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About this blog

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Intro:

 

Since I'm not sure a Russian Talk thread would get much attention I'll just make a blog. Hopefully some people want to engage if they know the language, or engage if they want to try and learn it.

 

As I go through my self study with books and audio tapes, I'll post content here (after I get off from studying/exercising). Expect things like info on phonology, morphology, case/tense practice, vocabulary building and sentence practice. Maybe this will help someone else interested in learning as well. I'll try to keep the posts as detailed as possible. Between studying and sessions, hopefully I'll wonder about something on the internet as a free resource, or a book will be checked into my library, that will help improve my Russian and this blog.

 

Oh, and as I go further in, I'll link to specific portions of the blog here in the main post for ease and organization.

 

Index:

 

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Resources:

 

 

Notes:

 

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Entries in this blog

 

Russian Handwriting + More Pronunciation!

I'm a bit late but I have been studying a lot in my spare time in order to meet my schedule, so please forgive me for my lateness. Anyways.........!   Now the book I am using to study this with has a "skip" section on the handwriting section if your aim is to just read/speak it, but if you wish to persist through this too, I've taken some sample shots of the pages' instructions. If you need clearer images, I went ahead and googled some more references for you that you can get to by clicking the title of the Spoiler Tag. All of the Handwriting section will be under a spoiler, since by itself it is huge and because it is skippable.
  ~Russian Handwriting~   More on Russian Pronunciation: Stress   Just like in English (or many other languages) some syllables in Russian are pronounced more prominently than others. In English, for example, consider the differences of "Phótograph" and "Photógraphy". If you don't know the differences of the words, pronounce each carefully. Notice how in "Phótograph" you put more emphasis on the first syllable? And in the second word "Photógraphy" the stress is marked on the second syllable. Stress in Linguistics is signaled by an increased loudness, vowel length, full articulation of a vowel, and changes in pitch. If you need more information on syllables and stress, please consider looking into the links I have provided at the bottom of this entry under "Resources".   Continuing on: In Russian, normal writing does not mark stress visually, just like in English, so it is important to learn the stress of words or the general stress rule. Be careful though with stress in words and most definitely names, since the traditional English pronunciation is often never matches the Russian. For example, English speakers tend to put stress on "влади́мир" (Vladimir) in the first syllable like so "Vládimir", but in Russian stress is always placed on the second syllable, like so "[Vla-de’е-meer]".   Here are some more examples:   The writer Pasternak is "Пастерна́к" (not Pа́sternak) Nabokov is "Набо́ков " (not Nа́bokov) Oblomov (a man in Goncharо́v's famous novel) is "Обло́мов" (not О́blomov)   Stress in Russian is heavier than it is in English and much harder to predict which syllable is going to get lucky and get marked for stress. Sometimes you will find that different forms of the same word will have different stresses. For example, in Russian hand "Рука́" and  hands "Ру́ки" have two completely different stresses. The first "Рука́" has stress on the end and the second word "Ру́ки" has stress on the first. It is one of the many reasons why you should learn the stress of words you are learning/know of...otherwise, if you do not know the stress, the safest method to proceed is to read it without stress at all, syllable by syllable.   