This article includes inline links to audio files. If you have trouble playing the files, see Wikipedia Media help.

The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Russian pronunciations in Wikipedia articles. For a guide to adding IPA characters to Wikipedia articles, see ((IPA-ru)) and Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Pronunciation § Entering IPA characters.

Russian distinguishes hard (unpalatalized or plain) and soft (palatalized) consonants (both phonetically and orthographically). Soft consonants, most of which are denoted by a superscript j, ⟨ʲ⟩, are pronounced with the body of the tongue raised toward the hard palate, like the articulation of the y sound in yes. In native words /j, ɕː, tɕ/ are always soft, whereas /ʐ, ʂ, ts/ are always hard.[1]

See Russian phonology and Russian alphabet for a more thorough look at the sounds of Russian.

Hard Soft
IPA Examples English approximation IPA Examples English approximation
b бок; апде́йт[2] boot бе́лый, бью beautiful
d дать; футбо́л[2] do де́ло; ходьба́; жени́тьба[2] dew (UK)
[3] джип jug [3] начди́в; дочь бы[2] jig
dz[3] плацда́рм[2] lads dzʲ[3] дзюдо́[1] lad's young
f фо́рма; вы́ставка;[2] бо́ров[4] fool фина́л; верфь; кровь[4] few
ɡ год;[5][6] анекдо́т[2] goo ɡʲ геро́й argue
ɣ Го́споди; ага́;[5] Бог даст; дух бодр[2] between home and goo ɣʲ трёхдне́вный; други́х де́вушек[2] between argue and yes
N/A j есть [je-]; ёж [jɵ-]; юг [ju-]; я [ja]; майо́р[7] yes
k кость; бе́гство;[2] флаг[4] scar кино́; секью́рити skew
l луна́[8] pill лес; боль lean
m мы́ло moot мя́со; семь mute
n нос noon нёс; день; ко́нчик[9] newt (for some dialects)
p под; ры́бка;[2] зуб[4] span пе́пел; цепь; зыбь[4] spew
r раз flapped or trilled r, like in Spanish ряд; зверь flapped or trilled r, like in Spanish
s соба́ка; ска́зка;[2] глаз[4] soup си́ний; здесь; есть; грызть;[2] резь[4] assume (for some dialects)
ʂ широ́кий; кни́жка;[2] муж;[4] что[10] rush ɕː щека́; счита́ть; мужчи́на[2][11] wish sheep
t то; во́дка;[2] лёд[4] stand тень; дитя́; путь; грудь[4] stew (UK)
ts[3] цена́; нра́виться cats tsʲ[3] Цю́рих[1] cat's young
[3] ко́лледж[4] chip [3] чай; течь chip
v вы; его́;[6] афга́н[2] voodoo весь; вью́га view
x ход; Бог[5] loch (Scottish); ugh хи́трый; Хью́стон; лёгкий[5] huge (for some dialects)
z зуб; сбор[2] zoo зима́; резьба́; жизнь; про́сьба[2] presume (for some dialects)
ʐ жест; кешбэ́к[2] rouge ʑː по́зже;[12] вещдо́к[2] prestige genre
Stressed vowels
[-soft] [+soft]
IPA Examples English approximation IPA Examples English approximation
a трава́ father æ пять; ча́сть[13] pat (US)
ɛ жест; э́тот met e пень; э́тика[13] mace
ɨ ты; ши́шка; с и́грами roses (for some dialects) i ли́ния; и́ли meet
o о́блако; шёпот chore ɵ тётя; плечо́[13] foot
u пу́ля cool ʉ чуть; лю́ди[13] choose
Unstressed vowels
[-soft] [+soft]
IPA Examples English approximation IPA Examples English approximation
ə ко́жа; о́блако; се́рдце; собира́ть[14] about ə во́ля; сего́дня; ку́ча[15] lasagna
ɐ облака́; како́й; сообража́ть; тропа́[14] bud ɪ лиса́; четы́ре; тяжёлый; де́вять; часы́[16] bit
ɛ тетра́эдр; поэте́сса[17] met
ɨ дыша́ть; жена́; во́ды; эта́п; к Ива́ну roses (for some dialects)
o ра́дио; поэте́сса[17] chore ɵ ма́чо; сёрфинги́ст[13][18] foot
ʊ мужчи́на pull ʉ чуде́сный; люби́ть[13] youth
IPA Example Explanation
ˈ четы́ре [tɕɪˈtɨrʲɪ] stress mark, placed before the stressed syllable
ː сза́ди [ˈzːadʲɪ][2] consonant length mark, placed after the geminated consonant


