sound of a preceding letter.

Аa, Бб, Вв, Гг, Дд, Ее, Ёё, Жж, Зз, Ии, Йй, Кк, Лл, Мм, Нн, Оо, Пп, Рр, Сс, Тт, Уу, Фф, Хх, Цц, Чч, Шш, Щщ, Ъъ, Ыы*, Ьь*, Ээ, Юю, Яя

* special letters

Hard vowels: a, э, ы, o, у

Soft vowels: я, е, и, ё, ю

Like English, Russian has upper and lowercase letters. Most letters look identical to each other and the only difference is their size.

Writing Rules

Russian is written from left to right, just like English.

Also similar to English, Russian is written in cursive letters when handwritten. It’s called “rapid” or “running” script in Russian because the links between cursive letters significantly increase the writing speed.

Unfortunately, this increase in speed and convenience often results in the omission of the stress marks on the letter ё. It is continuously being omitted in modern-day Russian, making it look like the letter e instead. This is convenient for those who are fluent in Russian, because words can still be understood based on context, but, this can be problematic for new learners of Russian.

ё changes into e

Capitalization Rules

Every sentence begins with a capital letter in Russian.

  1. Сегодня хорошая погода.
    Sevodnya kharoshaya pagoda.
    “The weather is good today.”

Proper nouns also begin with a capital letter.

  1. Ломоносов
    Lamanosaf
    “Lomonosov”
  2. Москва
    Maskva
    ”Moscow”
  3. Днестр
    Dnestr
    “Dniester”

Proper names are also capitalized but only on the first letter.

  1. Индийское море
    Indiyskaye more
    “Indian sea”
  2. Багамские острова
    Bagamskiye astrava
    “Bahamas islands”

If all words in a proper name are proper names themselves, then they’ll all be capitalized.

  1. Северная Америка
    Severnaya Amerika
    “North America”

Unlike English, the pronoun for “you” is capitalized in Russian. It’s done so as a sign of respect.

  1. Вы не подскажете…
    Vy ne patskazhete… 
    “Can You tell me…”

The days of the week are not capitalized in Russian.

  1. среда
    sreda
    “Wednesday”

Neither are months, nationalities, languages, and the pronoun for “I” in Russian (=я).

  1. август
    avgust

    “August”
  2. эстонец
    estonets
    “Estonian”
  3. испанский язык
    ispanskiy yazyk
    “Spanish”
  4. я один
    ya adin
    “I am alone”

Russian Alphabet Chart

Alphabet

Looking for a new skill or hobby to pick up in your spare time? Tired of the same old selection available at universities and colleges worldwide? Maybe it is time that you consider learning a new language! If you’ve been looking for a fresh, creative way to diversify your life (and even your resume or college application) then how about trying to learn Russian?

The Russian language is difficult, but with frequent practice and the online Russian lessons available at RussianPod101, you can be speaking like a native in no time at all.

The modern Russian alphabet contains 33 letters and is actually a form of Cyrillic script, a system of the alphabet which was developed during the 10th century. The Russian alphabet can look, for the most part, like a group of symbols, but in fact some of them are quite similar to letters that can be found in the English alphabet.

Once you master the Russian alphabet, you can move on to Russian words and phrases. You can hasten the learning process by mastering Russian accents while conversing with native speakers.If you are finding the language to be difficult, try breaking it down into smaller parts. For instance, take three weeks to learn just the first five letters of the alphabet and figure out how to recognize them and how they are used in words as well as how they sound when spoken.Learning the Russian alphabet is quite a feat and mastering it is a necessity if you intend to one day be able to speak Russian fluently. So long as you maintain a positive outlook and a good attitude towards the learning process, the outcome will be fantastic.

