Basic Russian Class. 

Lesson 2. Russian Alphabet. Part 1 

Russian language uses Cyrillic alphabet, which is quite different from the Latin alphabet that English or Spanish languages use. The Cyrillic alphabet was created in the 9th century for translating Eastern Orthodox religious books into Slavic language that was used at that time. Nowadays, more than 50 different languages including Ukrainian, Belorussian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Macedonian, Mongolian, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Tajik, Turkmen, and Uzbek use this alphabet. Every language adapts the alphabet to suit  its own sounds. 

Cyrillic alphabet was based on Latin and Greek alphabets, therefore several letters are the same as Latin letters. The first 19 letters represent sounds similar to English language. Starting with the 20th letter of the Cyrillic (also called Russian) alphabet, the letters represent sounds specific to the Russian language. 

Russian letters that are (almost) the same as English letters 

А а – Pronounced like the “a” in the word “father” or “car”. It is not the ‘flat’ “a” sound you sometimes hear in words like “cat” or “flat”. 

К к – Pronounced like the “k” in “kitten” or “kangaroo”. This letter replaces the English “c” sound in words like “cat”. 

М м – Pronounced like the “m” in man.  

o – When stressed, it is pronounced like the “o” in “bore”. When un-stressed it is pronounced more like the letter “a”.  

Т т – Pronounced like the “t” in “tap”. (Note: The hand-written (and italic) form is “т”. It should always start from the top, as it looks quite similar to the letter “м”) 

Russian letters that look like English letters but sound different 

В в – Pronounced like the “v” in “vet”. (Equivalent to the English letter “v”). 

Е е – Pronounced like the “ye” in “yes”. 

Н н – Pronounced like the “n” in “no”. (Equivalent to the English letter “n”).  

Р р – Pronounced like the “r” in “run”, but it is rolled. (Equivalent to the English letter “r”). 

С с – Pronounced like the “s” in “see”. (Equivalent to the English letter “s”). (It might help to remember that it’s used like the “s” sound in the English words “center” and “cent”.) 

У у – Pronounced like the “oo” in “boot” or “root”.  

Х х – Pronounced like the “h” in “hello”. However, this is often pronounced more like the “ch” in the Scottish “Loch” or German “Bach”, or the Spanish pronunciation of “x” in “Mexico.