Talk:Russian alphabet

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[a] as in father[edit]

The alphabet part of the article says that Аа is pronounced [a] as in father. But the A-sound is father isn't an [a], it's an [ɑ]. Two quite different sounds.

So, is it [a] or [ɑ]?

It also says /x/ as the hole... what kind of dialect is that?

The Letter 'El'[edit]

I recently moved to Russia and found that the letter Λ was frequently used, though it didn't exist in my dictionary or this wikipedia article. As it turns out, it is commonly used as the 'El' since the standard л is so similar to 'Pe' ( п ). Can this be included in the table somehow? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Seyon (talkcontribs) 14:11, 11 September 2011 (UTC)


Please! Lets talk at Talk:Transliteration of Russian into English! Mikkalai 22:34, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Images for characters?[edit]

Is there a reason that images are being used for certain characters? Are they not found in Unicode? Thanks. --ChrisRuvolo 14:46, 27 Aug 2004 (UTC)

The Yat Yat uc ru.PNGYat lc ru.PNG is easily represented: Ѣѣ. The Fita Fita uc ru.PNGFita lc ru.PNG also: Ѳѳ. Ksi: Ѯѯ Psi: Ѱѱ Omega: Ѡ ѡ Yus: Ѧѧ big yus: Ѫѫ and variants: Ѩѩ Ѭѭ .. So whats the deal? --ChrisRuvolo 15:33, 27 Aug 2004 (UTC)
  • -- they are not present in all fonts, including the default font in the default skin as shown under MS-win and IE. A. Shetsen 03:32, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC)
That is pretty bogus of MS to not have a properly implemented font. So the lowest common denominator is used? I don't like that.. but I guess that is how things go. --ChrisRuvolo 04:11, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Does anybody know how I could get those fonts so they will show up on my computer? Is there somewhere I could download the Unicode stuff? Devahn58 00:44, 5 October 2005 (UTC)

In Glagolitic[edit]

The mnemonic recitation of the letter names is similar to something I heard about the Glagolitic alphabet. Was the recitation retrofitted to Glagolitic or was it carried on to Cyrillic? -- Error 01:30, 12 Oct 2004 (UTC)


It is said that vowels е, ё, ю, я are ioted when initial, but they also are ioted then they come after another vowel or after ъ - hard sign and ь - soft sign. --DimaY2K 07:56, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Some questions:

1) Should the IPA symbol for "o" not be "ɔ" rather than just "o"? Cambridge Advanced Learners uses "ɔ" for "chalk".

2) Should the IPA symbol for "э" not be "ɛ" rather than just "e"? Listening to speech sample by natives, I think this sounds more similar.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:57, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

I will use some German examples.
  • 1) Just /o/ seems right. Although, it may not be as clear as in German "holen". I can hear the difference between Russian /o/ and English /ɔ/. It's definitely closer to the British in "hot" than in the American.
  • 2) Hmm, both are present. The difference is subtle, so it's OK to use just one symbol, It's always /e/ after palatalised consonants. When I studied German, we were taught some examples:
spät - это /ɛ/ but
nehmen - эти /e/ Atitarev (talk) 01:07, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
/o/ is correct for phonemic representation (which is what we want to use here). Otherwise we'd be using diacritics since the most common form is between [ɔ] and [o].
Check out Russian phonology for all the allophones of /e/. It's a mid vowel in some contexts, open-mid in others and phonetically [e] before (not after) palatalized consonants. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 01:51, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
I don't argue about /o/ being most acceptable. As for your 2nd statement, an open /ɛ/ AFTER a palatalized consonant sounds impossible in Russian, even if the article doesn't say it. The correct statement should between BEFORE or AFTER. I am not adding to the article right now as I don't have the source but here's what the Russian Wikipedia says (I replaced the tag name). Strictly speaking, it's not 100% correct either, because "небо" would be ['nʲebə] (it's only after, not before or between):
  • Аллофон, наиболее близкий к /e/ произносится между мягкими согласными: петь /pʲetʲ/

--Atitarev (talk) 02:28, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

ia and я[edit]

Was ia only used at the beginning of words or was it retained inside them, too? Where, if so? And what about words such as языкъ, which is ięzyk in polish and thus derives from small yus? (talk) 15:43, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

If this is still important, it's język. The same pattern applies but at the beginning of a word, the Russian "я" has a /j/ sound. Polish may have "j" like in this example. Polish "ą" and "ę" alternate with Cyrillic "я" or "у" in Russian. The iotised Polish can ię and ią (after consonants) or "ję" or "ją" at the beginning of a word. Polish words can be traced to Old Cyrillic "Little Yus" (Ѧ, ѧ) and "Big Yus" (Ѫ, ѫ).
mąż - муж
męża - мужа
pięć - пять
--Atitarev (talk) 04:14, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

Moved: New-York in the examples for the use of Decimal I[edit]

Нью-Іоркъ /nʲju jork/ "New York" was given in Russian alphabet#Letters eliminated in 1918 as an example for the use of і. However, this is not a good example for two reasons:

  1. the spelling of this kind of words was considered controversial (see note 92 from section called "iо, йо, ьо?" in Я.К. Грот "Русское правописаніе", 1885),
  2. (related to first) it is not an example of pronunciation being identical to и (rather, it is identical to й in this case).

