January 30, 2020

russian pronunciation

Russian pronunciation follows pretty straightforward rules.

It’s like math.

There is clear logic to it.

Unlike in some other languages (hello, English and French!), you don’t have to memorize the pronunciation of every Russian word.

You just learn the basic rules for vowels and consonants and apply them to every new Russian word you learn. You don’t really need a Google translator to pronounce it for you.

There are some irregularities (as everywhere) though but not many of them. And the ending ОГО/ ЕГО is one of them.

In what types of words will you see this ending? In the MASCULINE gender ADJECTIVES, in their GENITIVE/ ACCUSATIVE Singular case forms. How do we pronounce it?

Let’s talk separately about the consonant and vowels in this ending.

First, let’s talk about the consonant.

Letter Г is pronounced as the sound В [v] in this ending. It’s not the normal pronunciation for the letter Г. It only happens with the letter Г in this ОГО/ ЕГО ending + in a couple more words: in the pronoun ЕГО (his, him) and in the adverb СЕГОДНЯ (today). This pronunciation of the letter Г as В is relic from the older times.

Second, let’s look at how we pronounce the vowels in the ending. Pronunciation of the ending ОГО depends upon if this ending is stressed or not:

  • When this ending is stressed (stress falls on the first O in this ending), then the ending is pronounced as ОВА.
    • Ex.: большОГО- [бальшОВА],
  • When the this ending is unstressed, then the ending is pronounced as АВА
    • Ex.: новОГО – [новАВА]. 

Pronunciation of the ending ЕГО depends upon the consonant that precedes this ending (i.e. the last consonant of the stem):

  • When the last consonant of the stem is Ж, Ш, Ц, then the ending is pronounced as ЫВА
    • Ex.: хорошЕГО- [харошЫВА],
  • When the last consonant of the stem is anything but Ж, Ш, Ц, then the ending is pronounced as ИВА.
    • Ex.: синЕГО- [синИВА].

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