Russian Alphabet

Руский Алфавит

The Russian alphabet was adopted from the Cyrillic alphabet created in 9th century when the monks Cyril and Methodius developed a written language for the Slavs.

The Cyrilic alphabet has 33 letters and has much in common with the Greek alphabet. Each letter is only an approximation of how a sound is pronounced. The alphabet has 10 vowels, 21 consonants, and 2 signs (ь, ъ). 5 of the vowel letters are hard (А, О, У, Ы, Э) and 5 are soft (Е, Ё, И, Ю, Я). As you speak Russian, try in the beginning to exaggerate your pronunciation.

Each Russian word has only one syllable that is stressed. Here the stressed syllable is indicated by a stress mark, a symbol that resembles an apostrophe. The stress marks are not common in written Russian as native speakers simply know where the stress lies.

When writing Russian native speakers always use a cursive style handwriting. Many of the cursive letters differ from that of the typescript. For example:

Привет! Меня зовут Тимофей. Я живу в Геленджике.
Привет! Меня зовут Тимофей. Я живу в Геленджике.

The guide below should get you started in speaking and reading Russian. Hover over the example Russian word for a picture definition.

А а А а ah as in father
  • авто́бус

Б б Б б beh as in bed
  • ба́бушка

В в В в veh as in vet
  • вода́

Г г Г г geh as in get
  • глаз

Д д Д д deh as in depth
  • дом

Е е Е е yeh as in yes
  • ено́т

Ё ё Ё ё yo as in yogurt
  • ёж

Ж ж Ж ж zheh as in pleasure
  • жира́ф

З з З з zeh as in zephyr
  • замо́к

И и И и ee as in bee
  • индю́к

Й й Й й ee kratkoye as in boy
  • йо́гурт

К к К к kah as in coffee
  • ко́фе

Л л Л л ehl as in elevator
  • лес

М м М м ehm as in empty
  • маши́на

Н н Н н ehn as in enter
  • носки́

О о О о oh as in open
  • о́вощи

П п П п peh as in pet
  • по́езд

Р р Р р arr as in rose
  • ро́бот

С с С с ehs as in escape
  • снег

Т т Т т teh as in tell
  • торт

У у У у oo as in loop
  • у́хо

Ф ф Ф ф eff as in effort
  • фру́кты

Х х Х х hah as in huff
  • хлеб

Ц ц Ц ц tseh as in boots
  • цвето́к

Ч ч Ч ч cheh as in chess
  • часы́

Ш ш Ш ш sha as in shop
  • шля́па

Щ щ Щ щ schya as in sheep
  • щётка

Ъ ъ Ъ ъ hard sign
tviordiy znak
no sound
  • ---

Ы ы Ы ы yery as in ill
  • ---

Ь ь Ь ь soft sign
myagkiy znak
no sound
  • ---

Э э Э э eh as in elf
  • экле́р

Ю ю Ю ю yoo as in youth
  • ю́бка

Я я Я я ya as in yard
  • язы́к