So, I'm changing the example.--Imz 21:28, 16 October 2005 (UTC)

Cyrillic s[edit]

The current description of the archaic (in Russian) cyrillic letter 's' says that: The ѕ corresponded to a primitive /dz/ pronunciation, already absent in East Slavic at the start of the historical period, but kept by tradition in certain words until the eighteenth century in secular writing, and in Church Slavonic to the present day.

It would seem worthwile to add that the Macedonian language is the last remaining (living) Slavic language to have retained the 's' to this day.

That X consonant[edit]

I believe the consonant which sound is marked as "h as in huge" is actually a gutural R sound, not so much like the softer h sound in English.

You believe wrong. Delicates 14:12, 6 January 2006 (UTC)

You write "like in Bach", but the IPA symbol in Bach would be "ç", not "x". So what *is* the correct pronunciation of X in Russian, please?

It is a voiceless velar fricative, similar to the ch Bach (which is actually uvular, not [ç]). — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 01:53, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

Cyrillic in Wikipedia[edit]

Please see the new page at Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Cyrillic), aimed at

  1. Documenting the use of Cyrillic and its transliteration in Wikipedia
  2. Discussing potential revision of current practices

Michael Z. 2005-12-9 20:43 Z

If I want to write a Russian word in a Wikipedia article, using Cyrillic orthography, how do I go about it? I know Russian and I know how to spell the word, but I don't know how to access Cyrillic in this system. JackofOz 09:41, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

If you are working under Windows, try using the Character Map program under Accessories / System Tools. About three pages down for the Arial font you run into Cyrillic characters. Double click on the ones you want to build the word and then copy and paste it from Character Map over to the Wikipedia editor box. You'll get something like this: "АБВГДЕЖЗИЙКЛМНОПРСТУФХЦЧШЩЪЫЬЭЮЯ" and "абвгдежзийклмнопрстуфхцчшщъыьэюя". Good luck! --StuffOfInterest 12:35, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Э оборотное vs. э[edit]

In my experience, the letter Э is merely called by its sound (eh)- I have never heard of calling it Э оборотное. It is called by this name in non-Muscovite Russian? Schnabeltier Angriff 19:39, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

Well, i kratkoe is also often just called y. -Iopq 14:11, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
How would you say that then? The same as и? BirdValiant 02:03, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
No. Say "yeast", and then say it again without "-east". It wouldn't make sense to pronounce it as 'i'; would you pronounce a lone english 'w' as 'u'? 19:43, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
Do you mean to say that when pronouncing either j or w by themselves, you would basically move your tongue from the schwa position to the i or u positions, respectively? Or maybe from j or w to a schwa. I'm no expert in linguistics, but aren't j and w just movements toward i and u? That's why I thought that j by itself would just be i, since by itself, the tongue wouldn't be moving anywhere to get to its destination, i. I think another way of saying j or w would actually be the movement from a schwa to those consonants, or those consonants to a schwa. In the above example, with the Y in the word yeast, the sound I hear is the movement from a schwa, since that's where my tongue starts from, toward j, then if the rest of the word is pronounced, the tongue is moved down a little towards i. BirdValiant 03:48, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
@BirdValiant: Not quite. [j] and [w] are semivowels, meaning they are really just really short vowels that act like consonants. Like you guessed, [j] and [w] are the semivocalic counterparts of [i] and [u], respectively. Your tongue does not start in the schwa position for either of them; your tongue actually starts in the [i] or [u] position, and then moves to the next vowel. For example, in the word "yes", your tongue would start out near the roof of your mouth as [i], but then quickly move to [ɛ], and then to [s]. There is no schwa [ə]. The word "yeast" would be phonetically transcribed as [jist]. Because [j] is the semivocalic counterpart of [i], [ji] ends up just being [i] without a glottal stop before it, possibly slightly longer as well. In several dialects, though, [i] is slightly diphthongized to [ɪi̯] (where [ɪ] is the vowel in "bit" and the ̯ diacritic means that the vowel is part of the same syllable as the one next to it). In those dialects, yeast would be better transcribed as [jɪi̯st], where the word would start out as [i], then quickly move to [ɪ] and then [i], after which it would go to [s] and then [t]. I'm not sure why you say "the tongue is moved down a little towards i", because [i] is pretty much as close to the roof of the mouth as vowels go (same with [u]). The [ɹ] sound (written with the letter r) is also a semivowel. It is, more or less, the semivocalic counterpart of the [ɚ] vowel found in rhotic dialects of English (the second vowel in "maker"), including most American accents (in truth, the English sound transcribed as [ɹ] is actually labialized [ɹʷ] and sometimes retracted to [ɹ̠ʷ] or even [ɻʷ]). You are right, though, in that [j] by itself would just be [i]; not necessarily a very short [i], because sounds like [n] are usually pronounced just as short as [j], but when said alone, they are usually lengthened, so [j] could just as well be pronounced alone the same as a regular [i], although you might pronounce it extra-short for clarity. You could pronounce it as [jə], [j] followed by a schwa, to clarify that it is a consonant, but that wouldn't be [j] by itself. I don't know what sound the person at IP address was trying to imply; maybe it was [jə]. Zgialor (talk) 14:13, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
Wow, quite the necropost. I'm actually still alive, as it turns out. BirdValiant (talk) 05:54, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
That sort of thing actually depends on language, Zgialor. Anecdotally I can say that, for English, /j/ and /w/ seem more constricted than their vocalic counterparts (but not usually enough to produce the turbulence found in fricatives). — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 17:12, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
@Aeusoes1: OK, yes, that may be true. Personally, I cannot hear or feel the difference between [j] and [i] (other than length and one being syllabic), but it may be different for you, and I may just not be able to tell. However, it would still be rather difficult to tell the difference between [j̩] and [i] if they were used to name <й> and <и>, respectively, so is would make little sense to say <й> rather than <и краткое>. Back to the original post, I don't know what the page looked like in 2006, but right now, <э оборотное> is listed as an old name for the letter, with just <э> being the current name. Zgialor (talk) 14:26, 1 January 2015 (UTC)

