How do you say hard in Russian

Hard and soft consonants

Almost all consonants in Russian have both a hard and a soft (so-called palatalized) pronunciation. The difference between them is that with the soft / palatalized consonants the tongue remains a short fraction on the hard palate after the consonant has been articulated, so that the impression arises as if after the consonant there is a very short one j would be spoken to. This j However, it must not be spoken independently, but only hinted at.

The best way to imagine this phenomenon is to use the pronunciation of the gn in Kognak before, where the G is not articulated and after that n a j-like sound follows. Another example would be that ll in the word Billard, at the after l also a j-like sound follows.

Russian consonants and their pronunciation:

б

в

г

д

ж

з

й

hard:

/ b /

/ v /

/G/

/ d /

/ ʒ / * 1

/ z / * 2

-

soft:

/ bʲ /

/ vʲ /

/G/

/ dʲ /

-

/ zʲ /

/ y /

Remarks:
* 1 voiced / sh / as in GaraGe
* 2 voiced / s / as in Rose

к

л

м

н

п

р

с

hard:

/ k /

/ ɫ / * 3

/ m /

/ n /

/ p /

/ r /

/ s /

soft:

/ kʲ /

/ lʲ /

/ mʲ /

/ nʲ /

/ pʲ /

/ rʲ /

/ sʲ /

Remarks:

* 3 See the explanation on the Russian l under the item on the pronunciation of consonants.

т

ф

х

ц

ч

ш

щ

hard:

/ t /

/ f /

/ x / * 4

/ ʦ /

-

/ ʃ / * 5

-

soft:

/ tʲ /

/ fʲ /

/ xʲ / * 6

-

/ tʲɕ / * 7

-

/ ɕɕ * 8

Remarks:

* 4 like German ach
* 5 inscription: sch
* 6 like German ich
* 7 inscription: tjsch
* 8 inscription: schjtjsch

A consonant in Russian is pronounced soft / palatalized if

  • a soft / joted vowel (я, ё, ю, е, и) follows (with the following vowel)

or

  • if the letter ь follows (at the end of the word or with a following consonant)

As can be seen from the table above, the consonant letters ч and щ and й (= j) are always spoken softly / palatalized; the consonant letters ж, ц and ш, however, are always spoken harshly.

As with the meeting of voiced and unvoiced consonants, the first consonant is matched to the second in terms of the softness / hardness of the consonants. This means that soft / joted consonants are also spoken hard if they are immediately before a hard consonant.

Examples: конечно (koneschno - natural)

On the other hand, hard consonants are also spoken softly / jotized if they are immediately before a soft / jotized consonant.

Examples: мягкий (mjach’kij - soft), кончик (kon’tschik - tip), стена (s’tena - wall), здесь (z’des ’- here)

In Russian, some word combinations are spoken from two separate words. This is the case with

  • Preposition + subsequent word
  • Negative particle не, ни + subsequent word
  • Question pronoun + subsequent word.

In these cases, the pronunciation adjustment for consecutive consonants also applies.

In the following chapter we will introduce you to the spelling in Russian.