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    ъ and ь

    I know this is a subject that has probably come up before, but I'm still confused. What the heck to they do?

    ъ is so rare I havn't been able to try it out often.
    ь is at the end of most if not all Russian infinative verbs, so it's crucial I understand it.

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    This is the infamous hard sign (ъ) and soft sign (ь). they simply make the consonant preceding them either hard or soft, depending on which sign is used. It is for pronounciation purposes only.
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    Hard and soft as in...?

    v and f?
    b and p?
    ch and sh?

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    no. v and f are two different letters, being unvoiced and voiced resepectively. It is hard to describe and I am no phonetics expert, but consider the "л" sound in "люблю" and "лук". The first one is soft and the second one is hard... The position of your tongue in your mouth changes depending wether it is hard or soft...

    You really need a phonetics teacher to show you. But in essence, this is what the hard sign and soft sign does. Places where there would naturally be a soft pronouncation, the hard sign forces you to pronounce a consonant hard. Vice versa for the soft sign.

    Мать and Мат are pronounced differently, and mean completely different things.
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    I've been told that the letter ц sounds quite simmilar to ть. ль sounds like the l's in the word "million". I guess you just need to learn what each combonatoin makes. As for the 'ъ', it appears in some words such as 'съесть' and 'объект'. It basicly acts like a pause, and if the next letter is soft then the /j/ in front is pronunced. That's what I know, but I'd be happy to be corrected if nessecary or added to.
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    Last edited by Darobat on Mon Mar 5, 1759 1:19 am; edited 243 times in total

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darobat
    I've been told that the letter ц sounds quite simmilar to ть.
    The letter ц sounds like тс, and тся usually pronounce like ца.

    ль sounds like the l's in the word "million". I guess you just need to learn what each combonatoin makes. As for the 'ъ', it appears in some words such as 'съесть' and 'объект'. It basicly acts like a pause, and if the next letter is soft then the /j/ in front is pronunced. That's what I know, but I'd be happy to be corrected if nessecary or added to.
    Yes, hard sign is usually used in words where root begins with vowel and prefix ends with consonant. For instance compare meaning of words съесть and сесть. We remove hard sign only and get absolutely different word, because these words have different roots.
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    Fortunately for you, you didn't have to read books before the Great Revolution. It was somewhere around then when the rule was made that words ending in ordinary consonants, which, before that time, were required to end in ъ, could be written without the hard sign. Before then all words ended either in a vowel or a soft consonant indicated by ь or a hard consonant indicated by ъ. I was told that this rule alone shortened Война и миръ by 50 pages.

    Съ уваженiемъ,
    Давидъ

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    Quote Originally Posted by chaika
    Fortunately for you, you didn't have to read books before the Great Revolution. It was somewhere around then when the rule was made that words ending in ordinary consonants, which, before that time, were required to end in ъ, could be written without the hard sign. Before then all words ended either in a vowel or a soft consonant indicated by ь or a hard consonant indicated by ъ. I was told that this rule alone shortened Война и миръ by 50 pages.

    Съ уваженiемъ,
    Давидъ

    Palatisation (or softness) is when the consonant is produced with the tongue touching the soft palate which is at the top of the mouth near the back.

    It is like making an English y sound SIMULTANEOUSLY with the consonant.

    A consonant is soft if:
    It is followed by a soft vowel (Я И Е Ё Ю)
    Or is followed by a soft sign Ь
    Or if is followed by another soft consonant

    A consonant is hard if:
    It is follwed by a hard vowel (А Ы Э О У)
    It is followed by another hard consonant
    It is at the end of a word and not followed by a soft sign

    The word Нет consists of one syllable and has 3 sounds:

    Soft n + e + hard t
    Нь + Э + Т

    Оля has two sylables and 3 sounds:

    O + soft L + ya
    О + Ль + а

    It is not pronounce O-lee-ya. That it three syllables. It sound more like Ola. Soft Russian L is more like English L than hard Russian L.
    That's why when English words are transliterated into Russian, they often use soft L.







    Thus in Здравствуйте
    З is hard as it has a hard Д after it
    Д is hard as it has a hard Р after it
    Р is hard as it has a hard vowel А after it
    A is a vowel
    В is hard as it has a hard С after it
    C is hard as it has a hard Т after it
    Т is hard as it has a hard В after it
    В is hard as it has a hard vowel У after it
    У is a vowel
    Й is a consonant, but it ALWAYS SOFT
    Т is soft as it has the soft vowel Е after it
    Е is a vowel

    Some letters are always hard or soft
    Ш Х Ц Ж are always hard
    Щ Й Ч are always soft

    So if you see a soft vowel or a soft sign after Ш Х Ц Ж, you still pronounce it hard. Шя sound like Ша, Хи sounds like ы, Жь sound like Ж

