Memorizing the Russian Alphabet Isn’t Actually Impossible

Russian Tutorial

Memorizing the Russian Alphabet Isn't Actually Impossible

Intro

It’s true: Learning to read and write in Russian can be just as hard as grammar. Use these mnemonic devices to help you read and write effortlessly.

Sample Problem

How in the world do you pronounce these??

А, Б, В, Г, Д, Е, Ё, Ж, З, И, Й, К, Л, М, Н, О, П, Р, С, Т, У, Ф, Х, Ц, Ч, Ш, Щ, Ъ, Ы, Ь, Э, Ю, Я

Solution

А – Just like English: ah.
Б – Sounds like English B; looks like the logo of the band Front Bottoms (combined capital F, lowercase b). B is the bottom letter in this combination.
В – Sounds like English V, though it looks like a B; you can think of the word Beaver.
Г – Sounds like English G; it looks like the scythe of the Grim reaper.
Д – Sounds like English D; it looks like an upside-down Deer head.
E – sounds like “yeh” in English; you could think of “hear ye, hear ye”.
Ё – Sounds like “yo” in English; it looks just like E, but has two round dots. You could think of the dots as looking like two yo-yos.
Ж – Sounds like “zh” in English (as in the word ‘massage’); it looks like a bug; bugs sound like “zh” when flying.
З – Sounds like z in English; it looks like the number three; three rhymes with z.
И – Sounds like “ee” in English (literally the letter i); it looks like a sideways ski slope.
Й – Functions as “sometimes y” as we use in English; you can think of it as similar to И, just like y is similar to i.
К – Sounds just like English K.
Л – Sounds like English L; you can think of it as an animal with very long legs.
М – Sounds just like English M.
Н – Sounds like English N; you could think of the word “Hen,” to remind you it is pronounced as “n”.
О – Sounds just like English O.
П – Sounds like English P; you could think of it as looking like a table. You set the table with plates.
Р – Sounds like English R; you could think of the Power Rangers to remind you this is an R.
С – Sounds like English S; you could think of the c in the word “faces” to remind you how this is pronounced.
Т – Sounds just like English T.
У – Pronounced as English “oo”; you could think of this as looking like a bird’s Foot.
Ф – Pronounced as English F; this letter slightly resembles a Football.
Х – Pronounced like the “ch” in “loch”; you can think of the Spanish pronounciation of “Mexico.” This letter makes the hard h sound.
Ц – This letter sounds like “ts” in English; it looks kind of like a pizza pan with a handle. You can think of the “ts” sound in the word “pizza.”
Ч – This letter sounds like “ch” in English; it looks like an upside down chair.
Ш, Щ – These letters sound very similarly, “sh” in English. You could think of these as looking like ships.
Ъ – This is a modifying symbol that has no English equivalent, used to harden the preceding letter.
Ы – This is a letter that has no English equivalent. You could think of it as the i in “ill”
Ь – This is a modifying symbol that has no English equivalent, used to soften the preceding letter.
Э – This letter sounds like “eh” in English; try to think of “et tu, brute?”
Ю – This letter sounds like “yoo” in English. It looks like a head and shoulders turned on its side. Hey, it kind of looks like you!
Я – This letter sounds like “ya” in English; It looks like a backwards R, you could think of the word yard.



About The Author

Pittsburgh English / Russian Tutor/Instructor
Hi, My name is Kali. I am a language tutor/enthusiast in the Greater Pittsburgh area. I love language, and helping others utilize it to help them reach success is a priority and a love of mine. My approach is to utilize my students’ skills and apply principles from concepts he may already grasp...
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