Russian vowels

There are 10 vowels in the Russian language. They can be divided into two groups (normal and soft ones) or 5 pairs where one of the vowels is a soft version of its counterpart.

Listen to these pairs:

Normal Soft
а [a]
я [ya]
о [o]
ё [yo]
э [e]
е [ye]
у [u]
ю [yu]
ы [y]
и [ee]

As you can see, to make the second vowel in a pair, all you need to do is to add y in front the the first vowel (except for the last pair ЫИ).

The letter Ы does not have a corresponding sound in English and is indicated in the transcriptions by [ y ].

When a soft vowel follows a consonant, it makes this consonant soft (read about hard and soft Russian consonants).

Learn Russian letters one by one