The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Russian pronunciations in Wikipedia articles. For a guide to adding IPA characters to Wikipedia articles, see {{IPA-ru}} and Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Pronunciation § Entering IPA characters.

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.[1]

See Russian phonology and Russian alphabet for a more thorough look at the sounds of Russian.

Hard Soft
IPA Examples English approximation IPA Examples English approximation
b About this soundбок; апде́йт[2] boot About this soundбе́лый beautiful
d About this soundдать; About this soundфутбо́л[2] do About this soundде́ло; About this soundходьба́; About this soundжени́тьба[2] dew (UK)
dz[3] About this soundплацда́рм[2] lads [3] начди́в; About this soundдочь бы[2] jig
dzʲ[3] дзюдо́[1] lad's young
f About this soundфо́рма; About this soundвы́ставка;[2] About this soundбо́ров[4] fool About this soundфина́л; About this soundверфь; About this soundкровь[4] few
ɡ About this soundгод;[5][6] About this soundанекдо́т[2] goo ɡʲ About this soundгеро́й argue
ɣ About this soundГо́споди; About this soundага́;[5] Бог даст; дух бодр[2] between home and goo ɣʲ трёхдне́вный; други́х де́вушек[2] between argue and yes
N/A j About this soundесть [je-]; About this soundёж [jɵ-]; About this soundюг [ju-]; About this soundя [ja]; About this soundмайо́р[7] yes
k About this soundкость; About this soundбе́гство;[2] About this soundфлаг[4] scar About this soundкино́; секью́рити skew
l About this soundлуна́[8] pill About this soundлес; About this soundболь lean
m About this soundмы́ло moot About this soundмя́со; About this soundсемь mute
n About this soundнос noon About this soundнёс; About this soundдень; About this soundко́нчик[9] newt (for some dialects)
p About this soundпод; About this soundры́бка;[2] About this soundзуб[4] span About this soundпе́пел; About this soundцепь; About this soundзыбь[4] spew
r About this soundраз flapped or trilled r, like in Spanish About this soundряд; About this soundзверь flapped or trilled r, like in Spanish
s About this soundсоба́ка; About this soundска́зка;[2] About this soundглаз[4] soup About this soundси́ний; About this soundздесь; About this soundесть; About this soundгрызть;[2] About this soundрезь[4] assume (for some dialects)
ʂ About this soundширо́кий; About this soundкни́жка;[2] About this soundмуж;[4] About this soundчто[10] rush ɕː About this soundщека́; About this soundсчита́ть; About this soundмужчи́на[2][11] wish sheep
t About this soundто; About this soundво́дка;[2] About this soundлёд[4] stand About this soundтень; About this soundдитя́; About this soundпуть; About this soundгрудь[4] stew (UK)
ts[3] About this soundцена́; About this soundнра́виться cats [3] About this soundчай; About this soundтечь chip
tsʲ[3] Цю́рих[1] cat's young
v About this soundвы; его́;[6] афга́н[2] voodoo About this soundвесь; About this soundвью́га view
x About this soundход; About this soundБог[5] loch (Scottish); ugh About this soundхи́трый; Хью́стон; About this soundлёгкий[5] huge (for some dialects)
z About this soundзуб; About this soundсбор[2] zoo About this soundзима́; резьба́; About this soundжизнь; About this soundпро́сьба[2] presume (for some dialects)
ʐ About this soundжест; волшба́[2] rouge ʑː About this soundпо́зже;[12] вещдо́к[2] prestige genre
Stressed vowels
[-soft] [+soft]
IPA Examples English approximation IPA Examples English approximation
a About this soundтрава́ father æ About this soundпять; About this soundча́сть[13] pat (US)
ɛ About this soundжест; About this soundэ́тот met e About this soundпень; About this soundэ́тика[13] mace
ɨ About this soundты; About this soundши́шка; с и́грами roses (for some dialects) i About this soundли́ния; About this soundи́ли meet
o About this soundо́блако; About this soundшёпот chore ɵ About this soundтётя; About this soundплечо́[13] foot
u About this soundпу́ля cool ʉ About this soundчуть; About this soundлю́ди[13] choose
Unstressed vowels
[-soft] [+soft]
IPA Examples English approximation IPA Examples English approximation
ə About this soundко́жа; About this soundо́блако; About this soundсе́рдце; About this soundсобира́ть[14] about ə About this soundво́ля; About this soundсего́дня; About this soundку́ча[15] lasagna
ɐ About this soundоблака́; About this soundкако́й; About this soundсообража́ть; About this soundтропа́[14] bud ɪ About this soundлиса́; About this soundчеты́ре; About this soundтяжёлый; About this soundде́вять; About this soundчасы́[16] bit
ɛ тетра́эдр; поэте́сса[17] met
ɨ About this soundдыша́ть; About this soundжена́; About this soundво́ды; About this soundэта́п; к Ива́ну roses (for some dialects)
o About this soundра́дио; поэте́сса[17] chore ɵ ма́чо; сёрфинги́ст[13][18] foot
ʊ About this soundмужчи́на pull ʉ About this soundчуде́сный; About this soundлюби́ть[13] youth
IPA Example Explanation
ˈ About this soundчеты́ре [tɕɪˈtɨrʲɪ] stress mark, placed before the stressed syllable
ː About this soundсза́ди [ˈzːadʲɪ][2] consonant length mark, placed after the geminated consonant


