Alphabet 4--Phonetic Rules Reference

Voiced and Unvoiced Consonants

Consonant Pairs

Voiced

Unvoiced

б

п

в

ф

г

к

д

т

з

с

ж

ш

A voiced consonant is pronounced with a strong vibration in the speaker's voice box. Try pronouncing each voiced consonant from the table above while touching your voice box. If you try to keep your voice box from vibrating as you say it, the consonant will come out like the corresponding unvoiced consonant from the right-hand column.


Pronunciation Rules:

A voiced consonant loses its voice when it comes at the very end of a word. For example:

SpelledPronounced
другдрук
мужмуш
врагврак
зубзуп
годгот
хлебхлеп

A voiced consonant also loses its voice when it comes right before an unvoiced consonant. For example:

SpelledPronounced
вторник фторик
здравствуйтездрафствуйте
ложкалошка
всегда фсегда

Hard and Soft Vowels

Russian has five vowels each of which comes in a “hard” and a “soft” version. Generally when changing the ending of a word we replace a soft vowel with a soft vowel and a hard vowel with a hard one. For example, if the rule says we must change the а at the end to a ы, but there is a я at the end, we would change it to a и. But, there are exceptions.

Vowel Pairs
Hard VowelSoft Vowel
ая
эе
ыи
ую
оё


Exceptions:

Other Phonetic Rules