Russian language is one of the major issues for those who want to travel Russia. Of course there are people who know English in Moscow and St. Petersburg, but once you are in Russia proper you can get by with your knowledge of Russian only. If it so happens that you haven’t learned a single Russian word try to address your questions to younger people as, believe it or not, most school children in Russia learn English.

There is one good point in Russian – lots of borrowings from European languages.

There are a number of peculiarities that will make your life harder.

Reading Russian words is much easier than English or French, reminds German very much. Some rules for reading: all consonants should be pronounced (very few exceptions); the father the vowel is from the stressed position the more relaxed you should be about its articulation. The stress mark is always above the stressed vowel.

Letter Sound in strong position Like in Try to read it
А,а [a] laugh, come парк
Б,б [b] beat, brother бу̍блик, брат, хлеб
В,в [v] video вода̍, ви̍лка
Г,г [g] goal головокружи̍тельный
Д,д [d] dual, dark доро̍га, де̍рево
Е,е [je] yellow, yes еда̍, нет
Ё,ё [jo] [ɜ] circle, church,yawn ёлка (always stressed)
Ж,ж [ȝ] vision, decision, déjà vu жук, дежавю̍
З,з [z] zeal, zoo зима̍, зуб
И,и [i][i:] cinema, mix икра̍, игро̍к
Й,й [j] yore, yolk йод, бой
К,к [k] kit кот, бок
Л,л [l] lime, liquid лимо̍н, лиса̍
М,м [m] mars, mood ме̍сто, ма̍стер
Н,н [n] now, neat ни̍тка, пи̍нта
О,о [o] cork, call, oil молоко̍, доро̍га
П,п [p] pin, palm по̍чта, пир, паспорт
Р,р [r] root, risk па̍рень, риск
С,с [s] sit, see спаси̍бо, сайт
Т,т [t] travel, tea тур, тракта̍т
У,у [u] rule, brute путь, лук
Ф,ф [f] fan, fit фана̍т, фиа̍лка
Х,х [h],[x] loch, hotel похо̍д, ха̍та
Ц,ц [ts] tsunami, tsetse цель, коне̍ц
Ч,ч [tʃ] chum, chin, cheap ча̍рка, ча̍ща
Ш,ш [ʃ] shoe, shell шко̍ла, шарм
Щ,щ [ʃtʃ] shirt щу̍ка, борщ
ъ съезд, отъе̍зд
Ы,ы J* рык, сыч
ь контро̍ль, рысь
Э,э [e][ᴂ] mammoth, cat э̍ра, эпо̍ха
Ю,ю [ju] universe, yew, you ю̍ла, ю̍бка
Я,я [ja] yard я̍года, яд

* teeth together, make your teeth as visible as possible, say [i] in this position, then lower your tongue and move it a little backwards, say [i] in this position, should be a correct [ы] sound.

E.g. молоко sounds as [m ͣlako̍]

здравствуйте sounds as [sdra̍stvujti]

весть [vje̍st’] (ь – this sign makes the preceding consonant soft)

подъезд [pad|je̍zd] (ъ – this sign divides the word into two parts, a slight pause can be made here)

The table in pdf Russian Alphabet

Russian grammar is very difficult with lots of exceptions to the rules. There are no articles in Russian, thank God. Russian words have endings that help to understand in what relations the words are. In English words do not change they mostly take another words to their group to help them to convey a particular meaning, while in Russian a word with particular ending or suffix will suffice for our understanding of its meaning.



Masculine – words ending in a hard consonant or –й + –арь, –тель (e.g. стул, брат, музе̍й) + exceptions: мужчи̍на man, дя̍дя uncle, ю̍ноша youth, Ва̍ня Ivan, Са̍ша Alexander. Names of months are also masculine январь January, февраль February, март March, апрель April, май May, июнь June, июль July, август August, сентябрь September, октябрь October, ноябрь November, декабрь December.

Feminine – words ending in –а, –я + –жь, –шь, –чь, –щь, –ость (e.g. да̍ча dacha, во̍дка vodka, Ма̍ша Maria, Ка̍тя Catherine, мышь mouse, дочь daughter, по̍мощь help, новость a piece of news)

Neuter – words ending in – o, – e(e.g. письмо̍ letter, о̍зеро lake, мо̍ре sea)+ exceptions: и̍мя name, вре̍мя time, пле̍мя tribe and other.

Foreign borrowings belong to neutral gender if they denote inanimate objects: такси taxi, метро metro, какао cacao. Sex determines the gender of people and animals.


Plural nouns end in –ы or –и. Exceptions:

го̍род – города̍ (city)

дом – дома̍ (house)

глаз – глаза̍ (eye)

брат – бра̍тья (brother)

сын – сыновья̍ (son)

друг – друзья̍ (friend)

де̍рево – дере̍вья (tree)

и̍мя – имена̍ (name)

челове̍к – лю̍ди (man – people)

ребёнок – де̍ти (child)


There are six cases in Russian and three patterns of declension.



Masculine – end in –ый, –ой, –ий (молодой young, красивый beautiful, синий blue)

Feminine – end in –ая, –яя (молодая, красивая, синяя)

Neuter – end in –ое, –ее (молодое, красивое, синее)


In plural all adjectives end in –ые, –ие (молодые, красивые, синии)


6 cases as in nouns.


I – я

You – ты

He/she/it – он/она̍/оно̍

We – мы

You – вы, Вы

They – они̍

My – мой (m), моя̍ (f), моё (n)

Your – твой, твоя̍, твоё

His/her – его̍/её

Our – наш, на̍ша, на̍ше

Your – ваш, ва̍ша, ва̍ше

Their – их

This – э̍тот (m), э̍та (f), это (n), э̍ти (pl)

That – тот (m), та (f), то (n), те (pl)


In pdf Russian Numerals


To be continued…


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