Next we delve into a bit more of the Linguistics of the language itself. If your goal is to just be understood, feel free to skip this. But if you are like me, you want to know how things work and why. If you are, the following six points will show you the small differences between Moscow Russian is written and the way it is pronounced.   Softness;   Many call it the indication of a good Russian accent and from what I have heard and dealt with, I'd agree with them. I learned more about what this is actually called (and generally more about it) from a friend (@aalsuvorov) who has been willing to educate me further in Russian. What it is is the correct pronunciation of soft consonants and you might be wondering what "soft consonants" are. Well,  "soft" means the consonant is pronounced with a simultaneous y sound. You can tell if a consonant is soft if it is followed by any of these letters/sounds: е ё и ю я or the soft sign "Ь".   The main thing you must remember to do is pronounce the y sound with the consonant before it. Many people end up pronouncing the two separately instead of simultaneously. For example the word "сове́т" ('council') is pronounced [s-a-vy-е́-t] — that's five sounds. The vy (soft в) is not two sounds, but one! In English, we say it "s-o-v-i-e-t", six, instead of five sounds!   Hard Consonants vs Soft Consonants;   'Hard' consonants are pronounced just like in English, without the simultaneous y sound like in soft consonants. Earlier, in "", we learned there are twenty consonants. Of them, with the exception of "" and "", are all hard consonants. "" and "" are always soft! Of the other eighteen, fifteen of them will tell you if they are to be pronounced soft, as they will always be marked with any of "е ё и ю я" or the soft sign shown above. For example, "Л" [l] is hard but "Ль" [ly] is soft! That is to say, in Russian "[l]" and "[ly]" are two different sounds, but to many English speakers they probably just think it is a variant (allophone) of [l].   For example, compare the [l] in "people" to the [l] in "leaf". Do you hear the difference (different dialects might make this hard though)? The [l] in "people"  is like "Л" (hard) while the [l] in "leaf" is like "Ль" (soft). Do you notice the differences? Here are some more examples of hard and soft consonants in Russian:   Мйло [meela] 'nice' - hard л Мйля [meelya] 'mile' - soft ль Лук [look] 'onion' - hard l Люк [lyook] 'hatch' - [ly] is soft Мат [mat] 'bad language', 'abuse'  - hard т Мать [maty] 'mother' - soft ть Мать [maty] 'mother' - hard М Мять [myaty] 'to crumple' - soft [my]   Before И the [y] element is less audible but please be aware that regardless the consonant is still soft.   Бить [beety] 'to beat' - soft Б   However, if the 'Б' was hard, the vowel would not be и but ы. For example:   Быть [bity] 'to be' - hard Б   Consonants that are always hard: Ж Ц Ш   Even though the letters е ё и ю я ь mark the preceding consonant soft, there are exceptions...like most languages. Thankfully not as much as French, though. They are the following: Ж Ц Ш. These letters are always—always—pronounced hard (no [y] sound!), no matter the following letter. Like the word Жена́ 'wife' is pronounced [zhe-nа́] —the [y] of the letter e [ye] simply disappears.And in Жёны 'wives' is pronounced as if it were written like Жо́ны [zhо́-ni]. Ты зна́ешь 'you know' is actually pronounced as if it were written like Ты зна́еш [znа́-yesh]. The soft sign has no effect and has become historical in usage only.   Oh, and before I forget to add it...after the letters 'Ж', 'Ц' and 'Ш' you should hear the vowel и [ee] pronounced as if it were actually ы [ i ]. As so:   Жить [zhity] 'to live' Цирк [tsirk] 'circus'     Next time on Learning Russian! (lol) we learn about voiced and unvoiced consonants! How fun! Stick around and just remember...practice makes perfect! Or so they say...    

