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Thread: Silent letters?

  1. #1
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    Silent letters?

    Greetings all.

    I'm fairly new to Russian but feel I am making steady progress.

    I sometimes encounter words where one or more letters appear to be unspoken/silent. For example: "следующий" where the "ю" is not spoken and "здравствуйте" where the first "в" is not.

    Are there any rules or guidelines for knowing when a word has silent letters, or is it a case-by-case basis that I just have to learn as I encounter them?

    Thank you in advance.

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    Re: Silent letters?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lordlofty
    Greetings all.

    I'm fairly new to Russian but feel I am making steady progress.

    I sometimes encounter words where one or more letters appear to be unspoken/silent. For example: "следующий" where the "ю" is not spoken and "здравствуйте" where the first "в" is not.

    Are there any rules or guidelines for knowing when a word has silent letters, or is it a case-by-case basis that I just have to learn as I encounter them?

    Thank you in advance.

    ю in следующий is pronounced (slédujuščij). See here for voicefile

    Not sure that this is going to be any help for you but...
    Here's a link to a site that explains unpronounced consonants but it's in Russian only: http://www.philol.msu.ru/~fonetica/orfo ... denija.htm
    If I was kiddin' you, I'd be wearin' a fez and no pants. (Lennie Briscoe)

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    Re: Silent letters?

    ю in следующий is pronounced.
    yes. however, in real speach it's often disappears
    Please, correct my mistakes
    Russian is my native language

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    Re: Silent letters?

    Quote Originally Posted by zzc
    ю in следующий is pronounced.
    yes, but in real speach it's often disappears

    Okay. In my opinion, when learning a language, it's best to learn standard pronunciation first. Unlike in здравствуйте, where it is correct pronunciation to drop the в, in следующий, it's not standard to drop the ю. That's all.
    If I was kiddin' you, I'd be wearin' a fez and no pants. (Lennie Briscoe)

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    Re: Silent letters?

    Quote Originally Posted by quartz
    In my opinion, when learning a language, it's best to learn standard pronunciation first.
    Absolutely right )
    Please, correct my mistakes
    Russian is my native language

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    Re: Silent letters?

    Thanks all for the response.

    I of course want to learn the standard pronunciation where possible. It's likely that on the recordings I have, the speaker was using 'real speach' (as ZZC put it) rather than standard. In fact the entire "ую" section of "следующий" came out as more of an English-style "eh": Sled-eh-shee is how I hear it. Although I suspect my ears just aren't fully accustomed to Russian as yet.

    Thankyou Quartz for the link but my Russian isn't that good yet, hehe.

    From what I can gather, it seems that words with unspoken letters (intended or via casual speach) are idividual occurences, rather than examples of a grammatical rule. Would I be correct in saying this?

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    Re: Silent letters?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lordlofty
    Thanks all for the response.

    I of course want to learn the standard pronunciation where possible. It's likely that on the recordings I have, the speaker was using 'real speach' (as ZZC put it) rather than standard. In fact the entire "ую" section of "следующий" came out as more of an English-style "eh": Sled-eh-shee is how I hear it. Although I suspect my ears just aren't fully accustomed to Russian as yet.

    Thankyou Quartz for the link but my Russian isn't that good yet, hehe.

    From what I can gather, it seems that words with unspoken letters (intended or via casual speach) are idividual occurences, rather than examples of a grammatical rule. Would I be correct in saying this?
    For some letter combinations, one consonant is dropped as a rule, and for some, only in a few words. Depending on your level of Russian, you probably shouldn't worry about this yet. If it's beginner level or early intermediate, especially, as you are just learning common words.

    As per page I linked, в is silent in a combination вств in 2 words: чувство (feeling) and здравствуй and all related words that have the same root. In other words, it's pronounced.
    If I was kiddin' you, I'd be wearin' a fez and no pants. (Lennie Briscoe)

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    Re: Silent letters?

    Hey, people!
    It's not a problem to worry about at all.
    When you will try to speak faster and more natural, it will turn out on its own to drop the 1-st "в" in "здравствуйте" etc.
    Just pay more attention to the pronunciation and try to understand and memorize the native "melody" of speaking. Its tempo, pauses, how we can stretch syllables, and so on...
    Good luck
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    Re: Silent letters?

    And then there's говорю, говорит, which comes out грю, грит.

    After you've studied Russian a dozen years or so will be the time you should start thinking about these things. Maybe even after 30-40 years.

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    Re: Silent letters?