Cyrillic Letter Latin Equivalent Sample Romanization Translation Sounds Like

Аа

A

арбуз

arbuz

watermelon

mud

Бб

B

бумага

bumaga

paper

brother

Вв

V

вода

voda

water

voucher

Гг

G

газета

gazeta

newspaper

gorilla

Дд

D

деньги

den’gi

money

door

Ее

E

ель

el’

fir

year

Ёё

Yo

ёж

yozh

hedgehog

yoga

Жж

Zh

жара

zhara

heat

giraffe

Зз

Z

заяц

zayats

hare

zebra

Ии

I

игра

igra

play

peel

Йй

Y

йогурт

yogurt

yogurt

boy

Кк

K

календарь

kalendar’

calendar

cat

Лл

L

ложка

lozhka

spoon

leaf

Мм

M

мама

mama

mother

moon

Нн

N

небо

nebo

sky

nest

Оо

O

обед

obed

lunch

mall

Пп

P

папа

papa

father

penguin

Рр

R

радуга

raduga

rainbow

red

Сс

S

сестра

sestra

sister

sweets

Тт

T

тетрадь

tetrad’

pad

tractor

Уу

U

утка

utka

duck

put

Фф

F

фонарь

fonar’

torch

pharmacy

Хх

H

хлеб

hleb

bread

heat

Цц

Ts

цифра

tsifra

number

sits

Чч

Ch

час

chas

hour

cherry

Шш

Sh

шар

shar

globe

shock

Щщ

Sch

щука

schyuka

pike

show

Ъъ

-

объявление

ob’yavleniye

ad

-

Ыы

Y

сын

syn

son

she

Ьь

церковь

tserkov’

church

-

Ээ

E

эскимо

eskimo

ice cream covered with chocolate

men

Юю

Yu

юла

yula

top (toy)

music

Яя

Ya

яблоко

yabloko

apple

yard

Why is Learning the Russian Alphabet Important?

AlphabetA language’s alphabet is its building blocks. Trying to learn how to write in Russian without first learning its alphabet is a bit like trying to build a brick house without touching the individual bricks! It is impossible to do a good job that way. So don’t believe language schools and methods that try to teach you otherwise. You will regret it later.

Also, once you start recognizing symbols and words, you will be encouraged by your own progress and motivated to learn even faster. Even just learning the basics of the alphabet will allow you to start recognizing simple Russian words, and it will feel great!

Furthermore, knowing the alphabet even helps with pronunciation, as learning the individual letters of any language will start uncovering nuances and intricacies that are not always apparent when you’re simply listening to the words.

Completely mastering the Russian alphabet, no matter how long it takes, will give you an excellent head start in learning how to write and read the language. It will offer you a solid foundation on which to build the other language skills, so set a goal to learn the alphabet so well that you’re able to recite it in your sleep!

Read on for helpful tips and secrets to learning the Russian alphabet quickly and effectively.

How to Download Your Free Guide to Beginner Russian

Download Your FREE Guide to Beginner Russian!

If you want to master the Russian language and become fluent, get this Russian eBook!
You need physical worksheets to practice on.

This eBook is a MUST-HAVE for all Russian learning beginners!

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Download your FREE Russian practice sheets PDF today and learn the Russian language in no time!
This is a must-have guide for absolute beginners

Log in with Your Free Lifetime Account and we’ll give you a bundle of PDF cheat sheet including Survival Phrases, Romantic Lines, Learning Tips… — absolutely FREE!

3 Reasons to Learn Russian Through PDF Lessons

Let’s now take a closer look at how studying Russian lessons in PDF format can help you reach your dream in up to half the time of normal video or audio lessons!

① Saves Minutes on Your Data Plan

Learning Russian through PDF lessons can dramatically reduce your data use. Once a lesson or tool is downloaded, you can then access it offline via your computer or smartphone any time or place regardless of Internet access. And once you’ve download the Russian lessons in PDF format, you can actually access them faster than logging in and trying to do so via a live site. So not only will learning Russian using PDF lessons save minutes on your data plan—it will save you some significant time as well as the lessons add up!

② Print and Take All Russian Lessons and PDF Tools With You Anywhere

Sometimes, a tiny smartphone screen just isn’t adequate, especially when you are trying to learn something new. The great thing about PDF lessons, tools or files is that they can be quickly printed and taken anywhere after you download them. In fact, printing out Russian lessons in PDF format can actually save you time when compared to going through the material on a smartphone with a small screen—even with the extra printing time!

③ Great Study Tool to Boost Retention and Mastery

Studying video or audio lessons online is a great way to learn a language because students can play and rewind sections as many times as needed until the lesson is mastered. But when you review the same Russian lessons again in PDF format, an incredible thing happens: your retention dramatically improves! Thanks to Time Spaced Repetition, seeing the information again in written format helps reinforce the information in your mind and improves both retention and recall. The benefits of learning Russian using PDF lessons quickly add up to significant time savings for you, your data plan, and your dream of learning a new language!

