Russian/Lesson 2

Произноше́ние - Pronunciation


Usually, Russian is pronounced as you see it. However, there are some exceptions, usually changes in the pronunciation of vowels based on where they are in relation to the stressed syllable.

O sounds like the 'o' in 'rogue' (i.e., 'oh') when it is stressed. An o that is just before the stress is pronounced like the 'a' in far (i.e., 'ah'). Otherwise, it's pronounced like the 'a' in 'about' (i.e., 'uh'). So, the word хорошо́ is pronounced: /xərɐˈʂo/.
E is pronounced 'ye', as in 'yes', when stressed. When it's not stressed, e sounds like и, as in the 'e' in 'piglet'.

If you pronounce these letters without reducing them you will be understandable, but will sound strange.

Voiced consonants at the end of the word become unvoiced. So, таз sounds like 'tas', взвод sounds like 'vzvot', etc. The same thing happens if a voiced consonant is followed by an unvoiced one. For example, подско́к sounds like 'patskók', and водка sounds like 'votka'.

Диало́г - Dialogue


Unlike modern English, Russian has two words for 'you': ты and вы. You use вы when the person you're talking to is someone you don't know, someone you want to show respect to (such as a teacher or elder), or a group of people. In this sense, it is both a more polite form of ты, and a plural form. So you would only use ты to talk to a single person who you know well. In written Russian, a capitalised Вы is used when being respectful, while the lower-case вы is used when talking to many people.
You can also   listen to the audio version of this dialogue.

Здра́вствуйте, я рад/ра́да Вас ви́деть!
Zdrastvuyti, ya rat/rada Vas vidjet
Hello, I am glad to see you!

Note: The Russian for 'glad' is рад ('rat') when spoken by a male, or ра́да (rada) when spoken by a female

До́брый день, и я то́же.
Dobry denj, i ya tozhi
Good afternoon, me too.
Меня́ зовут́ Джо́ан, а Вас?
Minya zavut Joanne, ah Vas?
My name is Joanne, and yours?

Note: This literally means "Me (they) call Joanne, and you?", or "They call me Joanne, and you?" and is the Russian construction of asking someone's name.

О́чень прия́тно!
Ochin' priyatna
Pleased to meet you. (Literally, "[it is] very pleasant").
А меня́ — Ма́рья Степа́новна, мо́жно про́сто Ма́ша.
A minya – Maryah Stipanavna, mozhna prosto Masha
And mine is Marya Stepanovna, one may call me just Masha. (Literally, "and [they call] me Marya Stepanovna, [one] may [call me] just Masha").
Спаси́бо, до встре́чи!
Spasiba, da fstrechi
Thank you, see you again! (Literally, "thank you, till another meeting").
До свида́ния.
Da svidanya
Good bye. (Literally, "till another seeing").

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