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Albatross

 

Learning to Read Russian

After practicing the sounds in the previous entry (click here to be linked there) we can start to practice reading some vocabulary. Doing this now will see if you remember the sounds, or if there are some problematic sounds you can't yet make. I'm going to give the Russian words to the left, their pronunciations to the center and the translations to the right. Cover the pronunciations and the translations with a sheet of paper or an extra window (open up firefox or something), or you will be cheating. Now try to read the Russian words and once you have gone through the list at least once, you can remove the window/block to see how you did.     Words                                                       Pronunciation                                                                   Translation   влади́мир                                                 [Vla-de’е-meer]                                                                      ‘Vladimir’
туале́т                                                      [too-a-lyе́t]                                                                              ‘toilet’
метро́                                                       [mye-trо́]                                                                                 ‘metro’, ‘underground’
тролле́йбус                                              [tra-llyе́y-boos]                                                                        ‘trolleybus’
календа́рь                                                [ka-lyen-dа́ry]                                                                          ‘calendar’
перестро́йка                                            [pye-rye-strо́y-ka]                                                                    ‘perestroika’, ‘reorganization’
гла́сность                                                 [glа́s-nasty]                                                                              ‘openness’
украи́на                                                    [oo-kra-e’е-na]                                                                         ‘Ukraine’
сиби́рь                                                      [see-be’еry]                                                                              ‘Siberia’
во́лга                                                         [vо́l-ga]                                                                                    ‘the Volga river’
ма́нчестер                                                [mа́n-chye-styer]                                                                      ‘Manchester’
би́рмингем                                               [be’еr-meen-gyem]                                                                   ‘Birmingham’
ливерпу́ль                                                [lee-vyer-po’oly]                                                                        ‘Liverpool’
АберДи́н                                                   [a-byer-de’еn]                                                                          ‘Aberdeen’   Time for some exercises! Don't worry if you get them wrong...this is only entry 2/lesson 2. lol For the exercises you should read the word and translate them with the knowledge you have learn so far. Like above, but the correct answers aren't to the right of them. Instead I included them at the end of the post within a spoiler tag marked "Answer Key". Don't cheat and try at least two times before clicking it open.   Exercise 1   Бори́с Бори́с да Нет Большо́й Спаси́бо ру́сская а́збука Бо́рщ Чай Са́хар Журна́л
    Here are some common signs in Russian. Check your pronunciation at least three times before checking the Answer Key for the right way.   Exercise 2   Азропорт = airport Буфе́т = snackbar Гости́ница = hotel Дире́ктор = manager, director Закры́то = closed Запрещено́ = forbidden Интури́ст = intourist Ка́сса = cash desk/ticket office к себе́ = pull Не кури́ть = no smoking От себя́  = push Парикма́херская = hairdresser/barber По́чта = post office Ремо́нт  = closed for repairs Рестора́н = restaurant Туале́т = toilet     That's it for now. I'm going to adjust the first post with information on the alphabet written in italics and some other stuff that I feel should be added there. If you want to push your studies you can pick up a dictionary to go over vocabulary and translation. If you can't get a hold of a physical book, here are some great sites:   Helpful sites:   Dictionaries:   http://www.lingvo-online.ru/en/Translate/en-ru http://russian.cornell.edu/rdt/ http://www.lexilogos.com/english/russian_dictionary.htm http://en.bab.la/dictionary/english-russian/   If you need help writing in the Cyrillic, you can use this online tool.   http://russian.typeit.org/     Answer Key:  