    There are no silent letters in Russian. Except the soft and the hard signs.
    All the other cases of seemingly silent letters can be called elision (элИзия) i.e. (as Webster says)
    the omission, assimilation, or slurring over of a vowel, syllable, etc. in pronunciation:
    often used in poetry to preserve meter, as when a word ends with a vowel before another word beginning with a vowel (Ex.: “th' inevitable hour”)
    It's ok to pronounce every single sound слЕ-ду-ю-щий, in which case you will simply enunciate the word clearly, that's all.
    Language is like a beautiful statue
    Created by God long ago...

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    Re: Silent letters?

    Russian words are supposed to be pronounced exactly the way they are spelled. There are exceptions, but most of them can be categorized also [e.g. genitive adjectives that end in "ого", where "ого" is pronounced "ово", voiced consonants getting unvoiced at the end of words, etc]. Indeed, Pocket Oxford Russian Dictionary doesn't provide pronunciation for Russian words, while it does for English words.
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    Re: Silent letters?

    So, if I clearly enunciated EVERY letter in чувство I wouldn't sound just a little odd??

    The "pronounced as it's written" thing -- I've only heard it from Russian speakers, never from people learning Russian. One obvious thing that comes to mind is hard/soft consonants. And the list continues... Sure you would be *understood*, but...
    If I was kiddin' you, I'd be wearin' a fez and no pants. (Lennie Briscoe)

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    Re: Silent letters?

    Quote Originally Posted by quartz
    So, if I clearly enunciated EVERY letter in чувство I wouldn't sound just a little odd??
    You would to me, a little.
    I don't pronounce "в" in чувство but I'm not very sure that there isn't any trace of it there.

    By the way, there is this version of this word - чуйство, with "й" clearly pronounced, which is a deliberate mispronunciation and which is used humorously or ironically. It just sounds funny.

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    Re: Silent letters?

    чувство

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3aF3HSSC00

    Летела жизнь

    Я сам с Ростова, я вобще подкидыш,
    И мог бы быть с каких угодно мест,
    И если ты, мой Бог, меня не выдашь,
    Тогда моя свинья меня не съест.

    Живу везде, сейчас, к примеру, в Туле,
    Живу и не считаю ни потерь, ни барышей.
    Из детства помню детский дом в ауле
    В республике чечено-ингушей.

    Они нам детских душ не загубили,
    Делили с нами пищу и судьбу.
    Летела жизнь в плохом автомобиле
    И вылетала с выхлопом в трубу.

    Я сам не знал, в кого я воспитаюсь,
    Любил друзей, гостей и анашу.
    Теперь чуть что, чего - за нож хватаюсь, -
    Которого, по счастью, не ношу.

    Как сбитый куст я по ветру волокся,
    Питался при дороге, помня зло, но и добро.
    Я хорошо усвоил чувство локтя, -
    Который мне совали под ребро.

    Бывал я там, где и другие были, -
    Все те, с кем резал пополам судьбу.
    Летела жизнь в плохом автомобиле
    И вылетала с выхлопом в трубу.

    Нас закаляли в климате морозном,
    Нет никому ни в чём отказа там.
    Так что чечены, жившие при Грозном,
    Намылились с Кавказа в Казахстан.

    А там - Сибирь - лафа для брадобреев:
    Скопление народов и нестриженных бичей, -
    Где место есть для зэков, для евреев
    И недоистребленных басмачей.

    В Анадыре, что надо, мы намыли,
    Нам там ломы ломали на горбу.
    Летела жизнь в плохом автомобиле
    И вылетала с выхлопом в трубу.

    Мы пили все, включая политуру, -
    И лак, и клей, стараясь не взболтнуть.
    Мы спиртом обманули пулю-дуру -
    Так, что ли, умных нам не обмануть?!

    Пью водку под орехи для потехи,
    Коньяк под плов с узбеками, по-ихнему - пилав, -
    В Норильске, например, в горячем цехе
    Мы пробовали пить стальной расплав.

    Мы дыры в деснах золотом забили,
    Состарюсь - выну - денег наскребу.
    Летела жизнь в плохом автомобиле
    И вылетала с выхлопом в трубу.

    Какие песни пели мы в ауле!
    Как прыгали по скалам нагишом!
    Пока меня с пути не завернули,
    Писался я чечено-ингушом.

    Одним досталась рана ножевая,
    Другим - дела другие, ну а третьим - третья треть...
    Сибирь, Сибирь - держава бичевая, -
    Где есть где жить и есть где помереть.

    Я был кудряв, но кудри истребили -
    Семь пядей из-за лысины во лбу.
    Летела жизнь в плохом автомобиле
    И вылетала с выхлопом в трубу.