Missing cursive versions[edit]

I'm trying to decipher a text written in cursive Russian, but the current article was no help. The Cyrillic alphabet page was more helpful with that, but then it documents only the cursive version of basic Cyrillic letters, not the cursive version of special Russian letters such as " Ы ". I suggest someone knowledgable would add the cursive version of each upper/lower case letter, right below each regular version (there's already room for it anyway). -- 07:18, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

There is already a link under "See also"! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:09, 15 October 2008 (UTC)


The article should have a section describing the encoding of Russian characters. Historically, tens of different encoding schemes were implemented, and several are still in use. How about a table with various encodings of azbuka? dima 13:18, 10 March 2007 (UTC).


Why is the IPA for Э given in brackets rather than slashes? Is [ɛ] not a phonemic sound?--YellowLeftHand 19:40, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Brackets and slashes, as far as I remember from the page about IPA, are nearly identical, with slashes referring to a more general pronunciation, while brackets indicate it is very specific (all those little subscript and superscript and other character modifications.) Also, it says "e in met", yet for IPA it shows /e/ which is a long a sound, like in feint, either I'm pronouncing met wrong (doubtful as I speak northwestern american english and it usually removes met vowel sounds in certain circumstances, don't think it would ever add them.) It seems to me what may have happened is someone tried to change it to slashes, didn't know how to get the right IPA character (browsers pretty much make u use copy paste and that is time-consuming) and just put an e in there. Btw-I do hav an account, I'm not logged in because I just havent spent the time to login while on this new version of Safari yet. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:18, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
The "e in met" is the closest equivalent in English. Don't let the transcription fool you. Russian /e/ is often a mid-vowel (similar to met in e.g. RP). While English /e/ is a long vowel, the IPA character doesn't carry an assumption of length with it. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 02:23, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

which variant should be used for the pronunciation of the "old name"[edit]

For example, there is ща [ɕtɕa] in the list (not matching the modern standard pronunciation). The case I'm worried about is твердо [ˈtvʲɛ.rdə]: first of all, it doesn't show the regular ё (so, it might be a Church Slavonic tradition or an error of a Wikipedia editor; I do not know how this name was commonly pronounced at the times when it was used in Russia). And another issue is tvʲ/tʲvʲ: since it's a more automatic process than the "е to ё", it was probably pronounced the same way the speaker would pronounce it in his normal Russian (without caring about Church Slavonic); and the Moscow pronunciation of the beginning of 20th century would probably be [tʲvʲ]. I do not know what should be written there, I just want to raise this issue.--Imz (talk) 21:10, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

The way I've been transcribing them phonetically is with modern standard Russian (AFAIK) even for the older terms. A hefty amount of research would need to be done to figure out the older pronunciations, but it's possible to do. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 21:16, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
Are there reasons to keep ща [ɕtɕa] then?--Imz (talk) 22:08, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
I guess not. [ɕɕ] is the better alternative. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 22:54, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
The obsolete description of "щ" still exists. The combination "Welsh cheese" could be used for the Russian historical pronunciation or Ukrainian, not modern Russian. There is no /ɕtɕ/, only /ɕɕ/. --Anatoli (talk) 03:26, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Some rephrasing suggestions[edit]

In the alphabet section: "Ъ - a sign which, placed after a consonant, indicates it is not palatalized" "Ь - a sign which, placed after a consonant, indicates a softened pronunciation"

If my understanding that this two letters play more or less opposite roles, maybe it'd look less confusing and more consistent to use the same way to describe them, for example "it is not palatalized/it is palatalized" or "a hard pronunciation/a soft pronunciation".

In the vowels section: "4. The vowels <е, ё, и, ю, я> indicate a preceding palatal consonant" I believe what it's trying to say is "palatalized" instead of "palatal", as not that many consonants appear to be purely palatal.

