Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: using "Ь" and "ы" when writing

  1. #1
    Новичок
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    1
    Rep Power
    0

    using "Ь" and "ы" when writing

    hello!
    I am sorry if this topic already exists, if it does I couldn't find it.
    I hope someone can tell me, if there are any rules, when to use "Ь" and "ы" when writing. I know that they are soft signs, but I am just starting to learn Russian and I have to learn all the words that have those 2 signs by heart and that really annoys me
    Thank you in advance!

  2. #2
    Увлечённый спикер Leha von Stiller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Moscow
    Posts
    47
    Rep Power
    6
    "ы" is not a soft sign, it's a regular letter, a vowel. "ь" is the soft sign and "ъ" is the hard one.
    Look once more at the Russian alphabet: http://masterrussian.com/russian_alphabet.shtml

  3. #3
    Завсегдатай
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Ukraine
    Posts
    5,076
    Rep Power
    22
    "Ь" is a soft sign, it appears only after cosonants and "softens" them. It can't be ignored, because it affects both pronunciation and meaning. For example, мел = chalk, мель = sandbank (and they are pronounced differently). There are no words starting with "ь" (as there nothing to soften for it if it's the first letter).

    "Ы" is NOT a soft sign, it's a vowel. That means that it's an actual sound that can be heard.

    You probably confused it with "Ъ" which is a "hard sign". The function of "ъ" is very limited in modern Russian, it's remnants of old spelling. Similar to the soft sign it appears only after consonants and affects pronunciation of the following vowel. Most often you will see it between a prefix and a root in a number of words. For example, "съезд" (due to ъ it's pronounced as [сйезд])

  4. #4
    Почтенный гражданин Demonic_Duck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Cambridge, UK
    Posts
    304
    Rep Power
    7
    The form of the letter Ы is misleading, as it looks like a soft sign followed by I. However, it actually evolved from a hard sign followed by I (ъı) and its form morphed somewhat (see Yery - Wikipedia). Consonants preceding ы are always hard, just as with consonants preceding the vowels о, а, у, э. Consonants preceding the vowels е, я, ю, ё, и are always soft (except in some foreign loanwords with the letter «е»). Consonants preceding other consonants or at the end of words are generally pronounced hard. The exception is if they are followed by the soft sign (ь). The hard sign is normally used to indicate a "break" in the word, as if it were two separate words.

    To pronounce a consonant "soft", say it as if you're trying to say a small "y" sound at the same time. Your tongue should be high in your mouth. Hard consonants are the opposite - your tongue should be low in your mouth. This is quite easy with consonants such as «Лл» and «Нн», but not so easy with consonants such as «Рр» (рь can be quite difficult for an English speaker to say - practice with words such as «ребёнок»).
    Демоническая Утка
    Носитель английского языка, учу русский язык.
    Пожалуйста, исправьте мои сообщения!

  5. #5
    Завсегдатай chaika's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Чапелхилловка, NC USA
    Posts
    1,987
    Rep Power
    16
    yurshka, learn them all by heart??!! There are thousands of such words. How are you studying Russian, I mean what textbook are you using, or do you have a human teacher. I would recommend the latter if you can find someone.

  6. #6
    Почтенный гражданин Demonic_Duck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Cambridge, UK
    Posts
    304
    Rep Power
    7
    You don't have to "learn them by heart", just listen to how they're pronounced and take your cue from that. In terms of spelling, it's more difficult to differentiate between unstressed о and а, voiced and unvoiced consonants at the ends of words, etc. (unless you have etymological clues for those things)
    Демоническая Утка
    Носитель английского языка, учу русский язык.
    Пожалуйста, исправьте мои сообщения!

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 20
    Last Post: June 22nd, 2014, 08:50 AM
  2. Replies: 12
    Last Post: November 22nd, 2010, 08:37 PM
  3. Replies: 14
    Last Post: March 24th, 2010, 04:03 PM
  4. How to say "Bless our home" and "Happy Holidays" in Russian?
    By Ruby Daniels in forum How do you Say... in Russian?
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: December 19th, 2009, 03:29 PM
  5. Replies: 2
    Last Post: February 17th, 2009, 08:07 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  


Russian Lessons                           

Russian Tests and Quizzes            

Russian Vocabulary