Learn Russian Pronunciation Podcast Ep. 10

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Alright, this is episode 10 of Learn Russian Pronunciation. Today is the midterm, where I’ll test you on pretty much everything we’ve learned so far. So let’s do it…

How are the letters M-A-L pronounced in Russian? мал

Now add a soft-sign at the end. маль

Say those side-by-side. Without the soft-sign: мал

…and with it: маль

Next: How do Russians pronounce Italy’s capital?


What is the main food item sold at places like Burger King and McDonalds?


Speaking of rolled R’s, what’s the Russian name of this instrument? (violin) Remember that mnemonic device we came up with—what I calla PowerPhrase? I gave up the violin because all I did was make scraping sounds. That word scrape leads us to…


скрипка starts with a consonant cluster. The topic of Ep #3. So let’s try another one from that lesson. Try to pronounce a Russian V-D-and R…(Вдр)…Now add an “u” sound at the end.


Finally, if we put a Russian G (Г) at the very end, how will it sound? Do you think it’ll be voiced or unvoiced?


G was the final letter, so—following the pattern—we donэt voice it, and so it sounds just like a K. вдруг (like “вдрук”)

Next, let’s try some listening practice with that pair of vowels: Ы and И

In each of the following words, say “the first one” if you hear that troublesome Ы vowel…and say “the second one” if you hear the И vowel. Ready?

был….1st one

бил….2nd one

мыть….1st one

Вы….1st one

Тим….2nd one

дым….1st one

You’re doing great, let’s keep going. In Episode #8 we worked with that Russian letter X. So tell me, what are we listening to here? (Bach choir)


We say ‘choir’, but Russians replace that “ch” with their X sound.

And the composer, by the way…His name is Johann Sebastian…what? Бах

When an artist like Taylor Swift releases a new album, she probably hopes that every song will become a….what’s the word in Russian?


To sweeten my coffee, I added a tablespoon of…what’s the word?


Great job. And then, in Episode 9 we looked at the phenomenon of voiced and devoiced consonants.

Let’s take the Russian letter B…It looks like a capital English ‘B’. When it stands alone, it’s voiced. V. So, how will this word be pronounced? (ВАС) V-A-S? Will it be voiced or unvoiced?


Very much voiced. But let’s put it at the end of a word. П-Л-О-В…How will that sound?


Unvoiced. Like an “F” Плов (like ПЛОФ) by the way is how Russians say pilaf…that rice kind of dish. Now let’s put that letter in the middle of a word. (ЛАВА) L-A-V-A…How will it sound?


Voiced again. Got it? You’re doing great.

…but we’re not done. Let’s run through the words and phrase we officially learned in each lesson.

Ask your friend: Pavel was in the park?

Павел был в парке?

Change Pavel to Maria.

Мария была в парке?

Did you add that ‘a’ to the end of the verb—была–because Maria is a woman?

Next: I’m gonna butcher some French words here, but…The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre museum, and the Arc D’ Triumph are just a few of the _____ in Paris. What’s the word?


Next: How do we convey the idea that: I like soccer. How do Russians literally phrase that?

To me….is pleasing….soccer.

Мне нравится футбол.

Say: I really like basketball. Literally….what? To me…very pleasing…basketball.

Мне очень нравится баскетбол.

Ask someone: Where is Starbucks located?

Где находится Старбакс?

Imagine you’re staying in a Moscow hotel. It’s morning time, so greet the concierge, and then ask him where GOOM is. ГУМ is a famous shopping mall.

Доброе утро. Где находится ГУМ?

So, you walk to Red Square, which is where GOOM is located, and on the way you decide instead to see Lenin’s tomb. But when you get there, the line stretches all the way along the Kremlin wall. What’s the Russian version of, Oh, my God…

О, мой Бог.

Imagine you’re waiting for you bags in the airport. Finally, your Samsonite comes chugging along the conveyor. How do you express your relief in Russian?

Слава Богу…Literally? Glory to God.

Next: My wife and I have twins. Sophia is our little girl. And William is our….мальчик

Did you nail that soft-sign after the L? That’s why we learned that word. Say it again..

It helps to almost say the English word “mile”…mile-cheek…but bring your tongue up to the roof of your mouth. МАЛЬ-чик

Next…Fill in the blank. When I was a boy, my favorite ____ was my G.I. Joe doll.


So, your hotel bar is offering free soft drinks. Without trying to sound too rude, tell the bartender: I want a Sprite.

Я хочу Спрайт.

In your apartment, you offer to make dinner for your roommate. Pull out a can of Campbell’s chicken broth and ask him, with two words: Want soup?

Хочешь суп?

You could also phrase it the other way:

Суп хочешь?

He shrugs and says the Russian word for, Okay.


We’re just about done here, guys. And since I’ll be seeing you in the next episode, how should we part ways? Literally…Until the meeting.

До встречи