Online Russian Language Course - Lesson #2

author Kateryna Samokhvalova

Letter O. Make It Sound Russian!

So, this is my second article about how to learn to read in Russian without actually seeing a teacher in class or in Skype. Please, follow the rules and you will be very close to the right pronunciation. Although, I have to say that foreign students do better when they listen to the native speaker. So, do not hesitate and order a 30 minutes trial lesson to decide if you want to take lessons via Skype or not.

  1. Basics to pronounce the letter. The very first thing that you need to know about letter O is that it doesn’t sound like the English one – they are slightly different. When we come across O in an American or English alphabet ,we say [ou]. Basically, there are two sounds [o] and [u]. Now, the Russian letter O has only first sound [o].
  2. Keep your lips round. In order to make it sound right, you need to make a circle with your lips and pronounce O, otherwise you will make it sound American as in hot, dog, log, etc. Keep on doing that until you remember that this is Russian O and not English ‘uh’.
  3. Just when you got used. And just when you think you’ve made it, and your lips are round every time when you say O, here comes a new rule. The O sound is round only in the stressed position. In all the rest cases you pronounce it as a Russian letter A.

I know this all sounds extremely complicated and you think you can’t master so many rules at a time. However, I can say that many students think like that. It might be true only if you do not practise out loud every day. A language learner has to have practice of a foreign language at least 3 times a week in order to achieve success. Practice makes perfect, right? So, let’s practice a little:

Task 1. Read these simple words using alphabet to check consonants.

Д-О-М (house)

Р-О-М (rum)

М-О-С-Т (bridge)

В-О-Р (thief)

Н-О-С (nose)

Р-О-Г (horn)

Л-О-Б (forehead)

C-О-Р (litter)

Т-О-К (electrical current)

К-О-Т (cat)

Task 2. These words have than one syllable. It means only one of them is stressed, of course. Pay attention to the stress mark.

М-О-Л-О-К-О́ [muh –luh –ḱо́] milk

З-О́-Л-О-Т-О [zó –luh –tuh] gold

С-К-О́-Р-О [skó – ruh] soon

Г-О́-Р-О-Д [gó – ruh –d] city

С-О́-Л-О [só – luh] solo

О-Г-О-Р-О́-Д [ uh – guh – rod́] kitchen garden

Г-О́-Л-О-С [gó – luh – s] voice

О́-К-О-Л-О [ó –kuh – luh ] near

Х-О́-Л-О-Д [hó – luh – d ] cold

Б-О-Л-О́-Т-О [ buh – ló – tuh ] swamp

I hope you are doing everything right as described above. But I clearly understand how hard it is to pronounce anything with the help of theoretical knowledge only. I studied English with a teacher and heard her pronounce things every lesson. Thus, if you want to check if you are doing okay with your readings, please, sign up for a trial lesson.

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