  1. ^ a b c Even though /ts/ and its voicing [dz] are considered to be exclusively hard consonants, they may be palatalized in certain words of foreign origin.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v 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).
  3. ^ a b c d e f The affricates [ts] and [tɕ] (and their voiced counterparts [dz] and [dʑ]) are sometimes written with ligature ties: [t͡s] and [t͡ɕ] ([d͡z] and [d͡ʑ]). Ties are not used in transcriptions on Wikipedia (except in phonology articles) because they may not display correctly in all browsers.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j 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).
  5. ^ a b c d г⟩ is usually pronounced [ɣ] or (word-finally) [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.
  6. ^ a b Intervocalic ⟨г⟩ represents /v/ in certain words ( сего́дня,  сего́дняшний, итого́ ), and in the genitive suffix -ого/-его (Timberlake 2004:23).
  7. ^ The soft vowel letters ⟨е, ё, ю, я⟩ represent iotated vowels /je, jo, ju, ja/, except when following a consonant. When these vowels are unstressed (save for ⟨ё⟩, 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.
  8. ^ /l/ is often strongly pharyngealized [ɫ], but that feature is not distinctive (Ladefoged & Maddieson 1996:187-188).
  9. ^ Alveolo-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.
  10. ^ Most speakers pronounce ⟨ч⟩ in the pronoun что and its derivatives as [ʂ]. All other occurrences of чт cluster stay as affricate and stop.
  11. ^ щ⟩ is sometimes pronounced as [ɕː] or [ɕɕ] and sometimes as [ɕtɕ], but no speakers contrast the two pronunciations. This 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-⟩.
  12. ^ Geminated [ʐː] is pronounced as soft [ʑː], the voiced counterpart to [ɕː], in a few lexical items (such as дро́жжи or заезжа́ть) by conservative Moscow speakers; such realization is now somewhat obsolete (Yanushevskaya & Bunčić (2015:224)).
  13. ^ a b c d e f 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. ^ a b Unstressed /a/ and /o/ regularly lose their contrast, being pronounced [ɐ] in word-initial position, as well as when in a sequence, and [ə] in posttonic position (i.e. after the stress); in non-initial pretonic position (i.e. before the stress) they are reduced to [ɐ] only immediately before the stress, being realized [ə] otherwise.
  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 words of foreign origin may be pronounced with little or no reduction.
  18. ^ Unstressed [ɵ] only occurs in words of foreign origin.


  • 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 978-0-631-19815-4.
  • 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

See alsoEdit