Keith Galveston (talk) 07:28, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

I completely agree. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 07:39, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

Pronunciation of Ч, Ж, Ш, and Щ / most appropriate IPA symbols[edit]

The current pronunciation is given as "tɕ". Is this really the best match for the "ch" sound in "chip"? Would not "tʃ" be the right sound? If not, can someone help explain the difference, please? Many thanks!

Similarly, while I can follow the English circumscription (like "pleasure", like "shut", like "fresh cheese") and that seems to reflect what I hear, I cannot map this to the IPA symbols. English dictionaries at least use the "simpler" symbols ʒ and ʃ. I may of course be wrong on this, but could someone more knowledgable perhaps added some further comments re pronunciation and the matching IPA symbols? Retroflex fricatives might be a bit challenging for most readers new to this language and/or phonetics, and alveolo-palatal fricative ever more so. Many thanks!

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:14, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

Check out Russian phonology. In Russian, Ч represents the consonant transcribed in the IPA as /tɕ/. The closest equivalent in English is /tʃ/, a distinction most speakers of English can't perceive. You can look at postalveolar consonant, which might explain the difference (though the difference is subtle)
Ж and Ш most closely correspond to the English postalveolar consonants, though they are actually retroflex consonants. Again, the distinction is subtle (especially when you consider the variation amongst retroflex consonants) and sources I've seen either neglect or gloss over the difference and may use /ʒ/ and /ʃ/ simply because it's easier. I think the "sounds like" helps readers unfamiliar with IPA or with retroflex consonants. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 02:08, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
If I can use an analogy with other languages, Russian /ʒ/ and /ʃ/ are (usually) harder than English, unpalatalised. Russian "ш" sounds more like German "sch" or Chinese "sh", rather than English "sh". However, Russian /tʃ/ is always palatalised (soft), it doesn't sound like a merged "тш" /tʃ/ to Russians but rather a /tɕ/. For that reason, /ʒ/ and /ʃ/ is followed by sound /ɨ/ (ы) (although spelled as жи and ши) but /tɕ/ (ч) is always by /i/ (и). The difference between /tʃ/ and /tɕ/ is not big but /tɕ/ highlights the soft pronunciation of "ч". --Atitarev (talk) 02:40, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
Thank you so much for your comments, they are extremely helpful. So unmodified ж and ш are alwayws hard and ч is soft? Many thanks again, David. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:10, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
You're welcome, yes, correct. --Anatoli (talk) 05:10, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
Minor clarification: those letters never vary in their hardness or softness no matter the following vowel. The only exception is that ч may actually be pronounced like ш in certain environments such as as in что. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 07:47, 20 November 2008 (UTC)

Stress indication[edit]

I added a new section but I'd like to ask for some help about the easiest method to insert a word stress symbol on Russian words, here in Wikipedia, other Windows applications and text areas on the web. Can anyone help, please?

I have created this Russian lesson (#5) with the word stress in Wikibooks: I had to do a lot of copy/paste. Not very convenient. --Atitarev (talk) 22:33, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

The "names of the letters" section[edit]

Can someone help me make sense of this section? The section seems nonsensical to me. --RossF18 (talk) 15:01, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

What's that anglopone pronounciation ?[edit]

Hello, by reading this article, I noticed a lot of mistakes about the phonetic :

  • First and foremost, л is not pronounced like a latin [l] at all, but like the Italian sound gl [λ] ;
  • The letter р is an r that you roll like in Spanish, Italian or in Greek, so it is not [r] but [ɾ] ; —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:55, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
In sources that I've seen, Russian does not have a palatal lateral. It has a velarized dental lateral and a palatalized alveolar one. This latter one is the most similar to a palatal one, which is probably where the confusion lies.
You should familiarize yourself with the IPA a little more. [r] is the rolled r of Spanish, Italian and Greek. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 19:47, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

[r] is the English sound, which has nothing to see with the Spanish rolled r [ɾ]. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Yakuzanodon (talkcontribs) 12:31, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Like I said, familiarize yourself with the International Phonetic Alphabet. [r] is the alveolar trill, a sound found in Russian, Spanish, and Italian. The sound of English is often transcribed as /r/ for typographic reasons, but a more accurate phonetic rendering is [ɹ]. See alveolar approximant. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 19:12, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Before getting used to IPA, you should at least get used to pronounciation itself : "sources that I've seen", I have never heard a Russian man saying л like a roman l. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:24, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

IPA is a facilitator in understanding pronunciation, so I don't see them as separate. You are correct that Russian л does not denote the sound indicated by the IPA [l], however, this is a typographically expedient way of rendering the pharyngealized [l̪ˤ] of e.g. лоп. Also different from [l] is the [lʲ] of e.g. лицо, similar to [ʎ], but as I said, I haven't seen it described or transcribed as a palatal lateral in any sources. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 13:45, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

/e/ vs. /ɛ/[edit]

