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Basic Phonetic Features of Russian

  • Russian sounds are generally less energetic than English ones;
  • all sounds are monophthongs in Russian;
  • the length of vowels is not important in Russian;
  • along with the "voiced-unvoiced" distinction, Russian consonants can be soft (palatalized) and hard (non-palatalized); the softness of consonants has semantic value;
  • stress is not fixed, it's free and moving.

Russian is rather simple as compared to English because it is considered to be a very phonetic language, which means that there is one-to-one correspondence between letters and sounds except very few pronunciation laws. By and large, Russian words will be understood if you simply read them letter-by-letter.

(c) 2000