Published: 05.07.2021
Do you want to learn Russian? Start with the alphabet!

The Russian alphabet is based on Cyrillic script the same as some other European languages (Bulgarian, Belarusian, Serbian, and etc.). It consists of 33 letters: 10 vowels, 21 consonants, and 2 signs (hard and soft).

To make learning Russian an easy thing, you can follow these tips:

1. Memorise the letters in groups
  • Group 1. Letters that are written and pronounced the same as English ones:
А, О, К, М, Т
Russian "A" must be pronounced as "a" in "car" or "u" in "cut". Not as "a" in "man" – that would be wrong.
Other letters are pronounced exactly the same as in English.
  • Group 2. Letters that exist in English, but are pronounced differently (used for a different sound than in English):
В = V like in "vodka"
Е = YE like in "yeah"
Н = N like in "nose"
Р = R !Rolling R! It doesn't sound the same as English "R"! You should place the tip of your tongue right after the upper teeth, breathe out to push it with air until it starts vibrating. You need to practice regularly until your tongue muscles get strong enough to be able to produce the required vibration.
С = S like in "sun"
Х = H like in "hot dog", though it's stronger than the English "h" sound
У = U like in "put", not like in "cut"!

  • Group 3. Absolutely new letters that do not exist in English:
Б = B like in "bar"
Г = G like in "garden"
Д = D like in "dance"
Ё = YO like in "yolk"
Ж sounds like "s" in "pleasure"
З = Z like in "zoo"
И = I like in "kitten"
Й is called a short "i" sound, and sounds like "y" in "yogurt"
Л = L like in "love"
Ф = F like in "flower"
Ц = TS like in "its"
Ч = CH like in "chess"
Ш = SH like in "shop"
Щ = SHCH / SH like in "sheep"
Ъ – hard sign, which is used to separate syllables one from another
Ы is a bit similar to "i" in "it", but must be pronounced further down the throat, and be shorter.
Ь – soft sign, makes consonants soft
Э = E like in "vet"
Ю sounds like "u" in "pure"
Я = YA like in "yard"

2. Listen to audio recordings of Russian native speakers pronounce the letters and words with the letters, and repeat after them. Do it as much as possible. It will help you to form a good pronunciation.

3. Play games with the letters

4. Listen to funny songs and sing along!
5. Ask your Russian friends, if you make the sounds right and get 101 more tips from them about how you should learn the Russian alphabet;)

Hope you will enjoy learning the Russian language. If you want to learn Russian from scratch fast with a native speaker, join our Russian language courses. "Enjoy Russian" school has been teaching Russian to foreigners since 2004, with us more than 1500 students have started to speak Russian.

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