Learn Russian Pronunciation Podcast Ep. 12

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Welcome to episode 12. Today we’ll be working with the letter Ц. That’s a “ts” sound…As in that’s …and Let’s…So, we’ll start by learning some common Russian words that have that sound. Let’s hear them in context:

The Russian equivalent of a king or supreme monarch is called a….царь

The downtown area of a city is called the….центр

In Papa John’s I got a slice of pepperoni….: пицца

Try those again:

The Russian equivalent of a king is a…..

The downtown area is called the…

Papa John’s sells….

Those were pretty easy, so let’s try a purely Russian word. Again, here it is in context:

A rose, a carnation, a tulip….Each of those is a kind of…цветок

Now hold that thought as I sidetrack for a moment. Say the word ‘fruit.’ The Russian version is a cognate, except that they add a ‘k’ sound before the final T. Listen…


Again, we say ‘fruit’ and they say…фрукт

So now…I’m going to say some English words, and you say in Russian whether the thing is a фрукт or цветок. Ready?


And while we’re reviewing: What’s the name of that porridge which Russians love for breakfast?


And for lunch….Meat cooked on a skewer is called…


And we also learned two Russian soups. The one based on cabbage is called…


And the red one, with beets?


Getting back to the letter of the day, let’s learn another very Russian word. You ready?

The fundamental ingredient in any omelet is, of course,….яйца

For breakfast today, I had some toast and two scrambled…яйца

The start of that word almost sounds like “yikes”, doesn’t it? But it ends with the letters “ts”, and then an A. яйца (yah-ee-tsa)

In Episode #8 we learned how to say, “I want…” Do you remember that phrase?

Я хочу

So try to say: I want eggs.

Я хочу яйца.

And in Ep #4 we learned how to say good morning. Do recall it?

Доброе утро.

So, greet your roommate: Good morning. Want eggs?

Доброе утро. Хочешь яйца?

Say: No, I want fruit.

Нет, я хочу фрукт.

Anyway….The other day, I was walking with my daughter Sophia past and we passed the local florist shop. She tugged my coat: Papa, I want a flower. Can you say that in Russian?

Папа, я хочу цветок.

For more practice with this letter, I wrote a poem. It’s only eight words long, and each one has our letter Ц in it. We won’t bother translating it because, like all modern poetry, it makes absolutely no sense. Anyway, repeat each word after the native speaker…









The letter that it’s most often confused with is the Russian Z sound. (З)

So let’s do side-by-side comparisons.





It’s a lot easier to distinguish those letters when they come at the end of the word. Like these…




But probably the toughest two words to distinguish—probably in the whole language—are these:


The first starts with an ‘S-V’ combination. свет

The other starts with our letter of the day: Ц… цвет

Especially problematic because the meanings are also related. The first means light, as in, the light was in my eyes: свет

The other means color: цвет

…although that brings us back to our word for ‘flower’…Do you remember it?


So the word for flower has grown, if you will, from the word color. So that’s the connection you want to make.

And what was the word for eggs?


To remember that word, you could use this phrase: I dropped the eggs. Yikes, what a mess.

Yikes leads us to….яйца

And that leads us to…the end of today’s lesson. See you in Episode #13.