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The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Russian pronunciations in Wikipedia articles.

See Russian phonology for a more thorough look at the sounds of Russian. For a list of common pronunciation errors, see Anglophone pronunciation of foreign languages § Russian. See Russian alphabet for help converting spelling to pronunciation.

Russian distinguishes hard (unpalatalized or plain) and soft (palatalized) consonants. Soft consonants, most of which are denoted by a superscript j, ⟨ʲ⟩, are pronounced with the body of the tongue raised toward the hard palate, like the articulation of the y sound in yes. /j, ɕː, tɕ/ are always soft, whereas /ʂ, ts, ʐ/ are always hard.

Hard Soft
IPA Examples English approximation IPA Examples English approximation
b About this sound бок; апде́йт[1] boot About this sound бе́лый beautiful
d About this sound дать; About this sound футбо́л[1] do About this sound де́ло; About this sound ходьба́; About this sound жени́тьба[1] dew (UK)
f About this sound фо́рма; About this sound вы́ставка;[1] About this sound бо́ров[2] fool About this sound фина́л; About this sound верфь; About this sound кровь[2] few
ɡ About this sound год[3][4]; About this sound анекдо́т[1] goo ɡʲ About this sound геро́й argue
N/A j About this sound есть [je-]; About this sound ёж [jɵ-]; About this sound юг [ju-]; About this sound я [ja]; About this sound майо́р[5] yes, York, you, yard, boy
k About this sound кость; About this sound бе́гство[1]; About this sound флаг[2] scar About this sound кино́; секью́рити skew
l About this sound луна́[6] pill About this sound лес; About this sound боль lean
m About this sound мы́ло moot About this sound мя́со; About this sound семь mute
n About this sound нос noon About this sound нёс; About this sound день; About this sound ко́нчик[7] newt (for some dialects)
p About this sound под; About this sound ры́бка[1]; About this sound зуб[2] span About this sound пе́пел; About this sound цепь; About this sound зыбь[2] spew
r About this sound раз flapped or trilled r, like in Spanish About this sound ряд; About this sound зверь flapped or trilled r, like in Spanish
s About this sound соба́ка; About this sound ска́зка[1]; About this sound глаз[2] soup About this sound си́ний; About this sound здесь; About this sound есть; About this sound грызть[1] assume (for some dialects)
ʂ About this sound широ́кий; About this sound кни́жка[1]; About this sound муж[2]; About this sound что[8] rush ɕː About this sound щека́; About this sound счита́ть; About this sound мужчи́на[9][10] wish sheep
t About this sound то; About this sound во́дка;[1] About this sound лёд[2] stand About this sound тень; About this sound дитя́; About this sound путь; About this sound грудь[2] stew (UK; for some dialects)
ts[11] About this sound цена́; About this sound нра́виться[10] cats [11] About this sound чай; About this sound течь[10] chip
v About this sound вы; его́[4]; афга́н[1] voodoo About this sound весь; About this sound вью́га view
x About this sound ход; About this sound Бог[3][10] loch (Scottish) About this sound хи́трый; Хью́стон; About this sound лёгкий[1][3][10] huge (for some dialects)
z About this sound зуб; About this sound сбор[1] zoo About this sound зима́; резьба́; About this sound жизнь; About this sound про́сьба[1] presume (for some dialects)
ʐ About this sound жест; волшба́[1] rouge ʑː About this sound по́зже[12] prestige genre
Stressed vowels
[-soft] [+soft]
IPA Examples English approximation IPA Examples English approximation
a About this sound трава́ father æ About this sound пять; About this sound ча́сть[13] pat (US)
ɛ About this sound жест; About this sound э́тот met e About this sound пень; About this sound э́тика[13] penny
ɨ About this sound ты; About this sound ши́шка; с и́грами roses (for some dialects) i About this sound ли́ния; About this sound и́ли meet
o About this sound о́блако; About this sound шёпот chore ɵ About this sound тётя; About this sound плечо́[13] bird (non-rhotic)
u About this sound пу́ля boot ʉ About this sound чуть; About this sound лю́ди[13] choose
Unstressed vowels
[-soft] [+soft]
IPA Examples English approximation IPA Examples English approximation
ɐ About this sound облака́; About this sound како́й; About this sound сообража́ть; About this sound тропа́[14] bud N/A
ə About this sound ко́жа; About this sound о́блако; About this sound се́рдце about ə About this sound во́ля; About this sound сего́дня; About this sound ку́ча[15] lasagna
ɨ About this sound дыша́ть; About this sound жена́; About this sound во́ды; About this sound эта́п; About this sound к Ива́ну roses (for some dialects) ɪ About this sound лиса́; About this sound четы́ре; About this sound тяжёлый; About this sound де́вять; About this sound часы́[16] bit
ʊ About this sound мужчи́на put ʉ About this sound чуде́сный; About this sound люби́ть[13] youth
ɛ тетра́эдр; поэте́сса[17] met N/A
o About this sound ра́дио; поэте́сса[17] chore ɵ ма́чо; сёрфинги́ст[18] bird (non-rhotic)
IPA Example Explanation
ˈ About this sound четы́ре [t͡ɕɪˈtɨrʲɪ] Stress mark, placed before the stressed syllable
ː About this sound сза́ди [ˈzːadʲɪ][1] Consonant length mark, placed after the geminated consonant


