Some phonetics: Russian letter "ь"

February 11, 2016

And now some phonetics:)

We are going to talk about a strange Russian letter that has no sound - "ь" ( I usually write ' (apostrophe) instead of it if you have noticed in my previous posts). In Russian "ь" is called мЯгкий знак ( myAh- kiy znak) which means "soft sign" because it usually softens the letter before it and can completely modify the meaning of a word. Let's see how important the soft sign is. For example, without the soft sign, the word мАть (mat'- mother) becomes мат ( mAt) which means "swearing".

When you see the soft sign "ь"- smile:) ( I am not joking - smiling will help you pronounce a word with "ь" in it) and raise your voice a little bit and then you will be able to pronounce it correctly. I also like this videoclip about the way how to pronounce the words with the "ь".

And now let's practise some words with "ь" in it:
Say - дАн ( dAn which means "given")
Now smile:) and say: дАнЬ ( dAn' which means "a tribute")
Say - мОл ( mOl - "a jetty")
Now smile:) and say: мОлЬ ( mOl' - "a moth")

When the soft sign stands between two consonants usually in the middle of a word, it makes the word softer and brighter.
Let's practise some words: бОлЬно (bOl'na - "sore"), свАдЬба (svAd'ba - "wedding"), гОрЬко (gOr'ka - "bitter" - Russian wedding tradition. The guests usually begin to shout this if they want to see the married couple kiss one another. At this point the couple must kiss for a long time ( guests can even count how long the kiss will last) to take out the bitter taste of vodka.
Let's try some other words:
пОлка (pOlka - "a shelf")
Smile:) and say: пОлЬка (pOl'ka - "polka dance")
бАнка (bAnka - "a jar")
Smile:) and say: бАнька (bAn'ka - "Russian sauna" (steam bath)


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Dyslexia: advice, further information and sources of help

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