Albatross

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Russian Sounds

Russian Sound Inventory
  1st Post   For the sake of ease, I will include the "non-Linguistic" method of explaining the sounds as well as providing the IPA of each vowel and consonant (they will be wrapped in a parenthesis). Since I am at the beginning of the  book, I will not delve too deep into Allophony, merging, etc etc. Maybe the book will cover that later. I don't wish to jump ahead for my own good as well as anyone who may be reading this. Anyways... first I'll break them down into four groups, from easiest to say/remember to the hardest. I'll try to come up with image templates later on instead of relying on the very limited range of our editors (no BBCode SUCKS), but for now, please stick with me.   Group 1:   (Capital)    (Small)                            (Pronunciation)                                (IPA)      А               а                     |           [a] as in father                                  (/a/)      K               к                     |           [k] as in kangaroo                             (/k/ or /kʲ/)     М               м                    |           [m] as in map or man                         (/m/ or /mʲ/)     О               о                    |           [o] as in bottle *1                                (/o/)     Т               т                    |            [t] as in tan or tool                              (/t/ or /tʲ/)     Now Group 2 will contain letters that look like English letters and you might try to pronounce them the same, but they aren't pronounced the same at all.   Group 2:   (Capital)             (Small)                            (Pronunciation)                                                                (IPA)      В                       в                    |             [v] as in vet                                                                      (/v/ or /vʲ/)      Е                       е                    |             [ye] as in yes                                                                   (/je/, / ʲe/ or /e/)      Н                       н                    |             [n] as in never                                                                  (/n/ or /ɲ/)      Р                       р                    |             [r] as in error *2                                                                 (/r/ or /rʲ/)      С                       с                    |             [ s ] as in sit                                                                        (/s/ or /sʲ/)      У                       у                    |             [oo] as in boot                                                                     (/u/)      Х                       х                    |             [h] as in the German ch in Bach or the Scots Loch              (/x/)   Next...!   Group 3:
(Capital)             (Small)                            (Pronunciation)                             (IPA)       Б                        б                  |             [ b ] as in bet or bad                   (/b/ or /bʲ/)       Г                        г                   |             [g] as in get or go                       (/ɡ/)       Д                       д                   |             [d] as in do or debt                      (/d/ or /dʲ/)       Ё                       ё                   |             [yo] as in yolk or yonder *3           (/jo/ or / ʲɵ/)       З                       з                    |             [z] as in zoo                                   (/z/ or /zʲ/)       И                      и                    |             [ee] as in me or eel                         (/i/ or / ʲi/)       Й                      й                    |             [y] as in boy *4                                 (/j/)       Л                      л                    |             [l] as in people                                   (/l/ or /lʲ/)       П                      п                    |             [p] as in pet                                        (/p/ or /pʲ/)      Ф                      ф                    |             [f] as in face or fat                                (/f/ or /fʲ/)      Э                       э                    |             [e] as in met or fed                                (/ɛ/)      Ю                     ю                    |             [yoo] as in use or universe                     (/ju/ or / ʲʉ/)      Я                      я                     |             [ya] as in yak                                          (/ja/ or / ʲæ/)     Finally, we move onto the last group. The 'hardest' group!   Group 4:   (Capital)             (Small)                            (Pronunciation)                                                             (IPA) Ж                            ж                   |             [zh] as in the s in pleasure                                            (/ʐ/) Ц                             ц                   |             [ts] as in its or sits                                                          (/t͡s/) Ч                              ч                   |             [ch] as in church                                                             (/t͡ɕ/) Щ                            щ                   |             [ shsh] as in Welsh sheep or sheer                                 (/ɕɕ/) Ш                            ш                   |             [ sh] as in shut                                                                  (/ʂ/) Ы                             ы                   |             [ i ] as in bit or hit *5                                                         ( /ɨ/ ) Ь                              ь                   |             []  *6                                                                                   (/ ʲ/)                                                                      Ъ                             ъ                   |             []  *7     Now let me direct some of the things I marked in the sound inventory with the symbol ‘ * ’.     *1 Please note that in unstressed syllables standard Moscow pronunciation is of ‘o’ is closer to the [a].   *2 r is rolled like in Scottish English. Please click this link for more on the rolled r.   *3 Russians usually omit the diacritic mark (the dots) so it will often look just like [е]. However, it retains the marks in dictionaries etc etc.   *4 Й forms diphthongs, so ‘óй’ sounds like ‘oy’ in the word ‘boy’, ‘aй’ sounds like ‘igh’ in the word ‘sigh’, and ‘yй’ sounds like the ‘oui’ in the name ‘Louis’   *5 the /i/ is pronounced with the tip of the tongue further back in the mouth   *6 In order to tell  you what this sounds like, it is only possibly to for me to give you the IPA. This sign is called the ‘soft sign’, silent. It palatalizes the preceding consonant—if it is phonologically possible. To remind you to pronounce this during transcriptions/pronunciation, I'll put a raised y ‘y’ in place of the Russian letter.   *7 This letter does not have a sound of its own, but works by preventing the palatalization of consonants. Both the soft sign and the hard sign became phonetic markers over time, meaning now  ‘ь’ indicates that the preceding consonant is ‘soft’ (palatalized) while ‘ъ’ indicates that the preceding consonant is ‘hard’ (non-palatalized).   These two letters are pretty hard for me to explain, so I encourage you to read the wikipedia pages for them (they are linked by clicking their letters respectively).

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