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Consonants in consonant clusters are assimilated in voicing if the final consonant in the sequence is an obstruent (except [v, vʲ]). All consonants become voiceless if the final consonant is voiceless or voiced if the final consonant is voiced (Halle 1959:31).
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i The voiced obstruents /b, bʲ, d, dʲ, ɡ, v, vʲ, z, zʲ, ʐ/ are devoiced word-finally unless the next word begins with a voiced obstruent (Halle 1959:22).
  3. ^ a b c г⟩ is usually pronounced [ɣ] or [x] in some religious words and colloquial derivatives from them, such as About this sound Го́споди and About this sound Бог, and in the interjections About this sound ага́, About this sound ого́, About this sound го́споди, About this sound ей-бо́гу, and also in бухга́лтер [bʊˈɣaltʲɪr] (Timberlake 2004:23). /ɡ/ devoices and lenites to [x] before voiceless obstruents (dissimilation) in the word roots -мягк- or -мягч-, -легк- or -легч-, -тягч-, and also in the old-fashioned pronunciation of -ногт-, -когт-, кто. Speakers of the Southern Russian dialects may pronounce ⟨г⟩ as [ɣ] (soft [ɣʲ], devoiced [x] and []) throughout.
  4. ^ a b Intervocalic ⟨г⟩ represents /v/ in certain words (About this sound сего́дня, About this sound сего́дняшний, итого́ ), and in the genitive suffix -ого/-его (Timberlake 2004:23).
  5. ^ The soft vowel letters ⟨е, ë, ю, я⟩ represent iotated vowels /je, jo, ju, ja/, except when following a consonant. When these vowels are unstressed (save for ⟨ë⟩, which is always stressed) and follow another vowel letter, the /j/ may not be present. The letter ⟨и⟩ produces iotated sound /ji/ only after ь.
  6. ^ /l/ is often strongly pharyngealized [ɫ], but that feature is not distinctive (Ladefoged & Maddieson 1996:187-188).
  7. ^ Alveo-palatal consonants are subjected to regressive assimilative palatalization; i.e. they tend to become palatalized in front of other phones with the same place of articulation.
  8. ^ Most speakers pronounce ⟨ч⟩ in the pronoun что and its derivatives as [ʂ]. All other occurrences of чт cluster stay as affricate and stop.
  9. ^ щ⟩ is sometimes pronounced as [ɕː] or [ɕɕ] and sometimes as [ɕtɕ], but no speakers contrast the two pronunciations. It is generally includes the other spellings of the sound, but the word счи́тывать sometimes has [ɕtɕ] because of the morpheme boundary between the prefix ⟨с-⟩ and the root ⟨-чит-⟩.
  10. ^ a b c d e [ts], [tɕ], [ɕː], [x], have voiced allophones, [dz], [], [ʑː], [ɣ] respectively, before voiced stop consonants. Examples: About this sound плацда́рм, начди́в, About this sound дочь бы, вещдо́к, трёхдне́вный.
  11. ^ a b The affricates [ts] and [tɕ] are sometimes written with ligature ties: [t͡s] and [t͡ɕ]. Ties are not used in transcriptions on Wikipedia (except in phonology articles) because they may not display correctly in all browsers.
  12. ^ Geminated [ʐː] is pronounced as soft [ʑː], the voiced counterpart to [ɕː], in a few lexical items (such as дрожжи or заезжать) by conservative Moscow speakers; such realization is now somewhat obsolete (Yanushevskaya & Bunčić (2015:224)).
  13. ^ a b c d e Vowels are fronted and/or raised in the context of palatalized consonants: /a/ and /u/ become [æ] and [ʉ], respectively between palatalized consonants, /e/ is realized as [e] before and between palatalized consonants and /o/ becomes [ɵ] after and between palatalized consonants.
  14. ^ Word-initial and pretonic (before the stress) /a/ and /o/, as well as when in a sequence.
  15. ^ Only in certain word-final morphemes (Timberlake 2004:48-51).
  16. ^ Unstressed /a/ is pronounced as [ɪ] after ⟨ч⟩ and ⟨щ⟩ except when word-final.[citation needed]
  17. ^ a b In the careful style of pronunciation unstressed /e/ and /o/ in foreign words may be pronounced with little or no reduction.
  18. ^ Unstressed [ɵ] only occurs in foreign words.


  • Cubberley, Paul (2002), "The phonology of Modern Russian", Russian: A Linguistic Introduction, Cambridge University Press
  • Halle, Morris (1959), Sound Pattern of Russian, MIT Press
  • Jones, Daniel; Ward, Dennis (1969), The Phonetics of Russian, Cambridge University Press
  • Ladefoged, Peter; Maddieson, Ian (1996). The Sounds of the World's Languages. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-19814-8.
  • Timberlake, Alan (2004), "Sounds", A Reference Grammar of Russian, Cambridge University Press
  • Yanushevskaya, Irena; Bunčić, Daniel (2015), "Russian" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 45 (2): 221–228, doi:10.1017/S0025100314000395
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