Russian Alphabet

The Russian alphabet is based on the Cyrillic alphabet. This lesson will teach you the Russian letters and their sounds, Russian vowels and consonants.

Capital Small English equivalent sound
А а a as in dark
Б б b as in bottle
В в v as in valley
Г г g as in gas
Д д d as in day
Е е ye as in yes
Ё ё yo as in yonder
Ж ж s in treasure
З з z as in zoo
И и ee as in meet
Й й y as in boy, yacht
К к k as in key
Л л l as in long
М м m as in moon
Н н n as in note
О о o as in stork
П п p as in paint
Р р r as in Scottish bracken
С с s as in stop
Т т t as in tea
У у oo as in spoon
Ф ф f as in face
Х х ch as in Scottish loch
Ц ц ts in boots
Ч ч ch in chair
Ш ш sh in shawl
Щ щ shsh in English sheet
Ъ ъ hard sign (a separation sign which keeps the previous consonant hard. It appears only after the consonants б, в, д and с when it separates them from the softening influence of any one of the vowels е, ё, ю and я)
Ы ы No exact equivalent. The nearest approximate sound in English is i as in writ
Ь ь soft sign (a separation sign which keeps the previous consonant soft)
Э э e as in egg
Ю ю you as in youth
Я я ya as in yak

Russian alphabet grouped by letter type

Russian letters similar to English letters

Unfamilair Russian letters that have an equivalent English sound

Russian letters which are similar to English ones in appearance but have different sounds (False friends)

Unfamiliar Russian letters that have no direct English equivalent

Vowels: Ы, Й

Russian letters that have no sound

Ъ, Ь

Russian letters with approximate English equivalent letters

all others

Russian Consonants

Russian consonants may be classified as voiced or voiceless, and resonants.

Voiced Voiceless Resonants
б   п   л  
в   ф   м  
г   к   н  
д   т   р  
ж   ш  
з   с  

Russian Vowels

Russian vowels may be classified as soft or hard.

Soft Vowels Hard Vowels
я (as in yard)   a (as in father)  
е (as in yet)   э (as in let)  
ё (as in yawn)   о (as in law)  
ю (as in yule)   у (as in moon)  
и (as in feel)   ы (as in till)  
й (i kratkoye, short i); never initial; always the second element in a diphthong like the y in say