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Thread: Pronunciation of "ничего хорошего", "лунного"

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    Pronunciation of "ничего хорошего", "лунного"

    Listening to Natalia Worthington's "A Spoonful of Russian" lesson 3, I noticed that in the phrase "ничего хорошего" Natalia pronounces both "г"'s as "в". Likewise, in the song "Подмосквные вечера", it sounds to my ears as though the singer pronounces the word "лунного" with a "в" sound rather than a "г" sound.

    I read in the New Penguin Russian Course that some other words also have "г" that sounds like "в" (его, сегодня). I notice that in all these cases, the "г" in question is directly before an "o". Is "го" always pronounced "во" or only sometimes? Is there a way to predict when "г" will sound like "в"?

    Sorry if this is a stupid question, I'm only just beginning to learn Russian.
    Learning Russian through self-study since 12th March, 2010. Current progress: On New Penguin Russian Course lesson 7.
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    Re: Pronunciation of "ничего хорошего", "лунного"

    Generally if you speak fast you'll end up saying either 'в' or something in-between 'г' and 'в'. Many people use г but still I would stick to в.
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    Re: Pronunciation of "ничего хорошего", "лунного"

    Quote Originally Posted by Pretty Butterfly
    Sorry if this is a stupid question, I'm only just beginning to learn Russian.
    I'd say it's a good question. 99,9% of native speakers pronounce "в" here. The kids who are learning to write always ask the opposite question: "Why I should write "г" here if I pronounce "в" ?"
    Please, correct my mistakes, except for the cases I misspell something on purpose!

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    Re: Pronunciation of "ничего хорошего", "лунного"

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramil
    you'll end up saying [...] something in-between 'г' and 'в'
    I think it's physically impossible. Have you even tried to pronounce "something in-between 'г' and 'в'"?

    Pretty Butterfly, you should use "в" in these words. The very small percentage of people who pronounce these words with "г" most likely are not very educated or use some dialect (strictly speaking there are no dialects in Russian, but there can be small diffrerences in pronounciation like this one).

    The same ("во") goes for words "чего", "отчего", "ничего", "итого", "его", adjectives ("зеленого", "весёлого", etc.), and some others.
    But note that '-го-' pronounced as "во" is NOT a universal rule (for example "погода" is always pronounced as "погОда", and never ever as "повОда").

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    Re: Pronunciation of "ничего хорошего", "лунного"

    Thanks for all your replies. It's a puzzling subject because, to me "г" and "в" sound absolutely nothing alike.

    Is there a way to predict when to use "в" and when to use "г" when pronouncing words?

    For example, in all the words I can think of that start with "го" (which, at this stage in my learning is, um, two) the "г" is pronounced as written. Is this true of all words beginning with "г"? Does the location of the stress matter at all?

    Would a good dictionary tell me how it is pronounced or do I need to find a native speaker and ask them?
    Learning Russian through self-study since 12th March, 2010. Current progress: On New Penguin Russian Course lesson 7.
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    Re: Pronunciation of "ничего хорошего", "лунного"

    Quote Originally Posted by Pretty Butterfly
    Thanks for all your replies. It's a puzzling subject because, to me "г" and "в" sound absolutely nothing alike.
    They do sound absolutely nothing alike. The reason 'г' is sometimes pronounced this way has something to do with the history of language and spelling. It's not because Russians can't distinguish these two sounds, they can.

    The basic "rule" is "Го" is pronounced as "во" in the end of:

    a) adjectives, numerals and pronouns in genitive or accusative cases (naturally, only if "го" in this word exists).
    eg.
    adjectives: большого, сильного, широкого, еtc.
    numerals: первого, второго, тридцать шестого, etc.
    pronouns: него, его, моего, etc.

    b) in a small number of other words which are probably exceptions (some of them were mentioned above) .
    итого, ничего, того, etc.
    in "сегодня" "г" is pronounced as "в" because this word is in fact two words that have been merged together long ago: "сего дня" = "(of) this day"

    IN ALL OTHER CASES 'Г' IS PRONOUNCED AS 'Г'. As it should be.

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    Re: Pronunciation of "ничего хорошего", "лунного"

    Thank you so much for your very informative reply. In fact the next two chapters in my book are on the accusative and genitive cases, so hopefully I should be able to put this information into practice soon!

    Are there many exceptions I need to be aware of, or are they relatively rare?
    Learning Russian through self-study since 12th March, 2010. Current progress: On New Penguin Russian Course lesson 7.
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    Re: Pronunciation of "ничего хорошего", "лунного"

    the г is pronounced [v] only when it is in the genitive singular adjectival ending, spelled -ого and -его. Some words historically came from a gen. sg. adjective, like сегодня and итого.

    The sound represented by the letter O is pronounced like [a] or schwa when unstressed. The sound represented by the letter E is pronounced like [i] (as in English "keep") when unstressed.

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    Re: Pronunciation of "ничего хорошего", "лунного"

    Yes, there are a small number of words with that oddity. Somehow folks here forgot the most common one: его.

    You only have to worry about just those few words and the "ого" grammatical ending. In all other words a g is a g.

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    Re: Pronunciation of "ничего хорошего", "лунного"

    Quote Originally Posted by paulb
    Somehow folks here forgot the most common one: его.
    We did not forget it. It was mentioned at least twice.

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    Re: Pronunciation of "ничего хорошего", "лунного"

    Oops

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    Re: Pronunciation of "ничего хорошего", "лунного"

    легко сказать, paulb, но Бог знает, правильно ли это?

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