    And if you see a hard vowel after Щ Й Ч you still pronounce them soft. Ща sounds like Щя, Чу sounds like Чю.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sascha
    Hard and soft as in...?

    v and f?
    b and p?
    ch and sh?
    And Ч and Ш are not a pair
    Ж and Ш are a pair
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    Curiosity killed the Sacha
    Hei, rett norsken min og du er død.
    I am a notourriouse misspeller. Be easy on me.
    Пожалуйста! Исправляйте мои глупые ошибки (но оставьте умные)!
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    This whole business of soft and hard consonants is something I'm just not going to worry about as a first year student. With soft consonants that are not followed by vowels, it is pretty much impossible for me to hear a difference. Мать and мат sound pretty much the same to me. Yes, they are totally different words, but who cares in spoken language? There are tons of words in English which are pronounced exactly the same but have different spellings, and we never have a problem knowing which word someone is saying (in that sentence alone: there, are, which, but, have). Context should be a perfectly easy way to figure out what someone means. I think it is much more important to learn how to communicate efficiently before you learn how to speak with a Moscow accent. I know that some people, however, do aspire for a good accent, but I agree with kalinka_vinnie that you will need a phonetics teacher who can focus on how you individually are using your speech organs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoduck
    This whole business of soft and hard consonants is something I'm just not going to worry about as a first year student. With soft consonants that are not followed by vowels, it is pretty much impossible for me to hear a difference. Мать and мат sound pretty much the same to me. Yes, they are totally different words, but who cares in spoken language? There are tons of words in English which are pronounced exactly the same but have different spellings, and we never have a problem knowing which word someone is saying (in that sentence alone: there, are, which, but, have). Context should be a perfectly easy way to figure out what someone means. I think it is much more important to learn how to communicate efficiently before you learn how to speak with a Moscow accent. I know that some people, however, do aspire for a good accent, but I agree with kalinka_vinnie that you will need a phonetics teacher who can focus on how you individually are using your speech organs.
    Мать and Мат is not like two, too, to in english. Two, Too and To are all pronounced identically. That's why native English speakers canb get them confused (too and to, as with their and there). Мать and Мат clearly sound different. I don't know how people can't hear the difference.

    Anyway, here is a sound file:
    CLICKY HERE

    Go down the left (hard cons.) then the woman goes down the right (soft cons.)

    бу - бю
    во - вё
    да - дя
    гу - ги
    за - зя
    ко - ки
    лы - ли
    ма - мя
    нэ - не
    по - пё
    ра - ря
    со - сё
    ты - ти
    фы - фю
    хы - хи

    Then listen to these
    аль - ал
    ань - ан
    ать -ат
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    Re: ъ and ь

    Quote Originally Posted by Sascha
    I know this is a subject that has probably come up before, but I'm still confused. What the heck to they do?

    ъ is so rare I havn't been able to try it out often.
    ь is at the end of most if not all Russian infinative verbs, so it's crucial I understand it.
    Из справочника Розенталя:
    "РАЗДЕЛИТЕЛЬНЫЕ Ъ И Ь

    § 29. Употребление ъ

    Разделительный ъ пишется перед буквами е, ё, ю, я:

    1) после приставки, оканчивающейся на с о г л а с н у ю, например: подъезд съёмка предъюбилейный, межъядерный, сверхъестественный; перед другими гласными ъ не пишется; безаварийный, собезьянничать, сузить, сэкономить;

    2) в иноязычных словах, в которых имеется приставка, оканчивающаяся на согласную (аб-, ад-, диз-, ин-, интер-, кон-, контр-, об-, пост-, суб-, супер-, транс-) или составная частица пан-; например: абъюрация, адьютант, дизъюнкция, интеръекционный, инъекция, конъюнктура, контръярус, объект, постъядерный, субъект, суперъяхта, трансъевропейский, панъяпонский;

    3) в сложных словах, первую часть которых образуют числительные двух-, трёх-, четырёх-, например: двухъярусный, трехъязычный.

    Примечание. Данное правило не распространяется на сложносокращенные слова, например: детясли, Мосюрцентр.


    § 30. Употребление ь

    Разделительный ь пишется:

    1) перед е, ё, ю, я, например: портьера, серьёзный, соловьиный, вьюга, крестьянин, подьячий (ср.: дьяк);

    2) в некоторых иноязычных словах перед о, например: карманьола, медальон, почтальон, шампиньон."
    "...Важно, чтобы форум оставался местом, объединяющим людей, для которых интересны русский язык и культура. ..." - MasterАdmin (из переписки)



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    бу - бю
    во - вё
    да - дя
    гу - ги
    за - зя
    ко - ки
    лы - ли
    ма - мя
    нэ - не
    по - пё
    ра - ря
    со - сё
    ты - ти
    фы - фю
    хы - хи

    Then listen to these
    аль - ал
    ань - ан
    ать -ат
    I still have no idea why people insist on saying the difference between во and вё is the consonant. Maybe that’s just how Russians think of it, but isn't it just the same to think of it as v+o and v+yo? That’s all I do, and it sounds just like it should. To me, the з in за is the same as the one in зя. I know it's important to think of it as зь+а=зя, but just for purposes of getting the right declensions.

