I am going to tell you a few words about some traps, concerning Russian alphabet. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of different sounds that are unlike English pronunciation in Russian language, for example, letters and sounds [Ц], [Ы], [Ь], [Щ]. Students are usually confused with the usage of these letters, let see the examples more detailed.
We use [Ь], when: 1) Want to show softness, 2) We put it in the end of a word, to show that the gender of this word is feminine.
- Пальто (Coat) - here you can see that consonant letter л we read softly
- Дочь (Daughter) - here we could see Ь in the end of this word, so it shows that the word daughter is feminine in Russian.
The letter Ь in Russian we call as "Мягкий знак" (Soft sign) and we read it like "Myakhkii znak", it does not have any sound, but all consonants in pair with Ь we read softly.
As for letter Ы, it also doesn't have any analogy in English, that is why sometimes it is hard to pronounce this letter in your speech correctly. I will try to explain you the most easy way to do it in a proper way. Look at yourself in the mirror, smile and say English letter E and then, with a spoon or any other instrument, touch your tongue and push it back, so that you finally have your tongue like a small hill in your mouth. Thus, pronouncing E with your tongue twisted you could hear the sound of Russian Ы. Try to practise with some Russian words.
мЫло (soap), мЫть ( to clean), мЫ (we), мЫшь (mouse), бЫть (to be), крЫша (roof), дЫшать (to breath), сЫр (cheese)
Letters Ц and Щ are usually difficult for understanding to Russian learners, because they also do not have any analogy in English. Let's try to say a letter Ц, you should read it like sounds tc or ts. You can practise using these words
Цирк (Tsirk) circus, Цапля (Tsaplya) heron, Цвет (Tset) colour, Царица (Tsaritsa) sort of Queen in Russia only, Цветы (Tsveti) flowers
To pronounce the letter Щ in correct way, you should read it as sound SCH, like the English or German word Bosch. Here some words for practise
Борщ (Borsch) a traditional Russian soup with cabbage and different vegetables, Щека (Scheka) cheek, ЖенЩина (Zhenschina) a woman, Щенок (Schenok) a puppy.
In conclusion, wish you good luck with your practise and see you in next posts. I hope you will find this one useful for your learning Russian! Cheers