Throughout this article there are transcriptions that include the phoneme /e/ with an English example that actually has the phoneme /ɛ/. The letter's "Е" transcription, for instance, is "/je/ or / ʲe/" and the English example of that sound is "ye in yet". As far as I'm concerned, the phoneme /e/ doesn't exist in English, at least in the major dialects. It's a bit closer than /ɛ/, like in French "demodé", German "Esel", Portuguese "esse" or Finnish "että". Wisapi (talk) 15:58, 8 January 2010 (UTC)

Don't let the transcription of these two languages fool you. There are numerous allophones of Russian /e/, including close-mid, mid, and open-mid ones. In addition, There's a range amongst English dialects between mid and open-mid realizations of /ɛ/. The English approximations, I think, are close enough for /e/. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɛ̃ɾ̃ˡi] 21:22, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
Whether the English approximations are close enough or not for /e/, may be a question of one's mother language influence on phones perception. As a native Portuguese speaker, these are total different phones to me, and if I mix them up, people won't understand me. Conversely, /ɛ/ and /æ/ sound almost identical to me and I had to put I a great effort into learning to differentiate pairs like <bed> and <bad> or <pet> and <pat>. As there is a great number of ESLs using the anglophone Wikipedia who may be able to pronounce the the proper phone effortlessly if instructed right, I'm in favor that the most painstacking transcription be used in phonology articles along with a note that the English example is just a rough approximation when it isn't exactly the same. This may seem a little perfectionist, but if people may profit from it, why not? And if there are inumerous allophones for /e/ extending from [e] to [æ], why not simply noting, "Explicit pronounciation [e], but ranging from [e] to [æ] in allophones"? Wisapi (talk) 02:31, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
Because all the pronunciations are approximate to English /ɛ/. Detailed phonetic discussion of the contextual variants should (and does) go at Russian phonology. Approximations are, well, approximate and readers should expect that phonetic details will be glossed over in that way, no? — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɛ̃ɾ̃ˡi] 03:49, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

Well, as a long time Wikipedia reader —and not editor—, I always thought that the phones for which the example in English was not given as aproximate (compare the entries <Є> and <Ш>) were actually an exact parallel. Only when I would read that it was just a rough example of the sound, would I be concerned in finding more about the phone. Moreover, if had actually read about the language's phonology, which might be very complex in terms of allophones, I would use the tables in the language ortography page as a consultation material and that would be of little value if I could get misled. So if my (mis)experience can give any clue of how readers might react, I deem it reasonable that a new column should be added to concern the actual pronunciation (possibly of the dialect of greatest prestige) and attention be drawn to the mere approximations in English. This would still not encroach in the phonology articles' compass, for it would not offer a greater explanation of the phones nor of phenomena like elision, assimilation, etc. that only occur in more informal registers —just a concise list of correspondences between phones and the language script. Perhaps other alternatives may be equally satisfying; however, I don't think that it would be optimal to just put a sign on the ortography pages' top alerting that every phoneme is to be understood as approximate and that a deeper discussion should be looked after in the phonology page. This would —as I said— undermine the page's value as a consultation material. Wisapi (talk) 13:54, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

I don't think that's a good idea. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɛ̃ɾ̃ˡi] 18:36, 10 January 2010 (UTC)


In Russian, tvvo letters are visibly different from their original scripts. These are Д "de" and Л "el". These are displayed (if italicised vvith the Garamond font) similar to the Alexander font. The characters of these letters in Garamond font are rendered as follovvs: Д (Cyrillic letter "de"), and Л (Cyrillic letter "el"). The letters are similar to the Greek Δ "delta" and Λ "lambda", as the Cyrillic alphabet derived from the Greek alphabet.

My question vvas, can I show the display variations (at least in this page) as a note? so that people are avvare of Cyrillic deriving from Greek? Thnx! :D
序名三「Jyonasan」 TalkStalk 23:22, 4 September 2010 (UTC)
That might be better placed at Cyrillic alphabet or Early Cyrillic alphabet, since it's not just the Russian variant that this happens in (right?). — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɛ̃ɾ̃ˡi] 00:46, 5 September 2010 (UTC)
Correct. So... VVould I be able to add a note to the letters, at the bottom the note vvill describe my explanation. VVould that be ok? 序名三「Jyonasan」 TalkStalk 03:01, 5 September 2010 (UTC)
I think so. Give it a try and, if it's weird, we can tweak it or talk about it. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɛ̃ɾ̃ˡi] 05:37, 5 September 2010 (UTC)

Correct Transliteration[edit]

There is a vvebsite that allovvs you to transliterate to and from the major transliteration (romanisation) systems.

I have found a vvebsite, vvhich agrees vvith Russian dictionaries and transliteration tools. But the reason vvhy I also agree vvith it is because (according to my grandfather's Russian books on transliteration), this transliteration systems are more favoured, and complied vvith Russian grammar/spelling.

There is another favoured transliteration system: ISO-9 1995 The most frequent problems vvith Russian transliteration are the letters:

е, ё, ж, и, й, х, ц, ч, ш, щ, ъ, ы, ь, э, ю, and я.

There should be a "transliteration compromise" that combines the most used transliteration systems, so transliterised vvords could be accurate. Here is a vvebsite that shovvs all the transliteration systems Compromised!