    I can hear that аль, ань and ать are a slightly different sound on the actual consonant, but its impossible for me to consistently make the different sounds until I work with someone in person.


    Мать and Мат is not like two, too, to in English. Two, Too and To are all pronounced identically. That's why native English speakers can’t get them confused (too and to, as with their and there). Мать and Мат clearly sound different. I don't know how people can't hear the difference.

    I can't really imagine anyone ever confusing two, too and to in spoken language. Just a lot of people write down to when they mean too, cuz theys be ignant.

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    Erm

    if I you came up to you and said

    Spell the word: "two"

    You say: "t-o"

    I say: you're wrong

    You say: "t-o-o"

    I say: you're wrong again

    See? Obviously in context the words are different.

    "I have to get two cars too"


    But

    Me: Spell Мать

    You: М-а-т-ь

    because Мать and Мат sound different.


    Vyo in the english sense is Вьё


    With certain consonants the sound is more obvious, than with others. This is because certain letters are produced more by the tongue than the rest of the vocal bits.

    It's like the letter N, it is quite tonguey. Z is more vibratey. Palatisation is a tonguey thing, so you will hear the difference more with N.

    Кы and Ки, the actual K sound is almost identical, because you can make K without any vibration, breath or tongue.
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    geoduck, you should not be arguing with native speakers. That's like a Russian telling you that Zat sounds exactly the same as That, so why bother?

    If you can't hear the diff. btwn мат and мать you definitely need some tutoring with a live person who can show you. It is not something easily extracted from the printed page, and even audio CDs can pose a problem.

    to two and too are all pronounced identically, the same. мат and мать are not. Any native speaker can tell the difference, and most of us non-native speakers, too!

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    It is true that when you are conversing, your accent will slip as you are more likely to be focusing on what you say, as opposed to how you say it. My accent is very good when I am reading some familiar text. But when I speak to someone it isn't as good.

    Some people have an ear for these things. I am stil trying to convince my friend that Ukrainian Г and Х are not the same, when clearly they are and if they are not, then why would they have two letters for the same sound.
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaika
    geoduck, you should not be arguing with native speakers. That's like a Russian telling you that Zat sounds exactly the same as That, so why bother?

    If you can't hear the diff. btwn мат and мать you definitely need some tutoring with a live person who can show you. It is not something easily extracted from the printed page, and even audio CDs can pose a problem.

    to two and too are all pronounced identically, the same. мат and мать are not. Any native speaker can tell the difference, and most of us non-native speakers, too!
    Im not arguing that these different sounds don't exist/don't matter, there are just degrees of "matters". I could really care less if someone wants to say "zat", because I can understand it just fine. There is also a difference between hearing a word spoken which you are familiar with, and one that you are not. I can hear мать because I know to listen for it. Of course I need tutoring, but I also need to just talk as best I can and not freak out if I sould like what I am, non-native.

    Erm

    if I you came up to you and said

    Spell the word: "two"

    You say: "t-o"

    I say: you're wrong

    You say: "t-o-o"

    I say: you're wrong again
    But what you just said is a situation with no context, and also one that would never really happen. I'm really trying to think of a situation where any words which are pronounced the same in English could possibly be confused for one another in realistic context. Maybe if someone said "I'll halve that", meaning "I'll make it half". I can't imagine any time when a foreigner would be using the nominative мать in a situation where sounding like мат would make people think he really meant мат. Putting them in any case makes them completely different, and any adjective on them in nominative would also give them away...as if there could have been confusion in the first place.

    Ok, enough of that, I'm still really interested to know if Russians hear a difference in the consonant on words like меня. Of course it doesn't sound like мэна, but that just seems like a йэ and a йа to me. My question, I think, is is what is the difference between тья, тьа, тя and тйа for the consonant?

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    The whole point about the To, Too, Two thing, is that you are comparing that with Мать and Мат.

    To too and two sound identical. Мать and Мат sound different, albeit slightly.


    For Тья and Тьа the consonants is the same, as they are both soft:
    Тья = Soft T + йа
    Тьа = Soft T + а
    Тйа = Hard T + йа

    I *think* Тйа is the same as Тъя.

    With the first two (the soft ones) the middle and back of the tongue will be more raised, with the third one (the hard one) is the middle tongue back of the tongue lower

    Тйа is actually hard to say withouth softening the Т.

    In British English, the T in Tea is soft, and sounds alot like Ти
    The T in At is hard.
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