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Thread: The letter ь

  1. #1
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    The letter ь

    Dear friends,
    I have started learning this language few days ago because I've to read books and papers that are written in Russian; but the first problem that I'm facing is that I can't understand the utility of the letter ь in words.
    Consider, for example, the word последовательность. The letter ь occurs inside the word, and at the end of the word.
    Would you kindly explain the need and the uses of the letter ь ?
    Thanks.
    Saurav

  2. #2
    Завсегдатай kalinka_vinnie's Avatar
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    It turns consonants that precede it to a soft pronounciation, when otherwise it would be a hard pronounciation. It is purely phonetic.
    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)!
    Yo hablo español mejor que tú.
    Trusnse kal'rt eturule sikay!!! ))

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    Quote Originally Posted by kalinka_vinnie
    It turns consonants that precede it to a soft pronounciation, when otherwise it would be a hard pronounciation. It is purely phonetic.
    Okay, then it is merely a phonetic matter.
    One more thing - I observe that the suffix/ending ``ность'' turns a word or root to the abstract noun, for example, while непрерывный means continuous(ie, an adj), the word непрерывность signifies a noun, abstract in character, that means continuity. And in the end ``ный'' makes them adjective. Is my observation correct? Is that a rule of grammar? Kindly describe.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by saurav
    Quote Originally Posted by kalinka_vinnie
    It turns consonants that precede it to a soft pronounciation, when otherwise it would be a hard pronounciation. It is purely phonetic.
    Okay, then it is merely a phonetic matter.
    One more thing - I observe that the suffix/ending ``ность'' turns a word or root to the abstract noun, for example, while непрерывный means continuous(ie, an adj), the word непрерывность signifies a noun, abstract in character, that means continuity. And in the end ``ный'' makes them adjective. Is my observation correct? Is that a rule of grammar? Kindly describe.
    For the most part, yes. But not always. Sometimes, other endings like -ство are used.
    "С чий очи сънувам, чий е този лик обречен?
    Смъртен глас ми се причува и отеква с вик далечен
    Как да зърна да погледна, чуждий образ да прегърна,
    на лицето ми студено грях в надежда да превърна.."

  5. #5
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    BTW, this letter called "a soft sign"
    The bear looked at the car, and reflections of fire danced in his eyes. He knew what to do.

  6. #6
    Подающий надежды оратор
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    I have problems with this letter too....can someone please explain to me the difference between the letters "tvyordiy znahk" and "myagkneey znahk"??
    Though I'm pretty sure that "tvyordiy znahk" is the direct oppisite letter of "myagkneey knahk" and makes a hard sound like English "e" does, no??Though the English letter "e" can make both a soft and hard sounds.
    Feel free to go anywhere you like but remember, your NEVER alone.....

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    Завсегдатай chaika's Avatar
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    <~A~>, are you studying Russian?

    Neither ъ or ь makes any sound. They are indicators of the quality of the preceding consonant, or sometimes they are only remnants of historical spelling, as in читаешь. which is pronounced exactly as the nonexistant word *читаеш.

    Usually the quality of the preceding consonant is indicated by the vowel. There are two spellings for each of the five vowels aeiou. The spellings are а/я э/е ы/и о/ё у/ю. If the vowel is spelled with the first variant of any pair, the preceding consonant is not palatalized (nonpalatalized), and if the vowel is spelled with the second variant, it is palatalized. Ex. мать / мять, where you have unpalatalized /m/ and palatalized /m/ followed by the vowel /a/. Note that when you want to have a palatalized consonant at the end of a word, but you don't have a following vowel, you're going to need something to show it's palatalized. This is where the letter ь comes in; it marks a preceding palatalized consonant.

    And there's more, but I'm tired and I expect this is already more than you bargained for.

    PS, as Оля would write,
    Feel free to go anywhere you like but remember, you're NEVER alone.....

  8. #8
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    Ъ and Ь initially denoted a very short vowels in old Russian.
    You can also pronounce very very short sound [о] or [ы] for Ъ and [и] or [е] for Ь. So previous consonants should stay hard or soft (palatalised) correspondingly

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yer
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soft_sign
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palatalization

  9. #9
    Завсегдатай chaika's Avatar
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    Wowik, what do you mean??? Those letters NEVER are sounded, they have no sound.

    объехать = [abajexat']???

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaika
    Wowik, what do you mean??? Those letters NEVER are sounded, they have no sound.

    объехать = [abajexat']???
    NEVER say NEVER



    Это упрощение для школьников.

    Вполне можно услышать и

    объехать = [АБыЙЭХАТи]

    особенно, если произносит медленно, протяжно, по слогам.


    Еще попросите, чтобы вам прочитали слово
    БЪЛГАРИЯ.
    Скорее всего вы услышите короткое Ы на месте Ъ

    Да еще проще послушать
    ВЬЮГА = [ВыЙУГА]

    А можно просто попатыться сказать отдельно звук [Б].
    Получится или [Бэ], или [Бы]

  11. #11
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    Ну, с [ы] это немножко перебор. Скорее там будет шва в большинстве случаев, чем вообще что-то похожее на это [ы].
    «И всё, что сейчас происходит внутре — тоже является частью вселенной».

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rtyom
    Ну, с [ы] это немножко перебор. Скорее там будет шва в большинстве случаев, чем вообще что-то похожее на это [ы].
    Дык я вначале и писал
    very very short sound
    И теперь маленькую нежирную букву, для обозначения сильно редуцированного звука.

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