The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Russian pronunciations in Wikipedia articles. For a guide to adding IPA characters to Wikipedia articles, see {{IPA-ru}}.

Russian distinguishes hard (unpalatalized or plain) and soft (palatalized) consonants. Soft consonants, most of which are denoted by a superscript j, ⟨ʲ⟩, are pronounced with the body of the tongue raised toward the hard palate, like the articulation of the y sound in yes. /j, ɕː, tɕ/ are always soft, whereas /ʂ, ts, ʐ/ are always hard.

See Russian phonology and Russian alphabet for a more thorough look at the sounds of Russian.

Hard Soft
IPA Examples English approximation IPA Examples English approximation
b About this soundбок; апде́йт[1] boot About this soundбе́лый beautiful
d About this soundдать; About this soundфутбо́л[1] do About this soundде́ло; About this soundходьба́; About this soundжени́тьба[1] dew (UK)
f About this soundфо́рма; About this soundвы́ставка;[1] About this soundбо́ров[2] fool About this soundфина́л; About this soundверфь; About this soundкровь[2] few
ɡ About this soundгод[3][4]; About this soundанекдо́т[1] goo ɡʲ About this soundгеро́й argue
N/A j About this soundесть [je-]; About this soundёж [jɵ-]; About this soundюг [ju-]; About this soundя [ja]; About this soundмайо́р[5] yes, York, you, yard, boy
k About this soundкость; About this soundбе́гство[1]; About this soundфлаг[2] scar About this soundкино́; секью́рити skew
l About this soundлуна́[6] pill About this soundлес; About this soundболь lean
m About this soundмы́ло moot About this soundмя́со; About this soundсемь mute
n About this soundнос noon About this soundнёс; About this soundдень; About this soundко́нчик[7] newt (for some dialects)
p About this soundпод; About this soundры́бка[1]; About this soundзуб[2] span About this soundпе́пел; About this soundцепь; About this soundзыбь[2] spew
r About this soundраз flapped or trilled r, like in Spanish About this soundряд; About this soundзверь flapped or trilled r, like in Spanish
s About this soundсоба́ка; About this soundска́зка[1]; About this soundглаз[2] soup About this soundси́ний; About this soundздесь; About this soundесть; About this soundгрызть[1] assume (for some dialects)
ʂ About this soundширо́кий; About this soundкни́жка[1]; About this soundмуж[2]; About this soundчто[8] rush ɕː About this soundщека́; About this soundсчита́ть; About this soundмужчи́на[9][10] wish sheep
t About this soundто; About this soundво́дка;[1] About this soundлёд[2] stand About this soundтень; About this soundдитя́; About this soundпуть; About this soundгрудь[2] stew (UK; for some dialects)
ts[11] About this soundцена́; About this soundнра́виться[10] cats [11] About this soundчай; About this soundтечь[10] chip
v About this soundвы; его́[4]; афга́н[1] voodoo About this soundвесь; About this soundвью́га view
x About this soundход; About this soundБог[3][10] loch (Scottish) About this soundхи́трый; Хью́стон; About this soundлёгкий[1][3][10] huge (for some dialects)
z About this soundзуб; About this soundсбор[1] zoo About this soundзима́; резьба́; About this soundжизнь; About this soundпро́сьба[1] presume (for some dialects)
ʐ About this soundжест; волшба́[1] rouge ʑː About this soundпо́зже[12] prestige genre
Stressed vowels
[-soft] [+soft]
IPA Examples English approximation IPA Examples English approximation
a About this soundтрава́ father æ About this soundпять; About this soundча́сть[13] pat (US)
ɛ About this soundжест; About this soundэ́тот met e About this soundпень; About this soundэ́тика[13] penny
ɨ About this soundты; About this soundши́шка; с и́грами roses (for some dialects) i About this soundли́ния; About this soundи́ли meet
o About this soundо́блако; About this soundшёпот chore ɵ About this soundтётя; About this soundплечо́[13] bird (non-rhotic)
u About this soundпу́ля boot ʉ About this soundчуть; About this soundлю́ди[13] choose
Unstressed vowels
[-soft] [+soft]
IPA Examples English approximation IPA Examples English approximation
ɐ About this soundоблака́; About this soundкако́й; About this soundсообража́ть; About this soundтропа́[14] bud N/A
ə About this soundко́жа; About this soundо́блако; About this soundсе́рдце about ə About this soundво́ля; About this soundсего́дня; About this soundку́ча[15] lasagna
ɨ About this soundдыша́ть; About this soundжена́; About this soundво́ды; About this soundэта́п; к Ива́ну roses (for some dialects) ɪ About this soundлиса́; About this soundчеты́ре; About this soundтяжёлый; About this soundде́вять; About this soundчасы́[16] bit
ʊ About this soundмужчи́на put ʉ About this soundчуде́сный; About this soundлюби́ть[13] youth
ɛ тетра́эдр; поэте́сса[17] met N/A
o About this soundра́дио; поэте́сса[17] chore ɵ ма́чо; сёрфинги́ст[18] bird (non-rhotic)
IPA Example Explanation
ˈ About this soundчеты́ре [tɕɪˈtɨrʲɪ] Stress mark, placed before the stressed syllable
ː About this soundсза́ди [ˈzːadʲɪ][1] Consonant length mark, placed after the geminated consonant


