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Thread: Confused over "e" in these words

  1. #1
    Увлечённый спикер Lindsay's Avatar
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    Confused over "e" in these words

    I'm reading "Teach Yourself: Read and write Russian Script" and finding it an excellent supplement to Rosetta Stone as it has started by teaching me the alphabet, pronunciation of the letters and the words I can make as I learn more letters.

    However, I'm a bit puzzled by this particular example. According to the book,
    Характер is pronounced kharaktyer (which makes sense to me, but ...)
    Департамент is pronounced dyepartament

    Why is мент pronounced ment and not myent? Or is it a misprint?

    Thanks,
    Lindsay

  2. #2
    Властелин
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    kharaktyer
    Actually, you shouldn't write like that. There are no "y" sounds in all these words. Soft (palatalized) consonants can be marked by apostrophy. [xarakt'ir].
    Why is мент pronounced ment and not myent? Or is it a misprint?
    Sound "m" is soft here: [d'ipartam'int]. I marked stress vowels too.

  3. #3
    Старший оракул CoffeeCup's Avatar
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    Actually there is no any reliable rules to write Russian pronunciation with english words. Every author can use its own way to denote it. The only correct way is to use phonetic transcription.
    So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

  4. #4
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    Транскрипция "мент" как myent явно бредовая. Как при такой системе различить "лёд" и "льёт"? В любом случае, нельзя одновременно разные вещи обозначать одним и тем же способом - если мы зарезервировали "у" для "й", то не должны использовать его для обозначения мягкости согласных.

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    Увлечённый спикер Lindsay's Avatar
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    @Marcus; The book explains that "e" is pronounced as in "yet", which is why they transliterate the sound as "ye". It seems to work for every other word I've learnt so far - Нет = Nyet, etc?

    Perhaps to ask the question a different way; in Департамент, are both the e's pronounced the same way, and if not, why not?

    @Marcus again - sorry, I'm not nearly advanced enough to understand your second reply!

    Thanks,
    Lindsay

  6. #6
    Старший оракул CoffeeCup's Avatar
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    Russian "е" has three different pronunciation:
    1. At the beginning of a word, after a vowel and after a soft sign it pronounced with two sounds "йе" like in English "Yes".
    2. If stressed after a consonant it pronounced as one sound like in English "The dog"
    3. Unstressed after a consonant it pronounced as one sound like Russian "и" or like in English "In"
    So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

  7. #7
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    Both "e"s are pronounced in the same way in the word департамент but "e" after a consonant is pronounced as english e in "pen"but the consonant becomes palatalized (softenned). In unstressed positions e becomes short "i" but the preseding consonant is palatalized. At the beginning of the word, after a vowel or soft/hard sings it is pronounced "ye" in stressed positions. A consonant before a soft sing is always palatalized.

  8. #8
    Завсегдатай
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    "E" pronounced as "ye" after consonants will give you a strong accent (like pronouncing English "th" as "d" or "t"). So "нет" (no) does not sound as "nyet" ("ye" as in "yes"), it's more like "n'et" (soft "n", then "e" sound). Unfortunately, there's no way to spell it "correctly" in English.

    Check out this video. In refrain (1:07) they repeat "Нет, нет, нет, нет, мы хотим сегодня. Нет, нет, нет, нет, мы хотим сейчас" ("No, No, No, We want (it) today. We want (it) now".
    That's how "нет" (and stressed "e" after consonants) should sound.


    Or more slowly here (0:47), and even slower at (1:12) Выхода нет (No way out):



    In other words it's very important to learn to palatalize your consonants. It will help you with vowels pronunciation and vice versa.

  9. #9
    Увлечённый спикер Lindsay's Avatar
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    I have it now, thanks so much to everyone for the explanations.

    @gRomoZeka -- I'm a big fan of 80's style synthpop, you've just made my day with that first video, realising there's a whole new language's worth of it I've never heard

    ~ Lindsay

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