    Воспоминанья только потревожь я -
    Всегда одно:"На помошь! Караул!.."
    Вот бьют чеченов немцы из Поволжья,
    А место битвы - город Барнаул.

    Когда дошло почти до самосуда,
    Я встал горой за горцев, чье-то горло теребя, -
    Те и другие были не отсюда,
    Но воевали - словно за себя.

    А те, кто нас на подвиги подбили,
    Давно лежат и корчатся в гробу, -
    Их всех свезли туда в автомобиле,
    А самый главный - вылетел в трубу.
    А самый главный - вылетел в трубу.
    А самый главный - вылетел в трубу.
    _______________________________


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lq1TquFhBQo


    Не волнуйтесь понапрасну...

    Не волнуйтесь понапрасну
    Ни за что и никогда
    Если что-то потеряли
    Ну, подумаешь беда-

    Вам вернут в бюро находок
    Ваш учебник и тетрадь
    Но, пожалуйста, не надо
    Чувство юмора терять!
    Но пожалуйста не надо
    Чувство юмора терять!

    Даже, если вдруг забыли
    Вы в автобусе котят
    Вам котят в бюро находок
    Непременно возвратят!

    Потеряться может кепка
    Или маленький птенец
    Только просьба: не теряйте
    Доброту своих сердец
    Только просьба: не теряйте
    Доброту своих сердец

    Если все-таки случится
    Потерять вам что нибудь,
    Вы тогда в бюро находок
    Не забудьте заглянуть!

    Краски здесь найдёт художник
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    Но друзей терять не надо,
    Их никто вам не вернёт
    Но друзей терять не надо
    Их никто вам не вернёт!

    Но друзей терять не надо-
    Их никто вам не вернёт!
    "...Важно, чтобы форум оставался местом, объединяющим людей, для которых интересны русский язык и культура. ..." - MasterАdmin (из переписки)



  15. #15
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    Re: Silent letters?

    "В" in "чувство" mustn't be pronounced normally.
    There are some words in Russian containing a group of 3 and more consonant letters, and one of them isn't pronounced (we call them непроизносимые согласные, and pupils in school are often confused by the spelling of such words and have to know special rools so as to spell and write correctly), for example агентство, звёздный The letters in bold aren't pronounced.
    http://www.gramota.ru/class/coach/tbgramota/45_71
    As for foreign learners I think the most useful thing is to check up the transcription of such confusing words, but I'm not quite sure whether Russian-English (-French, etc.) dictionaries provide it.

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    Почтенный гражданин Misha Tal's Avatar
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    Re: Silent letters?

    One horrible case occurs when words ending in -ство are put into plural genitive. Take this one: доказательство becomes доказательств. And all final letters are pronounced. Who said Russian is easy?
    "If in the end, Misha, you are destined to lose this game, there is no need for the reason to be cowardice!"

  17. #17
    Moderator Lampada's Avatar
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    Re: Silent letters?

    Quote Originally Posted by Misha Tal
    One horrible case occurs when words ending in -ство are put into plural genitive. Take this one: доказательство becomes доказательств. And all final letters are pronounced. Who said Russian is easy?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCDfz2HxS-c
    Доказательство на 46 и на 1:27
    "...Важно, чтобы форум оставался местом, объединяющим людей, для которых интересны русский язык и культура. ..." - MasterАdmin (из переписки)



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    Почтенный гражданин Misha Tal's Avatar
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    Re: Silent letters?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCDfz2HxS-c
    Доказательство на 46 и на 1:27
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osc-ZYOIAIY
    Доказательств на 6:16.
    R.I.P. Vladislav Galkin.
    "If in the end, Misha, you are destined to lose this game, there is no need for the reason to be cowardice!"

  19. #19
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    I'm new here but this seemed a good place to ask my question.

    The Russian word ЗлЪф is usually transliterated into Roman letters as Zlf or Zl'f. Every Russian alphabet I have seen shows the first letter З as representing a "Z" sound as in English "Zoo" but a recording I have by a native Russian speaker indicates that in this word the З is silent, so the word is pronounced more like Aelf or Aylf. This makes sense considering the meaning of the word, but I can't confirm silent letters at the beginning of Russian words.

    Could someone verify (or better yet provide with an MP3) the correct pronunciation for ЗлЪф for me?

  20. #20
    Властелин
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    ЗлЪф
    There can't be such a word in Russian, check the spelling.
    There is a word эльф, which means elf. It is pronounced [el'f].

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