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 Consonants in consonant clusters are assimilated in voicing if the final consonant in the sequence is an obstruent (except [v, vʲ]). All consonants become voiceless if the final consonant is voiceless or voiced if the final consonant is voiced (Halle 1959:31).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 The voiced obstruents /b, bʲ, d, dʲ, ɡ, v, vʲ, z, zʲ, ʐ/ are devoiced word-finally unless the next word begins with a voiced obstruent (Halle 1959:22).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 г⟩ is usually pronounced [ɣ] or [x] in some religious words and colloquial derivatives from them, such as  Го́споди and  Бог, and in the interjections  ага́,  ого́,  го́споди,  ей-бо́гу, and also in бухга́лтер [bʊˈɣaltʲɪr] (Timberlake 2004:23). /ɡ/ devoices and lenites to [x] before voiceless obstruents (dissimilation) in the word roots -мягк- or -мягч-, -легк- or -легч-, -тягч-, and also in the old-fashioned pronunciation of -ногт-, -когт-, кто. Speakers of the Southern Russian dialects may pronounce ⟨г⟩ as [ɣ] (soft [ɣʲ], devoiced [x] and []) throughout.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Intervocalic ⟨г⟩ represents /v/ in certain words ( сего́дня,  сего́дняшний, итого́ ), and in the genitive suffix -ого/-его (Timberlake 2004:23).
  5. The soft vowel letters ⟨е, ë, ю, я⟩ represent iotated vowels /je, jo, ju, ja/, except when following a consonant. When these vowels are unstressed (save for ⟨ë⟩, which is always stressed) and follow another vowel letter, the /j/ may not be present. The letter ⟨и⟩ produces iotated sound /ji/ only after ь.
  6. /l/ is often strongly pharyngealized [ɫ], but that feature is not distinctive (Ladefoged & Maddieson 1996:187-188).
  7. Alveo-palatal consonants are subjected to regressive assimilative palatalization; i.e. they tend to become palatalized in front of other phones with the same place of articulation.
  8. Most speakers pronounce ⟨ч⟩ in the pronoun что and its derivatives as [ʂ]. All other occurrences of чт cluster stay as affricate and stop.
  9. щ⟩ is sometimes pronounced as [ɕː] or [ɕɕ] and sometimes as [ɕtɕ], but no speakers contrast the two pronunciations. It is generally includes the other spellings of the sound, but the word счи́тывать sometimes has [ɕtɕ] because of the morpheme boundary between the prefix ⟨с-⟩ and the root ⟨-чит-⟩.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 [ts], [tɕ], [ɕː], [x], have voiced allophones, [dz], [], [ʑː], [ɣ] respectively, before voiced stop consonants. Examples:  плацда́рм, начди́в,  дочь бы, вещдо́к, трёхдне́вный.
  11. 11.0 11.1 The affricates [ts] and [tɕ] are sometimes written with ligature ties: [t͡s] and [t͡ɕ]. Ties are not used in transcriptions on Wikipedia (except in phonology articles) because they may not display correctly in all browsers.
  12. Geminated [ʐː] is pronounced as soft [ʑː], the voiced counterpart to [ɕː], in a few lexical items (such as дрожжи or заезжать) by conservative Moscow speakers; such realization is now somewhat obsolete (Yanushevskaya & Bunčić (2015:224)).
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 Vowels are fronted and/or raised in the context of palatalized consonants: /a/ and /u/ become [æ] and [ʉ], respectively between palatalized consonants, /e/ is realized as [e] before and between palatalized consonants and /o/ becomes [ɵ] after and between palatalized consonants.
  14. Word-initial and pretonic (before the stress) /a/ and /o/, as well as when in a sequence.
  15. Only in certain word-final morphemes (Timberlake 2004:48-51).
  16. Unstressed /a/ is pronounced as [ɪ] after ⟨ч⟩ and ⟨щ⟩ except when word-final.[source?]
  17. 17.0 17.1 In the careful style of pronunciation unstressed /e/ and /o/ in foreign words may be pronounced with little or no reduction.
  18. Unstressed [ɵ] only occurs in foreign words.


  • Cubberley, Paul (2002), "The phonology of Modern Russian", Russian: A Linguistic Introduction, Cambridge University Press
  • Halle, Morris (1959), Sound Pattern of Russian, MIT Press
  • Jones, Daniel; Ward, Dennis (1969), The Phonetics of Russian, Cambridge University Press
  • Ladefoged, Peter; Maddieson, Ian (1996). The Sounds of the World's Languages. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 978-0-631-19815-4.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Timberlake, Alan (2004), "Sounds", A Reference Grammar of Russian, Cambridge University Press
  • Yanushevskaya, Irena; Bunčić, Daniel (2015), "Russian" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 45 (2): 221–228, doi:10.1017/S0025100314000395