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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 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 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; 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 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 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 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 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   Го́споди and   Бог, and in the interjections   ага́,   ого́,   го́споди,   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 (  сего́дня,   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], [xʲ] have voiced allophones, [dz], [], [ʑː], [ɣ], [ɣʲ] respectively, before voiced stop consonants. Examples:   плацда́рм, начди́в, 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.


  • 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