序名三「Jyonasan」 TalkStalk 01:42, 5 September 2010 (UTC)


Even though the Russian letter <Ж> sounds like a Voiced retroflex fricative, in many dialects in major cities (especially in Moscow, St. Petersburg, etc.) it is a Voiced postalveolar fricative. Here are the features of a Voiced postalveolar fricative:

  • Its manner of articulation is fricative, vvhich means it is produced by constricting air flovv through a narrovv channel at the place of articulation, causing turbulence.
  • Its place of articulation is postalveolar vvhich means it is articulated vvith the tip of the tongue betvveen the alveolar ridge and the palate, but closer to the alveolar ridge than for alveolo-palatal consonants.
  • Its phonation type is voiced, vvhich means the vocal cords are vibrating during the articulation.
  • It is an oral consonant, vvhich means air is allovved to escape through the mouth.
  • It is a central consonant, vvhich means it is produced by allovving the airstream to flovv over the middle of the tongue, rather than the sides.
  • The airstream mechanism is pulmonic egressive, vvhich means it is articulated by pushing air out of the lungs and through the vocal tract, rather than from the glottis or the mouth.
This includes many features in the letter Ж. So, vvhy is the Russian letter Ж classified ONLY in the phonology category of a Voiced retroflex fricative and not also in the category of a Voiced postalveolar fricative? There is a vvebsite that allovvs native speakers from their native countries to pronounce words (letters in this case) in fluent Russian, and here is "Zhe" (transliterised as either <žɛ>/<ʒɛ>, or in the case of a Voiced retroflex fricative: <ʐɛ>):
| Forvo Ж
Here is another vvebsite, shovving all the Russian letters pronounce by Russian natives:

Please, If it is possible to consider BOTH VVIDELY KNOVVN DIALECTS OF RUSSIAN (Both vvhich are considered official to the USSR [Soviet Union] novv knovvn as the Russian Federation.) Thank you. :D

序名三「Jyonasan」 TalkStalk 01:03, 5 September 2010 (UTC)
People generally transcribe it as if it's palatoalveolar. I suspect the retroflexion is not well understood, though it is widely attested. If you find a source that talks about dialectal variation in Russian postalveolar fricatives between retroflex and palatoalveolar pronunciations, that's welcome here and at Russian phonology. I'm skeptical, though; all the sound files you've provided sound fairly retroflex to my ears. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɛ̃ɾ̃ˡi] 01:06, 5 September 2010 (UTC)

Superscript notes but no references[edit]

There are several (unlinked) superscript numerals within the main alphabet chart (e.g. next to the heading "Old Name") but it's not obvious what these notes are referring to. There should be a legend at the bottom of the chart listing the notes. I would do it but not being a regular editor on this page I can't find most of the information. ... discospinster talk 21:57, 2 January 2011 (UTC)

Sha... ch?[edit]

"sheer (sometimes followed by chip)" — What does that mean? – Kerαunoςcopiagalaxies 10:40, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Ha ha. I've fixed it. Clear now? — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɛ̃ɾ̃ˡi] 12:17, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Much clearer, thank you! – Kerαunoςcopiagalaxies 22:16, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Letter that looks like an upside-down "V"?[edit]

See 1932 Metro map at [1], three word place name that begins with "Akademia"; the third word transliterates as "F?ota". The ? is the letter that looks like an upside down V. So what's that letter and how is it pronounced? — Rickyrab. Yada yada yada 13:54, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

El (Cyrillic)-- (talk) 16:41, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

Letter H[edit]

If an editor feels that content in this article is strange (somewhat oversimplistic) statement about h (there are many such sounds). Please change the article to give examples for such sounds. Do follow Wikipedia standards please. — Yulia Romero • Talk to me! 17:42, 18 November 2012 (UTC)

Like this. — Yulia Romero • Talk to me! 17:47, 18 November 2012 (UTC)
I think what you've added helps contextualize the information and make it appropriate for the article, but perhaps it should go into a separate section on transliteration of foreign or borrowed terms. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 14:25, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

Fine by me! But I am not an expert on the matter.... — Yulia Romero • Talk to me! 16:42, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

OK, I've done so. The source cited wasn't a very good one, so I took it out. I also took out the tags that User:Incnis Mrsi added. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 02:20, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

It looks good but I think you had the same problem as I had before: finding a source on this matter by using Google.... File:Navy.gifYulia Romero • Talk to me! 02:30, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

While Aeusoes1 attempted to fix serious problems with the content added by Yulia Romero, several other users ran to my talk page and spent their time persuading me that Jews know the Russian language not worse than Russians. Certainly, there are many Jews who speak Russian. I know many in person and, actually, there were many Jews who educated me in the past, in Russian language. But it is unlikely that a website with a manifested allegiance to certain minority ethnic group (in this case, to Jews) should serve as a WP:reliable source about Russian language, especially about the absence of (something) in Russian. I repeat: probably, Jews from the JewishGen website do not know all of Russian language (all idioms within the Russian language, all words, etc.) and are not qualified enough to make judgment such as "no [h] in Russian". Incnis Mrsi (talk) 09:43, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for clarifying. My removal had less to do with the identity of the source's author and more to do with the type of website it is and how much authority that has on the topic. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 13:57, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