Why are we giving it away?

Learning to read and write is a must for all beginners. Although you get video lessons on how to write in Russian at RussianPod101, you’ll still need physical worksheets to practice on. That’s why you’re getting this printable tutorial PDFs as a gift.

Secrets to Learning the Russian Alphabet Fast

SecretWith a language, like with anything you have to learn from scratch, having a few mnemonic devices handy are key to learning it fast. A mnemonic device is basically any method or technique that helps you to retain or commit something to memory more easily.

Here are a few mnemonic devices to memorize the Russian alphabet so you can speed up learning how to write in Russian.

① Find and Learn an Alphabet Song or Poem in Russian

Can you still remember your childhood alphabet song in your own language? The best way to commit it to memory so you can recite it is still your mom or first teacher’s way - with music, a song and/or a poem! Find a recording and learn to sing the song, or recite the poem along as best as you can. Ask your RussianPod101 teacher to help you understand exactly what you are singing or saying, and soon you’ll have reciting the alphabet under your belt! Repeat it out loud as often as possible.

However, you still need to learn how to write it.

② Study a Few Letters At a Time

Remember when you were young and learning to write for the first time? You didn’t start with words or sentences; you started with letters, one at a time!

Decide on tackling only a few letters each week, and then don’t move on from these till you are completely familiar with them. Don’t take on too many at once, or you may become discouraged. Also, remember to ask your teacher at RussianPod101 if you have questions!

Learn to incidentally spot the letters in books, road signs (If you’re living in the country), magazines, on TV, anywhere you encounter written Russian. Remember to write them out!

③ Write Out the Letters of the Alphabet By Hand

Make it a goal to write out your week’s letters at least once a day, and commit to this goal. You can also do it every time you have a free moment. Get yourself a special notebook for this purpose that you can carry with you anywhere you go. Sitting on the train or bus? Waiting for someone somewhere? Whip out your notebook and write the Russian alphabet, or the letters you are learning. Aim for about 20 repetitions, while silently saying the letter in your head as you write it out. This way, you will soon be able to form and write words all by yourself! Exciting, isn’t it?

Writing something down with a pen also seems to engrave it in the brain in a way that nothing else does. As an added benefit, it gives you the satisfaction of seeing a new language in your own writing!

Once you’ve mastered the whole alphabet, commit to writing it out in its entirety at least once a day, for at least one month. More repetitions are obviously better.

④ Involve Your Whole Body

Research has shown that the more senses and actions we use to learn something, the quicker the new information sticks in the memory and becomes habitual. To apply this principle while learning the Russian alphabet, write out huge letters by tracing them in the soil, or with chalk on the floor. Now, while saying the letter out loud, walk on the lines you have just traced. In this way, you ‘write’ the letter by moving your whole body!

Having fun just makes it even easier to learn something, so why not ‘write’ the letters out with dance steps while moving to your favorite Russian music!

This is a simple trick that seems silly, but you’ll be surprised how quickly you will commit intricate letters to memory this way. It really works!

⑤ Use Associations To Memorize Letters

This technique would involve saying the Russian letter out loud, and then thinking of a word in your own language that sounds the same as the letter. That would then create a phonic association that should make it easier for you to remember the letter. Better even if the association is something you can draw or picture.

If the script of the new alphabet is very different from your own, look at it closely, and see if you can find an image that the letter reminds you of

⑥ Now Have Fun Trying To Write Words!

Try to write words from your own language in Russian, and ask your friendly RussianPod101 teachers for feedback! Or post them on the forum and see if anyone can read them. You will be so pleased with yourself when you start writing words that are readable and recognizable by native speakers.

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How good is your Russian? Care to put it to the test? Here’s the deal! We’ve come up with this must-know Russian Phrases List. Learn the top 25 Russian phrases, hear the native pronunciation and put your Russian to the test. Did you know them all? If not, review the list and master these easy phrases!
How to Say Thank You in Russian
Has anyone thanked you today? We will. Thank you for reading this article and learning with us! In fact, today, you’ll learn the many different ways to say “Thank You” in Russian. It’s one of the most important Russian phrases. Check it out and watch the video too to practice your pronunciation.

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