  1. ^ a b c Even though /ts/ and its voicing [dz] are considered to be exclusively hard consonants, they may be palatalized in certain words of foreign origin.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Consonants in consonant clusters are assimilated in voicing if the final consonant in the sequence is an obstruent (except [v, vʲ]). All consonants become voiceless if the final consonant is voiceless or voiced if the final consonant is voiced (Halle 1959:31).
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h The affricates [ts], [tɕ], and [tʂ] (and their voiced counterparts [dz], [dʑ], and [dʐ]) are sometimes written with ligature ties: [t͡s], [t͡ɕ], and [t͡ʂ] ([d͡z], [d͡ʑ], and [d͡ʐ]). Ties are not used in transcriptions on Wikipedia (except in phonology articles) because they may not display correctly in all browsers.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k The voiced obstruents /b, bʲ, d, dʲ, ɡ, v, vʲ, z, zʲ, ʐ/ are devoiced word-finally unless the next word begins with a voiced obstruent (Halle 1959:22).
  5. ^ a b c d г⟩ is usually pronounced [ɣ] or (word-finally) [x] in some religious words and colloquial derivatives from them, such as Го́споди and Бог, and in the interjections ага́, ого́, го́споди, ей-бо́гу, and also in бухга́лтер [bʊˈɣaltʲɪr] (Timberlake 2004:23). /ɡ/ devoices and lenites to [x] before voiceless obstruents (dissimilation) in the word roots -мягк- or -мягч-, -легк- or -легч-, -тягч-, and also in the old-fashioned pronunciation of -ногт-, -когт-, кто. Speakers of the Southern Russian dialects may pronounce ⟨г⟩ as [ɣ] (soft [ɣʲ], devoiced [x] and []) throughout.
  6. ^ a b Intervocalic ⟨г⟩ represents /v/ in certain words (сего́дня, сего́дняшний, итого́ ), and in the genitive suffix -ого/-его (Timberlake 2004:23).
  7. ^ The soft vowel letters ⟨е, ё, ю, я⟩ represent iotated vowels /je, jo, ju, ja/, except when following a consonant. When these vowels are unstressed (save for ⟨ё⟩, which is always stressed) and follow another vowel letter, the /j/ may not be present. The letter ⟨и⟩ produces iotated sound /ji/ only after ь.
  8. ^ /l/ is often strongly pharyngealized [ɫ], but that feature is not distinctive (Ladefoged & Maddieson 1996:187-188).
  9. ^ Alveolo-palatal consonants are subjected to regressive assimilative palatalization; i.e. they tend to become palatalized in front of other phones with the same place of articulation.
  10. ^ Most speakers pronounce ⟨ч⟩ in the pronoun что and its derivatives as [ʂ]. All other occurrences of чт cluster stay as affricate and stop.
  11. ^ щ⟩ is sometimes pronounced as [ɕː] or [ɕɕ] and sometimes as [ɕtɕ], but no speakers contrast the two pronunciations. This generally includes the other spellings of the sound, but the word счи́тывать sometimes has [ɕtɕ] because of the morpheme boundary between the prefix ⟨с-⟩ and the root ⟨-чит-⟩.
  12. ^ Geminated [ʐː] is pronounced as soft [ʑː], the voiced counterpart to [ɕː], in a few lexical items (such as дро́жжи or заезжа́ть) by conservative Moscow speakers; such realization is now somewhat obsolete (Yanushevskaya & Bunčić (2015:224)).
  13. ^ a b c d e f Vowels are fronted and/or raised in the context of palatalized consonants: /a/ and /u/ become [æ] and [ʉ], respectively between palatalized consonants, /e/ is realized as [e] before and between palatalized consonants and /o/ becomes [ɵ] after and between palatalized consonants.
  14. ^ a b Unstressed /a/ and /o/ regularly lose their contrast, being pronounced [ɐ] in word-initial position, as well as when in a sequence, and [ə] in posttonic position (i.e. after the stress); in non-initial pretonic position (i.e. before the stress) they are reduced to [ɐ] only immediately before the stress, being realized [ə] otherwise.
  15. ^ Only in certain word-final morphemes (Timberlake 2004:48-51).
  16. ^ Unstressed /a/ is pronounced as [ɪ] after ⟨ч⟩ and ⟨щ⟩ except when word-final.[citation needed]
  17. ^ a b In the careful style of pronunciation unstressed /e/ and /o/ in words of foreign origin may be pronounced with little or no reduction.
  18. ^ Unstressed [ɵ] only occurs in words of foreign origin.


See also