An editor should not blame others that words they wrote where wrongly interpreted but should blame himself that he wrote something that could be wrongly interpreted and should appreciate it when others point out to him that he wrote something that could be/was wrongly interpreted (however that was done). — Yulia Romero • Talk to me! 18:28, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

Please don't carry that issue here. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 18:37, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

Digraphs and El (Cyrillic)[edit]

Can this article include a small mention of digraphs? I had to go to Digraph (orthography)#Cyrillic, and then Cyrillic digraphs to read: "In standard Russian, however, the letters in ⟨дж⟩ and ⟨дз⟩ are always pronounced separately", but I wouldn't mind an actual sentence in this article stating that Russian doesn't really use digraphs. I ask because I came here specifically after reading the word "автомобиля" and wondering if it was pronounced "avto" or "auto".

Also, I see the comment above about the lambda-like character. I've asked about this El character before because I didn't find the answer here. Should it be included in the alphabet chart with a small explanation or note? Both of these suggestions are to help out Russian newbs like me. Thanks. – Kerαunoςcopiagalaxies 23:21, 4 March 2013 (UTC)

I do not understand the problem. Anticipating something alike, I even included in the Russian orthography the text
but despite this, people with native Latin alphabet apparently project problems of Latin-derived alphabets to Cyrillic. In Russian, and in an overwhelming majority (by number of human users) of modern Cyrillic-based orthographies, digraphs (like ‹sh› or ‹ng›) really are uncommon or non-existent. There are modifier letters like Ь without an own phoneme, and there are some rules which select between pronunciation variants depending on adjacent letters, but any pair of two letters each having its own pronunciation has not some special pronunciation in Russian when these letters are adjacent. Situation is more complex in other East Slavic languages, but there are no such Easter eggs as ‹ng› or ‹ch› anyway. Digraphs are idiosyncratic in Cyrillic orthographies, and the Cyrillic digraphs article represent something either historical, marginal or non-existent in major Cyrillic-using languages. Incnis Mrsi (talk) 06:36, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Well, I was basing my judgment against Greek_alphabet#Digraphs_and_letter_combinations, where I was able to learn about digraphs immediately. I admit, it never occurred to me to go to the Russian orthography article, but I appreciated the one-stop-shop feeling of the Greek alphabet article. I feel like I had to hunt around for an answer, that's all. I still think it'd be helpful to mention it here, but I'm not really a pro on this stuff. Also, any opinion on including the Лл symbols? See, I can't even type the other ell letters (П with a hook), I guess it's a font thing. But if Лл is used so frequently, maybe it should appear in the chart. – Kerαunoςcopiagalaxies 08:50, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Лл is not considered a digraph. I wonder why ll is considered an English digraph (probably, it is only a minority view), although IMHO there is nothing exceptional in its pronunciation compared to “ss”, “tt”, “pp”, “mm” etc. I do not know rules of syllabification for ll in English, but in Russian, лл can easily be split over two syllables. Incnis Mrsi (talk) 19:30, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
Most double letters in Russian are pronounced single, particularly loanwords. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 19:46, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
These double letters are not digraphs. See the argument about syllabification. Incnis Mrsi (talk) 20:08, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, I know Лл are not digraphs. I'm making things confusing by having two topics under one subject. First was digraphs: I was simply curious if it should be mentioned in this article that Russian doesn't really use them. Again, this was because I wasn't sure how to pronounce the prefix Авто. Is it "auto" or "avto"?
Yes, you made a serious error combining two topics under one section, which suggested some (elusive) connection between the two. In a majority of varieties of Russian ‹в› is invariably a consonant (though, in some Southern dialects it sounds like [w] in certain positions), and ‹Авто-› is pronounced Russian pronunciation: [aftə] (if stressed). Incnis Mrsi (talk) 21:34, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
Ok, secondly, I was wondering if the Λ (lambda)-like character should be mentioned in the chart next to Лл. The reason for this is because I see both characters used frequently; actually, the lambda-like character I see more frequently than I would expect. And, in fact, when I type Лл on my keyboard, it comes out as lambda characters, but after I press "save page" below, the characters come out looking like the pi character with a tail. So I assume it's a font thing. – Kerαunoςcopiagalaxies 20:58, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
Yes, these are allographs, and the article stresses this fact. I am astonished that you wasted a lot of our time on this. Incnis Mrsi (talk) 21:34, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
"serious error" and "wasted a lot of our time"? You're one of those editors, the ones who like to feel they're above everyone else on a talk page. Good for you. – Kerαunoςcopiagalaxies 21:53, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

Lambda character[edit]

My apologies for not being more clear. In this case, I am asking if the Λ character should be included next to the Лл characters in the Alphabet chart on THIS article (I'm not talking about any other article). This is a suggestion because apparently Russian uses the lambda character far more frequently than I was initially aware of, and I was not able to find this El character mentioned on THIS article. I may just practice WP:BOLD and add it myself if this is going to resort to people insulting me. – Kerαunoςcopiagalaxies 21:53, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

Transliteration of Х[edit]

The article includes the note:

^+ The letter ‹х› is romanized as ‹h› when appearing at the beginning or end of words and names. Otherwise, it is romanized as ‹kh›.

I've never seen х transliterated as English <h>, though I can't say that it's never been done. In common English practice, it's translitered as <kh> in all positions - Khrushchev, Kherson, khoroshaya, etc. In academic linguistics, it's usually transliterated as <x>, or occasionally <ch>, but never <h> in this context either. Before I delete it, I'd like to make sure there aren't any common counterexamples of which I'm ignorant.

While the letter ‹х› is romanized as ‹h› in some systems, I don't know any system that uses this positional rule, so I have deleted the note. Burzuchius (talk) 20:44, 14 February 2015 (UTC)

Pronunciation of <и краткое>[edit]

The pronunciation given for the name of the letter <й>, <и краткое>, is [i ˈkratkəɪ]. Shouldn't it instead be [i ˈkratkəjɪ]? I'm not aware of any phonological rule that reduces unstressed /je/ to [ɪ] in any position. However, I do believe that /e/ by itself reduces to [ɪ] after palatalized consonants and [j]. Zgialor (talk) 23:20, 29 December 2014 (UTC)

It's my understanding that [j] is deleted before [ɪ] and [i]. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 23:33, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
[əjɪ] can be used in more careful speech, [əɪ] in more quick speech. Hellerick (talk) 13:09, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
OK, I see. Zgialor (talk) 14:28, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
Made with [j] ("more careful speech"). Шурбур (talk) 20:54, 22 October 2016 (UTC)

Approximate English pronunciation example[edit]

Please bring back the approximate English pronunciation example. It helps to the understanding of a letter. If the chart gets too big, then don't make a new row, just add it into the "example" row. For example: Knowing that "dva" means "two" doesn't help at all for the understanding of the letter A (the translation is irrelevant). Knowing that it is similar like in "father" (instead of like in "hat", or in "angel" or else) helps. Not everyone can read and interpret the IPA. (talk) 00:50, 10 July 2016 (UTC)

I can put a link here, where all the examples are. Tacit Murky (talk) 06:58, 10 July 2016 (UTC)
Many transcriptions already link to Help:IPA for Russian. Approximate English equialents will not be brought back, because many of them are not exactly the same as the Russian sounds; some of them are also pronounced differently from dialect to dialect. That's not neutral nor acceptable, IPA, on the other hand, is neutral, widely acceptable and, above all, verifiable. Would you expect articles about high level maths to be translated for people who know nothing about maths? Surely not... step up and learn the IPA. Jones, Daniel; Ward, Dennis (1969), The Phonetics of Russian is a good start. Mr KEBAB (talk) 10:15, 10 July 2016 (UTC)
A good start, but (probably) somewhat outdated by now. It may still consider /й/ as a semivowel and presence of soft /Ж/. Tacit Murky (talk) 14:50, 10 July 2016 (UTC)
I don't have a problem with English approximations. The caveat that they are just approximations comes with the term "approximation." I think it's a bad idea to expect readers to go outside of article space to get informed. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 16:56, 10 July 2016 (UTC)
I agree, but it depends on reader's literacy and awareness about Russian. Some minority doesn't need approximations, because they know'em (or think so). But I'm in favor of leaving explicit link to IPA page for the rest. Tacit Murky (talk) 18:14, 10 July 2016 (UTC)

El or El'[edit]

El (Эл) [ɛl] (with the hard л) as a name of the letter is incorrect (and in the sound file too). Шурбур (talk) 20:34, 22 October 2016 (UTC)

Not sure about the sound file, but the name is fine according to WP:RUS--Ymblanter (talk) 20:40, 22 October 2016 (UTC)
I mean, the Russian name: the correct Russian name is эль (pronounced [ɛlʲ]), but not эл (pronounced [ɛl]). Both are transliterated as el tho. Шурбур (talk) 21:11, 22 October 2016 (UTC)
Correct, but «эл» is still used for abbreviations. Tacit Murky (talk) 14:05, 23 October 2016 (UTC)

Ш is wrong[edit]

It's pronounced as a brief blow-out-with-round-mouth-sound. Just like the German SCH-sound, which also exists in Swedish but not in Danish nor Norwegian. The following Russian letter is mainly a combination of first this SCH-sound, followed by a common blow-out-with-closed-theeth-sound. Like CH in chocolate. SCH-CH , or "Whuch" - without the round W-sound , and certainly no H-sound. "SCHuCH" (the actual vowel sound might be slightly different but always very thin). "fresh cheap" makes no sense, it's only a repeat of the blow-out-with-closed-theeth-sound, CH in CHocolate twice - and isn't helpfull at all ! Generally, as in the example, are "sh" and "ch" (in English) just spelling differences for the same sound. Boeing720 (talk) 05:27, 2 July 2017 (UTC)